The new Apple keyboard and a Merrell Relay Drive

A matching sneaker, I even bought a matching sneaker—it’s that serious. But allow me to start at the beginning. The things I am dealing with more or less dictate that I am working on a PC and not on a Mac. Computer games—’nough said, I guess. Accordingly all my three laptops, which I collected over the years, are PCs, too. The best laptop I ever had was an absolutely no-name thing. I bought a chassis from a company called Nature and had some geeks, who appeared when the iron curtain fell, pry in the components I wanted. Besides its innards and the gorgeous display, one of the best things on this machine is the keyboard. There is no clickety-click to be heard while typing and the keys deliver exactly the amount of resistance I embrace. Today, at this very moment while typing this entry, I have this feeling again—for the first time since the day I had to substitute said machine for a newer model, which was ages ago.

This morning I had some business to do downtown. Having coped with it, strictly for relaxing, I went into a large hardware store and skimmed through the mice and keyboards on display. I tried every keyboard on the shelves by simulating some strafe-jumping runs. No single one gave me the feeling. Once on location I decided to wander a bit through the integrated Apple store. And there it was, the newly designed Mac keyboard. Solid aluminum, not littered with flashy multimedia keys, studs, and whatyouhave, straight understatement design—the thing one expects from Apple. Just for the fun of it I put the fingers of my left hand on A, W, D, and space, and started to perform the strafe-jumper’s haptic mantra. And there it was, the feeling.

Elated and frustrated at the same time I went to my office, but the thing did not leave my mind. Then I thought, what the hell, in the end it has a standard USB-connector … may well work with a PC. A quick search confirmed that it indeed would work. There is a workaround for getting back printscreen, else the GNU licenced world is your friend. So I went downtown again and bought my very first piece of Apple hardware. And, well yeah, matching sneakers.

I completely agree with Xah‘s critique, pointing out a flaw in ergonomical placement: “Many keyboards don’t have full set of modifier keys on the right side, and when they do, they are positioned far to the right, making them not much usable for touch typing. For example, the keyboards made by Apple Computer, their right-side Command/Alt/Ctrl keys are inferior citizens. They are placed far more to the right, making the Alt key impossible to reach with the thumb. It makes these keys essentially decorative in nature. (Apple did this to make the keys flush at the lower right corner; sacrificing function for æsthetics as they are wont to do.).” Exactly this is where the hookage comes in.

While researching the keyboard I stumbled over the new MacBook Air, which, according to the very sensible article by Scot Finnie, “is technically and aesthetically stellar, but its usability in the real world falls far short.” Time to buy my second piece of Apple hardware.

Well, what do you expect from a man who buys sneakers matching a keyboard?

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