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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 - Stuff that I don't love


    (Page 3 of 4 )

    Now for the stuff I didn't love. The Alt key is no longer immediately to the side of the space bar. I use the Alt+Space combination all the time for a great app called AppRocket, which finds files, folders, and programs with a couple of keystrokes, so I never have to use desktop icons or the Windows "Start" menu. I use a similar application for the Mac, called LaunchBar. The Ctrl key is on the lower left of the board, with the Alt next, then a small Shift key. There are also double-height Shift keys on each end of the keyboard, just outside the letter keys. The odd position of the Alt key also makes Alt+Tab less convenient, causing me to pick up my hand to use it. TypeMatrix added a "Shuffle" key to the left of the Space bar which is the equivalent of Alt+Tab. This may make up for the inconvenience for people using PS/2 connections, but with a USB adapter (which comes free with the keyboard), the scrolling through applications is too fast to be usable. I've tested with another PS/2 to USB adapter I had lying around, and it's definitely related to using a USB adapter.

    The keyboard comes with a PS/2 cable attached, and there is no USB-only model. However, a high-quality PS/2 to USB adapter is included which includes two PS/2 inputs so both the keyboard and a mouse can be attached. While I would prefer a USB model, especially because it's 2006 and I'm also a Mac user, I can understand that the need to be compatible with 100% of people outweighed being on the cutting edge of hardware. And the free adapter (which is probably worth about 20 bucks), shows that TypeMatrix is aware of the situation and doing everything they can to make their product a good choice for people other than geeks.

    The Caps Lock key is at the top center of the keyboard. The Ins key is to the far right. I love this, because I never hit those keys intentionally, and the further away from my hands they are (preferably off of the keyboard entirely) the better. Despite the center Backspace key, there is a second Backspace key right about where you expect it with your right little-finger. I still hit it maybe once or twice a day, and it's nice to have it. However, I expect to stop using it entirely sooner or later.

    The keys surrounding the central Enter and Backspace keys have a very tiny ridge along the edge of the key closest to the center, presumably to help your fingers avoid reaching too far for a letter and hitting one of the center keys. Personally, I didn't find this too useful, because I type either too quickly or too lightly to notice them. But they don't bother me either, so I think it's probably a nice touch that some people will find very helpful.

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