Thursday, November 5

TypeMatrix 2030: Two weeks later

I promised a follow up after my initial review on the TypeMatrix 2030 and here it is.

First the bad. I am still not back up to my previous typing speed. I was previously in the 80-90 wpm range and now I'm stuck around the 50-60 range. It's not terrible, but it's not fast.

I still overshoot the b and y keys at times, but it occurs less often than my initial difficulty. Now my biggest problem is the symbols and the right shift key. I have trained myself to be careful reaching to the right, to make sure I hit shift instead of return. Because of this I have to force myself to reach directly right instead of going down and right where I end up on the Ctrl key.

I am also having issues with the difference in location of the |, /, \, and -. Pipe is above the enter key on most keyboards and, as a Linux user and programmer I tend to use that key a lot. As for the forward and backslash it's not so much the difference in placement as the fact that they are right next to each other. I think that's just a coordination thing that will work itself out.

The last key I have had trouble with but I think I am over now is the CAPS LOCK. While incredibly annoying for most typists, it's somewhat of a convention to use a lot of capitals when writing SQL and holding down the shift is a pain when typing more than 4 or 5 caps at a time. This key is on the entirely different side of the keyboard, all the way to the right instead of all the way to the left. If I was to redesign this keyboard, I would have put all the special keys on the left rather than the right since there is already an extra column of keys beyond the semi-colon. That would make this keyboard perfectly balanced and make some keys, like caps lock, easier to remember.

Now the good. For all that bad, the modularization of keys is awesome enough to make up for it. By putting all they navigation keys in the bottom right corner, I don't need to move my hand from top to bottom in order to go from the arrows to home/end or pg up/down. I still have to look for the keys at times, but it's worth the fact that once I am oriented to which is which, I can fly around a text file with those keys.

A key that I have grown to love is the window switcher key, although I wish it would send it's own key code rather than alt+tab. I realize that this prevents users from having to set up a key binding, but I would like alt+tab to open a different switcher. In any case, it works great to toggle the ring switcher in Compiz. I think if I had to use the hold-down functionality it would be brutal, but it works perfect for my needs when using compiz. I've also remapped the show desktop key to bring up my desktop wall. That works great as well.

Another, sort of sidebar. This keyboard is STURDY. I can put it in my backpack with my laptop without protection and carry it around without an issue. Normally I wouldn't dream of doing something like that with a 100 dollar keyboard, but this thing can take it. One thing I would like to see... if the TypeMatrix guys are listening, is to come up with a solution for laptops so I can set this keyboard inside the housing while I type without it hitting they keys on the internal keyboard. I really need that if I'm going to get the benefit of my laptop, otherwise I might as well just have a desktop.

Most importantly, the promised finger travel savings makes a difference at the end of the day. I love the key placement for the backspace and enter keys even if I sometimes hit them by accident.

I will give another update in a few weeks.

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