Friday, November 14, 2014

Give me a real keyboard and a mouse

I learned to type in high school on a typewriter -- yes, I know, what's that? Despite the fact that the typewriter has gone the way of the Dodo, it was one of the most beneficial classes I ever took.

At one time early in my career, I was tested at 97 words per minute corrected on an IBM Selectric typewriter. When I learned to type, PC's were still 3 decades in the future and even longer than that before they became as prevalent as they are today. I type much faster than I write, at least, if I want someone to read it. Yes, I admit it, my handwriting is terrible. In fact, when I write quickly, I sometimes have trouble reading it later myself! So, a keyboard is my best friend.

And not just any keyboard, a mechanical keyboard. I'm not all that great on the on-screen ones that appear on tablets and phones. I never can type with my thumbs on the phone and am little better with my fingers on a tablet. A touch screen i little better for clicking on things. Although I have small hands, my fingers seem to expand into sausages when "clicking" on a touch screen. it seems that the spot to touch is never under my finger tip. It's sort of like Schrodinger's cat when I try to poke at it and is never in the place where my fingertip is detected on the touch screen.

About a year ago, I found that a Bluetooth mouse works well with my Dell Venue 8 Windows tablet. Combining that with some on screen poking make a good combination to click on things. With Windows, it's also good to have the right click as I never seem to be able to wait the required amount of time to make that happen while using the touch screen.

I have tried several keyboards and have finally settled on the Zagg keyboard case in the picture. Although the keyboard isn't perfect, it's good enough for some relatively quick touch typing. It also has all the keys I need, including the delete key and function keys missing from some other keyboards. It is adaptable to both Android and Windows.

The keyboard is a main element, but the factor that sold me on the Zagg was the fact that the tablet stands up without any back brace. This makes the case much more convenient than others I have found. The tablet is held in place by a spring mechanism which makes it easy to remove when I want to go into tablet only mode -- mostly when I'm consuming media rather than creating it.

So I'm still working with it, but this setup has made the tablet more usable for me and more fun to use. Now if I could just get my old eyes to work better on the small screen. Oh little victory at a time...

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