Oh, Shiny

september 7, 2008

I wanted to rearrange my workspace at home to be more ergonomic.  This meant moving my laptop onto the small stand that was for my LCD.  Then, I could get a nice keyboard so that I am not hunched over typing. I went shopping for a new keyboard and the shiniest one was the one I bought.  It was the Apple Wireless Keyboard.  Yea, I bought an Apple keyboard for my PC notebook.  Since it is HID compliant, I paired it up with my notebook without issue and most of the keys mapped over OK (like ALT and (Windows)).  But, after typing on it for a while, the shortcomings of the shiny keyboard started showing up:

If you look at the keyboard itself, it is the same size and layout as the MacBook Pro's keyboard.  Yup, it is a notebook keyboard without the notebook.  While that is not a bad thing, the things that Apple cut out (look at the above list) for the sake of design are unreasonable.  When practicality and usability are sacrificed for the sake of design, that is bad engineering.  Yes, it's shiny.  Yes, it's sexy.  No, it's not something someone would use as their primary input device.  That would be idiotic.  If you're going to make a keyboard, why not make it a full keyboard?  Why cut the keyboard down to less than normal keys?  (Other than for the sake of trying to get people to describe it as "minimalistic") Instead, for half the price, I got the Logitech LX310 keyboard and mouse combo.  Yea, for half the price, I got a decent keyboard and mouse.  The keyboard is a standard-fare layout (the Delete key is weird because it is twice as high, but at least there is one).  The keyboard includes some media keys, some programmable keys and other weird keys that I probably won't take advantage of.  What the keyboard does have are the Delete, Insert, Print Screen, Home, End, Page Up and Page Down keys.  Oh, there's also a keypad.  And it even takes an even number (two) AAA batteries.  The mouse is good too, it has a nice feel and heft to it.  There are extra buttons that I'll probably use sparingly -- the page forward/back buttons are nice.  Sure, the keyboard is not sexy like the Apple Wireless Keyboard, but it is something that can be used as a primary input device. Update (9/8/08): Picked up a Rocketfish Wireless Multimedia Bluetooth Keyboard and Laser Mouse from Best Buy.  I found it last night as I was surfing around, it is a cool set because it is Bluetooth and it is considerably cheaper than Logitech and Microsoft's offerings.  The keyboard is "ugly" as my wife blurted when I opened the package -- quite an opposite of what the Fry's guy said when I returned the Apple Wireless Keyboard ("This is beautiful" as he said).  The keyboard is silver, black and (sit down for this) red.  Same thing with the mouse.  By going Bluetooth, I can reuse my Kensington micro-USB Bluetooth adaptor (which can stay in the USB port if I ever take the notebook away from home).  The keyboard has a good feel to it and the mouse is actually pretty nice also -- though, I would have happily traded the cheezy "play, ff, rew, and stop" buttons on the mouse for a "back" and "forward" button.  However, the set is pretty nice. Apple does make some cool stuff, but I think they may have taken design a little too far with their wireless keyboard. Apple fanboys please refrain from commenting.