Freeing up the desktop


For about a year now, I've had a Microsoft Natural Keyboard. It's a very nice keyboard, but it's a bit on the large side! Split keyboards are easy on my RSI, and the Natural is very comfortable to use. It feels like the dashboard of a reasonably nice car, with high quality plastic and faux-leather.

Microsoft's hardware division is good at making quality hardware. I've have Microsoft Keyboards, Mice, Joysticks and Steering Wheels over the last ten years or so, and they've nearly always been very solid and reliable. (Quite unlike the software, actually, although the software side has gotten better over the last few years.)

I killed my first Natural Keyboard with a glass of wine, way back when. No amount of cleaning and drying would resurrect that keyboard, which was a bit annoying for such an expensive bit of kit.

After that I went off expensive keyboards for a while, preferring to use generic PS/2 units.

I used to have an Apple Pro keyboard, back when I got a Mac Mini (G4) for the first time - USB keyboards were a bit thin on the ground back then, and decent USB keyboards were not cheap . It was a nice keyboard - solid and compact, with a nice clunky feel. This one was killed by about half a bottle of wine, thanks to my Brother in Law. I stripped it down to the layers of plastic and got it working again, but a few keys got lost in the cleaning process. It never really felt the same after that anyway.

So I got the MSFT Natural. Guess what happened to it?

Yep, my brother in law. Dude can't hold his wine. Specifically, he usually ends up dropping it over my keyboards. I stripped it down and had to separate the individual layers of wires to clean every single scrap of fluid out of it. I had my huge split keyboard back.

Then I got a MacBook. The keyboard looks like it should feel like a Sinclair Spectrum, or the IBM PC Jr. But it's really nice. It's very light on the fingers, which is good for my RSI, and amazingly solid. It looks like it should be small, but it really is full size.

Recently, Apple released a new Apple Keyboard based on the MacBook keyboard. It took me about ten seconds to decide that I wanted one as soon as possible. I went to a local department store (Myer). I flibbled around on the keyboard for about three seconds and resolved to buy one next time I was back in HK.

Of course, now that I have one, there are some issues with it. For one, the Option and Command keys for OS X map easily to the Alt and Windows keys on Linux and Windows (not that I actually use the Windows key on Linux, but I use the Alt key. But they're in different positions! What to do?

On windows, download KeyTweak and remap Option to Left.Windows and Command () to Left.Alt.

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This page contains a single entry by dave published on September 1, 2007 11:11 AM.

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