Last time I was in Florida, about 2 years back, I bought a new HP Laptop. It has been my primary tool for all browsing and posting since. I don’t know if they have a lousy grade of plastic in the keys, or if I just type one heck of a lot… or both… But here are two pictures of some of the keycaps and the mousepad. I think you can see a bit of wear…
For comparison, I have a Compaq from about 15 years ago with Linux on it that was my “daily driver” for several years (a half dozen?) though I was not blogging then. It has nearly pristine key caps. Make of that what you will. I did wear out a keyboard on a Mac iBook and had to have it replaced (about 3 years? Maybe 4…) so at least part of it is me…
Here’s the pics:
It’s a good thing I touch type ;-)
I learned to type in a formal typing class in High School at about 17 years old. I was one of 2 boys in the class (it was predominantly taught to girls so they could be secretaries. I’d figured out that typing was going to be important in college…) Despite the grief I was given by the less bright males in school, it was one of the two most valuable classes I’ve ever taken. (The other was my final class in college, when I took an acting class. Learning how to enter a character and hold it for 2 hours has been highly useful in a ‘professional’ setting…)
We started on manual typewriters, then worked up to using the one row of IBM Selectric typewriters when we were fast enough. They were a new thing then… To this day, I find the IBM Selectric to be one of the best typing instruments I’ve ever used.
The key feel on the HP is quite good too, but frankly, given that the IBM was used day in and day out for years, and we never had any worn key caps “issues”, I have to think that they used a better class of materials.
So here’s to a “benchmark” of sorts. Like the worn teeth of old cattle, or the rut in the road where all the wagon wheels pass; these key caps say that there’s been a lot of characters flow out these fingers. It’s also an interesting point about nature that my fingertips show no wear at all ;-) An observant person will note that the “home row” has more wear than the others (the fingers rest there, and wiggle a bit, even when not pressing those keys) and that the “high usage” letters, like vowels, have the most use. In theory, you could do a wear map and compute the likelihood of any one character being used (rather like the “population counts” used in crypto work).
At some point, I’ll likely need to replace the keyboard, or use a bluetooth outboard keyboard. For now, I’m still typing fine, even if I can’t read the key caps at all. Guess that old touch typing class was a good idea after all ;-)