Tag Archives: keyboard

Which Do You Use More: Mouse or Keyboard?

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Which input device do you rely on more – the keyboard or the mouse? Are you someone who uses them equally? I still use a keyboard more than my mouse. I love keyboard shortcuts. They increase my productivity by quite a lot. There’s a really cool website I found that doesn’t require me to use a mouse ever. Simply type in the search query, and the results fill themselves in automatically. You can use your keyboard arrow keys to navigate through the results, as well. keyboardr allows you to search without ever using your mouse.

keyboardr is a homepage. It speeds up your Internet experience. And if you like, it helps you keep your hands on the keyboard.

In the first place, keyboardr is a meta-search. You get Google, Wikipedia, and Youtube search results all together in one easy place. The instant search and the keyboard navigation are replacing the feeling of “searching” with the feeling of “launching”.

keyboardr will utilize many more Web services. Apart from usual web search services like Google, we are planning to support Friendfeed, De.li.ci.ous, Twitter, Flickr, Google Docs and many more. And in the final stage, we will have an extension system, open for any developer, to integrate any web service into our interface. So keyboardr will be a central station for you to get all your common Internet tasks done much faster.

This is nice and clean, which I love. It’s very simple to use, of course. And the developer is right – it’s much faster. Why not try it out today? You might end up making it your homepage, as well.

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Optimus Maximus Keyboard Software


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After successfully restarting my computer and pulling up the Optimus configuration tool for OS X, it was able to recognize the keyboard and map everything. I want to show you something that is really interesting on the keyboard.

Can you see this? Look closely at the keys. When I press the Shift key, the letters and numbers shown on the keyboard change to their “Shift” equivalents. Isn’t that kinda nice? Or, let’s say you’re thinking to yourself “I can barely see that font”. You really want me to make it a little bigger for you? I can do that if I want to! You can change the font size on your keyboard, bold the text on the keyboard, and even change the entire font altogether. You can do this either for certain keys, or the entire keyboard. You can even change the color of the backlighting to pretty much any color in the spectrum.

The main features of this amazing keyboard are:

  • Revolutionary Keyboard Features a tiny OLED screen on each key. 113 screens total.
  • Each key can be individually programmed to perform a series of functions, open an application or run an Applescript (Mac only)
  • Various System Monitor functions can dynamically display on a key including CPU usage, CPU temperature, Network Speed, and Memory Usage
  • Play a GIF animation or Quicktime movie on a Key
  • Paint images across all keys at once in your image editor of choice
  • Key sets can be linked to an application, so whenever you open that app the appropriate keys come up
  • Powerful layer function allows you to combine existing key sets in different ways
  • Use any language with the appropriate key images including Cyrillic, Ancient Greek, Georgian, Arabic, Quenya, and Hiragana.
  • Display notes, numerals, special symbols, HTML codes, math functions or any other special symbol.
  • Any key (or to be exact, a unit consisting of a cap, a microchip and a display) can be easily removed by hands to be cleaned or replaced
  • Built in USB hub
  • SD Card Slot for Storing keyboard Settings

I’m really looking forward to importing styles that other people have set on their Optimus Maximus keyboards and trying them out. Be sure to send me links to what you’ve done. I can’t wait to really dive in to the software, and set things up based on my wants and needs.

If you get a chance, you truly need to get your hands on one of these. It’s definitely worth the cost in my opinion. It’s just… an out-of-body experience. That’s the best way to put it. THANK YOU ThinkGeek. I will name my first-born child after you for sending me this keyboard.

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Optimus Maximus OLED Keyboard Unboxing

There were people waiting up to seven hours in my live chat room today. I FINALLY have gotten an Optimus Maximus keyboard, courtesy of ThinkGeek. I am completely stoked, since I’ve wanted this thing for like… EVER. I managed to let it sit on my desk all day, and build anticipation. People in chat ended up being as impatient and excited as I was for the unboxing.

Time to take a second mortgage on your home or break into your kid’s college fund. With the singing of angels and a ray of sunlight parting the clouds, the fabled Optimus Maximus Keyboard has descended from Russian design studio Art Lebedev like an orgasm of geekiness. As you should know by now this amazing keyboard features a tiny screen on each key… that’s 113 screens in all. What can you do with these tiny screens, you ask? Well, each key can change its image dynamically depending on what you’re doing. Hold down SHIFT and all keys go uppercase. Run Photoshop and you can set it so each hotkey has an image representing its function. Set a key to monitor your CPU usage or display what iTunes track you are currently playing. You can make a key into a tiny clock with moving hands and play animated gif files or even quicktime movies. Of course all this futuristic technology is going to cost you a pretty penny… but we figure you’ll just expense the Optimus and tout its “incredible increased efficiency when using PowerPoint hotkeys” in your expense report summary.


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This thing is just… frickin’ AWESOME. From day one, I wanted this keyboard. Now that I have it, I’m in geek heaven. Every key is a separate screen. Look how shiny it is!!!! The keys don’t feel awesome, but that’s not the point. It’ll fit really well front and center on my desk.

After much hard work, I finally got the power run behind my desk, and was able to turn the keyboard on. Look at the secksay purple lights backlighting every key. The coolest thing is when it was plugged in. Before being plugged in, the keys on the keyboard had the Windows key, CTRL key, etc. on it. You know, native Windows keys. However, when I plugged it in, it immediately recognized that I was using a Mac. Those Windows keys changed over to Mac keys! How frickin’ cool is that? The OLEDs aren’t actually on the keys, they’re under it.

Don’t worry, you’ll get to see much more of my amazing new keyboard in upcoming videos. All I have left to say is… I HAVE AN OPTIMUS MAXIMUS!

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Are you a Touch Typist?

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Xenaol writes: “As many computer gamers and programmers will be aware, the art of typing without looking is a very useful and envied skill to possess. As a result of this, I decided to write this top 5 list of tips to help any learners on their way, so here goes.”

  • The Keyboard A popular tactic used in typing classes is the blank keyboard with a reference poster for support on the wall. This encourages you to familiarize yourself with the keyboard layout without looking down at it. If you have a spare keyboard, it might be worth coloring out the characters on the keys. Under no circumstances s it recommended you do this on your primary keyboard, just in case you lose your reference sheet (or someone else needs the keyboard/computer!)
  • Fading Out Deleting all identifying marking on your keyboard is not for everyone. If you are willing to put some extra time into the venture, then you might be more suited to the method of simply typing as you normally would. However, slowly force yourself to look at the keyboard less and less. This method is the one that I used to start learnin before switching over to the blank keyboard. This is evidence that the process is quite flexible.
  • Keyboard Position You could spend many hours, days and even weeks more than you need to learning this skill if you change the angle that you are at in comparison to the keyboard. This is because your hands and fingers remember each process in terms of the distance they move. A change of angle will normally change the distances, and you will find yourself lost. In addition, changing the type of keyboard should be avoided during the learning process because once again… it changes the key locations relative to your fingers.
  • Practice & Rest Another obvious but often overlooked thing you can try is to talk to your friends on instant messaging programs. This will create a much more random need for key location, and can speed up the searching process dramatically. After all, if you spent a week solid writing “the red rabbit jumped gracefully over the fence”, you will have to break that routine to type “hey there!” to a friend online. Using any method of learning touch-typing, make sure you take breaks and even change up the methods you use. This will help to refocus your fingers, and increase their accuracy.
  • Finger-Key Ownership Each of your fingers remembers a key as being in a certain location, and will often have a difference of opinion as to where it really is. To curb this annoying habit, you should allocate a finger to each key of the keyboard. This will decrease the amount of thinking that you will have to do, increase your spelling accuracy over time, and can even encourage you to utilize more of your fingers over time.

As I have tried to emphasize, learning to touch-type can take a lot of time. Some people will master this skill much faster than others, so don’t become discouraged. In addition, remember that even expert typists make mistakes at times, and have to sneak a look at the keyboard!

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What's Your Favorite Keyboard?

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For a long time, I was using the Microsoft Internet Pro keyboard. The reason I loved it so much is that it had two USB ports in the back. Microsoft stopped producing it, so I’ve been looking for a replacement for it.

My friend Moonglaive recommended this new keyboard. The Enermax Aurora Aluminum Keyboard looks pretty cool, eh? I thougt the keys themselves were aluminum. It turns out they’re plastic with some kind of silverish spray over them. The right Shift, and half the letters have paint worn off of them. The shell of the keyboard is metal, yes. It works very well, and has a couple of USB ports in the back. It also has audio pass-through, which is nice. It was a good keyboard all in all.

The next keyboard I tried out was the Microsoft Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000. It works really well, and has a touchpad built in. This is the set I was using with my Windows machine, and it works really well for me.

Now, of course, I’m using a Mac as my primary system. So what keyboard am I using? The thin Wireless keyboard from Apple is great. It’s super thin, and I haven’t even had to change batteries! It’s bluetooth enabled, which is really nice. The Apple Wireless Keyboard has been completely redesigned, inside and out. It features an elegant, ultra-thin anodized aluminum enclosure with low-profile keys that provide crisp, responsive feel. It also has function keys for one-touch access to a variety of Mac features such as screen brightness, volume, eject, play/pause, fast-forward and rewind, Expose, and Dashboard. Its compact design fits on your lap or on even the most crowded desk. And its Bluetooth wireless technology lets you use it just about anywhere within 30 feet of your Mac.

The keyboard automatically powers down when you’re not using it and turns on instantly as soon as you start typing. This intelligent power management means you’ll get up to nine months of battery life based on average usage patterns. It also has an on/off switch for when you’re away from your computer for a long time.

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Optimus Maximus Keyboard: Horrible Customer Service

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Yes, you read that right. I’ve had it with this company. Their customer service is absolutely horrible. They have canceled my order twice now for the Optimus Maximus keyboard. I’m not a very happy Geek at this point.

A few months ago, this news was huge. Any Geek knows what I’m talking about. However, I feel this is a complete ripoff. This isn’t because of the price. If the keyboard is as it is promised, then the cost is worth it. That’s not the issue I have. I placed one of the first orders, and they sent me an email back saying the order had not gone through. I argued with them, because I know that my credit card was valid and so on. After a lot of going back and forth, they said they had simply canceled my order.

What? Even though I was mad, I lusted after the keyboard still. So, a few months later, Ponzi placed an order to try and buy it for me for Christmas. The problem is, even using a different credit card, the order was again canceled. WHAT?? Something just isn’t right here.

I’m not the only one this has happened to!

I feel this is a scam, and that you should be very wary. If anything, their customer service is just plain bad. The whole ordering process is jacked. Twice now, my order has been canceled for no good reason. If anyone actually orders or has ordered this keyboard… good for you, and good luck to you. However, I’m telling you that you shouldn’t bother.

I feel ripped off, even though they never actually took my money. This product is just so unbelievably amazing looking, and they can’t even be bothered to actually sell it! What’s the deal?

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Windows Key: Keyboard Shortcuts

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I find that my computing experience is greatly enhanced by knowing a few really good keyboard shortcuts. I think everyone should know a lot of these basic commands, as it speeds up your work, and makes life just that much easier when you don’t have to reach for the mouse, and can keep your hands on the keyboard. They may seem simple, almost basic computer knowledge, but I’m always surprised how overlooked some of these simple gems are. Between these keyboard shortcuts and a program called “Lauchy” (a command-line application launcher, much like Quicksilver for OSX) which I also suggest, I find I’m far quicker to get from point A to point B, and rarely have to use the start menu, or have icons on my desktop.

  • Windows Key Yes, everyone knows how much hitting the Windows key in the middle of your full-screen game can ruin your day, but outside of playing games, it can be very useful for more than just pulling up the Start menu. Commands such as:
    • Win + D minimizing all of your windows and displaying the desktop. This can be great if you have a lot of stuff up, and just want to get it all out of the way. Hitting Win + D again will bring up your windows just as they were before you hide them all.
    • Win + R Opens the “Run…” dialog box. Great to get to the command line, or calculator quickly (typing in cmd or calc respectively) without having to go through the Start menu. It’s also good for re-lauching explorer if it bugs out for some reason. Other good ones to know are msconfig and services.smc, which are great for tweaking both system settings and running services.
    • Win + E Opens up the Explorer for “My Computer” Get to files nice and quick, especially with my next tip.
  • Use your keyboard to navigate folders What? Your keyboard works to navigate folders? Holy file browsing, Batman! Give it a try. Open up your C: drive and hit “P” it will immediately jump to the files starting with “P” and if you keep typing, it will keep refining. “Pro” will usually highlight “Program Files” Hit enter to open the folder, and then off you go typing the next folder you want.
  • Tab and Shift + Tab Tab will move you automatically to the next field within the in-focus window. What does that mean? Well, say you’re composing an e-mail. Type in the To: line as “[email protected]” then instead of clicking on the subject line, you can just hit “Tab” until it highlights the subject line. Type in your subject, hit tab again, and you’re in the body of the e-mail. This works great in conjunction with Win + E, as by default, Windows selects the file tree on the left, and to navigate with the keyboard, you want to have the main field selected which is on the right. Alternatively, Shift + Tab moves you to the previous field. Say you’re in that same e-mail, but you want change the subject. Hitting Shift + Tab while in the body of the e-mail will pull your cursor back up to the subject line, and select all the text in the field.
  • Alt + Tab While in a window, Alt+Tab will switch between windows on the taskbar. Holding down Alt, and repeatedly hitting tab lets you select which window you want (it gives you a little pop-up on screen) Letting go of alt pulls the window up.
  • Alt + F4 Closes a window. Plain and simple. It’s the keyboard’s way of hitting the X in the upper right.

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How to Access Your Computer Remotely with a VNC KVM

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I have a monitor hooked up to one MacBook Pro, the other monitor hooked up to my Vista desktop machine, and the other MacBook Pro all sitting on the desk here. I have ONE mouse, and ONE keyboard. Now… watch as I play around and move things on all three screens using that one little mouse.

No, I’m not using the Synergy software I had planned to use for this. It’s a pain to install and configure, and it wouldn’t even work. It hasn’t been updated since 2006, and didn’t want to work with Vista or Leopard. So again I turned to my chat room at live.pirillo.com to find an answer. iKteck, who is one of our chat moderators, suggested a totally free program called Win2Vnc. What’s that you said… FREE? I love free, so I went to check it out.

This little program is amazing. The primary machine needs to be a Windows machine. It acts as a VNC Viewer and will connect to any other machine where the VNC service is enabled and running. You cannot drag and drop things from one screen to another, no. To set it up, you simply need to tell the host machine which direction (N, S, E, W) the other machine(s) are from it, and then when you move your mouse in that direction, it will switch over to that machine/system. It can’t get any simpler than that. How it works:

The program will open a small (one pixel wide) window on the edge of your screen. Moving the pointer into this window will trigger the program to take over your mouse and send mouse movements and keystrokes though the RFB protocol to a VNC server running on another machine. When the pointer is moved back towards the opposite edge on the other screen, the mouse is returned to your primary display.

Now, this only works if the host machine is a Windows machine. When I make the final switch over to Leopard as my primary system, I will likely use Teleport at that time. It only works between Mac machines, which is all I will be using then anyway.

All in all, I have to say: Win2Vnc FTW. It’s an excellent program that just works… for free. It doesn’t get better than that.

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Chris Plays Santa and Gives away an LED Keyboard

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After I reviewed the Saitek LED keyboard, I was unable to actually use it. So, I decided to bring Christmas a little early, and give it away to one of our community members at large.

On October 17th, I reviewed the Saitek Backlit LED Eclipse II USB Keyboard. It’s a great keyboard, and I really wish I could use it all the time. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fit on my keyboard shelf under my desk. My hands kept hitting the bottom of my desk. So, two days later, I announced I was giving it away.

The day has come, people have registered their guess. Now… let’s give this thing away to a lucky community member!

After many false starts… choosing people who weren’t present in the chat room… we finally find our winner! Congratulations, Perfect_Chaos!!!

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Saitek Backlit LED Eclipse II USB Keyboard Review

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I absolutely love gadgets and gizmos that glow. The more of a glow it gives off, the more I enjoy it. This is why I was excited to test out this new keyboard from Saitek.

The new Eclipse II keyboard is backlit. You can change to one of three colors: red, blue or purple. The purple works best in my office with the lights off, and also allows me to admire my Tix above the desk. The backlighting has adjustable brightness. Of course, knowing me… I prefer the brightest setting.

The keyboard itself is very good. The keys mash the way I want them to mash. The Windows key is in the correct place. I could see myself switching over to this keyboard permanently, except for one not-so-small issue.

My desk has a keyboard tray underneath it that pulls out. I know many of you have them, as well. This keyboard is bulky. It’s just too thick on the verticle profile. It doesn’t fit well on my keyboard drawer, and my hands hit the underside of my desk. The lip on the front of the keyboard helps a bit, but just not enough. You should never rest your palms on your keyboard. Practicing good ergonomics is critical to your body’s health.

What keyboard do you use? What is your favorite keyboard of all time? Most importantly, what do you look for in a keyboard when you purchase one? Send me an email to [email protected] or leave me a comment on this video.

UPDATE:

I saw the review of the keyboard and I was excited because I own, and once used, the Saitek Eclipse II. I say own and used because after about 5 weeks the spacebar key broke. It didn’t break all the way off, just one of the glue-pads that holds it on popped off. So now the spacebar is floppy and when I’m typing and try to hit it with my thumbs it feels like it clicks all the way but it doesn’t and I end up typinglikethis. No spaces, bummer. It also sorta seems pretty cheaply made too… 🙁 Now I use a Logitech wireless and I own it for the simple reason of it is very, very flat. I was hoping to get an Apple wireless keyboard for my PC but it’s bluetooth (my PC isn’t) and the ones my store carries doesn’t say that it works on Windows. 🙁

Keep up all the good work Chris!
Jim Survak (aka Casan0va)

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