This… Is My BOOMSTICK!   3 comments

Megan’s blog buddy VE wrote a post recently that covered what I like to call “alternative lifestyle user input devices”, also known as ergonomic keyboards.  He’s largely poking fun… which is fair enough, there’s a lot of screwy ergo keyboards out there and he’s got most of them on his list.

He missed one.  This is mine:

Buy One.  Trust Me.

Buy One. Trust Me.

The Kinesis Classic was introduced to me by the programming crew at Idealab, in 2000.  I cannot recommend this keyboard (or the Advantage or Pro models) enough, I currently have two of my own, and two that I’ve dragooned CS into purchasing for me, one for each office.  Unfortunately, I can’t get Kitty into using one, so the keyboard at home is still an old school 101 enhanced.

Here’s a list of the awesome (assumes the Advantage Pro model):

  • The keyboard is programmable, hence the “CTRL” key can now reside under your left thumb instead of your left or right pinkie finger.  For anyone who operates a UNIX command line, this is divine.
  • You can get a footpad for it, enabling all sorts of advanced control magic.
  • It has a built-in USB hub.
  • You can toggle it between QWERTY and DVORAK.
  • You can pull it off of your desk and type with it in your lap.  For mixing up your body positioning during long terminal sessions (ie, a normal day at the office for me), this is good at preventing all sorts of bad ergo-related consequences.
  • The keyboard is macro-programmable, so you can actually (if you’re crazily patient enough) write your own macros for keycombos you use regularly.  This is more of a time-burning bug than an actual feature, but it can be dork fun.
  • And, of course: nerds think you are cool when you own one.

The unawesome:

  • It takes anywhere from 2 hours to a week to get used to it (I was at the 2 hour end).
  • They don’t have a wireless model.  Boo (although I have seen one hardware-hacked into wirelessness).
  • If you share a computer, you have to get your terminal partner to use it, which is a social engineering problem (see above).
  • They’re expensive.

How expensive, you may ask?  Well, $289 for the Classic, $299 for the Advantage, and $349 for the Advantage Pro.  I know, most of you reading at this point just decided I was out of my mind… $280+ for a freaking keyboard?

YES.  For anyone who spends hours a day at a computer, this is good money to spend.  A good 55% of the people who do my job have crippling RSI by this point in their career, and I don’t.  That’s worth a lot more to me than the money I’ve spent on these keyboards.

Posted October 16, 2008 by padraic2112 in ergonomics, hardware, tech

3 responses to “This… Is My BOOMSTICK!

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Hey, I have seen that one. You are right, there were many that I didn’t feature. There were a number of the ‘sunk in’ styles I found out there. I have a friend that has one too. I don’t like my hands to be separated that far…they get lonely… Thanks for the shout out!

  2. See, idealab, in true dotcom style, had $800.00 Aeron chairs to sit in, and doors on filing cabinets for desks. That, combined with the amazing verbosity of Java programming, left me with carpal-tunnel like symptoms inside of the first three months. Fortunately, the other engineers had paved the way for me to get my first Kinesis. I’ve used one ever since, at every job I’ve had (where they weren’t too cash-strapped). My first day at DreamWorks and Google was largely about getting a Kinesis keyboard and an optical wheel mouse (tricky for some of the Linux systems). I’m typing this on one left over from ArsDigita.

    So, listen up you medieval screwheads!

  3. Pingback: Just Look At This Place, It Looks Like A Damn Pigsty! « Pat’s Daily Grind

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: