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5/31/2005
05:39 PM
Mike Elgan
Mike Elgan
Commentary
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Blank Keyboard Fad Will Fade

Generic keyboards are being made into geek status symbols by the removal of letter on the keys? Gimme a break!

The current rage among touch-typing geeks: Keyboards without writing on the keys.

A few weeks ago, Das Keyboard came out with its $80 blank keyboard.

Not to be out-geeked, PFU is offering the Happy Hacking Keyboard (HHK) Professional with blank keys. As usual, the HHK comes with a minimum of keys -- just 60.

These provide out-of-the-box what you used to be able to achieve only with stick-ons.

The benefits of this keyboard could be:

1. Boosting of touch typing, as you're forced to rely on muscle memory rather than peeking at the keys.

2. Improved appearance of keyboards. The printed lettering on keyboards of heavy users tends to wear down unevenly.

3. Better security. Non-touch typists trying to log onto your system will be slowed down by the lack of key letters.

Despite these admittedly questionable benefits, both keyboards are marketed as a way to communicate to others that you are an uber-geek -- not someone to be trifled with. The Das Keyboard, according to the company's Web site, "says who you are." The HHK Web site says using their blank keyboard "will amaze your peers - adding to your already formidable reputation!"

To borrow a phrase from my friends in New York: C'mon, gimme a break! Real geeks tend to be unconcerned about status or image and buy keyboards for performance and "feel." And the wanna-be geeks won't be able to use these blank keyboards. I don't think this will catch on.
 

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letme
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letme,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/27/2014 | 6:09:06 PM
9 years later
Hello mister, 

This is quite an old post. I just wanted to update you.

Blank keyboard seems to be a huge craze among typists and pc gamers alike. Das even holds typing competition, where they feature their prized blank mechanical keyboards.

I currently use a blank mechanical keyboard myself, I also type in both Dvorak and Qwerty (the blank keys helped a lot when i was learning Dvorak, and prevented confusion during the transition to Dvorak). While I cannot say that using blank keyboards will increase typing speed or accuracy, I can definitely agree to the cool factor playing a heavy hand in influencing me to take the blank key route.

Another advantage is, as stated above, transitioning between keyboard layouts if the user chooses or decides to undertake a new venture as such.

Obviously having a blank set of keys will not appeal to the masses, especially in helping educators introduce the computer to beginners. However, during my research into how to type in Dvorak, I found many enthusiasts, and full forums discussing the benefits and rewarding feeling about using blank keyboards.

While I do agree that this style of keyboard did not explode or boom in popularity over the last 9 years, I must also disagree with you; due to the people I have met and all the communities I have seen whome all love their blank keyboards. It seems that blank keyboard enthusiasts like me are growing in numbers from year to year.

While I can go back to using a labeled standard keyboard, I take pride in having the option to freely not have to.

--

Let

 

p.s. Wow those prices you stated are amazing. Prices now range from 100 - 300 for a blank mechanical keyboard. Maybe I should have looked into this 9 years ago lol.
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