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Windows on Mac, hardware style

The Adesso Keyboard AKB230 By Ko Maruyama
There are many reasons that people like to use new keyboards.  In addition to the occasional coffee spill and other mishaps, sometimes keyboards just give out and need to be replaced.  Other times, a keyboard is chosen for comfort and portability.  I had a chance to check out Adesso's USB roll up keyboard, the AKB-230.

You may have seen my review of Axiotron's Modbook earlier year.  It's the only Mac tablet on the market currently, and despite its wonderful portability and stylus-to-screen, it lacks a keyboard.  The Adesso flexible full sized keyboard is an excellent match.  It doesn't have a flashy name, but the AKB-230 doesn't need one.  You'll know it as the "roll-y, rubbery keyboard".

There are plenty of USB Mac keyboards on the market that you might purchase to move portably with, but the full size keyboard is long and difficult to carry.  The Adesso AKB-230 rolls up, it's water resistant, and can be used just about everywhere you go.  The one caveat is that you'll probably want to have some kind of sturdy surface to set it on.  While you might be able to set your laptop on your lap, and the keyboard too, it's a little difficult to touch-type on these keys when they're draped across your legs.

One of the nice features, especially for someone who types...  a great deal and frequently...  is the COMFORT of the silicone keyboard.   It's like a new pair of shoes for your fingertips.  You know what it feels like when you get those new shoes, and you think "I could run a marathon in these".  It's kinda like that.  Unlike the old, high-impact buttons of many standard keyboards, the AKB-230 has soft keys.   

It might take a little bit of getting used to.  About the same learning curve as any keyboard with a new design, whether its ergonomic or has keys with a different profile.  The rubber keys respond well, but differently.   If you're a frequent typist, and use a standard keyboard, the feeling of the silicone might not be what you're expecting, and you might have to acclimate yourself before you're back up to your 100wpm self.


If you're using a Windows OS on your portable Mac, you'll love this because it's a full size PC keyboard, with all of the PC icons where you'd expect them to be.

If you're using the Mac OS, you might be a little disappointed to find out that the Apple button (cmd) is missing.  Don't worry - - the WINDOWS button will behave as the CMD button does in all of your applications. (and if you want, you can take a sharpie and paint a little apple over the WIN icon).

There is a single gotcha that I ran into when I first tried out the keyboard on my MacBook.  The Mac OS recognizes that the keyboard is attached as a new USB device and attempts to find the correct way to use it.

The keyboard seems to work just fine without going through the Keyboard Setup Assistant.

When the Keyboard Setup Assistant dialogue box comes up, asking you to help the OS define what it is, simply dismiss the action by quitting it.  Your Mac will know what to do with it.  Because I didn't try running it under Windows XP or Windows Vista on the Mac, I don't know whether or not you'll need to run a similar device helper, but you probably won't get an Apple OS notification.


If you need a USB keyboard for your Axiotron Modbook, or are looking for a full sized keyboard that will fit into your backpack easily, the AKB-230 is a must have.  It rolls up to a size a little larger than a can of soda... and if you spill your soda on it, you can easily wipe it off without damaging the keyboard.

It's about $35.00US, and can be purchased directly from in either black or white.

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:product review, AKB-230, Adesso Flexible Keyboard, Axiotron Modbook keyboard, USB keyboard, ko maruyama


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