"performance claims without benchmarks probably aren't true"
October 17, 2017 4:59 PM   Subscribe

 
No IBM Model M? I applaud your efforts sir, may others benefit from your data wrangling. /endclack
posted by RolandOfEld at 5:21 PM on October 17, 2017 [12 favorites]


But my keyboard has RGB lights?!?! RGB LIGHTS?!!!
posted by Fizz at 5:21 PM on October 17, 2017 [7 favorites]


Model M keyboards are ps/2 and this only tests USB keyboards. I would suspect a ps/2 keyboard connected to a ps/2 keyboard port may have lower latency.
posted by fimbulvetr at 5:36 PM on October 17, 2017 [5 favorites]


I don't know if it makes sense to lump key travel time in with the other sources of latency, because it's not the case that short travel is inherently better.
posted by Pyry at 5:36 PM on October 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


I encourage you to read the whole thing, particularly the part where key travel is explicitly addressed
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:38 PM on October 17, 2017 [18 favorites]


This makes me happy because the MS Natural 4000 has been my keyboard of choice for years!
posted by Hairy Lobster at 5:42 PM on October 17, 2017


Model M would lose (I think) because of key travel. But it would win in satisfaction :)
posted by WaterAndPixels at 5:43 PM on October 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


If I were a gaming keyboard designer and knew how much latency was beyond my control (eg, baked into the way the host computer is going to deal with the USB bus) I would probably not put a lot of resources into reducing my latency either.

The initial comparison to Apple 2 and old PS/2 systems really helps to quantify what we gave up in exchange for a multipurpose multi-device bus -- those blazing fast ancient systems all process the keyboard vis dedicated hardware interrupts which short-cut through approximately a bazillion layers of modern software meditation.
posted by range at 5:46 PM on October 17, 2017 [9 favorites]


I'm really not surprised. There's more than one reason I keep buying these aluminum keyboards.
posted by limeonaire at 5:51 PM on October 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately most AAA games have absolutely gross amounts of latency anyway, so...

Most people are buying these keyboards for the mechanical switches and, of course, the sick LED effects. I guess. I mean they must, right? Somebody is to blame for the fact that my mouse glows like the eyes of a frightened deer.
posted by selfnoise at 5:52 PM on October 17, 2017 [7 favorites]


There are only so many blue LEDs the aftermarket car radio industry can purchase
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:53 PM on October 17, 2017 [20 favorites]


The whole blog is very interesting
posted by thelonius at 6:06 PM on October 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


I bought a gaming keyboard (a Logitech G710) because I like the feel of the mechanical switches and they're more durable. My last keyboard started to get buggy on the "W" key first and then the space bar and a couple of other common keys before I got fed up and replaced it.

I like that it has an adjustable back light but when gaming I don't typically look at the keys. I never gave a thought to latency and it hasn't seemed to have affected my performance at all.
posted by VTX at 6:08 PM on October 17, 2017


I did read the section about key travel, and I don't buy it. Including key travel is misleading because it suggests that the apple magic keyboard is vastly better engineered when in fact if it had normal key travel it would have a more typical 20-25 ms latency. It's like including motorcycles and cars together in a ranked gas mileage table.
posted by Pyry at 6:09 PM on October 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


Where does the writer suggest the Magic Keyboard is vastly better engineered? All it says is that the tests were done based on pushing buttons, rather than actuating switches, because that's how humans interact with their computers. The inarguable fact of the matter is that shorter key travel means a shorter length of time between when you start to press the key and when the computer acknowledges it.

Like, you're still allowed to prefer the feel of longer key travel. There's nowhere in there that says you can't.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:14 PM on October 17, 2017 [9 favorites]


I wouldn't say vastly better, but it makes sense that the apple keys would press much faster than the standard keyboard. He even says "Contrast this to the Apple keyboard measured, where the key travel is so short that it can’t be captured with a 240 fps camera, indicating that the key travel time is < 4ms."
posted by drinkyclown at 6:18 PM on October 17, 2017


Oh, cool! It's nice that the Naturals 4000 is the second-highest rated, especially since the only one that beat it is so miserable to use. Not that I cared about Keyboard latency before this article, or that I would care if my chosen keyboard wasn't so highly ranked...
posted by miguelcervantes at 6:19 PM on October 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Should have been called "Keyboard latency and the market for lemons."
posted by miyabo at 6:29 PM on October 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Das comes out looking pretty good - for a mechanical keyboard with way more key travel than the Apple/etc it still has pretty low latency. (Which is a happy result since thats what both of my keyboards are).
posted by thefoxgod at 6:36 PM on October 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


I just use an x-box controller.


*tries to duck, hits the wrong shoulder button, does a front roll into the path of a sub-boss, dies*
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:37 PM on October 17, 2017 [23 favorites]


I'm actually curious now what the latency is like on Apple's current laptop keyboards, which have effectively no travel. I suspect that it's even faster, but on the other hand I don't like their feel (the desktop Magic Keyboard actually has any travel at all, though it's still polarizing) and apparently they are highly susceptible to even a tiny fluff of dust messing things up significantly.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:38 PM on October 17, 2017


In the old days, iirc, game developers could shave tens of milliseconds off latency by hooking into interrupts instead of letting the signal go the slow BIOS->OS event loop->application event handler route. Is that still true nowadays?
posted by Jpfed at 6:41 PM on October 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


Is the article's premise that gaming keyboards are advertised or sold based on latency actually true? I don't think I've ever seen that, and a quick scan of a couple of keyboards on Newegg shows that the features of gaming keyboards that are advertised are mostly physical ergonomics stuff, aesthetics, configurability, and macro functionality. None of the ~ten or so that I looked at had any kind of latency mentioned in their advertising bullet points.
I bought my "gaming" keyboard because at the time that I bought it it was the cheapest keyboard on Newegg that had 6-key or higher rollover, which was what I determined I needed for the MMO I was playing at the time--in addition to potentially needing two movement keys, I might need to hold a hotbar modifier and use a command chord or something. I don't remember why I needed six keys, but that was what I determined and this is the cheapest keyboard that did it.
posted by IAmUnaware at 6:42 PM on October 17, 2017


I just use an x-box controller.

You joke, but I have at least 2 different friends who are using their Steam controllers as a replacement for their mouse. And I'm thinking it might be worth testing out.
posted by Fizz at 6:55 PM on October 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


Is the article's premise that gaming keyboards are advertised or sold based on latency actually true?

There's literally no reason to advertise a 1000Hz polling rate other than to imply that your keyboard offers less latency than 100Hz keyboards.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:59 PM on October 17, 2017 [6 favorites]


I also use an Xbox (360) controller. Mostly because that's how I started gaming and, even though I'm now playing on a PC through Steam, it's what is most familiar and comfortable. I tried using my keyboard and a mouse but it just felt...weird.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:00 PM on October 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


In the old days, iirc, game developers could shave tens of milliseconds off latency by hooking into interrupts instead of letting the signal go the slow BIOS->OS event loop->application event handler route. Is that still true nowadays?

Nope because compatibility reasons + the fact that you don't want your game to require kernel access. And that was mostly done because there was no event loop worth speaking about.

Computer hardware is becoming more powerful by adding parallel computing resources (multiple cores,GPUs,...) these greatly increase throughput in general put to use those efficiently you have to add latency.

Most games nowadays wil do one frame for engine update, one frame for graphic update and one frame for GPU execution.That last frame is usually is partially parallel with graphic update since usually the graphic update in CPU doesn't read back values from the GPU. So if your game runs at 30fps it's 66ms + n ms of latency added by the engine. Add display latency which can be CRAZY. And that keyboard latency doesn't matter much.

Different kind of games also react differently to input lag, and different tricks can be used to trick the brain into thinking latency is good event though the game isn't updating gameplay with regard to input quickly (see all the oculus research on asynch timewarp).

Low latency is cool but there's crazy low hanging fruit on the software side, lets kill all graphic transitions and fade ins.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 7:01 PM on October 17, 2017 [5 favorites]


calls for more research: we need a double-blind test with gamers, where they are given a random keyboards and see if they play any better/worse with each keyboard (like WAR, only for gamers), and correlate that with the latency ?
posted by k5.user at 7:17 PM on October 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


But my keyboard has RGB lights?!?! RGB LIGHTS?!!!

Fine, braggart. Mine only has red. But I still love it. When I really start typing, I sounds like a hacker in a bad 80's movie...
posted by Samizdata at 7:27 PM on October 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


DoctorFedora: "All it says is that the tests were done based on pushing buttons, rather than actuating switches, because that's how humans interact with their computers. The inarguable fact of the matter is that shorter key travel means a shorter length of time between when you start to press the key and when the computer acknowledges it."

That assumes long term users of both press short and long travel keys with the same acceleration/velocity. One of the reasons I like my Model M is I can hit the keys harder/faster without finger pain that I experience with my laptop keyboard. My keying is noticeably slower when I'm using my laptop (and more error prone but that is probably a function of the closer spacing).
posted by Mitheral at 7:44 PM on October 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


Dan Luu's blog is fantastic, among the best for any CS / software dev enthusiast.
posted by scose at 7:53 PM on October 17, 2017 [5 favorites]


I like the big clacky mechanical switch keys for typing sarcastic comments on the Internet, but when it comes to gaming: Kensington 4 Lyfe, yo. Seriously, somebody send him one, I'd like to know precisely how awesomely fast it is.
posted by sfenders at 8:03 PM on October 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Okay I commented earlier only in the context of gaming, but I have to say there's nothing like the clicky clackiest of keyboards when you're REALLY TRYING TO MAKE A POINT ON THE INTERNET.

Indignation is nothing without a mechanical keyboard.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:07 PM on October 17, 2017 [9 favorites]


This jibes with my observation that I do way better playing Spelunky on my Macbook (previous-gen keyboard) than with a controller on my "real" gaming system. There's a noticeable amount of latency on the latter, which totally gets me killed.
posted by neckro23 at 9:33 PM on October 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Other things that mechanical keyboards are unparalleled for: turning the Typing of the Dead into a more visceral experience overall
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:55 PM on October 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


All it says is that the tests were done based on pushing buttons, rather than actuating switches, because that's how humans interact with their computers. The inarguable fact of the matter is that shorter key travel means a shorter length of time between when you start to press the key and when the computer acknowledges it.

Not at all:
[Blues are] beneficial for gamers who are worried about accidentally hitting any keys during their gameplay, but may not be the best switches to use for first person shooter games or any games that require fast clicking of keys (such as games where you might need to double-tap certain keys to perform an action)."
[...]
Reds are popular switches in gaming keyboards, particularly for gamers who are looking for a fast response. Those playing First Person Shooters, or who are frequently double-clicking or repetitively tapping their keys, these types of switch might be their best bet.
I had blues on a tenkeyless for a while, switched to reds when I switched to a full keyboard. Took me a month to re learn how to type on an unforgiving keyboard, but it helped in game a lot. Gave the tenkeyless with blues to my mom, and she really likes it. Helps her senior citizen non-typer fingers produce much more precise results.

I should probably read the article now :)
posted by Chuckles at 10:04 PM on October 17, 2017


Great article! The author does a pretty good job of covering the issue I'm bringing up:
A common response to this is that “real” gamers will preload keys so that they don’t have to pay the key travel cost, [...] It’s possible you’d see something different if you look at high-level competitive gamers, but even then, just for example, people who use a standard wasd or esdf layout will typically not preload a key when going from back to forward.
posted by Chuckles at 10:17 PM on October 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Ok, so not a PS/2 attached Model M,

How about a USB Unicomp Model-M clone?
posted by mikelieman at 10:28 PM on October 17, 2017


With my slow reflexes, I think the keyboard is the least contributor to latency. That said, I guess I would like a marginally faster response time when playing Sentinels of the Multiverse or Hearthstone.
posted by happyroach at 11:03 PM on October 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Your experience may be different than mine happyroach, but I find hearthstone to be it's own biggest source of latency with the animations and delays over anything I could possible hope to shave off with a better computer setup.
posted by Carillon at 11:39 PM on October 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


For example, an iMac G4 running macOS 9 or an Apple 2 both feel quicker than my 4.2 GHz Kaby Lake system.

Can confirm. The last time I had one of my old Macs fired up I thought it would be an example of how far computer power had come. Well, sort of...

My old G4 running OS9 felt so quick and responsive I couldn't believe it. Kind of shocking.
In raw power for heavy tasks it's going to fall down of course, but to open TextEdit and type a note, or browse the Finder, is surprisingly fast on the old computer.
posted by bongo_x at 11:52 PM on October 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


I still don't believe that keyboard latency is a factor in my life at all, as a gamer or a developer or a web commenter or anything else.
posted by Foosnark at 5:35 AM on October 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure the people for whom this matters are competitive gamers, not regular-ass people who use MS Word for work or whatever.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:05 AM on October 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


The author says that old keyboards are better, but doesn't give any evidence to what the latency was on an 80s keyboard.
posted by demiurge at 6:21 AM on October 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


Wait I'm really confused, isn't he basically just measuring the latency added by various switches/key depths? Like, he didn't hook into any KB electronics, he's not actually measuring internal device latency at all, just physical movement start to bus message fire, and he says pretty explicitly the variance is coming from the key travel time as recorded by camera?

Why even mention all the clockrate/transistor stuff for the actual keyboards? Are we to presume that the iMac and Apple 2 he measured had keyboards that were magically extremely faster latency and somehow solved the "it takes time to move a key up and down and that varies by the key setup" physics problem?

Wouldn't a more logical explanation be that if you measure actual keypress to bus message latency for those old keyboards too, they'd be probably very very similar to the "dell oem spec" 30ms he mentions, and the difference in observed system latency (what he measured via camera on the old computers, but not actually on a new computer/KB) is in fact almost totally attributable to overall system lag for other reasons, with the keyboard latency added by the uhh, unchanging physical constraints of key movement, remaining relatively steady? Maybe there's been some latency creep into the fuller featured/wireless boards, and a decrease in average switch quality/responsiveness in some?

I think he's actually way under-stating/under-measuring his valid point that computer systems have gotten laggier, and is in doing so maybe basically spreading FUD because he measured a total system latency thing for the old computers and just an internal key movement to bus message thing for the modern keyboards? Am I crazy here?
posted by MetropolisOfMentalLife at 6:28 AM on October 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yeah... he appears to be trying to debunk Slashdot statements like this one that he quoted:

There is not a single modern keyboard that has 50ms latency. You (humans) have that sort of latency.

...by proving exactly what that Slashdot statement said. Keyboard input latency is dominated by human finger travel time.

Or half-proving it, anyway. As far as I can see, he never measures how much of the total time is taken up by mechanical travel and how much is taken up by electronic latency. Could've been an interesting post, but ended up being unsatisfying for that reason.
posted by clawsoon at 7:12 AM on October 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


@clawsoon

yeah, I'd love to read an article talking about how controlling for key-travel latency, the latency difference for screen update between an imac g4 and 2017 MBP is actually 20ms -> 80ms or whatever. Would be a useful finding!
posted by MetropolisOfMentalLife at 7:16 AM on October 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


His fundamental premise -- clearly stated -- is that the total response time from "my fingers start pushing this button" to "computer receives the button press" is the only thing that actually matters when discussing input latency. I find it very difficult to disagree with this premise, but I also find it really easy to believe that you would get totally different results if you started from a different premise.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:35 AM on October 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Latency is a HUGE deal for musical keyboards and is the source of some of the most godawful flame wars I've ever seen on some of the music forums I keep tabs on. ("I can hear it!" "No, you can't!" "Well ... you're a poo-poo head!" "No, you're the poo-poo head!" and so on.)
posted by lagomorphius at 7:40 AM on October 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


What, no Happy Hacking Pro 2? tenkeyless 4 EVA!
posted by cyclotronboy at 7:45 AM on October 18, 2017


@tobascodagama right but that's what's so frustrating, he didn't actually measure that premise at all, since he measured screen update not input message send on the old computers, which includes both finger->message send time, and message received -> screen update time, and then he used those numbers to compare to just the finger->message send numbers of modern keyboards, without going back and checking if he just happened to be working with a single low-key travel or "low latency" keyboard on the G4 and Mac 2. He claims to be comparing old keyboard latency to new keyboard latency, but he didn't measure the two in remotely the same way.

Based on his tests, it's totally possible that an IBM Model M would have 40+ms "latency" here as he's defining it, totally invalidating his points, he just is assuming it's more like 10-20ms.
posted by MetropolisOfMentalLife at 8:12 AM on October 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


This might be kind of a fundamentally flawed test, in some ways? One of the selling points of a lot of mechanical "gaming" keyboards is "n-key rollover" (where the keyboard registers all keypresses); this is something that you can't do with USB (USB only registers six keystrokes at once). So anyone who has a "gaming" keyboard like that is probably using it with a USB-to-PS/2 adapter.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 8:59 AM on October 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is pretty silly. His conclusion is laptop style keyboards are faster because they're physically closer to the switches they activate. Who is surprised by that?

If I was ever going to buy a fancy/gaming keyboard it would be way more about key rollover (aka "a keyboard that can register more than 3 presses simultaneously) than some millisecond difference in latency. The number of times I've been killed in an FPS game because I was walking (shift) foward (w) / left (a) and tried to switch weapons (number keys) with my $10 keyboard is depressing.

edit: on review exactly what Pseudonymous Cognomen said
posted by laptolain at 9:20 AM on October 18, 2017


I think that trying to determine exactly why people buy gaming-branded keyboards is a big rabbit hole that you could follow pretty deeply if you wanted to.

Regarding rollover, how many games are there where you press more than six keys simultaneously? Yes, doing better than three-key rollover is pretty damned important (and did indeed inform my last keyboard purchase, personally speaking), but you hit steep diminishing returns once you go beyond that. We're not in the Doom days where WASD+Arrows are the dominant input method. People with gaming keyboards will be pairing them with gaming mice.

So the "serious gamers need >6-key rollover, so they're all using USB->PS/2 adapters anyway" argument seems specious to me, to say the least.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:25 AM on October 18, 2017


tobascodagama:

From what I understand some simulation games require surprisingly large key press combinations. I don't want to oversell how important that is because I personally don't play them but I have seen that argument for 6+ key rollover.
posted by laptolain at 9:28 AM on October 18, 2017


So why not redo the experiment yourself? The Salae logic analyzer linked in the blog post costs $479, but there are all kinds of cheap clones of it on eBay for under $20. It seems like you could come up with your own rig for pushing multiple buttons at once in a couple of hours.
posted by miyabo at 9:30 AM on October 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


Rollover does explain why trying to play MAME using a standard keyboard isn't any fun.. At least as I remember, you couldn't map a key to diagonal, so you'd hit something like up+left to go diagonal, and then if you need to jump and fire at the same time, well, one of those keys was going to be skipped, usually the second movement one, so you're shooting off in the wrong direction..

(And that explains all the "how to buy and wire your own usb controller" stuff I read about how to make your own 4 or 8 way joysticks when building your MAME cabinet .. Though I just bought an x-arcade controller instead.. )
posted by k5.user at 9:44 AM on October 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't redo his experiment because his research has a baked in bias against gaming keyboards. We all want to believe people buying $100+ "gaming keyboards" are marketing suckers that's why it's getting so much play on social media. One of the first words in this article is gaming in quotation marks. That doesn't give me much faith that he came to his experiment with an objective attitude.

He starts with a loaded premise that is easy to ignore since the first thing anyone is going to look at/care about on that webpage is the "shocking" conclusion that the apple magic usb keyboard is faster than all your fancy light up rgb keyboards.

I think his experiment deserves all of the criticism it's getting.
posted by laptolain at 9:52 AM on October 18, 2017


how many games are there where you press more than six keys simultaneously?

Not many, I am guessing.

The most keyboard-intensive game I ever played was Descent, and it was notorious for requiring a lot of keyboard input. It used twelve separate keys for basic ship movement: Thrusters to go up, down, left, right, fore, and aft, and then two directions each of roll, pitch, and yaw. I got to be pretty good at it. The most complicated manoeuvre I remember doing was circling around a target on one axis while remaining aimed at it using, for example, the turn left and move right buttons, while additionally moving up or down, and/or forward and back. So that's up to four keys at once, plus the fire button. I can imagine using some other control to overheat the engines or something at the same time, to make 6 keys pressed at once. More than that would be ... difficult. Particularly if, as is often the case in more recent games, you've got one hand on the mouse instead.

However, if I understand it correctly the USB limit of 6 keys at once does not count the CTRL, ALT, SHIFT keys, which are among the most commonly used ones in games, in part for that very reason. So you can actually press up to 9 keys at once there, in the best case. Exactly how many and which keys they can be varies depending on the design of the keyboard matrix, even on some "gaming" keyboards.
posted by sfenders at 9:52 AM on October 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't redo his experiment because his research has a baked in bias against gaming keyboards. We all want to believe people buying $100+ "gaming keyboards" are marketing suckers

His bias may or may not be true, but bias is everywhere. I don't have any desire to believe these people are suckers and don't feel he presented it that way, just that maybe they weren't getting what was advertised. Lots of people buy $100+ keyboards who aren't going to use them for gaming, that's really only been a target in the last few years.
posted by bongo_x at 10:40 AM on October 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


I bought my Razer Chroma for the RGB lights. I 100% do not give a shit about latency. I do game quite a bit, but aside from wanting a mechanical (because I like the sounds), I also wanted lights (because pretty). That is why. And I've been pleased with my purchase.
posted by Fizz at 10:43 AM on October 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


I don't have any desire to believe these people are suckers and don't feel he presented it that way, just that maybe they weren't getting what was advertised.


I think that he purposely ignored all of the other more obvious criteria worth judging the quality of a keyboard on in order to pick the one that would let him make the argument through "science" that gaming keyboards are just marketing.

Is the research based on his criteria wrong? Probably not. Is it a lot of disingenuous sleight of hand to push a certain perspective while trying really hard to look objective? Most likely.
posted by laptolain at 11:28 AM on October 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


So based on that article and this thread, I'm now convinced that if we do get direct brain-computer neural jacks, it won't be for super criminal netrunning, but for high-end FPS games and electronic musicians.
posted by happyroach at 11:58 AM on October 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


There's a thing called a speed switch, for which the actuation is closer to the top of the shaft's travel, designed as an improvement for gamers who need to optimize their twitches. I built a keyboard with tactile speed switches to see what it's like, and I really kind of like it. I'm not a gamer and I can't be arsed about latency; the appeal to me is that it's much easier to type without bottoming out now.
posted by ardgedee at 12:42 PM on October 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


I have a WASD with blue switches and my typing isn't any better. In fact, it is probably worse. My gaming suffers, too.

That said, I just feel happier with the clicks and clacks. If I have to use my laptop keyboard for any span of time I begin to wander the cubicles like a lost clickless puppy, searching for meaning. Sometimes I find myself taking a key tester with me just for solace.
posted by poe at 4:23 PM on October 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


The KonMari method of purchasing consumer electronics is the only one that isn't, on some level, BS.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:04 PM on October 18, 2017


I bought my Razer Chroma for the RGB lights. I 100% do not give a shit about latency. I do game quite a bit, but aside from wanting a mechanical (because I like the sounds), I also wanted lights (because pretty). That is why. And I've been pleased with my purchase.
posted by Fizz
This is a 100% valid set of reasons for complete satisfaction
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:22 PM on October 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


I use three fingers for four key movement, and definitely preload left-right. Does anyone have any experience learning to use thumb for back and pre-loading all four keys? Is it worthwhile? My thumb seems weak & slow in that position.
posted by lastobelus at 7:58 PM on October 18, 2017


the clicky clackiest of keyboards when you're REALLY TRYING TO MAKE A POINT ON THE INTERNET

+1 if caps lock makes the clacking twice as loud . . .
posted by flug at 12:14 AM on October 19, 2017 [3 favorites]


Apple Magics would be magic if they didn't do that thing where they flatly refuse to be a USB device now and again. Not what gamers are looking for
posted by scruss at 8:38 AM on October 19, 2017


My old G4 running OS9 felt so quick and responsive I couldn't believe it. Kind of shocking.
In raw power for heavy tasks it's going to fall down of course, but to open TextEdit and type a note, or browse the Finder, is surprisingly fast on the old computer.


I have no idea why people continue to take Wirth's Law less seriously than Moore's.
posted by flabdablet at 11:40 PM on October 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


I just learned about the people who spend 3-4 hours lubricating the internals of every key on their keyboard. I'm not sure why I was surprised that such people exist.
posted by clawsoon at 7:33 PM on October 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


I know a guy who has a decent side job doing it for people who can't be arsed to do it themselves.

Some loud clicky switches can be modded so that they continue to feel like loud clicky switches while barely making noise -- and hey while you're in there, may as well grease up the moving parts. Or maybe you like how the switch clicks (or doesn't click) but you're afraid you'll develop RSI from how hard you have to press -- you can pop those suckers open and swap in lighter-weight springs. So that's obsessive, but there's a distinct, tangible result that can justify the effort if you want it badly enough. The essence of a hobby is to fill time doing a thing you're dwelling on anyway, right?

To my eyes, the people who are running a lot closer to the "crazy" side of the obsessive/crazy border are the ones who buy multiple sets of switches, some of which sell for around $1 per switch, and disassemble them to build hybrid sets. Which, again, if you want it badly enough and can afford it, why not -- it's just that there are a *lot* of different switches currently made and sold to hobbyists these days (that link is close to comprehensive though it's missing at least a dozen that I know of), odds are pretty good one of them has already dialed in whatever behavior you have in mind.
posted by ardgedee at 4:17 AM on October 24, 2017


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