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7 Tips To Choosing The Perfect Computer Keyboard For You

7 Tips To Choosing The Perfect Computer Keyboard For You

Many of us spend a fair amount of time at our computers every day, pressing the keys ceaselessly (when we are not clicking and scrolling). We’ve got plenty of typing jobs to do these days- home works, school projects, documents that our boss wants typed, and what not. We rely heavily on our computers and of course, the keyboard on it.

Keyboards are primarily used for typing but really they can do so much more. With a few extra features, what your keyboard can do for you will make you fall in love with it.

When your old keyboard needs to be replaced, you’d naturally go for the same kind of keyboard which you are used to. But, with a great many types of keyboards coming to the market every day, the keyboard you want might not be the right one for you. (Chances are your old keyboard is outdated and is not available in the market anymore).

Here below we have listed a few things you have to consider to choose the perfect computer keyboard that matches all of your computing needs.

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1. Work type

Varieties of computer keyboards are available in the market today, each designed with a focus on specific features to suit special purposes. The first thing you need to consider is the kind of work you will be doing with your keyboard.

There are keyboards specially designed for gaming. Get one of them, if you are a serious gamer. The best gaming keyboards incorporate special gaming keys to assist playing computer games. If you need your computer for typing jobs that have you typing for prolonged periods, then get an ergonomic keyboard that gives you a great, comfortable typing experience.

If you need to work with the numbers, you’d better make sure that you get a keyboard with a numeric keypad. Your work dictates, to a large extent, what kind of keyboard you should choose so that you don’t spend your money unnecessarily on the wrong type of keyboard that you don’t need.

2. Keystrokes (Switches)

Make sure you check the keystrokes the first thing, when you are buying a computer keyboard. You don’t want to end up with a keyboard that feels like a typewriter (which will literally give you a hard time). Check and test how the keys feel. There are keyboards that have sensitive, soft, feather-like touch and there are others that require some extra pressure to type on.

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The mechanism that makes the keys respond to touch is ‘switch’. Rubber dome switches, scissor switches, and mechanical switches are the primary types of switches used by most manufactures. The switches make all the difference in the sensitivity, level of noise, and comfort. Learn about them and pick the right one.

3. Compatibility

Most keyboards nowadays connect to the computer via USB ports. The old PS/2 ports are almost obsolete. Wireless keyboards connect to the system via bluetooth and are somewhat tricky to setup unlike the plug and play USB cord keyboard. Most keyboards need some software installed on your computer to use the function keys. Make sure the keyboard is compatible with your system before you actually buy one.

4. Design

The design and architecture of the keyboard makes a big difference in your computing experience. Based on design, the keyboards can be grouped into standard, gaming and ergonomic.

Standard keyboards are the most common types. These days, standard keyboards come with multimedia keys besides the standard set of 104 keys. Gaming keyboards are for the purpose of gaming which incorporate the multimedia keys as well as other special keys for gaming.

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Ergonomic keyboards are designed to position your hands naturally and reduce strain by offering a proper wrist rest to maximize comfort. They sure are pricey but they are worth the money. Opt for an ergonomic keyboard if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.

Those who use their computer in the dark might prefer the keyboard with illumination. Those who focus on portability might want to get a flexible, foldable keyboard that doesn’t take much space in their bags. For those prone to accident, keyboards that can resist liquid are available in the market.

For those concerned with comfort, keyboards with split-style design or with a proper wrist rest pad might be the thing for them. For programmers, the keyboard in DVORAK layout is better than the standard QWERTY layout. There are washable keyboards available for those obsessed with cleanliness.

Many manufactures have poured lots of clever ideas into their keyboard designs. Choose the one designed to meet your requirements.

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5. Wired vs wireless

The wired and wireless configurations both have their pros and cons. The wireless configuration cuts the cord out that clutters your desk but there are chances that it interferes with other wireless devices.

For gaming, the wired keyboards are preferred since the wireless keyboards tend to lag which impedes gameplay. Wireless keyboards are battery powered, which needs to be charged or replaced from time to time. That adds to the cost. Therefore, a keyboard that supports both wired and wireless configurations are preferred by many who want the best of both worlds.

6. Extra function keys

To speed up your tasks, lots of keyboards these days have extra function keys for launching apps, controlling volume, controlling music player etc. They also incorporate power management keys, special character layouts and customizable shortcut keys which come very handy at times. Some keyboards come with a touchpad or a mini joystick to replace the mouse.

7. Price

Depending on the features they incorporate, keyboards come in different prices. Obviously, the more the features it has, the more expensive it is. Look for a keyboard that meets your requirements as well as your budget. Be smart and don’t spend on things you don’t really need.

Featured photo credit: Wikipedia via upload.wikimedia.org

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on October 15, 2019

To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System

To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System

We are all about doing things faster and better around here at Lifehack. And part of doing things faster and better is having a solid personal productivity system that you use on a daily basis.

This system can be just about anything that helps you get through your mountain of projects or tasks, and helps you get closer to your goals in life. Whether it’s paper or pixels, it doesn’t really matter. But, since you are reading Lifehack I have to assume that pixels and technological devices are an important part of your workflow.

“Personal Productivity System” defined

A personal productivity system (at least the definition that this article will use) is a set of workflows and tools that allow an individual to optimally get their work done.

Workflows can be how you import and handle your photos from your camera, how you write and create blog posts, how you deploy compiled code to a server, etc.

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Tools are the things like planners, todo managers, calendars, development environments, applications, etc.

When automation is bad

You may be thinking that the more that we automate our systems, the more we will get done. This is mostly the case, but there is one very big “gotcha” when it comes to automation of anything.

Automation is a bad thing for your personal productivity system when you don’t inherently understand the process of something.

Let’s take paying your bills for example. This may seem very obvious, but if you can’t stick to a monthly budget and have trouble finding the money to make payments on time, then automating your bill payment every month is completely useless and can be dangerous for your personal finances.

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Another example is using a productivity tool to “tell you” what tasks are important and what to do next. If you haven’t taken a step back and figured out just how your productivity systems should work together, this type of automation will likely keep you from getting things done.

You can only automate something in your personal productivity system that have managed for a while. If you try to automate things that aren’t managed well already, you will probably feel a bit out of control and have a greater sense of overwhelm.

Another thing to remember is that some things should always be done by yourself, like responding to important emails and communicating with others. Automating these things can show your coworkers and colleagues that you don’t care enough to communicate yourself.

When automation is good

On the other hand, automation is a great thing for your personal productivity system when you understand the process of something and can then automatically get the steps done. When you know how to manage something effectively and understand the step-by-step process of a portion of your system, it’s probably a great time to automate it.

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I have several workflows that I have introduced in the last year that takes some of the “mindless” work from me so I can be more creative and not have to worry about the details of something.

On my Mac I use a combination of Automator workflows, TextExpander snippets, and now Keyboard Maestro shortcuts to do things like automatically touch-up photos imported from my iPhone 4S or open all the apps and websites needed for a weekly meeting to the forefront of my desktop by typing a few keys. Once you open yourself up to automating a few of your processes, you start to see other pieces of your system that can benefit from automation.

Once again; none of this works unless you understand your processes and know what tools you can use to get them done automatically.

The three steps to determine if something is “ripe” for automation

If your workflow passes these three steps, then automate away, baby:

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  1. You can do this process in your sleep and it doesn’t require your full, if any form of attention. It can (and has been) managed in some form prior to automating it.
  2. The process is time consuming.
  3. The process doesn’t require “human finesse” (ie. communicating and responding to something personally)

Automating your personal productivity systems can be a great for you in the long run if you are careful and mindful of what you are doing. You first need to understand the processes that you are trying to automate before automating them though. Don’t get stuck in thinking that anything and everything should be automated in your life, because it probably shouldn’t.

Pick and choose these processes wisely and you’ll find the ones that take up most of your time to be the best ones to automate. What have you automated in your personal productivity system?

Featured photo credit: Bram Naus via unsplash.com

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