My group at work is in the middle of our largest new-equipment roll out ever; we’re replacing all 9 instruments that about 100 chemists use to analyze their samples. And I’ve taken on the bulk of implementing it, since the coworker who was originally going to share the work with me has been out for medical reasons for the last month. It’s been beyond hectic.
There is one notable software flaw in the new system. Under the previous software, all the chemists know they can hit the Enter key at one step in the sample login if they want their sample to run using the same method as their most recent sample. It’s a handy shortcut that they use at least 75% of the time. But under the new software, which offers more flexibility in choosing multiple methods for a given sample, hitting the Enter key will cause the software to crash. The only way to recover it is to close multiple windows, delete all the samples currently in the queue, delete a status file, and relog all the samples.
We can (and will) complain to the instrument maker, and request that this software bug be fixed. But our previous track record with them suggests that they will listen attentively, spend 3 years promising to work on it, and then produce a software patch that only halfway solves the problem but does cause something else to go awry.
In the meantime, it’s going to be a serious problem, as we roll out the new systems starting on Monday. I will emphasize during the mandatory training that people must not hit the Enter key. And I have put red tape, rolled into a tube with the sticky side out, onto the Enter key as a visual and tactile reminder not to use it. (They can complete the entire login process without once needing that key for anything.) If that doesn’t work, my boss suggested removing the key from the keyboard entirely. Another possibility is remapping that key so it doesn’t actually do anything, and assign the Enter function elsewhere in case we need it. And finally, one coworker suggested wiring it up so the Enter key gives people an electric shock, but I think the safety department would object to that.
Anyone have other suggestions, or tips on key remapping?