[personal|tech] Etaoin shrdlu

Here’s a photo of my MacBook Air keyboard after 13 months of use:

Keyboard Damage

You’ll note the leftmost keys in etaoin shrdlu are almost destroyed. This is the longest I’ve had a keyboard last in years.

I’m a two-fingered typist, with some thumb assist. I do about 65 words per minute (corrected) when I’m in full flow. Clearly I strike harder with my left index finger than with my right. Also, I use my left index finger point down, so the nail almost always hits the keyboard, while I use my right index finger pad down, so the nail almost never hits the keyboard. I strike more keys with my right as well, as my left finger travel usually stops at either RFV or TGB.

What does this mean? Other than a trip to the Apple Store for a replacement keyboard, heck if I know. At least the MacBook Air has a sturdier keyboard that my old white MacBook, which needed replacement two or three times a year. But then, I type somewhere between one and two millions words per year on my keyboards, depending on how sick I am and how much I write, which would seem to be near the high end of the design duty cycle, based on how quickly I kill them.

Do you kill keyboards? How often?


Photo © 2013, Joseph E. Lake, Jr.

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8 thoughts on “[personal|tech] Etaoin shrdlu

  1. Rachel Sinclair says:

    i have never worn out a keyboard, nor worn off the key labels. I’ve had the same keyboard at work for 6 or 7 years.

    I’m a touch typist, but a fairly light-fingered one I think. My home keyboard is almost good as new except for a few sticky keys. Or maybe that’s just a testament to the fact that I tend to have a lot of long unproductive interruptions of my writing and mainly use my 3-yr-old netbook for email and Facebook rather than fiction writing. (shame face)

  2. David S. says:

    I think this may be the single best indicator of one’s likelihood of success as a writer. If you haven’t destroyed at least a couple of keyboards then you haven’t written enough to succeed.

  3. Cora says:

    My keyboards tend to get grimy, but I’ve never worn the lettering of the keys yet. Mostly, I notice it’s time to get a new keyboard when keys get stuck. However, I’m far more likely to wear out a mouse than a keyboard.

    I type with two fingers, too, and am pretty fast. Never learned to touch type, cause that was “old technology” and cause typing classes were intended for the sort of kids who would go on to do clerical, not academic work in the German school system in the 1980s, so they were lower prestige for students on the academic track.

    I tend to type much like I play the piano and hit the keys from above, which probably leads to lower wear and tear. It also makes those wrist rests with which many keyboards come equipped wholly superfluous and something of a nuisance. Indeed, what annoys me most about laptop and notebook keyboards is that all of them have this stupid wrist rest with the touchpad in front, whereas I prefer to have the keyboard close to my chest and the wrist rest just gets in the way.

  4. Oren Beck says:

    Even on laptops I tend to use one of several POS keyboards of compact design with a GlidePoint embedded. And yeah- I wear down several keytops used for command functions – often MORE than letter keys.

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