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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
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Sunday, 5 March 2017

Easy going

The Cherry mechanical keyboard, above, represents an act of pure indulgence. It replaces a perfectly good membrane unit - recently cleaned! - which cost almost two-thirds less. It offers two barely justifiable advantages: a longer, more positive key-stroke with a noisier, clackety action.

In my lifetime I've typed millions of words and intend to type millions more. Only my toothbush is a more intimate companion than my keyboard. Its businesslike rattle is indirect yet audible proof of a brain doing what brains do. It is the sound of work, my kind of work, both reassuring and pre-emptive. If I were a dentist I'd buy a decent drill, the Cherry is my equivalent.

I jab the keys and their descent is abruptly arrested. I sense this dissipation of energy and it comforts me. Saws rasp, mowers drone, kettles sing and things get done. I'm getting this post done.

The surface of the keys is slightly rough, perhaps promoting a better link with my finger-tips. Certainly I type more confidently.

And more quickly. On a roll the clacks become continuous and this, I suppose, is a measure of my efficiency. Necromantic yet familiar labels - Caps lock, Scroll lock, PgDn - emerge and disappear beneath my flying fingers and I know I'm at home.

I type therefore I am. I type to say I am. I type for the sheer novelty of it. I am not a roomful of monkeys.

3 comments:

Sir Hugh said...

Help! I've just spent a fortune on some new, even more lightweight gear for my forthcoming walk, and now you present me with this. As Big Brother you have had an influence on me, and I've often blindly gone off and followed your lead, and I'm now tempted to investigate this novelty, but I must resist. Perhaps when I come and visit and see the real action I may be finally tempted, hopefully when my bank balance has been restored. One of Pete's maxims is "if you want it, get it."

Roderick Robinson said...

Sir Hugh: I'd agree with Pete on this but would tack on "At our age" to make the rationale slightly more justifiable.

However, by all means stay your hand for the moment. You must remember I've been typing since 1951 on a wide range of typewriters and then on computer keyboards. This became very much a self-conscious practice which led me to compare these various devices. In typewriters I never expect to better the action of an Underwood model (possibly pre-war) in the reporters' room at the Telegraph; the linkage between the keys and the bit that struck the paper had a built-in springiness which I can remember to this day. Very restful when copying lists of football fixtures, which was part of my drudgery as a tea-boy.

As to computer keyboards one alone stands out above the others, the IBM unit that came with my first computer (word processing only) in the 1980s. I thought I was alone in appreciating its tactile values but in researching the Cherry I mention above I found that several reviewers (who must be quite aged) referred back to the IBM as the ultimate benchmark: a unwavering keystroke but with a gentler buffer, a lower frequency less clackety noise, a general solidity. When my employer got rid of those old computers I begged for one of the keyboards; alas it had a special type of plug incompatible with other computers and even Richard couldn't adapt it.

I look forward to demonstrating the Cherry and the new audio amp when you next visit.

Sir Hugh said...

RR - You are correct about Pete - he does infer that caveat.