Thursday, November 8, 2012

Key(board) Dependencies.

I swore I'd never turn into a "Mac" guy, and as far as I'm concerned I'm still not. The commercials annoy me, the dogmatic love of a product/company/brand despite things like price or functionality or open flexibility always irks me.

When I was given a MacBook Pro (late 2009 15" model), I grumbled and groaned and whined, "Why can't I just have a Dell, or an HP", something that I could install Linux and run Windows or whatever in a Virtual Machine.

Those systems weren't the "Corporate Standard" and weren't supported, so they wouldn't let me purchase one. Here, take your used MacBook Pro and shut up.

So I learned to work on a Mac, while still using a PC at home, and playing games on my HP laptop. See, I was flexible. I could adapt!

Well, adapt I have. I forgot to bring my MacBook power cord home with me from work this evening and it only had 36 minutes of juice left. There was no way I was going to reach 1,667 words in 36 minutes, not coming in cold without time to get my head in the game anyway.

So I despaired. Here I was, falling madly in love with Scrivener and cranking out words, good words, into my book for NaNoWriMo/NaNoFiMo, and I was going to have to use my HP to write for a night, without Scrivener!

Then it clicked. I could grab the Scrivener demo for Windows! I'm saved! I don't even have to export my draft to a word doc and go back to the "old" and "clunky" way of word processing.

I set things in motion, got Scrivener installed, opened up my draft and got started. Only to find that the keyboard on my HP is INFURIATING to type on. Keys don't take my input at a tap, I have to PRESS them firmly (F in particular, which is really no fun when your main character's name is Flynn), and the shift and return keys are all kinds of messed up in their location and size.

Anyway, long story, um, long I guess, I met the minimum word count quota for a single NaNo day in about twice the amount of time it takes me to write 2k words on the keyboard I'm used to and I'm calling it a day.

Does anyone else find they can't work near as productively if their environment or tools change?

- Grimm

P.S. This blog post took over 15 minutes to write on this keyboard :-/
P.P.S. Give me a keyboard like on my MacBook Pro with any other OS (that supports Scrivener) and I'd be just as happy, so I'm NOT a Mac guy, just a guy who loves his keyboard and hates change.


  1. Maybe it's because I learned to type on an old Underwood manual typewriter, but I don't have a problem typing on any modern keyboard. I understand the irritation of shifting between programs to write, though. It takes me longer when I expect to be able to perform a function and I have to stop and think about how to do it, or when I expect it to look a certain way and it doesn't. Those lost seconds add up, but even worse, they make me think about something other than what I'm writing. That's what really irks me.

    Oh, and I used to have a dog named Flynn. Best. Dog. Ever.

    1. To illustrate the point, I typed the above response on my cell phone while I waited with my daughter at the bus stop this morning. I thought the phone ate the comment, but there it is. Switching between platforms or programs while working on the same project is just irritating! And if a Mac keyboard needs only a gentle touch, I'd probably break it within a week. I broke my old (that I bought in 1997) Dell laptop's keyboard twice within three years. The HP I work on now is proving to be a little more durable. :D

    2. I don't find the MacBook keyboard fragile just more responsive. I think this HP keyboard may need a good cleaning (I'm not quite sure how to go about that on an HP laptop but I'll figure it out).

      So yeah, between the different layout and poor responsiveness of the keys I found myself constantly fixing missing letters or removing errant slashes, which does a fantastic job of breaking up a narrative train of thought.