Re: OT: clicky keyboards

On Dec 7, 2007, at 10:27 PM, Nate Duehr wrote:
Humbug. If you learned hot to type *properly* on a real IBM Selectric (hint: you never pushed the key down past the "click", certainly never to the stops), using a clicky keyboard today won't cause you carpal tunnel any faster than a squish-box typed on improperly will. The click was meant to simulate the action of the typewriter ball smacking the paper for those of us who learned how to type on typewriters.

Right, that's the real trick. The "click" is supposed to cue your brain to stop increasing pressure on that key and start pressing the next one. All good keyboards have some kind of tactile feedback before the key hits its stop; the IBM "clicky" keyboards have a sharper and more defined version of this than most.

I noticed the importance of this pretty early when I realized how much faster I could type on an IBM keyboard than on a Apple or Commodore. The keyboards on the latter two machines had no tactile feedback -- the keys just bottomed out. (Although neither was as bad as the rubber "chiclet" keys on the PC Jr. ;) )

To start with, real speed typists raise their hands off the board (the long "wrist rests" on most modern keyboards, especially laptops, simply didn't exist on typewriters -- people also didn't use them on their laps!). Incorrect technique is far more "risky" than using a "clicky" keyboard.

Uh huh. I'd go farther and say that those "wrist rests" they sell for desktop keyboards are snake oil. Actually, they're worse than snake oil. They actually encourage carpel tunnel syndrome, by tempting people to place their wrists at a sharp angle. Your wrists should be as straight as possible while typing.

I had wrist problems for a while, but it wasn't the fault of any piece of hardware I was using -- it was my own lousy posture.

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