[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.

WordPress plugins I love

April 2nd, 2007

WordPress is nice, but some of the plugins I've installed really boost the user experience (and mine!) I thought I'd share what I've gathered.

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An ode to my hosting company

February 11th, 2007

I've been hosting Brain on Fire with NearlyFreeSpeech.net for close to 9 months now, and they've won my admiration. I'm currently paying a couple pennies a day for some of the best service I've ever encountered with a host or registrar.

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Using Tor correctly: Anonymous browsing edition

October 21st, 2006

Tor is a popular system for sending Internet traffic anonymously. It is mainly used for three purposes: hiding one's identity, hiding the identity of the site one is visiting, and hiding the data that one is sending and receiving. However, using Tor without some basic precautions is worse than not using Tor at all, leading to privacy violations, data theft, and security concerns. Here, I cover browser security with respect to preventing identity and data leakage when using the Tor network. If you are only using it to defeat web filtering, feel free to read only the section called "Locking yourself down".

At the end is an executive summary. Use it as a guideline, but make sure to read this entire post first -- it contains important instructions on how to change your browsing habits.

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Excellent free music

December 25th, 2005

Excellent free music I've collected over the semester:

  • Soundtrack of a video that was produced simply to show the richness of the available free music: The Urban Tale (compilation), try tracks 3 and 9 especially
  • Dark chocolate laced w/ adrenaline: L'Onomatopeur: Always Beating track 1
  • Trip-hop/experimental jazz/electronic: Manuzik
  • Lazy-listening smooth synth (sort of): reClock
  • drum/base/tribal-like: dambo
  • Heavy-beat electronic: Saelynh
  • Classical-ish and related: Ehma
  • Chill/fusion/electro/ambient: Greg Baumont
  • Electro/techno: Isotope Lab (try Clean Room, Freeze v2, Infection, and Repentance)
  • Meditation/oriental/ambient/nature: Phoebus (the Feng Shui Project album)
  • Spoken word/story/surrealist: 2NU (This is Ponderous, Crossroads (Chaos), Then Again (4 Adlemi), A Father's Day, The Legend, She 04)

Edit 2006-3-4: I've added a few more excellent artists to my collection since this post. Following are some more album recommendations.