Thursday 1 May 2014

Alternative keyboards?

It seems Microsoft have come up with something cool to do with a keyboard. This... cool thing.. is a merging of computer system controller and.... a keyboard.

So someone down here in the Australian media has then seen it and which somehow led to them writing an article about alternative keyboards. 

The device itself is actually more about replacing the trackpad or mouse, but the writer certainly didn't let that fact get in the way of a good story about keyboards. And while the article provides nil new information, it does however talk a fair bit about typewriters and the history of attempts to change the keyboard.

You can read the article here. But don't just yet.

Don't spend too much time reading the article. The author doesn't actually "say" much. Instead, they seem to have liberally quoted Rob Messenger over at Oz Typewriter for the article, and looked at the already pointles KALQ keyboard.

Now my question is: Rob, (or anyone else) do you actually have a DVORAK  keyboard typewriter? I'd love to get my hands on one, or at least see one.

In the meantime while we're waiting for these replacement keyboards, here's a picture of what Time magazine calls 'the ultimate blogger desk'. A desk that has been made so your cat can scurry about exploring inside instead of annoying you on the top of your desk.

Meow, n' stuff.

I need to get me one of these to replace the 1920's dining table that I currently use as a desk. I might also need to get a cat as well, but I don't think that'll be hard to find. But I can't see this desk ever replacing the standard QWERTY desk. 

Although, if it is able to keep the cat off the top of the desk, it may keep it away from the "Robotic Printer" that is going to replace our regular printers.

Yeah, Shark-cat. You know it. Get back in your desk and off your robot.

Hmmm... I'm sure there's some more useless garbage that I can cram into this post. Just let me know if I've missed something.


  1. Robot spiders!

    That desk is actually pretty cool! Although I do doubt how easy it is to clean the insides...

    1. Yeah. And that worries me. Random mess in odd places will make it a bit stinky after a while. That said, I'd be too distracted trying to watch the cat funnel in and out of the desk. I love the idea of watching a cat disappear down that entry on the top of the desk. Buuuuuut..... I don't think it is exactly 'ultimate blogger'.

  2. Who uses a desk anymore? People just use their laps ... or palms.

    1. I do! Or, well... at least try to. I think I have written about half of my blogs on alternative surfaces.

  3. I've come to the curmudgeonly conclusion that "alternative" keyboards are a mark of extreme hipsterism. It likely makes sense for those who honestly need to type non-stop at 80+ wpm, or who suffer some medical issue that requires a keyboard with a different layout that doesn't stress nerves or inflame an injury. Dvorak users tend to act like QWERTY is little better than repeatedly slamming your fingers in a door, but be honest... how often do you find yourself needing to speed-type like that?

    What we're really talking about is transcription. For creating, which involves long, pregnant pauses, QWERTY or the regional-language variants (AZERTY, QWERTZ, etc.) are Just Damn Fine, and what's more, they're everywhere. If I were a primary user of Dvorak, I'd find myself suddenly stuck with my keyboard, or always having a brain-retraining every time I wanted to use another keyboard, like the common laptop in the conference room, or my home machine, or the slide-out keys on my phone. And hey! I'm a programmer, so the heat map of my typing looks about 90% of this: ;'"{}][()*<>%$#@! and about 10% actual readable words. Don't even get me started on the mild difficultly I have moving across typewriters, with their slight variance in offset rows, or the alternate presence/absence of a key for the numeral one.

    In short, I'm not buying it. It's like learning Esperanto and waiting for the rest of the world to catch up to the superior system. Guess what? The world won't, because laziness is the supreme driving force behind inertia. Just thinking about all the keyboards in my life makes me want to run far, far away from any well-meaning idiot that tries to retrain my already tenuous grasp on key locations. Nope, sorry -- I have a life to lead.

    1. I agree. Interestingly enough testing on DVORAK keyboards found that it on average made an improvement of only 2%. While some incidences of 20% improvement were found, by large nil productivity gain was demonstrated.