Sunday, November 25, 2012

So much to say

I learned to type on an IBM Selectric II in high school.  Once I got over how weird a QWERTY keyboard was, I got really fast as long as I used an electric typewriter. A couple of times I was forced to use a manual typewriter while in the Army; I learned that my hands, especially my pinky fingers, just weren’t all that strong and I gratefully returned to the world of electric typewriters.

Later on in my early 20s, I used word processing machines which I absolutely loved. Those early programs used command key combination to move the cursor, they didn’t use mice. I was all about those combinations and couldn’t see why on earth you’d ever need a mouse. The combos just seemed so much more efficient and I got even faster with the keyboard. At the time, I thought that mice were rather like Betamax videos. Boy was I wrong. So of course I learned to use a mouse and stayed super-fast with the keyboard.

Fast forward to the last five years or so and now we’ve got smart phones and tablets with touch screens, which I mostly love. But I don’t do so well typing on a touch screen. I find it slow and frustrating and unless I’m typing something short, like a Facebook update or a quick reply to an email, I stay away from them.

But it’s killing me. I was gone eight days and had some things I wanted to post, longer emails I wanted to write and I was stymied by the lack of a keyboard to go with my tablet (I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1). I bought a non-OEM Bluetooth keyboard, which paired with my tablet easily . . . only the (, 9 and . keys didn’t work. That’s sort of a problem, don’t you think?

Other than that gap, I love my tablet. But it’s a pretty big gap. I’ve been looking at the Microsoft Surface but don’t care for the operating system (Windows RT). They’ll release another version of the Surface sometime early next year with Windows 8 on it and I’m intrigued. Kent's intrigued that I'm intrigued because he'll get my tablet if I do switch.

What kills me is that I know the kids growing up using touch screens will look back at keyboards the way I did at those clunky manual typewriters. They'll wonder how we managed to get anything done with physical keyboards. I'll just shake my cane and tell them to get off my lawn.

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