March 14, 2020

Pi Day!

Today is Pi Day, at least in the way the U.S. and Canada write out the 14th of March, and there is much excitement to be had in our merry little household. For not only do we have multiple Raspberry Pis doing a ton of work for our electronic efforts, but also we are going to go searching for pie today. Because Pi and Pie!

Happy Pi Day!

Clickity Clack.

One of the most productive things my mother did for me was teach me how to type using the proper fingers at a very young age. I wasn’t even out of elementary school and I was typing on manual and electric typewriters at an amazing speed, especially for someone not even in their teen years. My mother’s theory was, “if you’re going to play with the typewriter, you’re going to do it the right way”. I took a typing class my senior year of high school just to dial in my technique and I’ve been typing away like a maniac ever since.

I type for a living. I actually do more than just type for a living, but I spend 9-10 hours in front of a computer for work and then a up to a few hours in front of a computing device of some sort for entertainment. Even though I crow about the wonders of the iPad and tablet computing, I’m still very dedicated to laptops and regular sized keyboard. And since I’m a bit of a typing aficionado, I tend to be quite picky about the keyboard I’m using.

As a Gen Xer I learned to type on the aforementioned manual and later electric typewriters. I’m used to a keyboard with some heft to it. I want to have a decent amount of travel with each keystroke, I like the positive response of each time I press a key, and I don’t mind a bit of noise while I’m doing so. My absolute favorite keyboard was made by Digital Equipment Corporation, a company I worked for in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The LK201 keyboard that came with a wide variety of their desktop offerings was amazing.

I also really enjoy the original IBM Model M keyboard. It’s the really loud keyboard that’s been around since the mid 1980s. They’re still made by Unicomp. I’ve had a few of them over the years and honestly, while I love the typing experience the noise can be a bit much, especially on conference calls.

The newest version of the Apple Magic Keyboard makes my wrists ache. I’m not a fan of the chicklet style keys with the butterfly switches; I don’t know how Earl types on his MacBook Pro every day. Thankfully I have an older MacBook Pro with the older style keyboard, but I’m not a huge fan of that either. It’s functional but nowhere near perfect. And don’t get me started on what happens with these Apple keyboards if you get a piece of dust stuck in a key or something.

Another thing I’m rather fussy about is the width of my keyboard. I want it to have full sized keys but I don’t want to reach way over to the right to find my mouse. A “tenkeyless” keyboard is a good layout for me; it’s a standard PC style keyboard but with the right hand grouping of keys chopped off. I still get a full sized keyboard experience, complete with the arrow keys in their traditional inverted “T” layout.

I found a damn-near perfect keyboard on Amazon earlier this week. It arrived today. Enter, the Velocifire TKL02.

This keyboard is amazing. It quite substantial in weight, has a very solid feel, and is backlit with white light that can rotate through various patterns. The keyboard features Cherry MX Brown Keys, so they have a decent amount of travel, a solid bump of response, but are not so overwhelmingly noisy to be annoying. The sound reminds me of mid 1980s Apple IIes or the TRS-80 Model II I wrote software for back in the day. It’s very comfortable and even after a few hours of use I feel very comfortable and efficient with the typing experience. I took a self typing test online earlier today and I was able to hit 112 Words Per Minute on this keyboard. I’m pleased with that result.

A louder, hefty keyboard like this isn’t for everyone, especially in this day and age of software keyboards on our phones and tablets. But I’m loving this keyboard and it is a great addition to the home office. In fact, I’m typing this blog entry using my work computer setup just so I can use this wonderful keyboard.

If you’re a keyboard aficionado like I am and you enjoy mechanical keyboards, you might want to give it a try.

Happy typing!