Type Hard or Go Home

Thursday June 06, 2004
Those of you who know me are probably aware that I am something of a keyboard aficionado. I just received my latest obsession in the mail; the Mathias Tactile Pro.

I noticed the package waiting for me as I was leaving to go get lunch, so I'm going to have to keep this brief, but WOW, this thing is LOUD. It isn't quite as identical to the Apple Extended II as they claim, but I think that it stands fairly well on its own. (I am getting ready to push "enter" now. BANG!)

Now, for you keyboard freaks out there: this is very definitely a keyboard designed for a mac, so the 'command' key, where the 'alt' key normally goes, maps to a Windows key. And there are key-caps on every key designed to match up with the semantics of the "alt" key on the mac. However, after only a few minutes experience with this keyboard, I would recommend it strongly to anyone who spends 10+ hours a day at their keyboard and doesn't hold with any of this fruity new "ergonomic" stuff.

As to the actual tactile experience: it feels like a tighter Model M; slightly smaller keys, less travel, function keys closer to the home row. The caps-lock key is, thankfully, not the hold-down-and-lock model that came with the Apple Extended II, but it does have a strange, slightly cushioned feel which is different from the rest of the keys. This is actually a nice touch from my perspective, as an emacs user who spends half his life with that key pressed down.

I think the keyboard is still going to take a little getting used to; I've been using a scissor-switch keyboard with very little travel and no gaps between the keys, and although I had no problems with that one, I think I'm very glad I bought this. It's worth it for the nostalgia alone (I used an Apple Extended II for about 5 years, until, like an idiot, I tried to spray-paint it), but the keyboard itself seems very high-quality.