6 , 2000
Rather than tackling such lofty topics as Bill Gates taking over my body or Steve Jobs leading us Mac users on a messianic crusade, this week I've chosen to focus on something a bit more mundane. Regular readers of this column will be all too familiar with my frustrations with the Apple hardware that ships with what are otherwise the greatest computers that have ever graced the universe.
I've gone on at length about the qualities lacking in the Apple mouse, which led me very quickly to purchase a MacAlly three-button scrolling mouse. (I later replaced this with a Graphire pen and mouse tablet at home and at work just because pens are infinitely better than mice, and, even in situations that require a mouse, the cordless one that comes with the Graphire tablet is quite goodthree buttons, a scroller and high-resolution input.)
I've also gone on at length about the relative crappiness of the Mac keyboard. (Relative as in compared with anything else available for any platform.) Aside from the fact that the letters on my keyboard started wearing out almost immediately and that they were difficult to read anyway, what with them being white (more like light gray) on black keys, the keyboard was also too small. But, most importantly, I had to press a key almost all the way in to get it to accept my input.
Since I write for a living and try to get stuff cranked out as soon as possible, this was a great pain. I mean, imagine writing about 20,000 words a week and having your keyboard fail to recognize one out of every 15 keystrokes or so. (Some of you out there don't have to imagine this.)
I resisted buying new keyboards for home and work for two reasons. First, every single USB keyboard on the market for Mac uses the same ridiculous black keys as the Apple keyboard. (It's one of the negative side effects of Apple's otherwise excellent industrial design.) The other reason is that I've heard nothing but negative things about third-party USB keyboards. And, with Mac keyboards starting at $50 or so, these negative remarks become significant factors in the buying decision.
Then Microsoft announced they were coming out with Mac drivers for their keyboards. As much as I hate to admit it, Microsoft makes excellent hardware. (Or, whoever makes their hardware for them makes excellent hardware.) So I resolved to buy a Microsoft keyboard.
Unfortunately, the drivers are the only things Mac about the Microsoft Mac keyboards. They still have Alt and Windows keys, and I'm just not going to cotton to that kind of junk staring me in the face everyday. No way.
shop at Fry's
When I got there, staring me right in the face was Apple's new Pro Keyboard, previously available only through the Apple Store. I quickly picked it up and headed for the checkout line. Then I realized that I ought to try it out before forking over $80 for a shiny new thing, so I played around with one of the Pro Keyboards hooked up to a Cube on display. Guess what? Same problem as the old keyboard: It misses every fifteenth or so keystroke. What a piece of junk. Pretty, but what a piece of junk!
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