Typing with the enemy

I ordered a new keyboard thin week, and today it finally arrived. But even though I’m a firm believer it free software, I bought the Natural Ergonomic 4000, made by Microsoft. It is about half the price of any comparable Logitech product available in Slovenia, despite it costing 50€. In comparison, the American Amazon sells it at 27$. This disparity (which is noticeable everywhere, but especially with tech products) made even more happy about Spark coming out first in Europe.

First thing I noticed, this thing is monstrous. My previous keyboard is rather old, so it’s mechanical and larger than newer keyboards, but in pales in comparison with MS’s product. The desk I use at home has a keyboard drawer, and it fits in perfectly, both in width and height (The keyboard has a large and elevated wrist-rest). My second thought, after trying to type on it, is that it’s going to take some time getting used to it. Having been using the Dvorak layout for several years, I’m used to touch typing, but I’ve never tried a curvy ergonomic keyboard before. It’s quite different, but I haven’t used it enough to formulate any king of informed opinion.

And as to apologize for buying from Microsoft, I feel a comparison between our favourite evil empires is in order. In Slovenia, 50€ will get you this mighty keyboard with split keys, a soft wrist-rest, all kinds of shortcut button and a scroller between the key sets. On the other hand, this costs 75€:

I know that both are cheaper in USA, and even some places in Europe, but the ratio of their official recommended prices is similar. And still I have no doubt many people will claim how typing anything on the Apple product is so much easier and more comfortable. Sorry for turning this post into a rant, but it got me quite angry while shopping.

Ok, writing this post on the new toy went better than expected, now I’ll get back to homework coding. Yes, I have to write code for school as well, but it also involves less interesting parts, like writing sentences. Ugh.


15 responses to this post.

  1. The MS 4000 is a terrific keyboard, I do not understand why you feel the need to apologise. MS makes terrible software, but great hardware. Why are they “the enemy”?


    • Posted by noughmad on 3. February 2012 at 18:48

      They do have a history of rather unfriendly business practices, spreading FUD and lawsuits about Linux and free software in general.


    • In one MAN Truck factory there’s a rule – not to buy cars from MERCEDES for employees. You shouldn’t try that privately as an employee if you want to stay ‘politically correct’. Same applies to many other combinations.

      So I see no reason why freedom backers couldn’t employ this rule (if they choose to): I am not buying from a company known from bullying activities (and with proven fraud evidence in the US and EU). The other may be Oracle and Apple of course.

      Of course one shouldn’t be sorry of not using this rule.


    • Posted by dh on 3. February 2012 at 19:22

      Yes, calling other “the enemy” is inappropriate, especially in the title. Think twice, as a lot of users and the press is reading planetkde.org 🙂


  2. Posted by Bartosz Neuman on 3. February 2012 at 18:47

    This keyboard is indestructible! I’ve been using it (heavily) for over 5 years and, while some keys became blank, it works perfectly. I would also recommend a Microsoft mouse – their hardware (and its price to quality ratio) are really great.


  3. Posted by Pedro Alves on 3. February 2012 at 19:43

    I swear by this keyboard. After a few weeks of using it (coupled with a logitech performance mx mouse), all my hand and wrist pain disappeared. And they never came back. It takes a while to get used to it, but after that, it does feel natural.


  4. Glad to see you’re getting a more comfy keyboard 😀

    But have you seen this gem — Truly Ergonomic Keyboard [TECK]. It’s expensive as ____ (you’re Slovenian, you know the phrase 😉 hehe), but looks like a big improvement!

    À propos, if we missed each other at the KDE SC 4.8 RP @ Cyberpipe, I’m working on a Neo-based first actual ergonomic keyboard for Slovenian language. Well, to be honest, I’m thinking of using ponders — 70% Slovenian and 30% English.


  5. Posted by AS on 3. February 2012 at 21:01

    Another great advertisement for the open-source community. And KDE. The mentality that many open source zealots have that Microsoft and anyone who isn’t completely on their side is evil and an enemy, or worse, just plain stupid, has and will continue to be your failing. It just makes you look childish.

    Make great products, write fantastic code, leave the smacktalk to professional wrestlers.


  6. No need to apologize, or consider “how would they think of me – (I’d better say that they …)” or something alike. I’m using this keyboard as well, and I *LOVE* it. There is no comparison. Great layout, good soft keys and I use it every day. Even take it to my contract working places at times.

    I did remove the extra bracket at the bottom, and have the keyboard lying flat because it makes it more natural for me.


  7. Posted by Freddie on 4. February 2012 at 13:39

    What is support in Linux like for the bells and whistles? Along with the usual array of media keys it also appears to have some sort of slider down the centre and an extra set of keys above the number pad.

    Also, did you consider a mechnical keyboard at all? I switched some years back from a Microsoft keyboard (I can not remember the specific model) to a buckling springs type keyboard (Unicomp spacersaver) and have never looked back since.


    • Posted by noughmad on 4. February 2012 at 13:48

      The slider in the center works with the help of EvRouter which can translate its events into mouse wheel scrolls. As per the rest, volume and internet keys work out of the box, but the F-replacements don’t. EvRouter does detect them all though, so I’m sure they can be mapped.


    • In xev, all keys show up as a XF86_Something symbol.
      In Qt, not all symbols are supported though.


  8. Congrats for the new keyboard, have had mine for half a year or so and been enjoying it. Had to remove the bracket too as it didn’t feel natural at all for me. Only one thing which I don’t like is the f-lock, but otherwise the keyboard is just so much better than my old flat keyboard.

    Btw, regarding to the need of evrouter, here’s the related bug: https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=11227


  9. Posted by fri13 on 4. February 2012 at 21:57

    I have used now a 7 years Logitech Ergonomic Pro keyboard, it is much better than the what you bought but the bad thing is, Logitech stopped manufacturing it few years ago. First one got broke on me, after 4 years use and now this has been in use 7 years so it is sturdy enough.

    But I have been searching – just in case – a new ergonomic keyboard and so far one of the best “normal” ones is the one what you bought. But I am certain I will never buy it by two reasons.

    1) It needs to be wireless
    2) It can not be from Microsoft

    Sorry for many, but I have a strong believes. That means if I promise something, I will do everything my power to keep my promise. If I see someone needs help, I will help them if I just can. If someone f***** with others, then I will avoid buying anything from them or support any other who is their partner.

    That, by one reason is why I never buy anything from Intel if I can just avoid it because they are Microsoft pals… Neither I will buy anything from Nokia because they are MS partners. And Microsoft just use any means necessarily to drive ethics of open source away, by abusing markets and spreading FUD with all kind twisted ways.

    People should have ethics and moral and they should vote by them. Even if it after all means they can not get best one or easiest one right away. Because laziness on those things is bad… Just like “What bad it would mean if I just buy one keyboard from them”. As it is same thing as supporting them and their means to do business or actions toward others.


  10. Posted by Baum Ranger on 7. February 2012 at 00:14

    This keyboard is great. Even though I don’t like MS-Software this much I really like their hardware. In fact I’m typing this right now on my MS4000
    It wasn’t my first MS keyboard and it won’t be my last.

    BTW, if you want to harm Microsoft buy their hardware. They don’t make profit out of it. I always wonder, why they still build it.


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