Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

On keyboards

17th April 2009

There cannot be too many Linux users who go out and partner a Microsoft keyboard with their system but my recent cable-induced mishap has resulted in exactly that outcome. Keyboards are such standard items that it is not so possible to generate any excitement about them, apart from RSI-related concerns. While I wasn’t about to go for something cheap and nasty that would do me an injury, going for something too elaborate wasn’t part of the plan either, even if examples of that ilk from Microsoft and Logitech were sorely tempting.

Shopping in a bricks and mortar store like I was has its pluses and its minuses. The main plus points are that you see and feel what you are buying with the main drawback being that the selection on offer isn’t likely to be as extensive as you’d find on the web, even if I was in a superstore. Despite the latter, there was still a good deal available. There were PS/2 keyboards for anyone needing them but USB ones seemed to be the main offer with wireless examples showcased too. Strangely, the latter were only available as kits with mice included, further adding to the cost of an already none too cheap item. The result was that I wasn’t lured away from the wired option.

I didn’t emerge with what would have been my first choice because that was out of stock but that’s not to say that what I have doesn’t do the job for me. Key action is soft and cushioned rather than clicky like that to which I am accustomed; some keyboards feel like they belong on a laptop but not this one. There are other bells and whistles too with a surprising number of them working. The calculator and email buttons number among these along with the play/pause, back and forward ones for a media player; I am not so convinced about the volume controls though an on-screen indicator does pop up. You’d expect a Microsoft item to be more Windows specific than others but mine works as well as anything else in the Ubuntu world and I have no reason to suspect that other Linux distros would spurn it either. Keyboards are one of those “buy-it-and-forget-it” items and the new arrival should be no different.

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