Friday, October 27, 2006

It's the simple things...

For some reason, I frequently find myself facing into the blizzard of choices offerred by our hyper-consumerist economy and coming away without a single snowflake on my tongue.

It's not that I'm picky. But I do have standards. (Is there a difference? Hmmm...) Actually, standards is too highfalutin' a word. I have criteria. But often I find a systematic application of those criteria results in a null set, no matter how many choices the marketplace would seem to offer at the outset.

Keyboards are a classic example. I'm looking for a new one now. The major criteria are: wireless, with a usable integrated pointing device (by which I mean a trackpad or a large trackball. Eraser-sticks and marble-sized trackballs just don't do it for me.) Those two criteria alone eliminate about 95% of the offerings I've seen.

But those two criteria aren't the only ones I have. For a keyboard to really hit the sweet spot, I want it to have certain other things. You'd think these would all be standard issue by now, but many manufacturers seem perfectly willing to throw away one or all of them in pursuit of... what? Hip design? Compactness? An uptick in the stock price of their subsidiary that makes wrist braces for carpal tunnel syndrome? Whatever, the minor criteria are:
  • Inverted-T arrow keys in a block by themselves
  • Ins-Del-Home-End-PgUp-PgDown keys in a block by themselves
  • Separate numeric keypad
  • A big Backspace key
  • An even bigger, backwards-L-shaped Enter key
I'm flexible on some of these. I can live without the big backspace and enter keys, and I'm willing to hunt around a bit for Home, End, etc. But nothing frustrates me more than not having the inverted-T, or having it embedded in a bunch of other keys so that you're always hitting something other than the arrow you want.

Actually, I've found nearly the perfect keyboard. It meets just about all the criteria and looks good to boot.

It's $280.

Needless to say I'm still looking. Did I mention that I'm also cheap?


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