I’d love to know people’s favorite input devices. Are you a mechanical keyboard person? Which keyboard(s) do you love? Prefer non-mech keyboards? What works for you? I’d also love to know more about who uses a mouse vs. trackpad vs. trackball, and what kind of device you use!
I nerd out about this stuff and have built my current system over many years. I use the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard with a bunch of customizations (my v2 still has the stock keycaps, but I’m looking for a more colorful replacement set, it just gets complicated because I want shine-through for the customizable backlighting, and the shift/enter/space keys are all unusual sizes). I LOVE LOVE LOVE the magic trackpad and I don’t think anything will ever take me away from it. I keep it to the right of my keyboard. It’s a split keyboard so I’ve played with having it in the middle, but it took too much retraining to be worth it.
Speaking of retraining, I recently got a Charachorder One that I have not at all figured out how to use yet, but am fascinated by the idea.
Daily drivers are an Ergodox EZ & Logitech MX Master 2S mouse.
I discovered Matias keyboards when I broke my elbow and then became a general mechanical keyboard nerd for a bit. My son took one board and when a switch failed on my own I used that as an excuse to try the Ergodox. I love it and have moved toward a more and more minimal keymap. To the extent that my next longing is for a 36-key board running something like the Miryoku layout.
At the jobby-job, I use a MacTigr from das keyboard (very satisfying to type on), but at home, I use a MX Keys from Logitech to type on (that backlight!), with an Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID for… well, Touch ID. It all makes sense in my mind.
I’m using an old Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 keyboard, with a little help from Keyboard Maestro to make some of the keys bring up the right character(s) and utilise some of the extra keys and controls for my own purposes. I love it so much that I bought a spare in case this one gives up the ghost. I wish I’d bought one years ago, it is much kinder to my hands and wrists.
I own an ErgoDox, but got it before I actually cared about mechanical keyboards. I should dig that out and see how it goes (I scavenged all of the keycaps for another board I was building, so I’ll have to replace those before trying it out).
First question: do you find it difficult to switch between the Das and the MX Keys? I find after typing mostly on a mechanical keyboard that switching to low-profile keys leads to lots of typing errors…
Second: Do you literally have two keyboards on your desk, one just for Touch ID?
Since there’s usually a 15 minute drive from work to back home, that seems to be enough of a break that my wrists don’t notice. I also don’t write very much on the MX Keys, to be honest.
Yes, with the Magic Keyboard rotated 180º so that the sensor is closest to me (otherwise I do stuff like hit an F-key by accident). If it helps, I have it on a cheapo monoprice monitor stand so it’s not in the way…
My favorite keyboard right now is the Keychron Q1 and it’s the perfect size (75%) and I have a magic trackpad sitting to the right of the keyboard. right now all I am missing is a decent palm rest… Any suggestions?
I’m happily typing away on a Drop CTRL with some of their custom two-part switches. I tried to get into the split keyboard thing, I just can’t seem to adapt to it. I’ve got a Keychron Q8 Alice that I love the build of… I should really try to sell it to someone who will love it.
Kinesis Advantage 360 Pro is my current keyboard. I wouldn’t say this particular keyboard is my favorite, but the concept is all there. Key wells, programmable with open source firmware, and wireless are all things I want in a keyboard, but the execution isn’t quite perfect.
In my Advantage 2 I replaced the switches with silent linear ones, but the flexible PCB on the 360 is really fragile. I would like to replace the gateron browns they have in it with silent linears as well, but frankly don’t want to break an expensive keyboard.
I am also using the vertical logitech mouse, which is… another alright produt. Unfortunately the more niche your requirements the less great options you have.
I keep looking at the loupedeck and streamdecks and thinking it’s something I’d want, but I’ve never been able to envision what exactly I would use it for other than running some home automation shortcuts.
The Loupedeck having a bunch of knobs makes it a bit interesting perhaps for controlling a DAW or Photo Editing software, though!
I have 3 Stream Decks, 2 of which are truly useful and one I bought because it has knobs and I’m waiting for better support for them in BetterTouchTool. My main screen of my regular Stream Deck has things like volume/mute control, office and basement light automations, and VPN status, with a bunch of additional pages and folders filled with Bunch shortcuts, music app controls, Zoom meeting controls, etc. My Stream Deck Mini has mostly status buttons, showing everything from download speed to CPU usage, to the current temperature, and changes screens based on the app I’m using to provide up to 6 shortcuts. I especially like the Screenflow screens I’ve built for quick access to editing features.
I think it’s probably similar to what @MevetS is doing with TouchPortal?
Like John Gruber, I have stuck with a trusty Apple Extended Keyboard II. I used a Matias for a while, but I’m just so comfortable on the ancient keyboard. A dude closing up his Mac shop sold me several, so I have plenty of backups in the closet in case of failure or for parts.
My daily driver is a Keychron Q1 with Gateron Cap Yellow (silent) switches and the retro-Mac keycap set they are offering. It’s comfortable, I really enjoy typing on it, and it produces a satisfying clack while being overall very silent.
But left to my own devices, I prefer clicky switches, namely Kailh Box Whites. My 65% keyboard (Keychron K6) that I occasionally use with the iPad has these installed, although I used Gateron Greens for the modifier keys (Shift, Ctrl, alt, etc.). I am still trying to get into split keyboards. I went all-in and soldered together an Isis v4, but I can’t bring myself to learn the arrow-key-free layout. Although I feel really cyberpunk when I place a trackball between the two halves.
All in all, I am quite happy with the experience – I learned about switches, keycaps, qmk, via, dove deep into the Linux xkb layout protocol, got back out with just enough oxygen, and can say now that I am once again an expert in a field no one needs experts in. And the motivation for all of this can be traced back to one obscure blog post on mechanical keyboards from 2019.