Favorite keyboard

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From time to time we’re asked about what keyboard we prefer. There are many to choose from with all the bells and whistles you can imagine – most of which gather dust.

From time to time we’re asked about what keyboard we prefer. There are many to choose from with all the bells and whistles you can imagine – most of which gather dust.

Having volume controls and a mute button on the keyboard can be useful and perhaps some simple music controls (forward and back). But these controls need to work on more than just Windows Media Player.

Too many keyboards are cheaply made and don’t last the distance. Pressing on a key has what the marketing dept likes to call a ‘soft comfy’ feel but seems to me like pressing into a bed of seaweed – yuck.

Despite all the ones we’ve tried over the years, we keep coming back to the sturdy and reliable keyboard made by the now defunct company Northgate. Such is the fame of these keyboards that after the demise of the makers others have tried to fill the gap by producing keyboards from the remaindered stock and parts. In addition to the firm feel, the Avant keyboards are programmable. You can re-map a key to another key and also assign a key to a more complex macro operation.

Creative Vision Technologies has some for sale on their web site. We know nothing about the company and would be interested to hear any reports of dealings with them.

With any desktop keyboard a USB connection generally works fine, though it would be nice to see more integrated USB hubs included. Keep in mind that some computers still require a non-USB keyboard to control the BIOS (ie pre booting) so you might need a spare PS/2 connector keyboard for some occasions.

On laptops I still like the feel and reliability of the IBM Thinkpad keyboards.

 

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