Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Things Writers Know...

Sometimes it still takes me aback that I am a real, honest-to-goodness, professional writer. I mean, I have a degree in Biology. I learned the Krebs Cycle, for crying out loud. And while few 10 year olds respond "I want to wash test tubes" when asked what they want to be when they grow up, even fewer say "I want to stare at a computer screen hoping against hope that the words come soon" either...

So, every once in a while, you have to savor the little victories. Like finding a great keyboard. I know that Marko swears by the IBM Model M, the ancient and noble original keyboard descended from the stone keyboard brought down from the Mount by Moses. He recently discovered a newer version that he likes, and while I was tempted (trust me on this one, folks, if you want a solid gold recommendation on a piece of writing equipment, ask a writer), the price tag was a little steep.

Fortunately, my tastes are much simpler. I found this setup at BJs for $29.99. Disgustingly easy to set up (literally, I plugged in the USB dongle and it recognized both keyboard and mouse instantly. Not quickly. Instantly.), and just the right amount of play in the keys. I don't need a lot of noise out of my keys (I cut my teeth on a thermal print typewriter, back in the before-time when the earth first cooled and computers were the size of Winnebagos and about as fast).

A few goals for me:

1. Don't eat anything over the new keyboard. Seriously. It's nasty. Back before we got the all-in-one, we had a laptop. TheBoy questioned why we had a peripheral keyboard plugged into it one time, noting rightly that it seemed superfluous. I literally did not say a word, but reached down, picked the keyboard up, turned it upside down and gave it a few cursory whacks.

The pile of detritus that fell out of it answered my son's question right away.

2. It's not the keyboard's fault that the internet is slow or the computer is gakking during an update. Seriously, Jay. Push the chair back from the desk, go take a brisk walk around the neighborhood, and reboot the system. Hammering on the keyboard doesn't speed anything up, it only hastens the demise of the keyboard.

3. Write more. Whether it's for the blog, on a piece of fiction, or perhaps even the road rage compilation novel folks have been clamoring for. I swear, folks would not believe the stuff I've seen on the roads, both here and in MA. VA drivers are different than those in MA, not necessarily better, but certainly less profane. There's a reason there's a warning on the Earthf**ker...

Right now, though, I'm diggin' the new keyboard...

That is all.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you like that style of keyboard, another great choice for less money is the DELL AT101W:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Mechanical-Keyboard-Black-AT101W-DP-N-077EUG/171382576909?_trksid=p2047675.c100011.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D23490%26meid%3D8356613295950843572%26pid%3D100011%26prg%3D10073%26rk%3D4%26rkt%3D10%26sd%3D380809516010

LCB said...

I work in IT, so I sit at a PC all day long doing a ton of typing. For me, an ergonomic keyboard works best. My wrists stopped hurting AND...my co-workers hate it. :-)

I'm currently using the MS 4000.

Anonymous said...

The problem I have is that I learned typing on an old Royal manual. And my first computer keyboards were HP9000 dumb terminals.

Since the old keyboards required some force to depress the keys and I still (after all these years) have that heavy handed keying style, I usually need a heavier/more robust keyboard than some of those slim-line things that I end up breaking through normal use.

Joseph in IL

Dave H said...

I rocked a Logitech wireless set for several years, but for some reason gaming with them sucked the batteries flat at just the wrong time. ("Do ya feel lucky? Well, do ya, p... hang on, I need a new battery for my mouse.") I managed to locate an old IBM keyboard with a satisfyingly clacky sound at the thrift store for $5, and that's what I use now.

Now I just need for the words to come. But after reading Marko's stuff, performance anxiety has become a real problem. (grin)

Old NFO said...

Ergo keyboard over here, due to wrist problems... sigh... Miss the old IBMs, they were bulletproof!!!

Ancient Woodsman said...

Write. Write. Write some more. And write often!

I too have a degree in biology - wildlife biology (go ahead and laugh, but I still know the latin names of all native trees & wildlife. And yes, I can describe Krebs cycle) - because that is the only life-sciences program at the time that had both fire and law enforcement courses in it. Which is where I wanted to go, and where I ended up.

Problem is, I loved the job so much I got good at it. Really good. So good it got to promotion good. Being stupider at the time, I said "yes" to the Captain's bars.

So now as the field supervisor - the "field" part being because you supervise folks in the field, not actually that you ARE in the field much - it's computers. Meetings. Reports and reviews. HR stuff. Ho hum. Crap. This is not what I signed up for.

So I relish the days when a subordinate is off and I get to cover things in their area. And get in the field again. Like this week. Yummy.

So write, Jay. Write! You got where you are because you are good at it. Remember how you got there. And write some more. And enjoy that new keyboard.

Ed said...

That degree in Biology taught you how to be a scientist - to observe, to hypothesize, to experiment, to question how and why and to describe it to others. Think of those early lab report write-ups as training in technical writing.

However, intimate knowledge of the Krebs Cycle aka Citric Acid Cycle aka Tricarboxylic Acid (TCA) Cycle is only good for a few things. Not too many can distinguish between mitochondria and midi-chlorians, knowing that the former is a real symbiosis that produces energy and the latter is a fictional symbiosis that is sensitive to energy.

Evyl Robot Michael said...

The M's are pretty great, but there's something to be said for a wireless Logitech. Come to think of it, unless the keyboard is attached (laptop), I don't use anything but an M or a wireless Logitech anymore. BTW, check out this video of me running an IBM M on my Galaxy S3: http://youtu.be/ZlIoERQWNbg