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The Amazing Adventures of Keyboard Upgrading
aka Keeping My Hands off My Wife's Input Device
June 21, 2017

WARNING! NERD ALERT! The following is a discussion about computer keyboards, which for some people are less cool than, well, most anything else in the universe according to some people.

When I was a kid, I got the chance to put together my own computers. My dad would help me put together the list of powerful yet economical parts to look for to make a mean machine that would take care of all my tech needs (until two years would pass, everything would get outdated, and we had to do it all over again).

In making the list of powerful yet economical parts, however, the keyboard was always ignored. "A waste of money," he'd say, "there's nothing you need from a keyboard that costs more than ten dollars." I feel like if he had his way, he'd still have figured out a way to rock the keyboard off his original IBM PC, saving tens of dollars throughout the decades.

So I have kept to the most economical options for my keyboards. Less than ten dollars, if possible. If they came included as part of a purchase of something else (like, I don't know, a dozen donuts), that was even better. But then I discovered reddit -- specifically, their group about mechanical keyboards.

At this point in the story you may be wondering, "Hey, isn't the alternate title for this article about your wife's sexy parts? When are you getting to that?" To which I respond "Ha! I am not! CLICK BAITED!"

On this discussion group, there was talk of spending $100+ on KEY CAPS. Not even full keyboards, the buttons you push on them. My jaw hit the floor. "These people must be retarded! What moron would burn all this money on keyboards and other fluff, when the five dollar model I can get at the Thrift Shop can get the job done in a totally comparable way." Like a car crash, I'd sneak peeks at this sub-reddit every once in a while, checking to see if it was some elaborate hoax like other boards have been in the past.

Somewhere in time, I got bit by the bug. I went from a "these people are sniffing glue" mindset to a "maybe I should try just one sniff" mindset. I blame my kids. I've been trying to convince them that computers are AWESOME, and they agree as long as they can keep watching Kinder Egg videos. I took them to Fry's once to pick up (guess what) their first keyboard and mouse, and guess what they instantly ran for? That's right, the Play-Doh.

But after that, they ran to the brightly lit, garishly colored, aluminum-brushed KEYBOARDS. They fell in love with the clickety-clacks of every keypress ("This sounds nothing like dad's computer!") and the color-changing LED backlights ("This looks nothing like dad's computer!"). Their instant infatuation won me over; it was time for me to purchase my first mechanical keyboard.

I look and find a nice model with a design not unlike a chrome-plated typewriter. It had circular, shiny caps and a great, responsive feel to it. THIS would be the start of my relationship with mechanical keyboards. I price checked it -- ONE HUNDRED AND TEN DOLLARS?! My dad rolled in his urn.

Moving on, I found a more basic looking model, with all-black keys and no backlights. It felt beautiful, and looked basic. Looks like this is the one, and as soon as I price check it I wi -- one hundred and SIXTY dollars?! Are these made in America? Is this keyboard going to correct my grammar on the fly?

At this point, I said "fudge it, I'm giving up." (I had to swear like that, my kids were present). Just then, a single ray of light shone through one of the warehouse skylights and landed on the hidden-in-plain-sight Azio MK HUE. It was hefty and sleek with its aluminum base. The switches felt great. The kids liked it. Most importantly, it was only seventy bucks.

I show it to my wife, and she says "meh." I take it as "great, let's go" and this is a good answer, as my wife's relationship with Fry's can be summed up as "that one nerd building you keep staring at while we're driving to Disneyland." I take it home, plug it in, and it feels amazing. I click away gleefully, waking up the kids at 2 AM with my newly enloudened keystrokes.

For anyone who hasn't had a chance to use a mechanical keyboard, I suggest you take your immediate family to the local electronic store and give them a shot. You may be surprised at how you like the experience. My only regret was the realization that my dad would never be able to experience the joy of the mechanical keyboard, until I also realize that his original Model F keyboard (that came included for free with his first PC) was, in fact, a mechanical one. Thanks for being ahead of the times, IBM.

EPILOGUE: While driving back from Fry's, I tell Mrs. DivvyO about the adventures I had with finding the right mechanical keyboard. In-between yawns she gave me the faintest amount of interest ... until I bring up the specifics of the Azio Typewriter Inspired Mechanical Keyboard (the first one in the story).

"You mean you saw a keyboard that looks like a chromed-out vintage typewriter, and you didn't buy it immediately?!?"
"It cost almost twice as much as the one I got!"
"I wouldn't have cared! It was SHINY and would have looked like a TYPEWRITER."

I guess I know what my second mechanical keyboard will be.

                 

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