Right now, this very instant, I'm having a great time typing away on my meager little blog.
Of course, I am. I'm a writer, right?
True enough, but that's not the reason.
The reason is I have an amazing keyboard. And of course, there's a bit of a story behind it. Not as interesting and dramatic as my normal story-telling, but—let's hope—informative, nonetheless.
Years ago, I made a switch to ergonomic keyboards. I spend a lot of time at the keyboard, so it makes sense. Despite that, I developed RSI problems anyway. Right now, this very instant, I can only feel half of my fingers. Thanks a lot, ergonomic keyboards.
Last spring, I started at a new job, working next to an old friend who introduced me to mechanical keyboards. I thought, well, that's nice and a little weird, but they don't seem to have ergonomic keyboards with mechanical switches, so … I tried one anyway. Eventually. I can only take so much preaching before I give in, apparently.
The thing is, sitting at his desk and trying his keyboard for a few seconds didn't sell me on the idea. I had to use it for a few days before I finally got it. Now, it feels amazing. I type faster. There's a learning curve, the keys feel so much better, but they also work different. I found myself typing like a dyslexic reads at first. It took a little concentration because my new keyboard can take all kinds of input and throw it on the screen faster than I can realize I've lost control of my fingers—and I love it.
A few details.
The difference in a mechanical keyboard is the switches. Most keyboards use little air-cushion pads that separate contacts. Mechanical switches rely on, obviously, some kind of mechanical action. But there are different kinds of switches. Gamers like some kinds. Typists like others. I use a kind called Cherry MX Brown at home because my activities vary, and Cherry MX Blue at work because I only type there and that's what they're best at.
And there is a lot to learn behind the switches: actuating force, grounding out, travel distance, etc. I'm only a beginner, so I'll spare readers my efforts to explain what I know.
Not only do they feel more satisfying to use and speed up typing, but they last longer too. Mechanical switches are more durable. Most mechanical keyboards can handle a bigger number of inputs for super-fast typing and gaming situations.
The downside: mechanical keyboards are expensive. There's a reason mainstream manufacturers went with the little airbag-button keyboards. I got my first one for my birthday because I didn't have anything else to tell my family I wanted. I bought my second for work a month later. I'm a frugal guy, but as a writer and a coder, I wouldn't work without a mechanical keyboard now.
I do still wish they'd make more in the way of ergonomic options though. I found a few, each of which were even more expensive, but they didn't fit they style I wanted to use. That single thing kept me from switching for a while. (My friend at work was an ergonomic keyboard fanatic before he switched as well.)
Last, here are some links.
Writer of speculative fiction. Current work in progress is an untitled dark fantasy novella.