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Keyboards (2017)

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  • Keyboards (2017)

    I mentioned disabling my CapsLock key in another thread, and Kerry asked me about my keyboard. That's a lot like asking some people about their favorite breed of dog.

    I've used Razer keyboards since my Avant Stellars got too expensive to repair. I bang on keyboards; I started on mechanical typewriters. Razer is a "gaming" company so they make a... robust product. I gave up games after Doom so I did feel a little silly buying keyboards called Black Widow and Deathstalker at Best Buy, but it's a small price to pay. They are available with a number of different keyswitches, from mechanical/clicky to soft/silent.

    They are highly programmable. You can assign any key to any character or action, using a pretty decent GUI interface. Changes are truly easy once you learn where some stuff is.

    You can also create single-tap Macros. When editing data files sometimes I'll have a sequence like "Down, left, delete, Enter" that I have to type over and over and over... so I record a macro and just tap, tap, tap one key. I also have things like my email sig in Macros. Unlike the Avant I can't execute Macros with complex keystrokes like Alt- or Ctrl-something, but Macros can contain anything you want including multiple shifts, delays, pauses, mouse-clicks...) Razers have both a keypad and inverted-T navigation keys, which can used for Macros if you don't use them. There is an extra column of 5 keys (M1-M5) along the left of some models.

    I prefer working in a dark room, so the keycap-backlighting is also a plus for me. I have lots of keys color-coded, for example Esc, Enter, and both Ctrl keys are red. On the top row, only the numbers light up, not !@#$ etc. so they are hard to find in the dark. My 4 key is green because Shift-4 is a dollar sign, and 6 is orange.

    Looking at my current setup... CapsLock is now just a Shift key, which is what I am usually aiming for. ScrollLock is now a Capslock key so I can still use that mode on purpose. The Windows keys are both disabled and unlit. I always use the keypad for navigation so the keys around the top and right are duplicates, for example NumLock is Home, * is PgUp, etc. You get the idea... customized for my own sloppy typing habits. Hardware-based auto-correct.

    All of the above is handled by the keyboard and device driver, so it works with all programs and hardware*.

    Yeah, $170 is a lot of money for a keyboard, but I spend a TON of time interacting with it every day. Other than my office chair it's the thing I touch most often.

    Hmm, I only see a couple of models on their current web site but there are lots of models if you shop around on the internet. Not sure what that's about. I have a Black Widow Chroma.

    * The only problem I have is that the Razer device driver does not always play well with my Belkin KVM. If I am switching between machines a lot, it's common for the driver to silently crash on one or more machines. The keyboard still works but I have to restart the driver for the programming to work.
    "Not my circus, not my monkeys."

  • #2
    I still have my Corsair K95 RGB with Cherry MX Browns and love it a year on now. Solidly built metal frame and the customizable color backlight is a nice feature depending on configurations, as is the 18 macro keys.

    Obviously it is good for gaming (which I do) but I still love it for day to day work like word processing and programming (of course!).



    Eric Pearson As for the KVM, I gave those up years ago in lieu of remote desktop. If your devices are doing high speed graphics or are not network connected this will not work, but I find RDP so much easier to connect to all my dev test machines.

    Great tool to manage RDP sessions (in fact all kinds of different remote sessions like VNC, telnet, SSH, etc.) is Devolutions RemoteDesktopManager (free). Been using it for a few weeks now and really like it.
    <b>George W. Bleck</b>
    <img src='http://www.blecktech.com/myemail.gif'>

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    • #3
      Wow. Thanks for the review! I've never done any gaming (except for Solitaire; does that count?) We have some "interesting" apps that involve a lot of keystrokes. (Bless their hearts.) I've done some automation with AutoIT, but it's kind of a pain. I like the idea of being able to quickly create a macro to do some stuff. Maybe I can convince the boss to get me one of those keyboards.
      ... .... . ... . . ... ... .... . .. ... .... .. ... .... .. .... ..

      n6jah @ yahoo.com

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