IBM Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Stefan Bernbo

Blog Feed Post

Ode to the White Keyboard

In 1980 I bought my first personal computer in Montreal. There were three choices, the TRS-80, the TI-99, and the Apple][+. One of the deciding factors was the keyboard.

The Apple ][+ and TRS-80 both had keyboards similar to a Selectric typewriter, the gold standard of the day for keyboards. The TI-99 had a Chiclet-like keyboard. Actually they were more like TicTacs  than Chiclets. In the end I went for the Apple.

I loved my Apple keyboard because it looked like a professional typewriter keyboard. The absurdity of this is revealed as I admit to never learning to touch type. I have been and continue to be a professional hunt and peck typist. I must look at my keyboard to type. With the wind at my back I can get almost 30 words a minute assuming auto-correct is working well.

When I moved over to the IBM PC they too came with a typewriter style keyboard. This maintained my illusion that I was typing like the big boys now. The first keyboards were beige with black lettering. Over time beige went out of favour and everyone went black. But as I got older I started to notice problems with my typing. I was making errors more frequently. Was I getting old and therefore suffering from diminished capacity?

Five years ago I got my first Apple Macintosh, an Apple MacBook. I won a lottery at school and received a $500 subsidy towards the purchase of a new computer. That was my incentive to buy the overpriced Mac. Only one thing troubled me, it had a white Chicklet-like keyboard. Unlike the TI-99 the keys were now all square and the same size as a regular keyboard.

To my surprise I adapted to the keyboard quite rapidly. My error rate when typing dropped. I didn’t miss the sculpted feel of the usual Windows PC keyboard. So the answer to my problem was Chiclets or so I thought.

I hate great big keyboards. One day I came across a wired Microsoft keyboard that was quite svelte and it was in white with black lettering on the keys. My current Windows PC keyboard was quite grungy and in the consumer society tradition of throwing something out when it just gets dirty I replaced my then current keyboard with the white Microsoft one. It had sculpted keys. Lo and behold my error rate on the PC improved.

Why did my error rate decrease? The answer, I believe is contrast and brightness. Likely due to age I find I need more light to see things clearly. My workspace has a room light. I also have a strong desk lamp that I use when I write on paper or do any work on small components. But when I work on the computer a strong light shines in my eyes while I type and look at the monitor so I keep the lamp turned off. A white keyboard with black lettering reflects more light such that the glow from the monitor is enough to illuminate the keyboard. The contrast of black letters on a white background are easier for me to read.

The school assigned me a MacBook Pro two years ago and it has a black keyboard that has LED lights that make the letters glow. Not bad in a bright room but glowing keys are uncomfortable in a low light situation. I bought a small Apple Bluetooth keyboard for my MacBook Pro for use in my office and it has white keys.

My white Microsoft keyboard eventually became unusable as it only came with a PS2 connector. So I was forced to go back to black keyboards. I see the appeal of these keyboards. They can get much dirtier before it becomes noticeable. I need to clean my white Apple keyboards every few weeks. A black keyboard can go months and be responsible for any number of epidemics in my household and office.

A few weeks ago I decided to see if there was any white PC keyboards available. Logitech had one that had white Chiclet keys against a black background. I found that too harsh on the eyes. They had another line that had a white background but had an artistic pattern that covered half the keyboard and so was a distraction. They even have a backlit keyboard with black keys but I already knew that was not the solution.

Then I found it! TigerDirect had a keyboard from the company iRocks, the KR-6402 in white. It looks like the full sized Apple Bluetooth keyboard. The surface is aluminium and the keys are the white Chiclet-style. This means less contrast between the keys and the keyboard background. It is full size so it has a numeric keypad and cursor keypad. Ii is thin and has a very thin frame around the keys. It is wired but that allows it to have a USB hub with two ports. It even has the Windows multimedia and application shortcut keys.

So here I sit, updating my blog for the first time in three years. Its dim in my basement office as the sun has moved over to the other side of my house. But I don’t need to turn on a light yet. I can see my keyboard as clear as day.


Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ken Fogel

In 1980 I bought for myself the most wonderful toy of the day, the Apple ][+. Obsession followed quickly and by 1983 I was writing software for small and medium sized businesses in Montreal for both the Apple and the IBM PC under the company name Omnibus Systems. In the evenings I taught continuing education courses that demystified the computer to the first generation of workers who found themselves with their typewriter on the scrap heap and a PC with WordStar taking its place.

In 1990 I was invited to join the faculty at Dawson College in the Computer Science Technology program. When I joined the program the primary language was COBOL and my responsibility was to teach small systems languages such as BASIC and C/C++.

Today I am now the chairperson and program coordinator of the Computer Science Technology program at Dawson. The program's primary language is Java and the focus is on enterprise programming.

I like to write about the every day problems my students and I face in using various languages and platforms to get the job done. And from time to time I stray from the path and write about what I plan to do, what I actually get around to doing, and what I imagine I am doing.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "IoT Now" was named media sponsor of CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York, which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Silicon India has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Published in Silicon Valley, Silicon India magazine is the premiere platform for CIOs to discuss their innovative enterprise solutions and allows IT vendors to learn about new solutions that can help grow their business.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.