Buying laptops sucks, online stores make it worse

November 25th, 2016

We recently had to go shopping for a new laptop, and since Lenovo's design is going down the shitter, we had to do more research than usual.

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[solved] Is there a laptop keyboard that doesn’t suck?

June 27th, 2008

Update: Found one!

I'm in the market for a new laptop, but I can't seem to find one with a decent keyboard. I'm a programmer so these are keys that must be easy to hit without looking:

  • Esc
  • Enter
  • All the arrow keys
  • Tab
  • Home, End
  • Del, Backspace
  • Alt, Ctrl

Most laptop keyboards, unfortunately, have one of the following problems:

  • A stupid little "Fn" key as the lower right key, making it nearly impossible to hit left-Ctrl without looking
  • No space around the arrow keys, so I can't feel which button I'm touching
  • Little or no consideration for the placement of the Home/End keys, rendering them unusable without hunting (or that blasted Fn key)
My modified Acer Aspire 3500 keyboardMy modified keyboard

I've modified my current laptop keyboard to add space and remove annoying keys:

Victims include: Tab, Scroll lock, Ins, Context menu, and some proprietary dollar and euro keys nestled in with the arrows.

I'm not looking for a fancy machine with an amped-up graphics card or fingerprint reader or other such nonsense. I just want a basic laptop with standard hardware and a keyboard that doesn't suck.

Anyone want to recommend a manufacturer?

Cross-posted to LJ and the Neon Guild mailing list.

5 Reasons I Don’t Own a Cellphone

February 19th, 2007

As a geek, I'm sort of expected to own a cell phone (or two!). But I don't have one, and likely won't in the near future. The truth is, I'm a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to new technology. I'm happy to acquire, play with, and disassemble the latest gadgets, but I won't trust them until they've proven worthy. So what's my beef with cell phones?

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Accessibility vs. WCAG2

May 31st, 2006

WCAG2 is, I believe, a blow against both accessiblity and web standards. Joe Clark writes his review of the draft guidelines in a recent ALA article -- more of a scathing burn than a report, really. And I would tend to agree.

Quite simply, the new guidelines, as the stand now in draft form, are impossible or impractical to follow in any realistic environment. They create obstacles for "normal" readers, actively dismiss web standards, restrict creative design, and obfuscate the basic principles of accessiblity (allowing everyone to access content in a reasonable manner). The guidelines are unclear, ambiguous, vague, and dense. Dense in that bad way, not just in that information-rich way.

In my next redesign, I think I'll use my common sense instead, thank you very much.