My mom made me take typing lessons in Grade 9. It was not a Grade 9 course, but I had to fill my high school schedule with something and the Grade 10 typing course was available. To be honest, I was not really keen on taking typing lessons and new I would be one of very few boys in the class. And of course, typing was not really a “manly” thing back then to be learning.
But as the years have gone on, I’m actually very appreciative of my mom’s insistence that I take the course – we learned not just how to type, but how to address envelopes correctly, how to format business letters, and other useful things. Sadly, today, many people don’t take the time or even know there is a “correct” way to do things and it’s there loss. There is a reason for certain rules that were developed and created years ago, and even technology does not eliminate those reasons.
Of course, we also learned to type. I felt rather awkward being one of only two or three guys in the class but over the course of the year (courses back then were not on a semester system, we spent 45 minutes per day in each class for the entire school year).
I was not the fastest typist in the class by a long shot, but I did manage to get up to about 35 words per minute. When that school year was over, I never touched a typewriter for a very long time. Even when I went to college, I did not type my essays and assignments, but hand-wrote them, double-spaced as we were told to do if they were not type-written. It would be some years before I would have to use a typewriter again, and then, it would be a rare occasion. But when I did, typing was like riding a bike – once you know how, it just never leaves you.
Around 1997, I got my first PC which came with a keyboard and a mouse. That’s when typing really improved for me, and I discovered I could actually type quite quickly, even much more quickly than my high school lessons – and that first keyboard was pretty good! But eventually, too much coffee and wine was spilled on it, and I had to replace it. Over the years since, I’ve had some not bad keyboards, and some terrible ones – some of the more expensive ones have actually been horrible and hard to type on accurately and fast.
I could never figure this out – how to get a keyboard that had firm keys that did not flop around and that fingers could press firmly but precisely on. I would often proofread the work that I had created with a keyboard and would always be amazed at the spelling errors I had made – missing letters of words that I knew how to spell, but then I realized that the keyboards sucked. My fingers could be moving faster than the keys on the keyboard could handle in that they would “flop” and I’d think I was typing some letter, but it was not actually registered.
Up until about a year ago, I did not even know mechanical keyboards existed. I was expressing my frustration to an employee at Staples when he advised me that maybe I should try a mechanical keyboard. But at the time, the least expensive ones they had were a bit out of the range that I wanted to pay.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have had the necessity of writing some very long articles – 4,000+ words each – and my keyboard, which I later learned was a “membrane” keyboard, was very frustrating to get through all those words.
After that experience, I spent a great deal of time researching the differences between membrane and mechanical keyboards and learned that were even a lot of differences between mechanical ones. I still don’t know everything, but it seems that many of these keyboards are made for “gamers” who need precision – and for some reason, lots of backlighting and other fancy features. I don’t need or want that – I just want something sturdy that I can type with and that when I am typing, my fingers aren’t wasting energy by “thinking they are typing something” but are not because the keyboard sucks.
I discovered that one of the least expensive mechanical keyboards is made by Logitech, model #K840. And although it’s one of the least expensive, the many many reviews it has are generally really good!
Today, when I discovered it was on sale at my local Staples, and there was only one left, I bit the bullet and grabbed the last one off the shelf. Plugged it into my Linux PC… and here I am – typing without wasting energy! The clicking is a bit annoying and the keys are a bit on the high side for what I’ve been used to, but – it’s still so much better than wireless membrane keyboards that are close to the same price.
Go Buy A K840 If…
If you sometimes need to have marathon sessions of typing, and find the membrane (the “regular” type most of us get) are annoying, then you might want to try a K840 yourself. You can get more expensive ones – but from the reviews I have found, you don’t need to spend more. I’m very happy so far, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll be typing out more and more posts here again!