A keyboard for touch typists

Anyone who writes for a living will appreciate how truly awful today’s keyboards are for the task. Some hopeful words below.

For those of us who learned to type on last-generation manual or electronic typewriters the initial transition to computers was eased by IBM’s introduction of the mechanical switch keyboard. Later membrane types eventually took over the field due to cost, but there were always a small number of users who were willing to fork out hundreds of dollars for the real thing.

Mechanical switches have been making a comeback with gamers though. The tactile and aural feedback they provide is apparently just the thing for better game play.

Having purchased a new Cooler Master CM Storm QuickFire TK, I can tell you that these keyboards are also great for touch typing. Typing on the TK evoked memories of the original IBM 88-key keyboard that I used with the first XT clone I built back in 1989.

For me the longer travel of the keys and audible click on engaging are a huge improvement over the mushiness of even the better membrane types sold by Logitech.

The location of certain keys, like the DEL key, takes a little getting used to. On this keyboard there’s only one DEL, and it’s in the numeric keypad. This isn’t a problem for me because I’ve developed the habit of running with NUM-Lock turned off. I’m a tech, not an accountant. This relocation of certain keys also helps make the keyboard that much more compact. It’s total footprint on my desk at home (where I usually have at least 2 keyboards side-by-side) isn’t much bigger than the ultra compact SIIG model I recently got for my work laptop. I’m actually considering replacing the SIIG with another QuickFire.

But the “home row” is exactly the same as I first experienced on that old Underwood back in the 1970’s.

The backlighting is also a nice feature for those of us who sometimes have to get up at 3 in the morning to participate in a systems firedrill back in the data center at work. In fact I now think backlit keys should be standard equipment on sysadmin laptops.

While I’m sure there are other and better mechanical keyboards out there, the nice thing about this one is that it’s readily available everywhere. At $100 it is also reasonably priced in comparison to others of its kind.

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About phil

My name is Phil Lembo. In my day job I’m an enterprise IT architect for a leading distribution and services company. The rest of my time I try to maintain a semi-normal family life in the suburbs of Raleigh, NC. E-mail me at philipATlembobrothersDOTcom. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own and not those of my employers, past, present or future (except where I quote others, who will need to accept responsibility for their own rants).