Well I asked for feedback and wow, did I ever receive it:
Keyboard Chaos. I suffer with “fat finger” syndrome. I use a small laptop & a regular PC. My solution was to get a wireless full size keyboard & mouse. The receiver is a small USB unit that I Velcro to the laptops cover.
Matt, it is funny that you should mention it, but I have that problem in reverse. Years ago in my Sci-Fi writing era, I tried and liked ergonomic keyboards. I still use one today. But when I use a straight keyboard, it cuts my writing speed in half and mistakes double. Now put me on a laptop, and you graduate me to the two finger dance that my grandkids are so good at until they have their first typing lesson (they call it keyboarding now I guess).
I have a laptop but I hate laptop keyboards, so I havea wireless keyboard and mouse that works via a receiver on plugged into the USB port (at work and home), works beautifully.
Matt, I’m right there with you buddy! I work doing computer support on a laptop program and we have TEN different models (each with a different keyboard) and my touch typing ability has gone all to hell from switching so much (bigger keyboards, smaller keyboards, harder touch, softer, etc).
I saw the Logitech® diNovo Edge™ on display at a certain “blue &yellow”store and really liked the look and feel, (and the coolness factor). But balked at the $200 price tag, and hassles of wireless, (batteries).
So I did some surfing to find something similar, but cheaper and wired, (since I don’t need wireless). I found the I-Rocks family of keyboards.
I first ordered the 6810, mostly because it has clear keys and a blue backlight, (I admit, it looked cool). I liked the feel but I didn’t like the cramped key layout.
So I ordered a 6110. The layout just like a regular keyboard, but feels
like a laptop. It can hook up to USB or PS/2 with the enclosed adapter. After buying one for the office, and two for my PCs at home, I would hate to go back to a regular keyboard.
My boss test-drove my keyboard for a few days, and went shopping for his own. He found i-rocks at walmat-dot-com for about $20, (yes, $20, not $200 for the Logitech).
My only gripe/modification of the keyboard…. The LED lights for NUM, CAP, SCR are “Bright”, annoyingly bright. However a black Post-It note, trimmed to cover the lights solved the issue. I can still see the light, and the black paper looks like it belongs there. (photos available upon request).
My only gripe on the 6810: there is a slight hum/whine when the blue backlight is on. It’s not a problem at work since I have several PC fans masking the noise. But at home, it’s relatively quiet and more noticeable. Just my two cents worth….
I have some personal observations on this.
When I use different keyboards or pointing devices (mouse, trackball, touchpad or button) and regularly switch between them, I find that I “adapt” to that set up after a few weeks of exposure.
I have two home keyboard/mouse-trackball configurations, a home laptop with touchpad, and at work a keyboard/trackball set up at my workstation and a different keyboard/mouse set up in the server room.
I do not have any trouble switching between these, however I prefer the keyboard/trackball set up because it requires less desk space, is always in the place so movements to and from it are uniform and it gives much more precision movement using your thumb to move the cursor rather than your hand and arm.
At home, I and “forced” to adapt because I play games on the PCs there and this a negative feedback training so you learn the setup quickly.
At work, I spend 9 or 10 hours working on these setups so the repetition does the training. Probably the key is to switch between them regularly?
Have you tried any of the “Happy Hacking” keyboards? They are very compact and have a form factor similar to a laptop keyboard. It works well for me. I had the same issue.
I 100% agree with you. Here at work I have a number of different servers in different locations and they all have differing styles of keyboard. My ‘main’ computer has a split MS keyboard which I have grown used to over time. Now I find typing on a ‘normal’ keyboard a right pain in the rear and my typos increase 10 fold (not that I am a good typist in the first place!) I have one keyboard attached to an IMac… seems a decent keyboard, but for some reason on that more than any other I mis-type, don’t press the letters hard enough, any range of things!
I attach a regular keyboard to the laptop. This way there is no relearning curve switching between a laptop and a desktop.
The pathetic keyboards on notebooks is one of the major reasons I only use a laptop when absolutely necessary, and even then I generally go to the trouble of carrying a full size keyboard with me.
It may be related to what kind of typing speed you have. I do pretty close to 100 wpm on a normal keyboard; that means I get my work done pretty quickly. On a laptop, I might get 40 wpm. That means I lose productivity, and that means I lose billable hours.
In my perfect world they would make a laptop with a full size keyboard with proper key separation and staggering, etc. I don’t think I’d mind the extra screen real estate that would come with that as well. I’m sure those obsessed with the weight of a laptop would protest, but when I get so feeble that I can’t carry the weight that such a laptop would come in at, I think I’ll just retire and spend my remaining days on the porch in a rocking chair.
Yo Matt, I must be lucky. At work I use a ‘normal’ keyboard and at home I use a Microsoft Natural Keyboard and I have just purchased the new Sony Vaio AR21M, which has a larger keyboard footprint.
Now I must have the opposite problem to you, as I have to get used to my laptop keyboard, since the keys that little bit bigger than normal so I often hit the wrong key by one character. What I have found is by using a Natural Keyboard actually has made me type quicker using a normal keyboard!!
On your topic of Keyboard Chaos… I can say that I do feel slightly disoriented for a minute when faced with changing keyboards, but adapt to the change quickly.
Now for what confounds me…On my personal laptop I use Dvorak, but on all the computers I use for work I use Qwerty – that is what will throw me off more then anything.
Matt, read you all the time, but this is the first time I thought I might have an input. Have you thought about getting a laptop type keyboard for your other machine? I have seen USB keyboards that have laptop key layouts and this might cure the problem. Here is one of them.
Getting too used to your laptop keyboard? Do like I do, try out the Kensington Slim-Type keyboard. It’s a desktop PC keyboard which uses a laptop style mechanism to give you the same low-profile feel as a laptop keyboard. I like the look and feel over a normal PC keyboard (it’s also nice that it uses less desk space), although my wife hates it.
I’ve been where you are more than once. Not due to having got that attached to my laptop keyboard, but because of simple mechanical/electronic failure of my keyboard-at-the-time. Unfortunately, I don’t have a huge amount of encouragement for you. Your situation is made a teensy bit easier because both keyboards are still functional.
OK, now to the advice: Get a new desktop keyboard.
It’s easy, but it’s not cheap. The keyboard you need is the Logitech DiNovo set. Why? Because the DiNovo is so similar to laptop keyboards that it’s not funny. It makes me suspect that someone there found themselves in a situation just like yours and set out to do something about it. They did a great job. The keys are all large and nicely spaced, but built low, like a laptop’s keyboard. They don’t take any more keypress force than the average laptop keys. I figure that this would make switching back and forth pretty much effortless. It should cut down your keyboard stress by a large factor.