Yeah, I should have been more specific. Beyond the My First Constructor Set appearance, I really didn’t think the feel of it was anything special; at least of the old one I tried. It was mushier than the Apple White. Though, at the time it was better than Apple keyboards, because back then Apple was insulting its users with those minuscule black keyboards and mice that looked like an unbaked hot bun.
My keyboard of choice is actually this bizarre touch pad device that combines the functions of a mouse and keyboard together with a multi-finger gesture recognition system. It requires no pressure at all to type; you can just kind of float your fingers over the thing. It uses the same recognition technology that the iPhone will have. Unfortunately it is only physically possible to type around 70wpm on it, and effectively without any tactile feedback, it is hard to get that fast anyway. I did get pretty good at it though.
I use an Apple Wireless Keyboard and love it. But it’s probably much to quiet for you. I also use the Mighty Mouse, corded version, and it works just fine for me! The external display I use is nice, but you are contemplating much better ones.
Currently writing this on the Tactile Pro 2 (I pre-ordered) and I love it. It has a couple of small issues: the startup key on the board kind of sticks a little – I think that has something to do with the casing being slightly off. Also, Matias makes a big deal about the special option key thing, but the way it’s implemented seems… gimmicky and worthless? That’s probably harsh. But it’s gimmicky and worthless. Also, the vaunted USB 2.0 dock is better described as a USB 2.0 port. Because there’s just one.
Annoyed as I am with Matias… let’s say gilding the lilly in their advertising, the keys themselves are an absolute joy to type on, especially if you have your own room in which to click away. And I’m not kidding. I’m saying CLICK. And CLACK. And, occasionally, SPRANG.
That said, you can’t get one anywhere right now. Seriously. I have a couple friends who have spent way too much time trying. Matias either way underestimated, or is having serious manufacturing issues.
So I can only suggest that you watch the Matias site, pre-order when you can, and bide your time with my previous favorite keyboard, the oft-mentioned iceKey. It’s not as mushy as it looks, and the response is genuinely satisfying.
The Dell Ultrasharp 24", at Â£695.60 (nearly $1400 for US folk) is actually more expensive than the Apple 23" widescreen display, at Â£599 (nearly $1200) - or Â£479 if I decide to use my 20% discount. So I’m not really sure what the advantage of buying a Dell would be…
I’m rethinking this a little. I looked at some reviews of the MacAlly IceKey and I’m now veering towards it. The first picture I looked at made it seem as though the keyboard was like that of the MacBook, but from what I read it is actually based on those of the iBook and PowerBook and will therefore be more like my MacBook Pro, and other pictures I have looked at seem to confirm this. Although I initially wanted the clickety-clack (and probably still will if the Matias Tactile Pro ever comes into stock…), I do like the idea of having a full-size keyboard that feels like the laptop keyboards I am used to typing on (and which I like).
I looked at the thingy Prime, but it just looks too old-school for me. Beige. Brr.
Seems that there is a mixture of opinion on the Mighty Mouse. Hmm.
AmberV - which Logitech one do you mean? There is an abundance of them. Looking at their website, they all look a little too black and shiny for me…
The Gateway 24" monitor looks good. I love the idea of being able to rotate the screen and have it in “portrait” mode. Now that feature I want. It makes so much more sense for writing text in some situations… It’s cheaper than Dell or Apple, too.
The Dell rotates, too. It is something I quite like when writing. Lots and lots of extra words on the screen! If the Gateway does this too, then it seems like a good option. My father went the Gateway because he couldn’t find an Ultrasharp retail. So far he’s been happy with it. I don’t know how the Gateway is designed, but one problem with the Dell is that rotating the screen can be a little touchy if you have a lot plugged into it.
The mouse I have is the MX Revolution. It is pretty black and shiny, but it has everything I want from a mouse. It has just the right amount of weight. I don’t ultra-light mice like the MM. I also never found much use for the MM’s side buttons, which seem to trigger no matter how I hold it. And as spiffy as the roller-ball is, it seems vaguely… I don’t know, odd on a laser/optical mouse? Like trading one problem for another.
It looks like the IceKey is rather expensive over there! They charge the same number over here, except in dollars! I’ve been looking for one that I can actually go in and try typing on. I really like the way those laptops feel. A full sized keyboard with the same action would be really swank. I wonder how sturdy it is though; being so thin. I often put my keyboard on a pillow and sit back to type. Something like that beastly Prime would be better for that. Looking at that keyboard makes me automatically reach for the 5 1/4" floppy driver disk though! Wow. I bet its a dream to type on though.
Regarding price - yeah, that drives me crazy. I have absolutely no idea how Dell have the gall to charge more in pounds than they do in dollars for the UltraSharp 24" - that is way over twice the price that Brits have to pay! That alone puts me off. Swivelly action = good, though…
I had the Apple wireless keyboard (well, I still have it, just don’t use it) but I bought and am now using the Macally icekey. It makes some noise, but not what the wireless one was making. The quieter the better, imo. I also prefer the touch of the Icekey.
Also had/have the wireless MM. I went back to my old Macally trackball.
My monitor is small for this group - only a 19" LCD - but I have it on a wall mount monitor arm and highly recommend that! I love being able to position the monitor whereever I want or push it up out of the way, leaving a clear desk. (Ok, a monitorless desk… it hasn’t been clear clear in years. )
The monitor itself is a relative cheapie: a Samsung SyncMaster. To my surprise, it works very well - colors are bright and vivid and accurate - and covers all the ground I need and no more.
I’d give another vote for the Dell 2407. I love mine. And as for the price, at least in the U.S., you absolutely have to buy one with a coupon. They regularly have 20% off Electronics and Accessories coupons. (And you can always get a coupon on eBay for a couple of dollars, if you can’t wait to get one directly from Dell.)
I’d also suggest a set-up where you can use the laptop monitor and the desktop simultaneously. Two monitors makes me at least twice as productive.
I have the 23" Apple Cinema HD display and find it to be an excellent monitor. It’s bright, crisp, and beautifully designed.
One nice but not immediately obvious feature of this display is the 2 USB and 2 firewire ports concealed on the back; I find these to be perfectly positioned, as I’ve got the display connected to a Mac Pro and would otherwise be grunging around in the dust under my desk for ports.
I recommend taking a look at the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 keyboard. I’ve found it to be extremely comfortable; here in the US it’s also quite affordable. I’ve done a short writeup on my experience with it here.
I’m intrigued by your Ikea desk. I’ve been searching for a new desk, but my local vendors seem to provide either disposable desks composed entirely of sawdust and glue, or high-end items that won’t pass my wife’s laugh test. A midrange, sturdy, comfortable, and reasonably priced desk has proved to be elusive.
And that solution gives you two keyboards as well (laptop and external), so you can write two novels at the same time, one with each hand!
Seriously, though, I am intrigued. Having only ever used one monitor at a time, and sometimes not even looking at that very often but just hammering away at the keyboard, how does having two monitors increase productivity? I can see why I might want a bigger screen, but what would I do with two screens at once? I’ve seen quite a few people suggesting it, but I have never been able to work out why this works so well for them.
Two screens are good for the same reason a bigger screen is good: you can work with multiple windows without burying your writing window under your reference window (or vice versa). Two screens = more space than either one by itself, and more is better.
Combining a laptop screen with a larger monitor also gives you a convenient low priority parking area. You can stick iTunes, a chat window, a newsfeed, a clock, and whatever else over on the smaller screen, freeing up the main screen for whatever you’re actually working on. The smaller screen can also be handy for quick notes and other things that you want to capture and then forget about.
Programmers like multiple screens because they tend to have truly huge numbers of windows open at once, and many of them need to be big to be useful: several code windows, documentation, debugging, and live execution, possibly on several machines at once, plus all the usual mail/browser/random screen clutter. The more space you have, the easier it is to maintain some semblance of order.
Ah, I see. Thinking about it after my second coffee has woken me up, I used to run two machines and a mainframe terminal side by side (for documenting software), so I should have realised. And of course the benefits for programming are obvious now that you remind me of them! Thank you.
Plus, two smaller monitors are often cheaper than one big monitor. When I worked in video, I had a work station with four screens, an output reference television, and some scopes. Now that was a lot of desk space.
Let me put in a vote for a trackball versus the mouse. When I used mice exclusively, I had terrible troubles with RSI. I switched to a trackball–a very nice Kensington, which couldn’t survive the ambient clouds of cat hair, and a butt-ugly Microsoft, which (so far, over the past three years) has. Trackballs, like trackpads, are manipulated with finger tips, not shoulders and elbows. Finger tips seem to survive constant fiddly movement much better than elbows and shoulders.
I’m upgrading, too, from a Luxo-lamp iMac to a new MacBook Pro with an external monitor and keyboard. The monitor that caught my eye in the big-box stores, and on various on-line reviews, was the Samsung 22-inch, for around 300 USD. I found the off-angle views better than the Apple 23-inch and the text clarity equal, for a third the price.
Does anyone still make a good sized trackball? I could never stand those tiny thumb sized ones, nor understood why they made the switch. How can one digit more suited for gripping and stabilising than manipulating be better than three highly dexterous digits?