After my previous post about mechanical keyboards I ended up going with the Code Keyboard.

At the time they only offered them in clear or green switches but now they also offer brown. What's the difference you ask?

The Cherry MX Clear switches are a slightly enhanced version of the MX Brown with a slightly more pronounced operating force. This must be applied with a little more conviction, which can be observed in a differentiated switch feel.

I have no experience with the brown switches as far as noise or feel but am very happy with the clear. Yes, they are noisy, but they have a great feel similar to the old IBM keyboards and are much quieter than the blue switches I had on the other keyboard I was evaluating.

It took me a few days to get used to typing on a 'normal' keyboard compared to the 'ergonomic' Microsoft Natural I had been using. It has now been about 2 months and I have experienced no discomfort or pain which is a good sign.

The backlighting is great. I love being able to work in low light and easily see my keyboard. I don't think I could go back to a non-lit keyboard.

The CODE keyboard has some very basic programmability via DIP switches. One of the nice ones is you can disable the CAPS LOCK key. Yeah! You don't realize how much of a pain that is until you can disable it and never have to worry about it again.

I also tried both the 87 key and the 104 key. I really like the 87 key because your mouse is RIGHT THERE and there is no huge reach over the number pad. Do I miss the numbers? Somewhat.

For my personal computer I don't do any data entry sort of stuff so the 87 key works really well.

Home Keyboard

At work however I do occasionally need to enter in a lot of numbers for example in a spreadsheet. I tried the 104 key but really didn't like the leap to get to the mouse.

What to do?

How about a keypad!

Work Keyboard

I picked up a really inexpensive numeric keypad. Initially I had it on the right, but again, that was interfering with my mouse. When I mangled my hand a few years ago I got pretty adept at typing/mousing with my left hand so I decided to put the number pad on the left. Now my mouse hand is free and I can easily hit the keypad as well. If you are wondering why I didn't move my mouse to the left - most mice are made for right handed people.

It works really well. What's really nice is this keypad has a TAB button on it so moving in between cells in a spreadsheet for example is really easy.

I've also have HID macros on my radar. Similar to AutoHotKey it allows you to script keyboard macros for different USB devices. If I could move some of my AutoHotKey scripts/snippets to the keypad that would be an extra bonus!

You can also see in the screenshot above I have been trying a 'gaming' mouse. These have a lot of extra buttons which can be programmed as well. So far I'm on the fence with this approach. It works but I'm really tying to eliminate touching the mouse as much as possible.

Overall I'm very happy with my choice. Am I more productive? Who knows! :)

Published on Tuesday, March 24 2015     Tags: tools



Jim is a Senior Applications Engineer working at Red Hat. He slso likes motorcycles and keeping his quadcopter out of trees.