Andre's Blog

Personal blog of Andre Perusse

Computer Keyboards - Deserving More Than Just A Passing Thought

As some of you are already aware, I'm a bit of a gadget freak or "toy boy." One of the things that I'm always keeping my eye on is computer keyboards. How boring, you're probably saying to yourself, but think about it. In the course of a day, how many words do you type? How many keys do you press? If you're a technology worker, the keyboard (and mouse and monitor - but I'll save those for another day) is what you work with ALL DAY LONG. Perhaps we should pay a little more attention to the options we have for making it more comfortable to type.

One of the keyboards I've been looking at is Microsoft's Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 (http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/productdetails.aspx?pid=043). It's currently $80 at FutureShop and I'm waiting for it to go on sale (the only thing I like more than a tech gagdget is a tech gadget that's on sale!). Also, ExtremeTech just posted a review for the Eclipse II keyboard (http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,2001569,00.asp) that has an innovative backlight. And if you really want the coolest keyboard ever, take a look at the Optimus (http://www.artlebedev.com/portfolio/optimus/) which uses colour OLEDs to render the characters on the keyboard keys so you can configure the keyboard layout any way you like! Hopefully, one day it will even ship!

Still, my ultimate dream keyboard has yet to be invented. For some reason I haven't yet been able to determine, keyboard manufacturers still insist on putting the numeric keypad on the right side of the keyboard. This means that I have to move my hand a relatively large distance when I have to use the mouse. Keyboard-to-mouse and mouse-to-keyboard movements of your right hand (leftys have the advantage here, methinks) are frequent throughout the computing day and are a major source of user-input disruption. No wonder many software systems require a user-interfaces that can be controlled solely with the keyboard - transferring to "mouse mode" just takes too much time. I think that time could be greatly reduce by moving the mouse closed to the main keyboard keys, but what do I know?

Comments (3) -

  • Darth Mac

    8/19/2006 8:14:31 AM |

    Keyboards, huh? Trev has a mouse fetish and you have a keyboard fetish... you guys need to get out more... ;)

    PS - which of the new Macs do you like the best?

  • Andre Perusse

    8/23/2006 2:45:06 PM |

    Um, I have a mouse fetish, too. Smile  My Logitech MX-1000 Laser is kinda neat, but I'm not really sold on a wireless mouse. My wired Intellimouse Explorer that I use at work is still my favourite I think.

    I haven't been paying real close attention to the new Macs. I hear they're fabulous, though - the dual-Xeon Mac Pro looks reeeeal nice, priced well too. And with Boot Camp and Parallels, it makes for a wickedly flexible machine. Hey, you never know, my next PC might be a Mac!

    - Andre

  • Darth Mac

    8/23/2006 3:13:44 PM |

    That's it, young WebJedi, feel the power of the Dark Side (of computing)... You know it's your *destiny*...

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