Anyone who knows me for long enough knows that I have a thing with keyboards, and two common questions that I get from my friends are
How many keyboards do you have?
You bought another keyboard?
Well, I thought really hard about it, and I think that I might have a convincing argument that might win you over.
I am a Software Engineer; To me, a keyboard is not just a tool, it’s a medium to express yourself in the digital world. A keyboard is like a paintbrush to an artist, or a pen to a calligrapher. The different keyboards gives me a different feeling towards them, a grounded no-frills keyboard feels formal and is used for work. A keyboard with many function keys and lighting is fun*, and is something I would use for gaming. Each type of keyboard gives a different feel, just like how some people buy really expensive pens solely for signing contracts/documents.
* yes, gaming keyboards are purpose built for gaming, that’s why people like to use them for gaming, but the same argument is made for pens, there are some for writing, and some are made for drawing.
The reason why I try out so many keyboards, is because I am trying to find that perfect interface between me and the computer; which at this point this has pretty much became a hobby. A keyboard is how I am able to paint my thoughts in code. I say “paint”, because I feel that coding is a creative process, there is no single correct solution most of the times. You tap on your education, past experiences, and sometimes intuition, to write solutions for software problems. With the right keyboard, I feel that my thoughts are able to flow onto the screen more freely, it becomes an enjoyable process.
Most importantly, I enjoy typing, just like how some people enjoy writing on paper, or drawing on canvases. This is why I have been blogging for so many years, this is why I enjoy coding even on my free time. The software I create is my masterpiece akin to a book. While a book’s content can be appreciated by a wider audience, code can be beautiful as well. With books, we are entranced by how an author is able to arrange words that tingles on our heart strings. With code, I am amazed by the ingenious way someone is able efficiently solve a problem using the exact same language as I am.
A good keyboard will not make you a better developer, just like how a better pen doesn’t make you a better writer magically. What it does, is make that experience a lot more enjoyable.
I hope that I have provided an interesting argument and perspective on why everyone should give a little more attention to the keyboard that they are using. Go to a shop and try something new, don’t be afraid to spend a little on something that you’re probably using every single day.
Lastly, to answer the first two questions, right now I own 6 keyboards (5 mechanical), and I have tried at least 10 different types of keyboards. And indeed, I have recently bought another keyboard. The apple magic keyboard 2, which I have used to write this entire post. (because that’s the inspiration that it gave me)