About six months ago, Alex poured cola over my precious computer keyboard. It was an old NCR model, so old that it didn’t even have the now ubiquitous “Windows” key sitting between Ctrl and Alt. But that didn’t bother me because it had such sweet action. However, cola and keyboards don’t mix, and even after drying and cleaning it was still dead.
I got a new, cheap one to replace it in the short term, but it was horrible. In particular, the block of six keys from “Insert” to “Page Down” was moved down one line so that there was no gap between it and the arrow cursor keys. This meant that whenever I wanted to hit the “Delete” key, I ended up pressing “Insert” instead, and overtyping a bunch of text. Extremely annoying.
On Saturday I finally gave in and went out to buy myself a proper new keyboard. The one I’ve ended up with is a Microsoft Internet Keyboard, and it’s very nice. The keystroke action is soft, but with good resistance and a satisfying click point. It’s also fairly quiet, which is also a bonus.
I didn’t end up with it purely because of its feel, though: I also didn’t want to be lumbered with the vast amounts of junk all the other keyboards were saddled with. It’s almost impossible to buy just a plain keyboard these days. They all have multimedia buttons, application shortcut buttons, rearranged function keys with funny icons, and all sorts of other things to make it supposedly more “useful”.
I just want a keyboard, dammit! With qwerty keys so I can type words. I don’t want it to take up half of my desk with widgets that start up my mailer, fast-forward music, and just about everything short of making a tasty cheese sandwich.
There was one ultra-plain model on sale, but it was the cheap and nasty one I was trying to replace. As soon as you want to pay a little bit more for better quality, you also have to accept more features and less desk space. I’d be more annoyed if I didn’t like the Microsoft keyboard so much. The satisfying feel of the keys beneath my fingers make up for its larger-than-necessary form factor. Grr.