Podcasts are great. They are the soundtrack to my working day. As I type this, I’m listening to Brad and Myke discussing the new Sailor logo.
It was a similar day in August when I heard Brett Terpstra guesting on Mac Power Users. He waxed lyrical about the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard, (UHK). Curiosity piqued, I clicked the link. I resisted for a week or two. After all, I had recently purchased a Keychron K6, which is a fine mechanical keyboard that switches seamlessly from device to device. Once I read that the UHK hails from Hungary, resistance was futile. After all, a key output from this keyboard will be my novel, set, in Hungary.
I pressed fire on a UHK complete with wrist-rest and add-on modules (a trackball and key cluster). The add-ons are still being developed, and will probably only get to me in November. I bought the Mac version of the key set.
My flexible friend
The keyboard can do yoga. Ready?
- Traditional one piece, flat on the desk.
- Traditional one piece, tilted towards me.
- Traditional one piece, tilted away from me.
- Split down the middle, flat on the desk.
- Split down the middle, tilted towards me.
- Split down the middle, tilted away from me.
- Split down the middle, tented - with the middle higher than the edges.
Oh, and each half can be set up individually. Left flat, right tented? No problem.
Split in two, I am able to rest my hands in a more natural position. My standard setup is to have the halves splayed. It feels right.
Now. Let me be straight with you. This keyboard is expensive. You can buy computers for less. How do I justify such extravagance? The same way that I justify an iPhone or an iPad. I have fountain pens that cost way more. If anything, the keyboard is easier. I spend hours in front of my computer, typing. Potentially, that’s bad for me. Using an ergonomic keyboard mitigates harm to an extent.
There is an unexpected side-effect. Typing. I would describe my typing style as “multi-peck”. With a split keyboard, this can cause some amusing “misses”. I have discovered that I type “y” with my left index finger, rather than my right. I keep falling into the gap between the two halves.
Off to the internet I went. Typingclub.com came to the rescue. To my great astonishment, I’m a much more accomplished typist than I knew. Following the practice exercises, my typing speed has got faster and faster, and rarely do I fall into the gap now. One thing that still catches me, is that the space bar is a small key, on the right side, and my habit is to clip space with my left thumb. I may remap a key, or the arrival of the key cluster module may rectify this for me. On the other hand, (see what I did there?) I am getting better at using my right thumb.
I absolutely love this keyboard. One note of caution though, no matter how hard I stare at it, it doesn’t write the novel on its own. Disappointing.