By Rob Beschizza at 5:41 am Thu, Sep 17, 2009
Hey, I have one of those. I keep it next to my flying car. The future is now!
I remember first seeing a chorded keyboard back in like 1990 in some magazine (Wired? Mondo 2000?), and it freaked me out because I had just learned to type well on a qwerty. It seemed like too steep of a learning curve, how do you remember the characters like the ^ or & if you don’t have the sheet in front of you? Now I’d like to get a hold of one and see if I could master it.
It’s the same thing as Morse code. I never thought I could possibly memorize it when I was younger, but know my text editor on my mp3 player lets me type in it and every time I do so I feel like I’m tapping out a message to the frontier, even if it’s only about the scratch I found on a CD rip. It’s a pretty snazzy solution for a device that only has one real button.
Lesson learned: More gizmos need rainbow ribbon cables.
If that magazine were still running, I’d so subscribe.
Chording keyboards are one of those things that I’ve always admired from afar, without ever trying to particularly get into them myself, because of the sheer inertia of being used to QWERTY.
On the one hand, I feel sorry for the guy who wrote, not long after Apple introduced the Macintosh, that it was a horrible interface because it required you to take one hand off the keyboard to use the mouse; this guy had been so indoctrinated in typing-class protocols that the idea of taking your hands away from the “home keys” (asdf jkl;) was utterly anathema. Automobiles started out with a sort of steering bar that was close to using reins to steer a carriage, but soon got away from that “horseless carriage” paradigm; why not computers?
On the other hand, chording just didn’t grab me; maybe I’m more of a pianist-type than a trumpeter. But I respect and admire people that come up with different schemes for input. This thing reminds me a little of the hemispherical touch-screen interfaces used by the Ferengi on Star Trek:TNG. There’s still reason to believe that future generations might think us weird for using a nineteenth-century-based control/input scheme.
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