Flexible keyboards

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I’m a very happy user of the ‘old’ Sun Type 7 keyboard. Actually, I’m hoarding them, since, Oracle is going to kill the Sun hardware business and the Type 7 is one of those keyboards with all the keys in the right place. Control is left to ‘a’ and backspace is not in the top row, but one below, just above the ‘return’. In order words, I’m a sucker for keyboards and I’m really sensitive to their touch and feel and click and whatever there is to them.

Today I saw someone mysteriously put a silicone keyboard (it flappy and flexible, but no brand label to be seen) in my room and I had to try it. Actually, I’m trying to type on it for this blogentry. And, I’m not really a happy customer. Let me count the ways in which this board does not suck:

  • It’s very cool to fold away your keyboard when you’re not using it.
  • It has an uncounted number of shift keys. Well, there are four.
  • It’s featuring (sort of) in Die Hard IV.
  • It feels nostalgic.
  • You can spill stuff on it.
  • It fits in you backpack, or even the side pocket of your cargo pants.

Ok, that was the good stuff. Now for the less convenient stuff.

  • It stinks, as in, it has an awful plastic smell about it.
  • It stinks, because I’m actually trying to type less, because I’m prone to mistype on this thing a lot.
  • It gives me carpal tunnel syndrome with just using it for the past half hour.
  • It is very wobbly, even when I put it on a sturdy surface area.
  • Did I mention it has four shift keys? And two space keys, but you can still touch them without any reaction? It even has keys on them without any label at all.
  • It has windows keys on it, but more keyboards do, so I will not hold it against it.
  • It doesn’t have a brand label on it, so it must be crap. Otherwise, someone would put a label on it to say that they’re responsible for it. Probably they’re quite scared of someone suing them into oblivion.
  • The control key is broken.

So that’s it. Unless you want to look really cool and like you’re in Die Hard 4, get it. Otherwise, give your wrists and hands and the rest of your body some rest and stay away from it.

Coolness: 7/10 (hey, it’s in Die Hard Four) (but it does not glow in the dark)
Function: 3/10 (with working control: 4/10)
Weight: 8/10 (it’s very light)
Space: 10/10 (it takes up almost no space in your backpack. That’s good).
Total: 5/10. If function is not good, forget it.

Holiday tips

When everyone is going on holiday, I’ve seen a number of sites with some helpful holiday tips:

  • Symantec: Safe Summer Travels on the Information Superhighway. Generic tips that are valid at any time, not only during the summer holidays. If would be specific if it at least mentioned the hazards of your laptop/pda/phone falling into the pool/lake/sea.
  • Washington Post: Travelers’ laptops may be detained. The Post runs an article on all the privileges given to the US Customs and Border patrol. They are outrageous, but, in all reality, any border patrol or customs service has the same capabilities. What’d be interesting is how often personal electronic belongings are kept at the border? If they kept any laptop coming across the border, there wouldn’t be enough time in a day to analyze them all from one flight. If you’re concerned about this, either don’t go across the border or bring a clean laptop and transport the data via the internet and VPN at a later date.
  • About.com has an article about how you can lower the chance of being involuntary being separated from your gear.