At the beginning of the year I called one of my best men, Gag, and started discussing my keyboard woes. I had just broken my 3rd Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard & Mouse in about 9 months. I pointed out that before this run of bad luck that previously I went through 4 Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 USB Keyboards before I got one to last more than 6 months. It went 4 years until five of the keys on the right side went out.
I was frustrated, irritated, and in a hurry to see if I could break my personal best record time to return yet another
piece-of-shit defective keyboard to Best Buy. Gag started calming me down while I was waiting in the Geek Squad line, again, by describing the keyboard he’s been using for years: the Kinesis Advantage MPC USB / QD keyboard.
The Kinesis Advantage is designed with the keys directly above each other, instead of slanted as found in every other common keyboard. This original design allowed typists to type so fast that the teeth would chronically lock up. So I’m told.
With computer keyboards, this teethy problem doesn’t exist. Kinesis brought back the speed. And this difference is all the difference.
The right and left hand key areas are separated so you don’t have to bend the wrists to type, thus delaying the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome. It also has incredibly padded areas for the palms. The combination of design and speed makes typing a breeze.
To quote The Curator, Gag acquired the keyboard “in remarkable circumstances.” He said he’d send it right out. Well, of course it sat by his doorway for weeks. In fact, I picked it up when I snuck out to North Carolina in March to surprise him for a visit.
To be fair, his daughter’s birthday card is sitting by the door as well…pinky promise we’ll remedy that one this week, Alex!
But, I didn’t use it right away after I returned home.
At this point I was on my 5th Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard & Mouse. It stopped working when I switched over to the ‘14 MacBook Pro. It worked for about 20 minutes and died.
I wanted to throw the Sculpt out the window, but like the previous 4 times, it was free to return. Except, this time, instead of returning it right away, I pulled out the Kinesis and my old trusty Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 – with the broken wheel button and hyperextended left click – and started giving the Kinesis Advantage a baptism by fire.
+/=sign is in the top left corner of the board. It seems weird at first, but when one is coding, it actually is pretty beneficial because it allows one to hit
="to set up a string quickly.
Get to the afternoon on the second day, you’ll start flying through emails and writing assignments.
When you turn the right keys into a keypad, the p becomes the subtraction key. The problem is that p is often used in coding to set pixel widths. This means a chronic back & forth if you want to use the keyboard’s number pad setting. We’re currently shopping for a left-hand number pad instead. While we’re at it, we’re going to either get a high-end gaming pad or a Wacom Intuos pen tablet, like the one Katie uses to fly through work.
Other than the adjustment period and the lack of a number pad, I fly when using the thing. And those adjustments made me come up with solutions that enhanced my work day. When even the weaknesses of a product provide ample opportunity for improvement, you’ve got a good product on your hands. Or, in this case, under your hands.
I’m using a second-hand, 8-year-ish-old Kinesis Advantage MPC USB / QD keyboard, and it’s held up better than the last 10 Microsoft Keyboards I’ve used. It feels like I’m just breaking it in. And if anything ever really does happen to it, Kinesis has an incredible care policy for their machines.
I hope I, too, continue to use it for 10 years, and more:
You were right, Gag. I only wish I would have started using it the moment I got home.