Over the course of the next three years, there are a number of things that are going to change. Change how we interact with technology. For the past year and a half, the rise of voice managed and voice operated systems has been meteoric. Alexa, Siri, Google Home, Cortana, and others have burst onto the scene to listen, and interact with us.
The motion was the big thing before that, with Nintendo (Wii and WiiU, Playstation Move and the Kinect for Microsoft in the Xbox family) all helped us interact with systems via Motion. LEAP, a motion controller arrived for the PC as well. Motion and voice activation had finally arrived.
As alternative forms of entry continue to expand, I have used Dragon Naturally speaking for entering in information for years, I am still intrigued by the reality of the keyboard. I post two to three blogs a day pending time and topics. All of them are written via a keyboard. I have in the past, a few times written them with Dragon, but for the most part (well over 99%) they are typed out on a keyboard. I learned to type as a senior in high school. While I was never as good as some of my classmates (who were typing at a rate of 100 wpm with no mistakes) I did manage to get up to 60 WPM. With a computer, I am well over 100 WPM.
The limiter for anything is always what you are doing while you are completing a task. For me, I create my blogs in my head. Some of them I think about for two, three and more days. Some of them are memories that I already have present (my Wander Project, and the rest of my family history project).
First off, the value of a keyboard is significant. There are two types of computers today, and one type for typewriters. The keyboard of the Royal Typewriter I learned on, is attached. You can attach your keyboard by the old keyboard plug, USB or wireless. The touch and feel of the keyboard are important. The old mechanical keyboards (typewriters) have a more resistant feel. As you press down the keys you feel the mechanical components literally restricting the speed. With some computer keyboards you get a little resistance, but frankly, it is nothing like what we used to feel. Without spell and another checking, just playing typing I think I can get well past 120 WPM on my computer keyboard.
There are two additional types of keyboards, chicklet keys (named for the old square gum from years ago) and more traditional keys. I prefer the traditional keys, but learning how to better operate the chicklet keyboards is important. The world of OSK or onscreen keyboards are wholly chicklet based. As are any of the lasers projected keyboards. They look cool, but if you are a touch typist it takes a few times to understand and properly use them!
All of this, pretty much available for the past two years or more. But the keyboard is the easiest way to enter in data. I use a Logitech wireless keyboard myself. I have for the past four years relied on the Logitech’s. Reliability and ease of use are important. I find that keyboards last me about a year, not much more than that. The Logitech system lets me switch out the components that aren’t doing as well over time. I replace my mouse about every three years. My keyboard every year. So the mouse I am using today is on its 2nd full year. The keyboard is about 3 months old. It is the 3rd keyboard I have had in the last two years. But that was more my fault than anything. I dropped the first one. The second one took a coffee bath. I have backup USB keyboards just in case things don’t go as projected and or I drop/spill on the existing keyboard again.
By again I do in fact mean again as I have done both in the past year. The coffee spill issue was bad, as it got my shirt, keyboard, and carpet by my desk. The dropping of the keyboard landed squarely on my foot so I ended up with a dead keyboard and a nice bruise.
Keyboards remain the essential connection to your computer. Eventually, as systems get smarter, better and the ambient noise issue is resolved this probably won’t be the case. For now, it is keyboard first!
Images today courtesy of dry. Hans O Andersen’s digital collection