Journal: News & Comment

Wednesday, February 06, 2002
# 11:58:00 PM:

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Writer geek gets converted

For years I've been whining about how nobody makes good computer keyboards anymore. I'm thinking of the built-like-a-tank, heavy-duty, clackety-clackety ones like the original IBM PC keyboard from 1981, or the Apple Extended Keyboard II from ten years ago.

I've tried a lot of keyboards -- PC, Mac, and otherwise -- in the past couple of decades, and I kept coming back to those old ones. I like the solid feel, the big key travel, the loud tapping as I type. Periodically I would try something else to see if anything better had come along. A few months ago, I even bought one of the new USB Apple Pro Keyboards at an eBay auction to try it out (and, to be honest, because it looks trop cool). I did try it, but put it away and returned to the Extended II. Too quiet, too mushy, I thought.

But recently I brought the Pro Keyboard back out of storage, as I endlessly fiddle around with how my computers are set up to avoid aggravating the repetitive strain injuries I sometimes get. And you know what? I really like the new keyboard now. Unlike most, it can lie almost perfectly flat (not raised at the back), which puts my wrists in a better position. The keys are slightly wider on top than on other keyboards, giving them a meaty feel. It's quiet, true, but still feels substantial. And yes, it still looks trop cool.

I can live with the lack of a power button, which probably wouldn't work on my old Mac anyway.

Yeah yeah, it's kind of weird to get this worked up about keyboards. But I'm a writer. I use the things all day (and night) long. My tools should be professional. And if they look trop cool (at least as much as a keyboard ever can), well, so much the better.


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