Moronic Sony KeyboardAt the end of last year I indulged myself in a new toy, the Sony Vaio touchscreen computer which has a very impressive display, 4 Gb of RAM, a 3 GHz dual core 64 bit processor and has been a great machine in all respects except that the keyboard supplied with the unit is an absolute POS. (It also runs windoze 7 which takes weeks to clean up but I've blogged about that earlier).
Having been typing stuff into computers for the last 40 years or so, I'm quite particular about my keyboards. Of the keyboards that I've used, IBM makes by far the best keyboards and they are almost indestructible. Given how much of a difference in typing speed a good keyboard makes, I don't mind shelling out top dollar for a keyboard that feels very natural to use. I hadn't really thought about keyboards very much as every machine I've used until recently has had a good keyboard. HP makes nice keyboards that don't last as long as the IBM indestructables and I can adapt to the cramped keyboard of the TC1000 and then find it enjoyable to have a bit of room for my fingers on the TC4400, my current tablet PC.
The Sony Vaio was to be my primary work machine as it is so nice to have a 1920x1080 screen in front of ones eyes (actually my work area has 3 monitors but the Vaio is the highest resolution). I thought that this would be a great machine until I attempted to use the keyboard which is an absolute POS. To see why, look at the image below.
The red circle marks the problem. WTF is this idiotic key and WTF is it where the Shift key should be? What idiot decided that the Caps_Lock key should be oversized? Who even uses the Caps_Lock key? THIS IS ONE OF MY VERY RARE USES OF THE CAPS_LOCK KEY BUT I PREFER NOT TO YELL WHEN I POST.
On a good keyboard I can type very fast, it is enjoyable and the backspace key doesn't get much of a workout. On the VGP-WKB10 keyboard shown above, it seems that the BS key was the most hit key on the keyboard as my left 5th digit kept hitting the idiotic new key when I wanted to use the shift key. To make matters even worse, the Sony keyboard design department imbeciles decided to add another extra key where the Enter key left hand border should be. My character entry rate with the Sony keyboard was so slow that I resorted to typing on a proper keyboard on another machine via a VNC connection to the Vaio (Ultra VNC works just fine with W7). This is obviously not what I had planned on doing. I ended up wearing out my TC4400 even more as it has a very nice keyboard shown below.
Some 5 months after I got this machine, finally, I found a keyboard that I can use with it and can now think of creative ways of destroying the crap keyboard that shipped with this computer. I was hoping to have a wireless keyboard but ended up finding a USB keyboard (the Vaio no longer seems to have a standard keyboard connector included). The keyboard that I bought today is a Lexma LK-7300 and it has about the nicest touch that I've found in a keyboard. The TC100 felt similar but too cramped and the Lexma keyboard fits my hands quite well. Haven't timed my typing speeds on the Lexma keyboard yet but it would appear that they are about 3 times faster than the POS Sony keyboard. The only unknown with the Lexma keyboard is longevity; it is Chinese made and my experience with Chinese made goods is that they generally fall apart in a short period of time.
The "new and improved" keyboard configuration that Sony shipped with this machine has been appearing on other laptops and this is very concerning. I was going to buy another laptop to replace my aging TC4400 which has seen a great deal of use but every time I find a computer that I think would work, I see the idiotic keyboard style that Sony has used. I'm not about to retrain my motor system to reach further on the left side of the keyboard; I already have enough of a problem having to remove the Windoze key (which again seems to serve absolutely no usefull function) on keyboards from which it is easy to remove. If one could easiiy remap keys then this wouldn't be an issue but there appears to be no program out there which can remap keyboard scan codes the way that I want to. The M$ program which purports to do this just resulted in my wasting 2 hours of time and having nothing to show for it at the end. Time to go on Ebay and stockup on TC4400's while they're still available.