Drumming Your Fingers on a Table

Engadget has a rumor and purported images of a keyboard said to be ready for the upcoming iMac from Apple. The keyboard is stripped down to the bare essentials in materials but keeps the expected keys and even looks to add some function keys.

I'll assume this is the new keyboard. I like most of what I see. A few observations:

  • The keys are like the ones found on the MacBook - I like the keys on the MacBook. Lots of folks dismissed the chiclet style keys, but I don't mind them. Then again, I don't mind the current Apple keyboards either, but if you read some Apple forums you'd find that plenty of people hate that keyboard. I used to be a keyboard snob and would only use a Microsoft natural board. I've since mellowed and even traded in my disgusting natural at work for a clean new Dell that seems to borrow some design cues from Apple.

  • No Apple key - The Command key currently has an Apple logo on it. The trouble is, the Apple is never referred to in documentation. Users are told to hit the command key and keyboard shortcuts list the feature key logo. This is very confusing for switchers. At least it isn't like the old days with the closed apple key and the open apple key. Anyway, everyone is crying fake on the keyboard because the apple logo is gone. I'll interpret it as Apple drinking some of their own simplify juice and getting rid of the confusing icon for the key that is never called the apple key. Wouldn't it be great if Microsoft did the same and got rid of the silly Windows key?

  • Design - I like the clean design and the design looks like it will be easier to keep clean! While the clear plastic enclosure on the current Apple keyboard looks nice, it's really just a window display for dirt and crud.

  • Design Part 2 - By refining the keyboard down to its simplest form, Apple may be opening the door for 3rd parties again. One of the side effects of Apple's minimalist design is the non-minimals (what kind of word is that?) will accessorize the crap out of it. Look how many billions of dollars there are in the iPod accessories market. Do you like your keyboard to slant forward? No problem. Someone will come out with a slab of plastic that this keyboard will click in to. Like more USB ports? Sure, how about a glowing blue enclosure with 6 USB ports out the side. Want an iPod dock in your keyboard? Seems like that would be easy enough to mold in the plastic as well. Now, you won't be able to change the curve of the keyboard, but if that's your style, you wouldn't be happy with this keyboard anyway and would already know what you like (see earlier comment about keyboard snob). This already happened with the Mac mini. Companies like Plasticsmith rolled out multiple products to fit your Mac mini needs.

In the end, if Apple can get you excited about your computer over $20 worth of keyboard parts, that's great for them. If they can't, then so what. You can pick from hundreds of keyboards out there.


Conquer Cord Clutter

My latest simplification involves taming cords on the kitchen counter. I saw the Socket Pocket and had to have one. I don't know why the comments on sites like lifehacker seemed to hate it so much. Are cords on the counter that big of a deal? Yes, when cats play with them. When kids yank on them. When you can't set groceries down because there is a cord pile in the way. These are all problems I don't want to have. The Socket Pocket is simple, not too ugly, and it gets the job done.

That's my wife's cell phone, and now it lives nice and tidy on the wall. The second one (they come in packs of two) is in the garage holding my bicycle light so I always know where to find it and it is charged and ready to blaze the night.

There are a few things I would change about the Socket Pocket. First, I'd change the construction and design and have it come in one piece. Currently in ships in 3 pieces -- the plate, the pocket, and the bottom of the pocket. The pocket is actually flat and you have to bend it to shape and slide it into slots on the plate. It works, but it is flimsy. Mold the pocket and plate in one piece. Having the bottom a seperate snap-in still makes sense the way the fingers in the bottom can flip up and snap back down. Second, give us something other than white plastic. I think stainless steel would be nice. Plenty of folks have stainless steel appliances these days, so stainless would fit in the kitchen nicely and it wouldn't look bad in the garage either.


Subscribe and Save

You may or may not have noticed that Amazon added a subscription capability a few months back. It isn't available on all things (who needs a monthly Britney Spears delivery?), but most consumables can be subscribed to. Things like cleaner, diapers, and cereal are all available.

It's a good deal too. You save 15% off the price by subscribing. The odd thing is, you can cancel at any time, so it seems like you could subscribe to a single shipment just to get 15% off. Maybe someone can find the small print that says you can't do that. Anyway, here's a nice example of the money you can save with Amazon subscriptions. It's really nice that super saver shipping continues to apply.


5 of The Now

It's not hard to tell I'm in a techy, clicky, phase at the moment.

Go to Beatport.comGet These TracksAdd This Player


Replacing Dew

I've written about drinking Mountain Dew on 2 previous occasions. I've tried reducing my intake, but I always bounce back up. This time I've gone cold turkey. I'm proud to say that neither Dew nor any other "soda" has touched my lips in 42 days. I don't think I've gone that long since I was 5.

I'm drinking more water, but I still like something with some taste, so I've been trying various drinks to replace where I'd normally drink pop. I've tried more diet varieties, but I really can't stand fake sugar. The problem with stuff that isn't pop is that it is expensive. Dew is pennies compared to drinking Naked Juice, Sobe, and Izze.

My ultimate goal is to find a good tasting, reasonably priced, lower calorie drink. Here's a chart I made of some of the drinks I've been drinking recently.

Maybe it is no surprise to you, but drinking Tropicana Lemonade is like drinking Pepsi. The healthy Green Tea has lots of calories. As for the rest, factor in price, and surprisingly, Gatorade comes out the winner. Low in calories. Tastes good. Cheaper than most drinks that aren't pop.

As a final motivator to stay off Dew, 1 pound is equal to 3500 calories. If you drink 48 ounces of dew a day, that's 660 calories. If you simply switch to Gatorade, you save 360 calories a day and will lose a pound every 10 days with no other changes to your diet. That's 36 pounds in a year!

What are your favorite drinks that are low in calories (but not zero calories)?


StarLytes of Wonder

If we're showing off our old toys, then I'd like to submit this mid-80s gem extracted from my parent's basement.

I have two working LazerTag guns plus sensors. That's all my brother and I ever had. They had cool stuff like rifles and vests, but they were always too expensive for us. That didn't matter though. We spent countless hours running around the neighborhood shooting each other and even more hours setting up target practice and diving around the living room. I can't help but think someone would call 911 on us these days. Juveniles with guns would be the report.

I guess LazerTag is still around, but it ain't the same, ya know? Check out some great history at this LazerTag fan site.


Stupid Shopping on the Web

While trying to buy some items at Home Depot, I came across this not-so-helpful message.

Ok, the software is smart enough to know that item isn't available and to tell me, but isn't smart enough to not add it to my cart in the first place? How about disabling the "add to cart" for items that aren't available. I guess there could have been a chance that the item became unavailable in the time it took to load the page and for me to add it, but I doubt it.