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INPUT DEVICES

TypeMatrix EZ-Reach 2030, a Different Kind of Keyboard
By: Shawn Milochik
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    2006-05-01

    Table of Contents:
  • TypeMatrix EZ-Reach 2030, a Different Kind of Keyboard
  • TypeMatrix Features
  • Stuff that I don't love
  • Conclusion

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    TypeMatrix EZ-Reach 2030, a Different Kind of Keyboard - TypeMatrix Features


    (Page 2 of 4 )

    The color-scheme of the board is attention-getting, with some gray keys, one red key (Delete), and blue labels for the dual-labeled keys, such as the number pad and special functions. However, the colorful board isn't distracting once you start typing, because it's so easy to use that you don't have to look at it.

    TypeMatrix has introduced a unique feature among keyboards: the centrally-located Enter and Backspace keys. Suprisingly, within a day it felt natural to reach for them instead of extending my smallest finger and I kept reaching for them after I took my unplugged laptop into another room. The idea is simple; use the stronger fingers to reach for commonly used keys rather than the weaker ones. It is one of the central ideas used by August Dvorak when he developed the Simplified Keyboard Layout in the 1930s, and I think it's a good one.

    Now my favorite feature: the non-staggered keys. The earliest typewriters were designed with the keys staggered to make room for the mechanics underneath. For some reason, in 2005 most people still reach at angles to hit the keys outside the home row. With the 2030, the hands basically stay in one place without twisting around reaching, while the fingers travel straight up and down in a straight line. I am especially excited about this because, for the first time in over 14 years of touch-typing, I am touch-typing numbers! I can't say enough about the non-staggered layout, and I hope that all keyboard manufacturers will eventually adopt this as a standard.

    Of course, the non-staggered keys and central Enter and Backspace keys took some getting used to. But not much. In my case, it was about a half-day of normal cubicle dwelling before I wasn't thinking about it anymore. In fact, after using the squared-off grid of keys, I now have trouble finding the bottom two keys at each end of a "normal" keyboard. They're in such weird positions!

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