Keyboard Jockey

Welp, I’m doing it. I’m becoming one of those mechanical keyboard nerds. It wasn’t intentional, mind you, but out of necessity. My Apple “magic” bluetooth keyboard and mouse won’t easily switch between one Mac and another. Due to my work-from-home setup having a personal Mac and a work Mac, I have spent literally hours of time frustratingly trying to get my peripherals to pair with one device or another. I got locked out of my personal Mac Mini, at one point, because the computer would not recognize the bluetooth devices. I had to dig in my closet for an old wired keyboard and mouse. If I hadn’t had those stashed away, I’m not sure what I would have done.

As I shopped for bluetooth peripherals that could switch between one device and another, I came upon the much-beloved Keychron mechanical keyboard. I had read about these devices before and not paid much attention, because I like the Apple low-travel keyboards. Knowing that I simply had to replace my keyboard, though, pushed me into checking out the Keychrons. I was further inspired by this post from Maker Stations, detailing what parts of their work-from-home setups people appreciated the most. Unsurprisingly, given their rabid fanbase, many people picked their mechanical keyboards.

Blogger Matt Birchler has been chronicling his descent into the world of mechanical keyboard obsessives, with posts like this one. He discusses how he replaced the switches, the keys, and the foam, as well as adding tape, to get things just right.

In another month or two I’ll think of something else I can do to it, and it will just keep improving. This keyboard has cost me far more than anyone needs to spend on a keyboard, but that’s okay, it’s a hobby! Some people fix up cars when they could just buy a Camry, and other people fiddle with keyboards when they could just use a $20 from Dell.

It reminds me of discussing my reading to blogging workflow with my boss. When I explained it to him, in all of its complexity, he was laughing at me. This is my hobby, I told him. Some people play golf. I read and blog about things. So, it makes sense that I would tinker. When looking at the cost/benefit of automating something, you typically total up how many times you expect to perform a certain action. That tells you whether the time and effort spent automating will be paid back (whether you will get your return on investment). If you will be performing an action over and over again, it’s best to invest in automating that action.

Sure, my hobbies are nerdy things. You know what, though, my wife (who’s good opinion I desire above all others), likes it that way. As we watched a motorcycle rev up and speed out of sight tonight, she expressed her relief that I would never decide to get a motorcycle. I told her that was probably true, but that I’m becoming a mechanical keyboard guy. She informed me that she was fine with me buying as many keyboards as I want. At least, she reasons, this hobby is not dangerous.

 
Robert Rackley @rcrackley
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