Swoopy cyborg keyboards for writers

I’m fussy about keyboards. And since my work demands that my keys do as they are told when pressed, I can’t afford a crappy keyboard.

That’s what I had until recently, when my space bar wore out on one side. I grant that it was something of a crappy keyboard to begin with, but I did not consider it so crappy it would last only a year. It still worked, but about every tenth time, it would fail to insert a space between words as desired.

If we measure anger in curse words used, and assume that I cursed 50% of the time when this happened, and figure that I type several thousand words most days, we may see that it was getting on my nerves.

It sounds so simple, right? A keyboard’s a keyboard? I suspect that every user has his or her foibles, and here are mine.

  • My keys must do as told when pressed, every time. When this does not occur, I have the disposition of a cottonmouth.
  • I must be able to pop off the stupid Windows keys, sources of so much irritation. Only Microsoft could have come up with those, and put them where literate persons might bump them by accident.
  • The board must have risers to angle it.
  • It must be rectangular, so my wrist rest will stay in place.
  • No decals; I will wear them off in a month. Painted symbols are okay; molded are much preferred.
  • Has to have the full number pad.
  • Needs the full Insert/Home/PgUp/etc. block, by itself, above the arrows like the gods intended.
  • All stupid newfangled keys (defined as anything I don’t ever want to bother with), that I cannot remove, must at least be somewhere I won’t hit them by mistake.
  • Any ergonomically cruelty-free fair trade gluten-free free-range keyboard that looks like it went through a microwave, no way.
  • Has to feel sturdy, not crappy.
  • No wireless. I do not like things that require a battery. I like real cords.
  • No touchpads. Only a technology company could think it intelligent to put a pointing device right where my thumbs are likely to hit, but I don’t even want to look at a touchpad that’s well out of my thumbs’ range. In my ideal computing life, I would never again even see a touchpad.
  • Did I mention that it mustn’t have a touchpad?

You can see why I don’t like laptop keyboards. I’m an 80 wpm typist, and I don’t normally stop every ten words. (80 is not bad, but my wife–who does not spend a tenth of the time I do on a keyboard–slaughters me at a blistering 120 wpm.) I can’t write if the keys don’t do what I say. On top of that, I’m a former bookkeeper whose fingers know where to go, and my fingers had better find the key where they expect them, without me having to send out a search party for some mystery Fn key to use the 10-key or the Delete key.

Well, it turns out that my requirements are very expensive to meet. Like $150 expensive. I did find one: the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate, a gaming keyboard that does a crapton of things I’ll probably never want, but has a number that I do:

  • Clicks. I so sorely miss the tactile click.
  • Molded symbols with backlighting.
  • Heavy enough to stay in place unless I choose to move it.

Of course, I was fool enough to assume that I could just plug in one of its two USB connectors, and that the other was for all the gaming stuff I don’t need. Didn’t work. In the end, I had to slide the machine out, shuffle the USB devices, and fiddle with all the cable re-routing. Now my keys glow with green backlit symbols, as if I were some hardcore gamer nightly dealing frags to others around the globe

And joy of joys, Windows recognized it, so I don’t have to install Razer’s software and create an account just to use this thing. At first, it looked like that might be the case.

It’s going to be fun editing people’s romance fiction, Native American historical fiction, and horror thrillers on a keyboard meant to withstand a lot of Cheeto dust in the dark.



4 thoughts on “Swoopy cyborg keyboards for writers”

  1. Good for you. I’m a cheapie bastard, but am still willing to pay a premium price when the product is noticeably superior and positively impacts your life (shoes, for example).

    And there are absolutely some low-end keyboards I will not use. I’m a smoking fast typist too (used to do full-time data entry), but throw me on the wrong keyboard and I’ll throw you 20 errors/minute. I require a keyboard where the keys have ridges and fairly deep depressions in the center so my fingers kind of roll off the ridges into the depressions.

    The keyboards that are mostly flat, or contain only slight depressions, are actually very common. This drives me batty. My fat fingers can’t find the sweet spot and I end up constantly hitting multiple keys.

    And that’s all I have to say about that.


    1. Shoes are another good example, Ken. I had a major task convincing my diabetic wife that cheap shoes simply would not do. Then, once she wore the good ones, she was a convert.


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