2012-03-27 16:57:23 GMT
I'm still very interested in keyboards - so I've been sad to see
altkeyboards become moribund. Is it because everybody's got their
perfect keyboard? That seems a little unlikely. I've never wanted
this to be a high traffic list, but it's always interested me so it'd
be nice to see some traffic.
In an effort to get some discussion going, I'm going to toss out
various keyboard news I have.
As a reminder, I use the Dvorak keyboard layout, I own two Kinesis
Advantage keyboards (which I highly recommend), and two or three IBM
model Ms (the Kinesis physical layout is better, but buckling springs
are the best keyswitches EVER). I bought a friend an IBM keyboard for
Christmas - the one that imitates a Thinkpad keyboard, complete with
pointing device in the centre of the keyboard. It feels better than
the actual Thinkpad keyboards - I think it may have a millimeter more
throw. It's a nice board if you like that kind of thing.
My most recent purchase was two days ago, a CoolerMaster Quick Fire
keyboard. I bought it because Canada Computers had it on sale for $64
and it has Cherry blue keyswitches and feels fantastic (not quite
buckling spring, but still very good). It's small and quite heavy,
kind of mimicking the model M - except for the complete lack of a
This has only increased my desire to convert one of my Kinesis
Advantage keyboards from the original Cherry browns to Cherry blues.
With assistance from a friend who's an electronics tech, I've
de-soldered all the switches in the hand wells but haven't done the
central Space-Enter-Delete-Backspace pods - I think I'm going to leave
them alone, although I've purchased enough keyswitches to do them if I
decide to. The switches should arrive later in the week. One of the
tricky bits about this process is that the Cherry blues aren't readily
available with diodes in them, while the removed Cherry browns have
diodes in to construct the keyboard matrix circuit. So we're going to
have to solder a diode across two of the connectors on each switch.
And moving into the Android world ... The physical keyboard for my
Asus Transformer is among the worst mechanical keyboards I've ever
encountered - it feels bad, it bounces or doesn't respond, and it's
almost impossible to avoid hitting the touchpad. And yet if you have
a Transformer, I would still recommend getting it for the battery, the
extra ports, and the ability to type on a physical keyboard, no matter
Virtual keyboards: if you're in the Android world, I highly recommend
getting the totally free (no advertising, no nothing) "Hacker's
Keyboard" from the Market. It has arrow keys (think about that).
That allows Shift-arrow to select text. It has a Control key - which
allows Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, and Ctrl-X for copy, paste, and cut. And it
has a number row. Not sure how well this would work on a phone, but
it's fantastic on a tablet. I've also been reasonably pleased with
the SlideIT virtual keyboard, which costs money (not sure how much) -
you slide your finger from one key to another to construct words. For
most people, this will increase their text input speed considerably.
I toggle back and forth between it and the Hacker's keyboard depending
on what I'm working on: if it's scripting, Hacker's keyboard. If it's
an email, SlideIT.
Has anyone got Android to do Dvorak on a physical keyboard (without
rooting or Cyanogen Mod)? Cyanogen Mod will likely be my final
answer, but it's not considered stable on the Transformer yet. And I
don't want to try to root it at the moment.
Have a great day, and I hope to hear from some of you soon.
gilesorr <at> gmail.com
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