Das Keyboard meets Das Boot over a good cup of coffee
Was it John Gruber who mentioned, no doubt tongue in cheek, that the requisite for a Mac blogger was, among other things, ownership of a fussy coffee machine and a huge clackety keyboard? I am surely deprived because I have neither. I make do with a jar of Nescafe and an Apple wired keyboard (is it still made? I do like a number pad).
What is it about coffee that tickles the nerd nerve? I confess I don’t know. But if you are a bean boffin, I have a great tip for you: A Tom Bihn bag in which to transport all your coffee-making paraphernalia wherever your fancy takes you. It’s a Medium Yarn Stuff Sack of all things and I am grateful to joiedwards on the Tom Bihn blog for this insight. All we need now is a Tom Bihn Enormous Yarn Stuff Sack for the monstrous clackety keyboard.
No, philistine that I am, I am unlikely ever to want a Gaggia Classic beside my desk, still less to feel the urge to take it walkies in a Yarn Stuff Sack. But I am actively sniffing around Das Keyboard. It sounds a bit like Das Boot, so I thought it was a product of Germany. Disappointingly, it turns out to be a Texan Das. No wonder it is a HUGE clackety keyboard.
I can see the logic in typing on a real mechanical keyboard. In practice, if not in theory, it can be faster. Today’s svelte keyboards and, even worse, the tablet’s faux buttons, are lacking in feedback.
I spent a chunk of my life bashing away on mechanical typewriters without even the help of a little electric motor to help push the typebar on to the paper. There is still something satisfying about this, and I retain a 1926 Underwood for the odd nostalgia fix. If I could find someone to wire it up to the iMac I would be in typists’ heaven.
It’s amazing how fast you can type on an old manual keyboard. There’s a certain rhythm about a sturdy mechanically linked contraption that you cannot now achieve, even with an old-fashioned electric typewriter. Drop the rhythm and your typebars go clackety crash. My favourite mechanical typewriter was a 1960s Olympia desk machine that I found in an office cupboard. The typing action was sublime, a tactile feast, and the finished results knocked Remington, Imperial and Underwood into touch. Those were the days.
Now, thanks to the likes of Gruber, Shawn Blanc and other writers, I am being propelled towards the dubious delights of Das Keyboard. Despite its supreme ugliness and massive footprint, maybe this is just what I have been looking for all these years. Clackety clack, I shall investigate and report back.
Here is Justin Williams’ pragmatic review of Das K.