Input Fetishes and Tool Quality

Wow, that's a title for a much more interesting post than the one I'm planning to write. Sorry folks. This post is more about the devices and technology that we use to get information out of our heads and onto paper or into computers. Last week, I was reading the Internet as I'm wont to do, and I was delving into an area that I think of as the "ubergeek" section. There's a class of personal sites maintained by hacker-types that hosts all kinds of cool crap: information about clever scripts that they've cooked up, links to side projects, pictures of their gear, often a blog of some sort--but always pretty low key. Anyway, I discovered a cache of pictures of people's very hardcore keyboard setups, and I was pretty smitten.

See I'm an input geek. And this is a long standing thing.

My holiday present to myself, you see, was a new nib for my fountain pen. I don't write long hand very much anymore, but I've always been a pen geek, and the nib for the pen that I've been using for years was a "fine," and it just didn't work for me very well (I'm a lefty). Also, it's a Japanese made pen (Namiki/Pilot) and apparently Japanese nibs run smaller than western nibs. So it was really an extra fine. I've been saying to myself that I needed to do this, and I finally gave in, and it's been nice. While I do a lot of note taking and writing on the computer I like the portability and sociability of writing in a notebook (you can write notes on paper and not have a barrier between you and the people you're sitting with.) It's also nice, from time to time, to be able to change paces if for some reason the computer becomes too distracting or formal. So I'll probably always keep a notebook. [1]

Now to be fair, while I'm a pen geek, the only kind of fountain pens I've ever owned have been Namiki Vanashing Points. These are really nifty "modern" pens that don't have caps, but rather have a really swell tactile clicking mechanism that retracts the nib into the pen body. So that's really cool. Also cool is the fact that as a result the "clip" is fixed on the pen so that it can hang in your pocket with the nib facing up (as conventional pen cap-based clips are) but when you start to write with it, the clip is on the bottom of the pen. Which seems backwards to the uninitiated. And it is, I'm not aware of any other pen that has this "feature," and that's part of the appeal. Also it has a gold nib and writes so amazingly cool. Particularly with my favorite ink from Private Reserve in the color "Midnight Blues." Anyway. Yes. Huge Pen geek.

Back to computers. Getting smitten with a new keyboard, didn't feel all that out of place. I'm currently using the basic Dell keyboard that came with my desktop, and have tended to use the keyboards that come with my computer. While the current keyboard is sufficient and works well, there's nothing particularly inspiring or pleasurable about it, and I think I prefer the keyboard that I got when I began high school. I still have it, of course, though it's PS/2 and I don't use it.

I think my lack of particularly attachment to keyboards recently is due to the fact that I've been a laptop only user for so long. When my PowerBook G4 died (for me, my mother used it for several months), the sign of death was the fact that the keyboard stopped functioning. Similarly, while there are a number of reasons that I prefer the (older, smaller, less powerful) thinkpad to the (bigger, faster, more powerful) macbook is the fact that the thinkpad has a much better feeling keyboard.

So what am I going to do? Get a Happy Hacking Lite 2 in Black. In fact, depending on my will power, by the time you read this, I probably will already have it.

Anyone else out there an input geek? Got a killer keyboard setup?

Onward and Upward!

[1]In almost every other case I'm basically opposed to paper on moral grounds, mostly because paper, if unattached, seems as if it wants to be lost. Notebooks, being many sheets of paper bound together don't seem to have this problem, and I'm quite fond of them as a result. Books good. Loose paper bad. I'm sticking with it.
comments powered by Disqus