Home Office: Tired of Your Keyboard? Read This Now
Look down. That's it, right above your knees. It's your keyboard and chances are good you're not getting everything you should from it.
Some of you old-timers are grinning, as you clickity-clack away on your ancient keyboards, because you've been there, done that. But whether you're staring at a C: prompt or you're new to computing (and to my rants), I think you'll get a kick out of what I have say about keyboards.
Most of the new keyboards I've tried are mushy to the touch. It feels yucky, like typing on an overripe peach (something my editor says often reminds him of my columns). I wonder if manufacturers spend more than 75 cents on each keyboard, a peripheral that can bump up your productivity tenfold. Okay, so I'm exaggerating a little. But geez, would it kill keyboard designers to make the
Enjoy rants? Here's another: Steve Manes, PCWorld.com's resident curmudgeon, goes into a tirade about keyboards in "
If you have a minute, start by reading my
I got dozens of e-mails from readers about that column. I've culled through them and have a few surprise recommendations.
Joe L. tells me "a smile came over my face as I read your recent article ... about the Northgate OmniKey Ultra keyboard." Joe's Northgate is about 14 years old--even older than mine--and he said that "one thing Northgate did right was to make a keyboard that outlasts a lot of computers." I've seen used Northgate OmniKeys on
"You have overlooked the greatest keyboard on the market," says David S. from Torrance, California. David's talking about the SmartBoard from
Steven G. from New York extols the pleasures of using the
"I'd rather go without pizza for a whole year than live without my MCK-142Pro," says Norman S. The
More than a dozen people wrote to say they're using old Gateway AnyKey 124-key programmable keyboards. These were copies of the MaxiPro-II, a programmable keyboard manufactured by MaxiPro with function keys on top and the side. I use one on a test PC and think it's terrific, with a comfortable feel. The downside, though, is that the
Of course, if you try some of these older keyboards on a new PC, there may be complications. My old Northgate keyboard works fine with a fast 1.2-GHz PC, but to make it work I needed a $12 AT-to-PS/2 adapter. It's available at
Stay tuned for keyboard remappers, macro programs, and other keyboard odds and ends in next week's column.