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Keyboard Corner: Read or write a review of your favourite keyboard
Thread poster: Emma Goldsmith

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:07
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Aug 9, 2016

A month ago, I started a "Keyboard Corner" on my blog:

https://signsandsymptomsoftranslation.com/2016/07/08/keyboard_corner/

If you're interested in keyboards or thinking of buying one, check out the reviews to find out which ones are popular among translators.
And if you use a keyboard that isn't listed there and would like to write a review of it, I'd love to hear from you! Send me a message through the link in the blog post or get in touch with me here!

Enjoy!


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 23:07
English to Croatian
+ ...
Adjusting your hands and brain to it. Aug 9, 2016

There is so much about adaptation and getting used to a keyboard. Even an objectively worse or cheaper keyboard will be better for you if you are adjusted to it than a new generation one.

I used different kinds and definitely prefer an external keyboard for my extensive work (long hours). If I am engaged in informal correspondence or have a short/small project, then it's OK to use the laptop keyboard.

I now use the most basic MS Keyboard Comfort Curve 3000.

Pros: Silent, soft touch - gentle on fingers. Smooth typing. Not a bad feeling on the surface of the material, although I would still categorize it as cheap plastic. The price is OK too, I got it at a discount.

Cons: It is supposed to be "ergonomic" but I am not sure it really is. The enter key is also too narrow (the key used frequently shouldn't really be).The span of my hand and finger movement is not really too wide. The wrist resting part at the bottom is too small. It's like the cheapest $5 keyboard with a little curve in the middle. However, it definitely feels softer and gentler on my knuckles than the cheapest keyboard.

Before this one I used the most basic keyboards ($5-10), then would replace them every now and then to have a brand-new and clean keyboard. I did this because I had used a $50 keyboard prior to this that was affected by a little coffee spill and stopped working, so couldn't relate the price to quality any more.

I was considering a Sculpt or Kinesis keyboard, but I am not sure if it is worth the investment.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:07
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Just a tongue-in-cheek comment Aug 9, 2016

Amazingly, I taught myself to read and write at age 4. When folks tried to teach me, they discovered I could do it already. If I could only remember HOW, I'd be a millionaire, and wouldn't be writing this post... nor translating for a living.

The downside is that now, six decades later, my handwriting is still about as legible as a 4-yo kid's.

Likewise, I self-taught to type at age 7, on my father's mechanical Remington Rand. The only finger strong enough then to strike those heavy keys was the right index. So in the present computer age it's still the only 'literate' one, though it goes pounding steadily at about 80 strokes per minute for extended periods of time. The left hand helps with Shift-Ctrl-Alt-Spaces, as well as with a few "A"s.

I prefer "disposable" keyboards, about $10 apiece. I usually have a brand new one waiting, in case I suddenly decide to get rid of the one in use. One day I bought a Dell keyboard (a plain one, corded, nothing special) for $20. It lasted longer than 3 or 4 of those "disposable" ones. It's still working 100%, however some keys were getting a bit sticky from extended friction. The present one is a cheap one, from Leadership, and its spare is the old Dell one.

However my comment here is on the "split" keyboards. As my right index finger spans the entire keyboard, every time I see these "split" keyboards, the first thought that crosses my mind is... "What size of a Milwaukee goiter should be standing between its user's arms to make it necessary?"


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:07
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Ode to the Apple Powerbook G4 Aug 9, 2016

The most beautiful laptop ever made by Apple. I still have mine. The keyboard is a dream: it goes all the way to the edge of the machine. It's all aluminium. There is no gap between the keys. Each key has bevelled sides and is slightly dished on top.

http://www.macworld.com/article/2901437/macbook/ode-to-the-12-inch-powerbook-g4-apples-first-desktop-quality-laptop.html

12-powerbook-g4-003-100575217-large

[Edited at 2016-08-09 13:48 GMT]


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:07
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Traditional vs ergonomic Aug 9, 2016

Lingua 5B wrote:

There is so much about adaptation and getting used to a keyboard.


I agree. I've spent much of this past year trying different keyboards and there is definitely a dip in productivity every time I switch. The more novel the layout, the bigger the learning curve.
Still, it's huge fun trying out keyboards and it has made me much more aware of my work station set-up and ergonomics in general. Now I'm trying to keep to ones with a traditional layout, so it's easier to change from one to another.


I was considering a Sculpt or Kinesis keyboard, but I am not sure if it is worth the investment.


Personally, the change from a membrane to a mechanical keyboard has made the biggest difference in my comfort and productivity, rather than the change from traditional to ergonomic.
In my opinion, the investment is absolutely worth it.


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:07
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
One-finger typing and laptop keyboards Aug 9, 2016

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
Likewise, I self-taught to type at age 7, on my father's mechanical Remington Rand. The only finger strong enough then to strike those heavy keys was the right index. So in the present computer age it's still the only 'literate' one, though it goes pounding steadily at about 80 strokes per minute for extended periods of time. The left hand helps with Shift-Ctrl-Alt-Spaces, as well as with a few "A"s.


I remember reading this comment in the survey I ran last January - at last I know who's the author!
I'm really surprised that anyone can type efficiently with a single finger. 80 strokes a minute sounds very impressive for one finger, but it's about 5 times slower than an average 80 words/minute that most touch typists achieve. Of course, a slower typing speed doesn't necessarily mean a slower translation speed, but I would have thought that single-finger typing would a knock-on effect not only on speed but also on not being able to look at the screen while you type.

Re. your Milwaukee goiter comment - a split keyboard gives you extra width, not extra cms in front of you! Still, maybe a fat belly works well as an arm/wrist rest when typing.

Tom in London wrote:
The most beautiful laptop ever made by Apple. I still have mine. The keyboard is a dream


Yes, it looks like a fine keyboard - and made to last. The main issue I have with laptop keyboards is that the screen is right under my nose, whereas I need it further away and raised up. My solution is a 2nd screen and an external keyboard when I'm at my desk.
But if you'd like to sing the praises of the Apple Powerbook G4 keyboard on the Keyboard Corner, Tom, you'd be more than welcome.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:07
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Singing praises of keyboards Aug 9, 2016

Actually I'm using my keyboard less and less since I started using Apple's Dictation software, which comes with the system and is as good as commercial products like Dragon. This enables me to write much more quickly, without typos. The software doesn't make spelling mistakes, although it sometimes types the wrong thing, like "hi" instead of "high".

I think voice commands and dictation are the future and keyboards will become less and less important, but for now I'm happy with my rather ancient but very good Apple Italian wired USB keyboard, old school, like this one, which includes a handy USB hub:

tastiera_apple

Does anyone else think that keyboards, even if they probably won't ever disappear completely, are becoming less and less important?



[Edited at 2016-08-09 15:10 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:07
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Everyone has his/her quirks Aug 9, 2016

Emma Goldsmith wrote:

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
Likewise, I self-taught to type at age 7, on my father's mechanical Remington Rand. The only finger strong enough then to strike those heavy keys was the right index. So in the present computer age it's still the only 'literate' one, though it goes pounding steadily at about 80 strokes per minute for extended periods of time. The left hand helps with Shift-Ctrl-Alt-Spaces, as well as with a few "A"s.


I remember reading this comment in the survey I ran last January - at last I know who's the author!
I'm really surprised that anyone can type efficiently with a single finger. 80 strokes a minute sounds very impressive for one finger, but it's about 5 times slower than an average 80 words/minute that most touch typists achieve. Of course, a slower typing speed doesn't necessarily mean a slower translation speed, but I would have thought that single-finger typing would a knock-on effect not only on speed but also on not being able to look at the screen while you type.


Have you ever seen a dubbing artist at work?
They do it in a dimly lit, soundproof "cabin", without ventilation, since a fan or A/C would introduce unwanted noise.
They wear tight earphones. Often one side has the original movie soundtrack to follow, the other is a channel to hear instructions/comments from the dubbing director (when s/he is not inside that same compartment) and the audio operator. The same channel is used by the translator - if present - on the relatively rare occasions I sat in dubbing sessions.
They keep one eye on the screen, the other on the printed script in front of them.

This is how I kinda keep one eye on the screen, and the other on the keyboard. Yet I don't have to really look to get that finger on the key I want; it moves around faster than my eyes can follow. In reality, seeing the entire keyboard with the lower corner of my eyes is enough to hit the right key every time. I really have to look at every key when using a "strange" keyboard or a laptop's.

I use ONE 19" 4:3 monitor. Once I had a chance, and tried a series of varied monitor sizes. Had a 21" for two weeks, it caused me neck pain after several hours doing DTP. I chose a 19" one, at 90 cm (35") from my nose, and that's it.

I'm also a trackball mouse addict for over two decades already. As quick and accurate as my fingers. Conventional mice give me a hard time, and touchscreen ones pose a real challenge, especially those "smart" ones that do different things depending on the way you touch them, in terms of speed and pressure.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:07
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Accuracy Aug 9, 2016

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Conventional mice give me a hard time, and touchscreen ones pose a real challenge, especially those "smart" ones that do different things depending on the way you touch them, in terms of speed and pressure.


I agree about touchscreens- but thanks to the now-obsolete Apple USB Mighty Mouse with its wonderful little scroll nipple, which I still use, I'm a happy mouser.

122655-2311p052-3b

One thing I cannot stand: trackpads. To my fingers they feel dead and hard, and are hopelessly inaccurate for focussing on (say) just one word or just one letter. They send the cursor flying all over the place.

[Edited at 2016-08-09 16:13 GMT]


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 23:07
English to Croatian
+ ...
Not really sure/don't think so. Aug 9, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

Does anyone else think that keyboards, even if they probably won't ever disappear completely, are becoming less and less important?

[Edited at 2016-08-09 15:10 GMT]


I am not using Dragon software but the way you describe it, sounds nice and handy coupled with accurate and fast, what more to look for?

One thing to consider is the additional training, specific additional equipment and environment involved, which I think will prevent them from being very spread in usage, other than professional arena perhaps. When it comes to broad population of IT users, especially for informal correspondence, I think keyboards will still prevail (there must be some statistics somewhere), but I would say that an average user types/texts more than they talk on the phone or use a mic to type (just a general observation).

Do you need to be in a silent environment when using that software, is it noise sensitive?



[Edited at 2016-08-09 16:23 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:07
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Directional Aug 9, 2016

Lingua 5B wrote:

Do you need to be in a silent environment when using that software, is it noise sensitive?



I've never had any problems, because I use a directional microphone. But sometimes if I take a phone call and forget to momentarily turn off the dictation software (this is done by hitting a keyboard combination of your choice) the software types out the entire telephone conversation!


[Edited at 2016-08-09 16:27 GMT]


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 23:07
English to Croatian
+ ...
Ha ha. Aug 9, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

Lingua 5B wrote:

Do you need to be in a silent environment when using that software, is it noise sensitive?



I've never had any problems, because I use a directional microphone. But sometimes if I take a phone call and forget to momentarily turn off the dictation software (this is done by hitting a keyboard combination of your choice) the software types out the entire telephone conversation!


[Edited at 2016-08-09 16:27 GMT]


This is interesting. You have guests over, and then give them a transcript of their visit once they are about to leave, as a gift.



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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:07
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Mechanical keyboard... Aug 10, 2016

Emma Goldsmith wrote:


Personally, the change from a membrane to a mechanical keyboard has made the biggest difference in my comfort and productivity, rather than the change from traditional to ergonomic.
In my opinion, the investment is absolutely worth it.



Emma, which mechanical keyboard do you use? My son (gamer) has one and he swears by it...


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:07
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Filco Majestouch Aug 10, 2016

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

Emma, which mechanical keyboard do you use? My son (gamer) has one and he swears by it...


I use the Filco Majestouch with Cherry MX brown switches. I was converted after using it for 5 minutes. Here's a review I wrote about the whole "experience": http://www.keyboardco.com/blog/index.php/2016/04/guest-blog-a-translators-conversion-to-a-mechanical-keyboard/

I'm also very tempted to try the CM Storm Novatouch after reading this review by Frédéric Aubert: https://signsandsymptomsoftranslation.com/2016/07/27/novatouch/

Until you've tried a mechanical keyboard, you can't imagine how great it feels.
But presumably you've tried your son's gaming keyboard, Giovanni? Which one does he have and what were your first impressions when you tried it?


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:07
Member (2004)
English to Italian
thanks... Aug 10, 2016

Emma Goldsmith wrote:

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

Emma, which mechanical keyboard do you use? My son (gamer) has one and he swears by it...


I use the Filco Majestouch with Cherry MX brown switches. I was converted after using it for 5 minutes. Here's a review I wrote about the whole "experience": http://www.keyboardco.com/blog/index.php/2016/04/guest-blog-a-translators-conversion-to-a-mechanical-keyboard/

I'm also very tempted to try the CM Storm Novatouch after reading this review by Frédéric Aubert: https://signsandsymptomsoftranslation.com/2016/07/27/novatouch/

Until you've tried a mechanical keyboard, you can't imagine how great it feels.
But presumably you've tried your son's gaming keyboard, Giovanni? Which one does he have and what were your first impressions when you tried it?



I have tried it and I was impressed... the feel is completely different and much more responsive... he has a Corsair K70... not the cheapest...


img_8624


Nice review here...

http://www.guru3d.com/articles-pages/corsair-vengeance-k70-review,1.html

[Edited at 2016-08-10 15:07 GMT]


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