Up until last week, I’d never even heard of a mechanical keyboard. But I receive Shawn Blanc’s newsletter (cause, you might remember, I love my newsletters) and one link lead to another and I found myself reading about Shawn’s clicky keyboard experiments.
So what’s a clicky keyboard? It gets a little technical (I can say this with confidence as I dived headlong into a number of technical pages as a result) but mechanical keyboards are often made with what’s known as Cherry MX switches, and the one many, many writers love is the Cherry MX blue switch, which produces that distinctive clicky sound reminiscent of a typewriter. (To hear for yourself, check out Shawn’s post and scroll down to the section on the Das keyboard. There’s an audio file there for you to listen to. Doesn’t it sound lovely?)
I’ve always loved the sound of typewriter keys at work, so after some investigation and a day of hesitation, I decided to order myself the Das Professional Model S Mechanical Keyboard as my own Mother’s Day gift. It arrived today (I’ve never been good about being on time with gifts). I’m using it now and loving the sounds I’m making as I write this post.
And here’s a close-up of it on my keyboard tray (please ignore the crumb-filled state of said tray, which I’ve tried to crop out of the picture).
It’s really easy to type on but will take some getting used to on my part because for the past ten years or so, I’ve been using the Microsoft ergonometric keyboard. The keys are placed a little differently on the ergonometric keyboard, so I’m making more mistakes as I type, but that should ease off as I get used to the keyboard. I’m also sitting further from my new keyboard so I can keep my wrists straighter, which is supposed to be better for them..
I read a few articles which said ergonometric keyboards don’t necessarily help prevent repetitive strain injuries (RSI), and so I’m hoping I’ll be fine with the switch. I’ve never had RSI before, and was using my ergo keyboard as a preventative measure since I do a boatload of typing. I’m really loving the sounds this new mechanical keyboard makes so I’m hoping my hands will enjoy it just as much. Also, I’ll probably switch back and forth, and continue to use my old one for my indexing work, which is where I normally do the bulk of my typing.
And the main reason I decided to get a mechanical keyboard? I’m hoping the sounds will give me an incentive to work on my fiction writing more. As a kid, I’d banged out page after page of short stories on a very very old manual typewriter my parents had found for me at a garage sale. It was one of those heavy, black Underwood models that used a spooled ribbon. Let me tell you, finding replacement ribbon for it wasn’t an easy thing! I have such fond memories of the clickety click sounds I made as I typed away. I figured it was worth trying to recapture the flow of those old days.
It sounds good to me … literally!