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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

On the Keyboard Liberation Front

So, I'm going to preface this by saying that this is NOT sponsored content, and that I'm in no way getting any kind of compensation from the ZAGG corporation.   I feel I have to note that, because this is going to sound so much like an infomercial it's almost sickening.

As a writer and journalist, I find myself spending a lot of time in front of my computer, but I wouldn't necessarily like to.  Right now, for example, I'm taking a bit of break (as you've noticed) from writing regular blog entries.  The impending "Civil War II: This Time It's Cultural" happening in the USA prompted me out of my torpor but I actually found myself 'away from keyboard' at the time.  As much as I love the modern convenience of Android devices, the one problem you face as a writer is that you can't really write a big blog entry (much less an article for a website, and much much less an RPG product) using screen-tapping and auto-correct.

I had, in the past, remembered with fondness a PalmPilot I had, which had a keyboard you'd plug it onto.  I actually wrote a significant part of my Thesis on that thing, while hanging out in my favorite cafe at that time (the Cafe Le Gare, in Edmonton, which sadly has long since vanished).   So naturally, when I got my first tablet I thought of trying to reproduce the experience with a bluetooth keyboard.

The problem is they are almost all utter shit.  I had one keyboard/case hybrid device for my old Google Nexus 7, and that was great.  I got a lot done with that.  But after I retired the Nexus I never manged to find any portable keyboard that worked.

There were many that were too big. What's the fucking point of having a PORTABLE keyboard if you can't carry it around with you easily?!
There were a ton of others that were just generally pieces of crap; they would fail to connect, had batteries that quickly died, would suddenly and spontaneously lose their bluetooth connection or even had to be re-linked.   The cheaper ones never lasted long, and worse they often looked and felt like shit (if you spend a really serious amount of time typing, like thousands and thousands of words per day, you know what I mean abouut the difference between a keyboard that feels like your fingers are touching mush and nice powerful keys that make you feel like you're a piano player or something).

At one point, a couple of years back, I tried to shell out nearly $100 for a Microsoft Portable Keyboard.  It seemed great because it folded up and took up literally less space in your bag than an old CD would. But it too was complete crap.  The thing was advertised as being multi-system (Apple, Windows, Android), and I have no idea how it did in the other systems (one would kind of hope they could at least get it to work right with Windows, but you can never really tell with Microsoft), but with Android it never worked right for me even once. It would take 50 tries to get it to connect, then minutes later would disconnect and you'd have to resynch it to your device from scratch.

So I'd practically given up.  But I really needed something to use if I was going to write a blog entry, and so I went and decided to take a chance on the Zagg Universal Keyboard.

Man, what a world of difference. First, it's freaking pretty.  It's also small and super-slim. You can use its protective cover to work as a stand for your device (convenient).  But mainly, the most important thing is that it FREAKING WORKS!

It had no-hassle connection, like, none at all. and it's great to type on and responds fantastically well.

This, for someone like me, is potentially life-changing. Now, I'll be able to rant abouut how people are wrong on the internet from almost anywhere, not just the comforts of The Abbey.

Hell, I might write my next book on this thing.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Rhodesian A + Image Latakia


  1. From one writer to another, I'm glad you found something you love. Keep typing, hoss!

  2. Best keyboard I have had was made by Sun Microsytems. It was big with lots of extra buttons for copy/paste and such that didn't work on non-Sun computers but the feel of the keys was perfect which is why I got it.

    Worst one I've had was an Apple Portable keyboard that was just too small and the keys too delicate that you couldn't be sure if you got the right one without looking up.

    Most keyboards are in between and good enough so I miss the Sun board less and less each year. But anyway if you find a keyboard you love don't let anyone talk you out of giving it up. Put it aside and try others but keep it just in case.

  3. Glad you found your Model M portable equivalent