Re: [NTLK] So many questions, so little time

From: James Fraser <fast_fierce_and_funny_at_hotmail.com>
Date: Mon May 01 2006 - 08:44:31 EDT

Hello,

[Also also, I'd like to take this opportunity to send a phat shout out to
the
industrial designer who created the eMate keyboard. I have an physical
abnormality with the fingers on my left hand which only lets me use the
pinky for typing, so I'm down to six digits. I have a much lower error rate
typing on the eMate than on a standard keyboard, I suppose because of the
reduced reach between keys. I just wish there was a way to use it on my
regular PC. ]

Not to talk you out of a Newton-based solution or anything, but there may be
another keyboard that would meet your specialized needs:

http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/myway/keyboard/keyboard/alt-keyboard.htm

[scroll down to the second keyboard pic]

Cherry is a German keyboard manufacturer that makes a compact keyboard.
This keyboard is the smallest PC keyboard I've ever seen seen that features
full-size keys. If you decide you'd like to get one, I'd strongly suggest
getting a black one, as black keyboards hide the grime better and, well,
they look cool, too. _

Here's a small pic of the compact keyboard in both colors to help you
compare 'n contrast them:

http://www.cragside.com/accessability/input_devices/cherry/compact_kb.html

Apparently, there's also a keyguard available for these (see the first link;
scroll down to the thrid pic) and a separate numeric keypad, if you do a lot
of data entry.

A Certain Internet Auction Site usually has a few of these on offer at any
given time. A search for " cherry + keyboard" should net you the desired
result.

>Does anyone know if the 2100 keyboard is of similar dimensions?

Hmmmm, you know, at first glance, I thought that the eMate keyboard and the
Newton Keyboard were the same thing, with the Newton Keyboard merely being
set in a portable frame versus being built into the machine itself.

If you look at slide 11 of the 2006 State of the Newton presentation given
by Adam Tow, you'll see an eMate keyboard that /appears/ to be quite similar
to the Newton Keyboard, to me anyway (WWNC2006_Tow_StateNewton.pdf is the
filename so you can take a look yourself).

However, after seeing these comments from an old thread:

>>The [eMate] keyboard to my taste is not as good as the external
>>Newton-keyboard

>This is a matter of taste, of course, but I believe few people would
>agree with you on this. I for one prefer the eMate's keyboard (I have
>both an eMate and an MP2100 with an external keyboard) -- it's easier to
>type on, and it's much less noisy.

It seems that they're actually different keyboards. Can someone familiar
with both keyboards confirm/contradict this?

At any rate, the reason I brought up the Cherry keyboard is, frankly,
because I'm not sure how much more life Newton keyboards of *any* type have
left in them. If the eMate keyboard is indeed "less noisy" than the Newton
Keyboard, it means that it, too, is a membrane-type keyboard. And I'm not
just sure how long membrane-type boards last, regardless of how
heavily/lightly they're used. These keyboards are, after all, a decade old,
and a decade is a long time for a computer component to be around for
(insert reference to Model M keyboards here).

Sonny Hung mentioned in an older thread that he had taken apart other
membrane-type keyboards and found some components that had dried up and lost
their elasticity. Has anyone seen the same type of thing occurring in a
Newton Keyboard?

Also, when Andy Hill dismantled his Newton Keyboard, he mentioned seeing
"small rubber tubes that act as light springs underneath each key." I
wonder if there is a key button of some kind:

http://tinyurl.com/jtzeq

...inside these tubes made of elastic material that can wear out. Has
anyone dissected one of these tubes to peer inside?

Best,

James Fraser

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Received on Mon May 1 08:45:13 2006

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