Keyboards

Why am I getting different keyboards when launching apps on my Google Pixel phone?

Episode 1465

Mark from Grand Rapids, MI
Android keyboards

Mark wants to know why he gets a different keyboard whenever he launches an app on his Google Pixel smartphone. Leo says this is a feature that developers can take advantage of so that the keyboard can be more contextual. For instance, when a number needs to be entered, the keyboard that comes up can be just a number pad. But there is a bug that causes keyboards to change randomly, so maybe that's the problem. More likely, it's something the app developer has done. Mark can try installing Swiftkey and see if that helps.

Why does my PC keep scrolling to the bottom by itself?

Episode 1464

David from San Francisco, CA
Mouse and laptop

David is having problems with his Dell laptop. It autoscrolls when he opens a window and goes straight down to the bottom. It doesn't matter what he opens. Leo says that it's possible that the trackpad or keyboard are pressed or stuck. There may be some cruft in the key that's causing it to stick, or there's some "schmutz" on the trackpad that is giving a false positive and causing the problem. David should check his external mouse and keyboard as well.

Why is my browser typing strange text?

Episode 1450

Jeff from Apple Valley, CA
Laptop keyboard

Jeff is getting strange random key strokes appearing in his browser bar. Leo says to try a different browser. Windows comes with both Edge and Internet Explorer. If it happens in both browsers, it could be a failing keyboard. Jeff should unplug his keyboard and try a new one. If he still has the issue, then it's a Windows problem, which could be malware or a browser hijack. He could try resetting his browser first. If that solves the problem, then he's fine. If not, then it may be that he'll need to reinstall Windows from a known good source.

Is the Tap Wearable Keyboard a good idea?

Episode 1447

Josh from Austin, TX
TAP Wearable Keyboard

Josh has discovered a crazy new keyboard interface called the TAP Wearable Keyboard. Leo says that it allows you to turn any surface into a keyboard, but you have to completely relearn how to type to use it. It's just available for preorder also, so it hasn't hit the market yet. Leo says this is a category that's going to blow up in the near future. It has an accelerometer built into it to read the movement of your fingers. But this is a very inconvenient way to type for those who have been typing for years.

How can I keep number lock on permanently?

Episode 1438

Ben from Orange, CA
Laptop Keyboard

Ben says that his arrow keys can be used as numbers but he has to keep changing it so it will continue to work that way. Leo says he'll have to change the num lock setting in his BIOS/System setup. He can enable the num lock to be on when he boots up. Keyboard mapping is all done in software. There's a good app called AutoHotKey that can also work because it uses Keyboard mapping.

What's a good mini Bluetooth keyboard?

Episode 1422

Greg from Minnesota
Rii i8+

Greg is locked into using an old phone because his skin is too dry to use a touch screen. Is there a smartphone that has raised keys anymore? Leo says Greg could use a standard Bluetooth keyboard with any smartphone and that would solve a lot of his problem. Leo recommends the Aerb wireless keyboard at Amazon. It has a trackpad with it, and is only the size of a game controller. The RII i28 is another one.

Can I fix my laptop's keyboard?

Episode 1411

Carrie from Hermosa Beach, CA
Laptop Keyboard

Carrie turned on her laptop and a few of her keys don't work anymore, so she can't log in. Leo says that may indicate that her keyboard is dead or that those keys have broken. The good news is that she can plug in a USB keyboard and use it that way. She could also pry up the key caps on her laptop keyboard and see if there's some dirt or lint in them. That can easily cause a lack of connection between the keys above and below. Canned air will get rid of all that.

Why is my browser typing strange text?

Episode 1398

Jeff from Apple Valley, CA
Keyboard

Jeff is getting strange random key strokes appearing in his browser bar. Leo says to try a different browser. Windows comes with both Edge and Internet Explorer. If it happens in both browsers, it could be a failing keyboard. Jeff should unplug his keyboard and try a new one. If he still has the issue, then it's a Windows problem, which could be malware or a browser hijack. He could try resetting his browser first. If that solves the problem, then he's fine. If not, then it may be that he'll need to reinstall Windows from a known good source.