I am typing this blog on a desktop computer using my trusty NMB Technologies HI TEK keyboard. As I write, its loud clicking provides a soothing background buzz, helping me forget the fact that my opposable thumbs did indeed oppose me earlier today while texting from my iPhone. First, they managed to text the wrong recipient; later, they impatiently forwarded an incomplete message. Clumsy, traitorous digits!
To those who are unfamiliar with the simplistic elegance of the NMB keyboard, it’s of the style alternatively referred to as an IBM keyboard, a mechanical keyboard, or a “clicky” keyboard. Technically, it is an antiquated DIN5 (AT) style input device that predates even the PS2 design that, in turn, predated the USB, wireless and touchscreen alternatives. Yet, by means of two separate adapters my NMB remains a reliable ally.
Oh, I’ve tried many alternatives. About ten years ago I purchased a then up-to-date DasKeyboard, a mechanical keyboard that I liked very much . . . at first. It was a sleek, black thing-of-beauty, offering both a clicky and a less clicky setting. In full clicky-mode, particularly while composing a pithy response to a nasty email, my typing could be heard over the din on the factory floor. I loved this German engineered masterpiece until the day it failed. Too many spilled beverages or too much pounding, who knows? Its demise caused me to retreat to eBay, looking for a cheaper, tactile typing alternative.
For a while I teleported back to the late 1980s, caressing an IBM Model M purchased from www.clickykeyboards.com. It was a joy to operate, but it had traditional tastes. No stinkin’ decaf for it. A misplaced cup of low-test Joe ruined my Model M, not to mention the oddly stacked files on my desk that had precipitated the spill. It sits now in my basement, sweating out another spring cleaning in destiny’s waiting room, balanced on that fine line between a trip to the dumpster and a shipment for repairs.
I even considered converting an old Remington manual typewriter using a USB or Bluetooth conversion kit from www.usbtypewriter.com. While I rather enjoyed the thought of sitting, Sam Spade-like at my desk with a glossy black Remington 7 Noiseless typewriter before me, I had no office assistant to do my typing. I had no ashtrays or fedoras either, for that matter. It seemed a pricey affectation at best, particularly as I can still find my NMBs online for under $60.
So, here I sit. Using my NMB keyboard to research voice-to-text apps for my phone. So far, I’m giving Voice Texting Pro two opposable thumbs up.
Mr. Dragone has spent the past twenty years as an acting/consulting CFO for a number of start-ups in a wide range of industries. Peter’s prior experience is that of a serial entrepreneur, managing various start-up and turnaround projects. He was a co-founder of Keurig.