Very weird problem in Panther with Word X, Spell Catcher X, and Apple’s latest keyboard

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
November 19th, 2003 • 4:45 am

I recently had to get a new keyboard for the Xserve that I am currently working on and I got Apple’s latest keyboard model, which is this white thing with a pretty thick plastic casing, no space between the function keys and the extra F16 key.

I thought I would try the keyboard out with my G4, to see if I like it better than my current keyboard (the black keyboard that came with the G4 purchased a year ago). So I changed keyboards and went about my business and didn’t notice anything special in most applications. I used the new keyboard for typing text in both French and English in various applications, including Mail, BBEdit, etc.

But then I had to do some fairly intensive typing in French in Word X. In such situations I make full use of Spell Catcher X, especially its interactive shorthand expansion function, which saves me a lot of typing by replacing predefined abbreviations with recurring phrases.

Of course, when I type in French, a lot of accented characters are involved, both in regular typing and in the shorthand abbreviations and expansions.

While I was typing with this new keyboard, I started noticing very weird behaviours in Word. Every once in a while, especially when I was typing very fast and using a lot of shorthand expansions involving accented characters, Word would appear to “seize up”. I am not talking about the stalls discussed a couple of days ago. I am talking about moments where Word would become totally unresponsive for several seconds. I would be unable to type with the keyboard or use any of its menus. And then when Word would become responsive again, I would notice that about 3/4 of the characters I had typed just before the seizure occurred had purely and simply disappeared. In other words, keystrokes were getting lost due to these “seizures”.

I then switched back to the “Canadian – CSA” input method rather than using Spell Catcher. The problem vanished. I switched to Spell Catcher again, and the problem was back.

I have already mentioned before the weird problems caused by accented characters in Word X’s Find/Replace dialog whenever Spell Catcher is active. So I strongly suspect that there is some definite weirdness in the way that Word handles accented characters, which creates incompatibilities with software such as Spell Catcher.

Needless to say, this problem is specific to Word X. I am using Spell Catcher X and typing in French, at the same speed and using just as many shorthand abbreviations involving accented characters, in other applications without any problems.

But the problem is also specific to this new (white) Apple keyboard. I switched back to my black Apple keyboard, and the problem disappeared.

Très très weird. I’ve started a thread in the Spell Catcher support forums, where I am currently exploring the issue further with the developer.

Comments are closed.

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.