Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The World Won't Listen

The time has finally come for me to give up hope.

The SmartBoard will never catch on. And that's really sad because it is the best keyboard ever!

Almost 10 years ago a friend, who had a friend who worked for the company, gave me
a Darwin SmartBoard. It totally spoiled me. No other so-called ergonomic keyboard will ever satisfy me again.

What's so special? First look at how the keys are layed out for the left hand. They slant up to the right, the way they should!

Those of us who learned touch-typing were taught that the index finger of the left hand is supposed to be used for the keys V F R 4 while the index finger of the right hand is used for M J U 7. On most "ergnomic" keyboards, the keys for the right hand are arranged properly so that you can reach all of those keys with natural movements. But the keys for the left hand are slanted to the right so that when you curl your left index finger you land somewhere between C and V, and when you extend that finger you land between 5 and 6. Nowhere near the 4 that you should be hitting. On the smart board, the keys that you are supposed to touch with your left hand line up naturally.

Second, notice that the far-away keys that are pressed with the pinkies are larger than normal. That is because your pinkie isn't very accurate so you are allowed more range for errors on those.

Third, look how the board slants. It slants down away from you, not up. If your keyboard is located anywhere below your neck, then slanting it up at the back will make your carpal tunnel problems worse! (Ask any ergnomicist you happen to meet!) But that is what every other ergonomic keyboard does.

There are a few small problems. Most notably, the keys are loud.

It also has one of those evil Shift Lock keys, but so does every other keyboard, and that is easily remedied with a screwdriver!

Because this keyboard is so different from a normal one, it takes a while to get used to. But once you do, typing is a dream. I was so much faster and more accurate when using this keyboard. I absolutely loved it.

I only stopped using it because I got too spoiled by it. After typing on it, it is hard to go back to a normal board, either an ergonomic one or a regular one. And since they are uncommon, I was constantly having to make the transition from my nice board to all the other bad ones out in the world.

It has been sitting on my shelf for years now. But thanks to the miracle of the internet I found someone else who loves this board as much as I do and still actually uses it. I'm going to send it to him.

Alas, as with the Jankó keyboard the world doesn't recognize a good idea when it sees one. Hey, maybe I will buy me a Jankó keyboard and re-learn to play the piano! It's only taken me 30 years to get semi-good on the normal piano. How long could it possibly take to learn this one?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for the nice words. I was the co-founder of Darwin Keyboards, and it is nice to hear the SmartBoard still lives!

-Michael Blend