Friday, April 25, 2008

New Keyboard Part 2

Installed the software today, and I'll say that it's functional but not actually wonderful.

image   image    image

Some of the interesting phenomenon:

you can change the keyboard connected and have different functionality than if using the actual connected keyboard.  For instance by changing it to the Bluetooth Deluxe Keyboard it can show an OSD for CAPS lock etc.  Which begs the question: why can't that code just run all the time if I want, why should I have to set a different keyboard than the one that is actually plugged in?


Another quirk:  with some buttons you can make it do anything thing from a list of pre-existing command or any arbitrary software program or web page as in the above screenshot.  With some other buttons  the zoom slider and the "My Favourites" key you can't change the functionality.   So, why can't you change the Zoom key function or the My Favourites funtion?  The My Favourites  button brings up a list where you can change what each of the five favourite keys (1-5) do.  But.. what if I don't what to change that list often enough to warrant a dedicated button?  Or if you can't change the function, it should bring up the list of five keys plus say 5 more commands you can run from the menu (or change the commands). 

Now, what if I don't want to use the zoom slider to zoom? Instead it could be... actually I can't really think what else you'd do with it as it's a slider not a button (apart from turning it into a digital control (up for one thing, down for something else, and doesn't matter the amount)).  But still, I think you should have some other option.


Apart from those quirks and strangeness, the software itself is fine and doesn't appear to take up much memory.  (Not that it actually should, considering it's not really doing much.)  And it integrates with the Control Panel which has been the case with MS mouse and Keyboard drivers/extra software since they started.  Still it helps to de-clutter the Start Menu.  Oh, and I needn't mention it works with Vista fine...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Keyboard

Bought a new keyboard a few days weeks back. Originally I was using an old one from the old family computer it was ps/2 and had no special keys or anything like that. It was mainly a case of not wanting to spend any money on it that I just the old one. Then we gave the old computer to the local opportunity shop/charity here and the keyboard went with it (which I anticipated happening sometime anyway). So I was left with buying a new one. Didn't really want to spend any money on it still, so I bought a $9.95 USB bare-bones (so to speak) one from an electronics retailer.

Well that turned out to be no-so-good. The W and D keys would hardly press and overall it just felt “odd” and lacking tactile feedback. Consequently when I went to type something, I would type the W as I would any other key and it wouldn't be sent. Obviously rather frustrating and not really tolerable. Probably “Get what you pay for”. So I took it back and got a refund.

So not wanting to make that mistake again I bought a brand-name keyboard with quality (shock horror!) and extra functionality (especially if I'm going to pay $60 for it. So I bought a Microsoft Digital Media Pro for .. well.. for $59.95.


Actually mine's ever so slightly different from that one: I don't have writing printed on the front of my letter keys. Which is fine for me. Unfortunately my camera is out of battery so the photo from Microsoft will have to do.. I would have liked to take a photo of the box and contents but anyway. (Which were neatly packed by the way)

Well the performance is good, fairly soft-touch, you can feel it (which is sometimes helpful) but it's quieter than cheap keyboards. The media keys work without having to install any extra software but some other buttons (like favourite folders and favourites) either don't work by default on Vista or need the software installed for the system to detect the path to run (like the Messenger button (which I don't really need anyway)). Eventually I'll install the software and probably all the buttons will work OK. For now though I'm happy with just the media keys and volume.

I'm happy with it... Now I'm just starting to need a new mouse as my current one's not-right clicking always...Another month, another blog I imagine..