Friday, August 19, 2005

first impression

went after work tonight and picked up one of microsoft's swanky new remote keyboards for windows xp media center edition tonight like i've been talking about for awhile now.

my thoughts:

setup was beyond easy. as in...ludicrous easy. as in...i removed the keyboard from the packaging, inserted the batteries, and i could start using it. nice!

the size of the keyboard is just about perfect. it's smaller than a normal keyboard, but it's still wide enough to avoid that cramped kind of feeling you get when using a gyration keyboard. it's also wide enough to rest comfortably in your lap, but not too wide as to have to rest on the arms of a recliner.

the layouts of the media control keys on either side are well-placed. the keys are fairly quiet, altho not silent. keypress has a similar feel to the keys on my inspiron 8600 at work. all in all, not bad on the keys.

the keyboard offers backlighting for low-light use, but only for the media control keys. this is a huge mistake, as i would use backlit qwerty keys for regular typing all the time.

but that's not the reason for the thumbs-down, nor is it the reason i'll most likely be returning this keyboard. nope, the real dealbreaker for me is the integrated pointing device.

i mentioned before that i wanted a single input device i could use with my new mce machine. i didn't want to have to juggle two different devices for mouse and keyboard functions.

i thought this keyboard would fit the bill, but...the damn pointing device is totally fracking useless. and it's not because the click and right-click buttons are on the left side of the keyboard, and the pointer is on the right. truth be told, i kind of like that setup.

no...the reason the pointing device is useless is the simple fact that it requires you to push down first before it will register any movements. and a good bit of pressure is required to engage it. so much so that it is impossible to make fine movements with the pointing device. either you aren't pushing hard enough to make the movements, or you are pushing so hard that when you do move it, it jumps all over the place.

and of course, to add insult to (repetitive stress) injury, in the instruction booklet with this keyboard is the obligatory section of pages titled healthy computing guide, containing all sorts of tips for avoiding a musculoskeletal disorder (or msd, for short), including a subsection titled go lightly, which includes this gem:

use a light touch when clicking a mouse button or when using a joystick or other controller

gee...ya think?

my thumbs take enough abuse as it is during the day working my crackberry. they sure don't need any more work to do, especially when it is so imprecise and clunky.

i guess the industrial design engineers wanted to avoid accidental movement of the mouse if a user bumped it in error. so...why not a recessed trackpoint? or a mini-trackball? anything would be better than the pos they've put on it.

i'll work with it this weekend. if i still feel the same way about it by thursday of next week, i'm taking it back next friday, and trying one of these babies.


Anonymous Vlad Mazek said...

Well, you've killed it for me; I was really looking forward to it but if its not cut out I'll stick with the tiny wireless keyboard with the mousekeys enabled.

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Owen Pin said...

Thanks so very much for taking your time to create your blog. Excellent work

8:17 AM  

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