New Muse
Wednesday, Jun 04, 2003
I have a certain fondness for keyboards. Starting when I learned to touch-type on a fully manual typewriter in the 7th grade, I've migrated to all kinds of keyboards, with different looks and feels, strokes and weights.

I've always found both my writing style and general computing attitude to be greatly affected by the keyboard I'm using. In this regard (and only this regard) I secretly identify with Greg Kinnear's typewriter-afficianado character in You've Got Mail.

I've probably owned more than a dozen keyboards since I learned to type, from the clickitty IBM PC keyboards to the membrane keyboard of the Odyssey II, to the tiny keyboard of my Duo 210 to the Stowaway folding keyboard for my Palm V to my Sidekick's thumb 'keyboard', just to name a few. Okay, make that two dozen.

Atop the highest pedestal in this tactile pantheon sits my Apple Extended Keyboard II, which I got in 1989, along with my Mac SE/30. I called it a 'deck,' massive yet graceful, seeming more suited to the bridge of the Enterprise (1701-D) than on a simple 1980s desktop ("Hello computer!"). (Here's a great photo of Apple keyboards and mice through the ages. The AEK II is the big one on the top left.)

The keys had a soft stroke, and bespoke quiet power when pressed. Even stroking my hand across the full sweep of the 105 keys (I remember that there were 105 keys) gave more a sense of art than doing the same over the 88 keys of a grand piano.

Truly a thing of beauty.

Okay, back to the point, and the present day. For the last six months I've been living off my powerbook, using its decent keyboard while away from my desk, and jacking in to the orphaned keyboard and mouse that came with my now stilled G4 Quicksilver desktop. A decent combination. Well, as the avid reader knows, I sold my desktop machine last week, and the buyer opted for the keyboard and mouse as well. No problem. I'd just buy another.

For the last two weeks, since pulling the keyboard for the eBay photos, I've been using my backup Happy Hacking Keyboard, a tool which, while admirable for its efficiency, compactness, and lack of a caps-lock key, is ultimately cramped and uninspiring. Pair that with a Wacom as my primary pointing device on a desk so cluttered to not have room for it, and my writing was quite literally cramped.

With my eBay money firmly in my paypal account, I've been doing a little spending. I intended to replace my keyboard with another just like it, but it turns out they don't sell the black keyboard separately, only the white model. I wasn't sure how I felt about this inversion, but I went ahead and bought it anyhow, and I don't know how much is in my head and how much in the keys, but it feels more like that vaunted Extended Keyboard II than any board I've had the pleasure of keystroking since. (108 keys. Tee-hee!)

Suddenly writing is a pleasure again. Heck, I've already written 590 words on a new keyboard (on a new keyboard)!

This is a preface to say that, like the new owner of a Strat, I'm learning my instrument, finding our shared voice, but so far she truly sounds sweet.

If you think I'm a freak now, just wait until my new mouse and speakers arrive. Hey, at least it's not an iGesture Pad. God those things look cool.

If you like it, please share it.

Hi, I'm Kevin Fox.
I've been blogging at since 1998.
I can be reached at .

I also have a resume.


I'm co-founder in
a fantastic startup fulfilling the promise of the Internet of Things.

The Imp is a computer and wi-fi connection smaller and cheaper than a memory card.

Find out more.

We're also hiring.


I post most frequently on Twitter as @kfury and on Google Plus.


I've led design at Mozilla Labs, designed Gmail 1.0, Google Reader 2.0, FriendFeed, and a few special projects at Facebook.

©2012 Kevin Fox