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Restart Radio: Keyboards and the durability of interfaces

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Keyboards are such a part of our daily lives. We’re typing this now on one: an Apple membrane keyboard that is about 12 years old.

You may not think a lot about your keyboard even though you spend so much time with it. Janet talks with Jon, Community Lead at The Restart Project, and Ben Skidmore, long-time Restarter and recent engineering graduate, two big keyboard enthusiasts.

They both use mechanical keyboards, which are highly customisable, repairable and durable. Cherry has been a leading manufacturer for decades. Jon and Ben take us on a tour of keyboard sounds, touch, and sights. Jon loves noise, and Ben loathes it.

Not everybody will take such an interest in the keys they tap on, but if we take care of keyboards, they can last a long time. We talk about how the Universal Serial Bus (UBS) with its backward compatibility, has allowed for such easy, extended use of keyboards, longer than computers themselves.

Then we talk about the future of interfaces, with much attention recently on voice control and emerging work by Google on gesture-based interfaces. These offer the promise of less-embodied interfaces, and potentially freeing us from the physical habits of sitting (or standing) over a keyboard, but they have a long way to go for most of us.

To close, we offer some tips on how to shop for a keyboard.


[Feature image “Ducky 9008G2 – Year Of The Tiger” by Flickr user Asianoni is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]



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