Monday, 12 July 2010

Laptop and keyboard

This is a blog after all, so I'll go ahead and post about a few thoughts I'd like to share.

One of those things is computer hardware to make life bearable. At Christmas, I bought a new laptop, MSI GT628-482NE I believe. Not a powerhouse, but it's got a T6600, 4GB RAM and a GTS160m, for ~10 000 SEK. That's pretty extraordinary for a completely new laptop in Sweden that can run Crysis at 1680x1050 at maxed settings without "enthusiast" mods. As with all products with good cap/price ratios, it went out of production almost immediately, although MSI still has a few other interesting options (do note that Ati is as Linux compatible as C# with Mono which narrows down my choices quite a bit. EDIT(2011-10-25): MSI is still cranking out really interesting options at very affordable prices, and they're much nimbler than the slightly less expensive ASUS heavyweights). Seemingly muscled people complained that the keyboard was "bendy", I have not had any trouble with that at all (EDIT(2011-10-25): The keyboard is a bit buggy but not very flexible, but the real problem is, as always, the _fricking_ touchpad. I hate it!). Which brings me to the next paragraph.

A proper mechanical keyboard! I have been eyeing and oogling pictures on and articles about them for almost a month and I finally decided to take a bite of the ungodly sour apple and pay up. Outrageously expensive here in the EU (honestly, I would like to use much stronger words, but this is the Internet after all, a forum for political correctness, politeness and respect). Again, probably due to the way too under appreciated good cap/price ratio of any product, most people tend to just look at price and shine and buy a Logitech/Microsoft keyboard. Got a Filco Majestouch Tenkeyless Clicky and a blank key set from keyboardco in the UK. The keys produce a rather high pitched noise when activated. I would describe the sound as "thumping cricking" rather than "clicking" due to the plastic bean jumping about. Pretty hard to avoid bottoming out being a very recent convert, but at least I have not uploaded a video on youtube showing what it's like to hammer mechanical key switches with as much force as a human being could possible generate at the fingertips. Typed on it all weekend and now I'm back at work on a rubber dome HP OEM keyboard for a comparison. And although the rubber dome keyboard is much quieter and more peaceful and I quite enjoyed it for 5 seconds, after a few sentences, I got this feeling of needing to strangle somebody/something. Even though I tried to break in my Filco this weekend and typed quite a lot and sometimes started an empty xterm just to type nonsensical sentences for fun, my fingers were as relaxed as they could ever be. Delightful.

Would like to try a "brown Filco" eventually. However, since the major difference to my current keyboard would be the sound and a meager 5cN activtion force difference, I will probably buy the even more expensive HHKB 2 Pro. An extremely quiet and durable keyboard with very light activation switches according to everybody lucky enough to have laid their hands upon one. BUT, can you imagine what I'd need to pay for one here in the EU?! Blech.