Computer keyboards are funny old things when you come to think about it. We use them all the time, but most of us don’t really perform any amount of due diligence before purchasing a new one.
I’m as bad as anyone. I maintain a keyboard here in my office and another at home. When one of my keyboards shuffles off this mortal coil — which is more common than I care to contemplate since I’m constantly hammering away on them throughout the day (in the office) and in the evenings and weekends (at home) — I typically go for the cheapest replacement I can find in whatever store I happen to be passing at the time. Of course, my parsimonious purchases explain why my keyboards fail to stand the test of time (it’s like the converse to the circle of life).
To be honest, I fear I’d gotten into a bit of a groove with this sort of thing. Had something not come along to change my course, I’d probably have continued to purchase paltry products on the keyboard front until the end of time, metaphorically speaking.
I vaguely recall making mutterings to this effect, but I never expect anyone to pay any attention to what I’m saying (I’m married). Thus, you can only imagine my surprise and delight when the folks at Truly Ergonomic contacted me to say that they’d been mulling over my meandering musings and they were thinking that the quality of my life would be much improved with one of their CLEAVE Keyboards, which they modestly describe as being “The Most Comfortable Ergonomic Keyboard on the Planet.”
Well, call me “Old Fashioned” if you will, but if someone is offering me a state-of-the-art computer accessory that promises to enhance the quality of my life, I feel it would be churlish of me to refuse, so I rapidly responded with a hearty acknowledgment.
As an engineer, you instinctively know when something has that je ne sais quoi (the good sort; not the other type). In the case of the CLEAVE, this starts with the heft of the device, which boasts an aerospace grade aluminum alloy body that makes it extremely strong and virtually unbreakable.
The next thing you’ll note is the tactile feel of the keys, which have a comfortable spring-loaded mechanical motion accompanied by an audible click (in fact, you have a choice between a CLEAVE with a click and a click-less CLEAVE, which isn’t something I expected to hear myself saying when I woke up this morning).
Do you recall my 9-part series of articles on the topic of Switch Bounce and Debouncing Techniques? Well, that’s not a problem with the CLEAVE because — instead of relying on the metal to metal contacts of yesteryear — each of the keys contains its own laser emitter and sensor that delivers lightning-fast actuation without any of the problems associated with their mechanical counterparts.
It’s apparent at first glance that the CLEAVE boasts a unique split symmetric layout. The arrangement of some of the control keys takes a bit of getting used to — like the ability to control delete keys with both thumbs and clicking the <Enter> key with the right thumb — but it doesn’t take long before muscle memory takes over and you don’t even think about this sort of thing.
Furthermore, as we see from the sideways view, the shape of the concave cylindrical key-caps has been carefully customized and ergonomically sculpted so as to have a different profile on each row. Furthermore, the key array is positioned on a slope, with the entire presentation being geared-up for comfort and to facilitate high-speed typing.
Sad to relate, I have no idea as to my typing speed, but I’m afraid it isn’t spectacular (although I dare to hope that it’s improving now that I’m riding the crest of the CLEAVE). By comparison, in her heyday, my dear old mother used to cruise along at an exceptional 110 words per minute (WPM). I just talked to her on FaceTime (what a wonderful invention) and she says that people passing her office used to stop and stare in disbelief when she was typing (they do that with me also, but not because of my typing prowess).
The next time I visit my mom in England — hopefully in the summer of 2022, worldwide pandemics permitting — I plan on taking my CLEAVE with me to show her and hear her thoughts. When this comes to pass, I will take photos and report further in a future blog. Until that frabjous day, do you have any thoughts that you would care to share?