One of the problems with being bi(processorial) is that when you have two computers and you actually use both, you end up having two keyboards, two mice and so on — a veritable noah’s ark of computer accessories. I suppose I could get one of those boxes where you can route your keyboard and your mouse into, and thereby control two computers with it, but where’s the fun in that? Also, since I can’t even remember what they’re called, the idea of walking into Staples and trying to describe the concept to some guy in a red shirt who barely knows where the pens are is not one I greet with a huge amount of enthusiasm. So: two of everything.
The problem becomes where to put it all, and for most of the equation I was able to make it work. I shoved the PC behind the iMac (which, being an iMac, is all sleek and thin), put the PC monitor to the side, and generally place the PC mouse so that I can use it with my left hand while I use the Mac mouse with my right (I’m ambimouse-terous!) But what to do with the PC keyboard? My desk has a little shelf where the keyboard’s supposed to go, which I generally ignore, so while the Mac keyboard is on top of the desk, the PC keyboard is below.
But this proved unsuitable, since I still do frequently need my PC keyboard, and it’s a pain in the ass to drag out the little shelf and sit away from the screen and squint while i type and all that, or to use the Mac keyboard (I have to reach and it aggravates my early-stage case of tendonitis). And since I had to snake the keyboard cord down through the desk to get it to sit comfortably on the shelf, dragging the keyboard up to desk level is also more complicated and annoying than it really should be.
So I gave up. No, I’m not ditching the PC, I bought myself a wireless keyboard. Now the PC keyboard can go anywhere, do anything, and then when I’m done with it i can set it anywhere and not have any more problems with it. Easy. Since I’m using the Mac for most of my serious typing now, I went ahead and got the cheap, non-ergodynamically designed keyboard — Mi Micro Innovations, $29.95 at the dreaded Wal-Mart. I did go to Staples to try to buy it there after spotting it at Wal-Mart(where I went for some digital photo printing), but it was $20 cheaper at Wal-Mart, and while I’m all for not sweating a $5 price difference for not spending too much green at Wally World, a 66% price difference was a little hard to ignore.
The keyboard is definitely nothing fancy, but I find the tactile response perfectly good, and since I never use all those silly buttons that line the top of today’s new fangled keyboards (the ones that launch your browser, e-mail, music players and trident missiles), it’s all the same to me. The keyboard came with an additionally perfectly acceptable 5-button wireless mouse, so I switched the wireless mouse that I had been using on the PC over to the Mac. Now the only thing there is the Mac keyboard. I’m free. in fact, I’m writing this on the PC, with the new wireless keyboard, which is in my lap while my feet are up on the desk. Ergonomic experts, commence your screaming now (I should note that I do have a hand brace on. You know. because I’m not completely stupid).
So now the setup is: left-handed mouse, keyboard, keyboard, right-handed mouse, two monitors, and one very pasty white dude going wall-eyed in front of the two screen. Surely, the best of all possible worlds.