Sunday, May 18, 2008

F Before G Before W

Having canvassed a number of keyboards in the computer shops around here, I determined that the best replacement for our old, ailing device was a four-hundred-and-fifty-peso Samsung number with a warranty of six months and an expected two-year lifetime. I was feeling miserly this afternoon, though... so I went instead for the one-hundred-and-fifty-peso rustbucket with a one-week warranty. When I asked about the expected lifetime, the salesperson laughed.

In the larger scheme of things, a keyboard is a keyboard is a keyboard. My family does a lot of writing on the computer, so it's common for this component to wear out for us at a regular rate. Unfortunately, it also means that keyboards are largely disposable for us -- so long as it allows us to type and scroll and dictate strike force assignments in Warcraft, and as long as it gives us at least a few months of service, then it's good enough for us.

The old keyboard actually managed to last us longer than usual, to be honest. The "F" key gave way about six months ago, closely followed by the "G" key. Having sat through a keyboard repair session at least once in my life, I knew what this meant -- somewhere inside, the rubber sensor array had developed a hole directly underneath those keys. We could have just taken it somewhere to get fixed, but I figured that the repair costs would have amounted to buying a whole new keyboard anyhow. The end result was that we elected to tough it out for a while.

After a few months of punching the "F" or "G" keys whenever we wanted to type those letters, a few more things started to give out. The "H" key began having problems. The "B" key occasionally went on the fritz. It was only when the "W" key began skipping that we started looking for something within our low price standards; until then, we were all forced to either spell-check or manually edit our typewritten work.

Now there's a new keyboard sitting in front of me, and I'm writing this blog post as a test run. It's nice to see that I don't have to hunt and peck for missing letters anymore, but I can already see a few things that I have to get used to. For starters, some of the keys stick a little. In addition, the Insert / Delete / Home / End / Page Up / Page Down bank is located a little lower than usual, which stymied my first few efforts to navigate my words. Overall, however, it seems to work okay; it's even more quiet than the constant "tak-a-tak-a-tak" of the old keyboard, which'll be welcome for those occasions when I write at night.

And of course, my "pack rat" mentality still shines through -- I still have the last four or five keyboards we replaced lying around somewhere, and the newly-outdated keyboard will soon be joining them. I have no idea why I still keep these things; maybe I have this weird fetish for keyboards for some reason.

And when it finally comes to the point in the future when this new model will have to be replaced like so many others, I can look back on this post to a time when things were still pristine and innocent. Or... maybe not. I mean, it's just a keyboard.

Now let's see if the numeric keypad is working...


pgenrestories said...

When keys on my keyboard stop functioning, I try to repair them this way: I pop the offending key with a screwdriver, and in the hole/recess under the key I put in a very small, balled up piece of paper the size of ball bearing, maybe slightly larger. Then I pop the key back in. It works more often than not. You might want to try and repair your broken keyboards that way and extend their life even more. Waste not, want not. :)

Dominique said...

Alternatively, convert them into a work of art:

Sean said...

pgenrestories: That's a curious idea, although I'm not sure if I understand why it works. I'll try it next time -- there's quite a few bits of paper around the house that I can use, mostly remnants of old works that didn't make my initial drafts.

Dominique: I know that I'm non-mechnically-inclined enough to draw the line somewhere. :)

pgenrestories said...

Try it! Do! I don't know why that remedy works with my keyboards, but it does, and it has helped me save some money. The remedy just might work with yours too. Further, you might also find yourself with four or five working keyboards again!

Sean said...

pgenrestories: Er... rather than do it with four or five keyboards that I won't be using, I plan to use it for when this one finally conks out instead. :)