One of my beloved keyboards is dying.
You might know I’m a keyboard junkie. More like an aficionado. A connoisseur, if you will. Or if you won’t, I don’t mind. I know my keyboards, and I know what I want in my keyboards. I’ve only bought one stinker in my time, and even that sits atop my closet waiting for some destiny.
But I’ve finally hit on one I really love for programming. It has a few customizable buttons at the top, above the F-row. I can call up Excel, the system calculator, Word, and the default browser. It has a volume control for sound. And it has full-sized F-keys, which is something rare and beautiful in today’s keyboard market. Most keyboards are made for people who type. Few are made for people who code.
People who code have specific demands of their keyboards. If I need a number pad, I want a number pad. I can get by without one, but…yeah, I need it. Then there’s the middle key layout. You know, the keys with the arrows on them, and the Insert, Delete, Home, End, Page Up and Page Down key island. The layout of those can either be standard, which is more horizontal, or it can be non-standard, which is wrong.
The F-keys, though. Coders need their F-keys. They use them daily, every few minutes when debugging, and particularly those who code with Windows and Microsoft technologies. We need FULL-SIZE F-keys, and a STANDARD keyboard layout. The backspace key should be above the backslash key, which is above the Enter key, which is above a Shift key. Windows keys are nice, too, but these standard layouts are a MUST regardless of system.
And I have just such a keyboard. It’s a Lenovo Enhanced Performance Keyboard, which isn’t quite as good as the old IBM Model M keyboards, but is head-and-shoulders above the normal, run-of-the-mill non-mechanical keyboards. I can’t take a human life with this one like you can with the Model M, but it’s still nice to have full keys, nice spacing, and a standard layout.
And one of the two I own is dying.
At least, I think it is. And naturally, it’s the one I use the most. It’s started doing things like typing the same character repeatedly across a line even though I’ve only tapped the key once. Sure, it could be a Win7 hiccup, but I suspect the keyboard because, when I replaced it, the issue resolved.
Then again, I have the replacement in a different USB port, so there’s that. But still.
I’m taking the old girl home to rest, to be cleaned when I have time, to make sure there’s nothing unspeakable in the works beneath the keys. Most folks don’t know the goodies which operate a keyboard are actually a bubble membrane which is under the underneath of the keys. But I have to check it and see why it’s sticking.
The keyboard I have right now is stiffer on the pressure. I don’t get as much tactile feedback from the keys, not as much response. They make my fingers tired, so I press softer and then when they respond, I’m surprised. On the one hand, that’s good, because I might be able to go a bit faster when I type. On the downside, my hands and forearms aren’t used to the stiffer resistance, so I’m going to have weird sensations in my right arm for a bit.
But I could get used to this keyboard. My beauty had the unusual quirk of double-typing the letter C occasionally. I had to correct plenty of words with C in it, but it wasn’t something I couldn’t deal with. Spell checkers are a godsend, and you’ll find typos in code soon enough, believe me.
I’m debating ordering another black beauty to replace the fallen, but I’m hesitant. I have some affection for ALL my keyboards, but few see the light of day. When I have one I like, I stick with it. And next up for me was the Logitech G710+, but I can’t bring myself to pull the trigger. And I have no idea why.
So anyway…today I mourn a fallen friend, a good friend, a trusted friend.
How’s your Tuesday going?