Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Keyboard: The outcome


So how’s that external keyboard workin’ for ya? So far, the outcome is OK. Of course, juggling external peripherals is not ideal. But Apple has made that true in spades by killing off the USB port, requiring you to buy an adapter that you have to plug into Apple’s version of a port connection. The one I got — far better reviewed on Amazon than the one the guy at the Apple store tried to sell me — works loose at the slightest jiggle. Move the computer aside so you can get up from your easy chair and the damned dongle disconnects. And of course, that disconnects the wireless doodad, which disconnects the keyboard.

But that is not insurmountable.

As I sit here, I remember more and more wonders of the PC keyboard, wonders that do not exist on the Mac keyboard. For example, the “Home” and “End” keys. How have I managed to do without those all these years? I used to use them all the time. When you take on the Mac, it’s scroll-up-scroll-up-scroll-up-scroll-up… or scroll-down-scroll-down-scroll-down-scroll-down-scroll-down… ad nauseum. The Home, End, PageUp, and PageDown keys on this thing operate with no extra holding down of function keys, no farting around with a touchpad, no learning of arcana, no guesswork.

Created a table. Found the keyboard navigates cells and rows in the normal way, with the directional arrows. The “formula” arrow works nicely to add up a column of figures in a table. However, the presence of the keyboard seems to disable the “formula” function in Word. Oh well.

The function keys that run along the top of the row of number keys work in interesting ways. They seem not to correspond with their icons. One that runs the spellcheck is marked unenlighteningly with the back of an envelope. F5, which shows an open file folder with a curvey arrow, operates the Find, Replace, and Go To functions. Hot damn! These are not available on the Mac keyboard — to operate those in Wyrd, you have to enter a keyboard command.

Forgot how much I’d missed the “go to” button.

F4 pastes memorized copy — in Word, anyway. Not in WordPress. Hm. But Windows-V (which is Ctrl-V, which is Command-V) works in all programs, so why you would need a dedicated command key that works only in Microsoft programs: ????

F1 deletes a piece of copy permanently, such that Windows-Z will not bring it back. That’s odd.

F12 is Save As. F11 is a shortcut to the desktop, great for hiding whatever you’re playing with from the boss. F10 reduces the size of a window. F9 brings up a tableau of all open windows, which is extremely kewl.

If there’s a way to activate the function key that apparently is supposed to make the numbers pad work as a calculator, I haven’t figured it out yet. The would also be, well…beyond kewl.

But at least, thank GOD, it has a number pad. The Mac keyboard does not, and that is a considerable aggravation. I just hate having to stretch fingers to reach the keys in the topmost row, or else have to take my hands off the letters keys and hunt & peck for numbers.

The volume and audio on/off keys work swimmingly. Other keys apparently meant for Web cruising or controlling audio or video functions remain incomprehensible.

Not crazy about the “feel” of the keyboard keys, which aren’t as comfortable as the wired Microsoft board. But they still aren’t as cockamamie as the Mac’s keyboard. Occasionally I have  a little trouble hitting the keys straight on, but still is much better than the MacKeys that don’t fit your fingers.

That struck me as weird, because they don’t look all that much different. Maybe, I thought, it’s the “ergonomic” shape?

Well, no. It absolutely is the keys’ size and the distance between them.

MacBook: Letter key width: 4 pica; Distance between keys: .5 pica
Microsoft: Letter key width: varies, 3-5 pica; Distance between keys: 1.5 pica

Apparently because of the MS keyboard’s “ergonomic” curviness, the letters G, H, B, and N are wider. Seems to have no effect on typing efficiency, though.

The rodent is surprisingly easy to use. And it loses the aggravations inherent to the Mac’s touchpad. Maybe because I used a rodent for so many years B.MB. (Before MacBook), it seems less annoying to use than the damn touchpad.

The touchpad does unpredictable things because of the cutesy “gestures” Apple builds in. For example, all of a sudden it will decide the program you’re in is no longer active, so you have to go down to the bar hidden at the bottom of the screen and click on Firefox or Word or whatever program the damn thing has decided you don’t really want to be in. Or surprise! What’s on the screen is enlarged by a factor of ten or shrunk to Lilliputian size. Or the “gesture” that’s supposed to do X, Y, or Z does nothing. Or worse, does A, B, or C.

And I’d forgotten how handy the little roller thing is on the mouse. You don’t have to disengage your brain from whatever you were doing to scroll up and down the page. SO much less annoying!

Will this be a BIG improvement? Probably not titanic. But an improvement it surely will be.

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Author: funny

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  1. I don’t even try to use the keyboard that’s part of my (Microsoft) laptop. The keys are too small and there’s almost no delineation between them, and the bumps on the f, j and 5 on the number pad that tell you where to place your fingers are almost nonexistant. Actually, I *think* the bump on the 5 is literally nonexistant, because I don’t believe the laptop keyboard has a number pad. Since I use it to read back what I’ve written, that’s a deal breaker right there.

    It’s amazing the difference a keyboard can make. I recently spilled coffee into the newer, slightly smaller external keyboard I’d been using and had to revert to an older one. I thought I’d have trouble adjusting, but it was like coming home again.

    Ages ago, I got a new computer with a fancy ergonomic keyboard. I started using it and liked it okay, but almost right away I spilled coffee into it and had to go back to an older keyboard from a previous computer. Yes, there’s a definite trend here, which is why I’m trying to wean myself away from having coffee cups on my desk and sip from refilled water bottles instead.

  2. I’ll probably need a computer soon because my current computer is ancient, but it won’t be a laptop. I gotta have a keyboard that doesn’t frustrate me every two seconds. Also, the more problems you have with Apple products, the less they appeal to me. TBH, I will most likely buy the third cheapest PC in Best Buy, just like last time. ;o)

    • If it works, it works. I’d get whichever PC looks like it’ll run for a few years and call it a day.

      There are a lot of things about the Apple products that appeal, and certainly Microsoft is every bit as arrogant about forcing its customers to do things in ways they might not prefer. Plus there are PC features that appeal over Apple features, too: kind of a trade-off.

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