The (New) New Keyboard

So after about an hour or so, the previous new keyboard I got last week started having problem finding my computer (it was a bluetooth keyboard), and about an hour after that, steadfastly refused to speak to my computer at all — it was a like a first date gone wrong, where the two people have decided they hate each other but still stick around for dessert. Well, this did me no good, so I returned the keyboard. In its stead I got a Logitech MK710 keyboard, which has two things going for it: Soft touch keys which aren’t all sticky and clunky, and a purported three-year battery life, which I assume I’ll be able to definitively agree with sometime in May 2013.

So far I’m liking the keyboard, which I suppose isn’t necessarily surprising since with the exception of the two-hour interregnum of the ill-fated previous new keyboard, my last three keyboards were all Logitechs as well. Logitech apparently hits my typing sweet spot most of the time (I’ll note that the problem with the previous Logitech keyboard was me spending months on low-profile laptop keyboards changing my preference, not anything inherently wrong with the keyboard).

You ask: What do I do with all they old keyboards? Aside from the one I returned, the rest are loitering in an ever-growing pile of obsolete tech in the basement. I should probably go and get rid of most of that pile, but I find extra keyboards do come in handy for times when, say, you have to return a balky one and need something to plug into the computer until the new one shows up.

Also, before anyone asks: I like the Bamboo tablet which I got just fine, and am keeping that, although I don’t think I’ll be using it as a permanent mouse replacement. What I’ve ended up doing is when I experience mouse fatigue I use the tablet as a track pad for a while and the change up does my wrists good. And these days I really am paying more attention to ergonomics in an overall sense.

29 thoughts on “The (New) New Keyboard

  1. Have you ever tried a trackball?

    I recently switched to a Logitech trackball, and all my mouse hand/wrist discomfort has disappeared. It takes a few days to get used to it, but the increase in comfort is amazing. When I use my wife’s PC with a regular mouse now, it feels like I’m trying to draw a picture with a broomstick.

  2. I’ve used Logitech products for ages and they do seem to last for ages. Keyboards I ruthlessly abuse but my Logitech mouse here is something like eight years old and is just now showing signs of dying.

  3. I second Marko’s comment – I had to migrate to a Logitech TrackMan Marble (it goes by Trackman Wheel these days) because my old desk was too small to put a 17″ CRT, keyboard, and mouse on, so the KB sat in my lap, and the mouse was relegated to the arm of the chair, thereby necessitating something that could move without moving.

    Now, between the Trackman and the split ergonomic keyboard at both home and office, I’ve all but guaranteed myself that I’ll be the last person whose desk is usurped by someone who “just needs to use your computer for a minute,” because as soon as they touch my input peripherals, they draw back like they’ve gotten an electric shock (Note: I have not yet implemented that feature) because it’s so alien to what they’re expecting. Mouse fatigue is a thing of the past, though after marathon gaming sessions, my trackball thumb and the heel of that hand (I have a heavy touch) are a little bit crispy.

  4. I’m sticking with my Microsoft Natural ergonomic keyboard (insert obligatory joke about Microsoft hardware being better than their software).

    Has all the features one expects from an ergonomic keyboard and it is wired. I know wireless is all the rage, but I don’t have to spend time trying to set it up, worrying about signal strength, trying to diagnose connection problems, pushing little tiny connection buttons with bent paperclips, replacing batteries, or any one of the other niggling annoyances.

    I love gadgets, but I’m getting seriously tired of having to babysit my tech …

  5. Have you tried a modern Model M, like the Unicomp Customizer or Space Saver? Until I began using a Kinesis Advantage, I did and loved them.

    The linked post, by the way, is by far the most popular I’ve ever written (Slashdot and some other tech sites picked it up), which is amusing given that I write chiefly about books and literature.

  6. Autograph them and donate them to the Child’s Play auction? “This is the keyboard on which The Ghost Brigades was typed!”

  7. I’m with cerement here–well, except that my MS Natural is a wireless model. I’m nearly certain moving to it (abt. 5 years ago, an earlier–wired–model) staved off RSI. (But if Logitech made a similar design…I might be there; I respect Logitech’s stuff.) Downside of a split keyboard: I can’t touch type on notebooks. Period.

  8. Other uses for a USB keyboard:

    Give to the baby so she doesn’t try to bang on the keyboards of the parents’ laptops. She has her own!

    (Tape the cord to the back of it first so she doesn’t chew on it.)

  9. Man, you have to shred those old keyboards. Otherwise, as with old Selectric Typewriter ribbons, someone will read back all of the buffered keystrokes, and you’ve got a rogue draft of “noitaNyzzuF” floating around on the internets.

  10. Fungo bat —
    Traditional unibody keyboards are suitable for smacking small fruit, whiffle or Nerf balls into the tall grass. N.B.: Except for comedic effect, one should always lead with the underside of the keyboard.

    Some keyboards of the split or separable type may be used as paddles for paddleball, once the halves are fully detached.

    Decoy keyboard —
    Give your pets a harmless alternative target on which to dance, shed, drool, or practice their full-extension sprawl.

  11. I’ll keep using, and buying, my trusty KeyTronic Classics until either they go out of business or someone pries mine from my cold, dead fingers.
    I’ve converted entire offices over to them, and never had one go bad.

  12. me, I love my DasKeyboard. But it clicks quite loudly, too.

    OTOH it has shiny cool black and blank keys, no printing on them at all. Yay!

  13. I had similar problems with my Bluetooth keyboard; I solved it by telling my operating system to not shut down / adjust the Bluetooth adapter for power savings.

    This is an option in Windows 7; I don’t know about Vista (probably) or XP (have not found it for that OS).

  14. I miss my old IBM AT keyboard. I think it weighed 8 lbs, and had nice solid “klickey” keys. As a bonus, you could hide behind it as a shield.

    Maybe it’s because I learned how to touchtype on an old Remington manual (yeah my highschool had 50-year-old typewriters) but I have a hard time typing on “soft touch” keys.

  15. Hi John,

    Would you ever considered donating one of your used working keyboards to a charity auction? I think a fair number of people would pay a decent (but not insane) amount to have a keyboard that one of my favorite authors has used. They would be willing to pay more if it came with a signed statement saying that you used this keyboard to write X novel. That would be pretty cool.

    Just a thought,
    Johnny

    P.S. I’m on the board of directors for a non-profit that provides day-care for 270 adults with mental and physical disabilities in Richmond, VA. I’d love to have one of your keyboards for our annual silent auction.

  16. After a brief Microsoft interregnum I’m back to Logitech again myself.

    I briefly considered a Razer Bluetooth keyboard that had tactile feedback exactly like the IBM keyboards I remember fondly from the early 80’s, but then I realized that waking everyone in the house while typing at 3AM would be distinctly unpopular.

  17. Cory over at BoingBoing.net reports that the nonprofit Clarion workshop has a fundraising project that wants Writer’s old dead keyboards.

    Serendipity.

  18. I use a Logitech TrackMan Wheel at the office and at home. I am a programmer, so it gets heavy use. I get way less neck and shoulder pain. About 6 of us in my small office are using them now.

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