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4 Reasons Why You Should Switch to Mechanical Keyboards

4 Reasons Why You Should Switch to Mechanical Keyboards

Even for those with only a minimal need to do so, having a good keyboard to rely upon is so important. Whether it’s looking at more classical keyboards or switching to the various great mechanical keyboards on the market today, knowing what options are open (and useful) to you is very important.

Some people find that using a modern keyboard can feel a little dull, without the same quality that we were once used to. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia factor, the lack of that click and crash that we are all so used to from a classic keyboard. At the moment, the market has two specific kinds of keyboards to pick from – membrane and mechanical options. Depending on what you use and what you tend to prefer (or at least what the profile of your hands prefers) you’ll find that getting the best keyboard can be quite a tough question to answer.

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The Mechanical Keyboard Conundrum

When deciding whether to go membrane or mechanical, you have two major decisions to make. First off, though, it can help greatly to work out what the major difference between the two kinds of keyboard tends to be. Only then can you make a truly educational choice on what option is going to fit your own hands better.

A typical difference is that a mechanical keyboard actually uses physical switches underneath each key. This means that when you press it, a little mechanical tool comes to life under that key and tells the computer what has happened. Accordingly, it then prints the letter that you just hit.

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By pressing the key, you are pressing the switch. By pressing the switch, you authorize that you want this letter to be printed. Whilst not exactly a major difference to what we are used to, it does have a subtle change in operation. The pushing of the key is supposed to make a letter pop up on the screen – that’s why you are here, right?

Well, the main difference is how it works under the hood. Membrane systems instead use small rubber switches underneath each of the keys, instead. So when you press that key, the rubber switch will push through a small hole in the membrane. This connects top, middle and bottom membranes together as one, and this creates the electrical circuit needed. Then, the keyboard sends the message to the PC. The PC will then print the letter that you just pressed on the screen – simple! Right?

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The main difference then is the sound – that audible noise that lets us know we have pressed the right key. When using a membrane keyboard we lack that clear sound and signal to let us know that we did in fact, hit the key. Instead, we have to keep our eyes on the screen to make sure that every hit is picked up and that every key we press actually will appear in front of us.

With a mechanical keyboard, that changes. You hear every hit and hit every touch meaning that you know for sure whether or not you hit that key hard enough. This makes it easier for those used to mechanical keyboards to type with pace and accuracy.

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If you are sick of membrane keyboards being too light and precious to pick up every stroke with accuracy, then you can make an adjustment quickly.

Why Going Mechanical Helps

Still not sure if you should be making the change? Are you worried that a mechanical keyboard might feel a little too tough on your fingers? Let’s look at the differences in each style.

  1. Mechanical keyboards feel quite different while typing on them. You get a much more satisfying (if somewhat more painful on the fingers after a few thousand words) sound from the keyboard when you hit those keys. When you get used to the precision and the feel of typing on a mechanical keyboard, a membrane keyboard can feel light and weak. That might be OK if you feel like your fingers cannot handle the constant back and forth of the mechanical keyboard, but not if you enjoy that particular feeling.
  2. There’s a better crunch on every key. Some people despise laptop keys as they tend to be too bouncy – it’s too easy to think you have hit a key. When you read back your content, though, it’s awash with errors and missing text. Using a mechanical keyboard removes that particular problem from the list of common issues. It’s too easy to tell when you hit a key on a mechanical keyboard as the sound it makes is so telling.
  3. Greater feedback. If you like the idea of the old typewriters giving you 100% feedback on every hit key, and not strokes of other keys being picked up, then this is the place to be. The loudness of every strike simply lets you know that you are on the right track. If you enjoy typing and really feeling every letter and every press of the key come through, then this is the ideal place to get started with. Other keyboards won’t offer the same depth and satisfaction as this is capable of.
  4. Longer lifespan. Another major impact of using a great mechanical keyboard is the lifespan. The membranes wear out faster and tend to be far less secure than the mechanical equivalents that so many of us are used to using today. On an average a mechanical keyboard can get as many as 50m presses before losing strength. For reference, a typical membrane keyboard is likely to last 15m presses. That is a pretty drastic drop and is likely to be a deciding factor when it comes to choosing keyboards to go with.

As you can see, the main difference is likely to come in the profile of every press. If you prefer a more certain and secure feeling behind every key press, then go for the mechanical keyboard. With so many great mechanical keyboards on the market today, finding one that you truly love isn’t going to be too tough.

Featured photo credit: afterpad.com via afterpad.com

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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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