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Have you ever wondered about your keyboard layout?  I mean, you’ve probably noticed slight differences from keyboard to keyboard, especially between laptop keyboards because they’re always moving things around based on the size of the laptop.  But have you ever considered the differences between a US keyboard layout and other countries?  I mean countries that use a Latin/Roman alphabet.  Have you considered that they would be different?

I never really gave it much thought until recently.  The other day, JoAnn (fabric and craft store) was having a sale and texted me a coupon code.  The text said that I could save 5 euros off my purchase of 35 euros or more.  This isn’t the best sale ever, but that’s not the point.  The point is that they said I could save 5 EUROS.  Or really, what they said was I would “get €5 off your purchase of €35 or more!”

This was really confusing to me.  I live in the US and JoAnn is based in the US, so why are we talking about euros?  The US dollar is our official currency.  I suppose it’s possible that JoAnn wanted to use a global currency.  It’s true that there are more Euros than US dollars in circulation now (in terms of cash value), but I’d say an approximately equal number of countries still have their currency pegged on US dollars and euros and no one currency dominates as the global currency.  Also, JoAnn doesn’t have a presence in any of the countries in the European Union (where the euro is used).

So, I was thinking that maybe this form of social media was being farmed out overseas (which would be ridiculous) and that whoever was typing up these messages was using a non-US standard keyboard.  But…that doesn’t really work.  I took a look at keyboard layouts thinking that there were big differences between keyboard layouts.  There aren’t.  There are three major standards for keyboard layouts, one for the US, one for Japan, and one for the rest of the world (the US and Japan are special, I guess), and they all involve the $ sign over the 4.

US standard (ANSI-INCITS 154-1988)

Japanese standard (JIS X 6002-1980)

Worldwide (European) standard (ISO/IEC 9995-2)

You’ll see that the worldwide standard also involves an Alt Gr command to insert the euro sign.  So, if this person typing up the message had a European standard keyboard, it’s possible that this person could have inserted a euro sign in place of a dollar sign without a bunch of ridiculous keystrokes à la Unicode.  BUT, the euro key and the dollar key still share the same physical space on the keyboard.  It’s just a matter of pushing the shift button or the Alt Gr button.  I don’t really think that’s an excuse to use the euro sign over the dollar sign when sending out a message to customers IN THE US.

Now, I did say that I received this coupon code via text.  I suppose it was possible that this person used a phone to text their client list.  If so, I think JoAnn seriously needs to reconsider how they sound out these messages.  Using a phone to text large numbers of people the same text is kind of ridiculous.  But anyway, if they were using a phone, it still doesn’t make sense to use the euro sign.  This person would have been in the US to text, to save on texting costs, and that would mean using a US standard phone.  That means the dollar sign is much easier to get to than the euro sign.  The euro sign is there, but you’d generally have to go through a few menus to get to it, whether or not you have a hard keyboard or soft one.

This saving of €5 off your purchase of €35 or more remains a mystery.

In other news, now you know that the three major standards for keyboards don’t really look that different.  It’s still in QWERTY format and big changes are normally solved using overlays and new function keys.  The the biggest differences are on the right side of the keyboard with differently shaped/positioned enter keys, backspaces, and possibly extra function keys.  Tada!

Also, in researching the euro sign, I found out that early versions of Comic Sans included an eye in the symbol!

I really wish they kept it.  By the way, did you know that Comic Sans wasn’t originally developed to be a font for distribution?  It was supposed to be “speaking voice” of Microsoft Bob assistants.  But Microsoft Bob was scrapped and somehow Comic Sans made it out into common usage, where it gets a lot of hate.  People are weird.  And I still wish they kept the eye in the euro sign.


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