My experience with TypeMatrix and Macs
  • siemsensiemsen October 2010

    I believe in the common-sense ideas behind TypeMatrix keyboards, but I failed to make the switch. I tried hard. I bought an old-style TypeMatrix 2030, the one with a red "Del" key and a PS/2 cable. Later, I bought a newer TypeMatrix 2030, with a USB cable. I hoped that the newer version might fix some oddities of the older version. It helped somewhat, but I still couldn't fully transition to the TypeMatrix boards. I'm a Mac user. I like Apple keyboards better because:

    1. Consistent modifier keys. On the larger, wired Apple keyboards with a numeric keypad, the Shift, Command, Option, and Control keys are symmetric in size and placement, and equidistant from the space bar. I use all three modifiers a lot, sometimes in combination. They are all oversized on the Apple keyboard, so they're easy to find and hit. The TypeMatrix is lopsided - there's only one Command key, labeled "start". The left and right Option and Control keys are different sizes.

    2. Feel. TypeMatrix keys have a very nice smooth, quiet feel. Apple is quite similar, but with shorter travel, which I think is better.

    3. No dead or mystery keys. I made this table to help learn the newer TypeMatrix 2030 with Mac OS X Snow Leopard:

    | key | effect | effect with fn |
    | calc | nothing | nothing |
    | mail/ | nothing | |
    | www/ | nothing | |
    | play/cut | mute | Shift-delete |
    | delete/insert | delete | ? |
    | app/copy | nothing | Ctrl-? |
    | shuffle/paste | alt | Shift-? |
    | dsktp/prev | Command-E (?!!!) | tells iTunes to go to the previous track |
    | alt/next | alt | tells iTunes to go to the next track |
    | pg up/back | pg up | nothing (with Safari or Firefox) |
    | pg dn/forward | pg up | nothing (with Safari or Firefox) |
    | F10/prt sc | F10 | F13 |
    | F11/scroll | F11 | F14 (decrease display brightness) |
    | F12/pause | F12 | F15 (increase display brightness) |

    4. Mac-specific keys that, no surprise, work very well with a Mac.

    I like the TypeMatrix keyboards because:

    1. The grid layout. For the first time in my life, I was able to touch-type the top-row numeric keys with some accuracy. This is very important when writing software, because programs contain a lot of the special characters on that row.

    2. Center placement of the "Enter" and "Back Space" keys. It's just so obviously right!

    3. Better nubs and ridges. It's easier to feel your way around a TypeMatrix. The Apple's keys all have the same surface. The nubs and ridges are in the right places on my Dvorak TypeMatrix. On my Apples with the keys manually rearranged, the few nubs are on the wrong keys.

    I tried, and I now use Apple keyboards.

    I think the rumored programmable TypeMatrix keyboard may solve the dead key issue for me. That may make the TypeMatrix attractive enough that I'll finally make the switch.

    I realize that some keys will have labels that don't reflect their effect. For me, the solution is to just ignore the labels. I don't like the silicon-skin solution to the problem. I have a silicon-skin made by KB Covers for my Mac laptop. It gives me the Dvorak layout. I don't really like the skin, but I don't want to move the keycaps on the laptop, so it's a workable solution. Luckily, I can usually use an external keyboard, with repositioned keycaps. I find the slight loss of feel to be too great for all-day use of a skin. Stickers might work, but I doubt that they wouldn't rub off with time.

    I hope this might help other Mac users who want to use TypeMatrix keyboards.

    -- Pete

  • TypeMatrix_admin December 2010

    @siemsen: Thank you for sharing your experiences with us and other Mac users.

  • Naugrim December 2010

    On the Packard bell EasyNote which I have packarb bell has never made serigraphie but only put stickers. and for 3 years of use there is no signe of rub off.
    Since One year I have buy and put the "dvorak programmer" layout stickers and there is no signe of rub off as well.

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