Friday, May 22, 2015

My First Mechanical Keyboard and Why I love Thrift Stores

So recently I was browsing through a Goodwill. Goodwill is a large thrift store chain in the states. They are somewhat plentiful, no matter where I go. As a kid, I thought they were lame and boring but as an adult, I know. I know why they are awesome.
At this Goodwill I found a $200 vintage, working electric organ for $30; An almost brand new $120 mechanical gaming keyboard for $2; and a $300 vacuum cleaner for $10. The place is just amazing, and the possibilities seem endless.

So the keyboard. I've lusted over various gaming keyboards for a while. It's not that I like gaming keyboards, or even normal keyboards at all, but they're the cheapest mechanical keyboards that money can buy. Thing is, I don't want to spend $70 on a keyboard that I actually don't want just to get a chance to ride on the mechanical keyswitch train. So I've waited.

Whenever I go to Goodwill, the first thing I look for is electronics. Normally I'll find an okay kitchen appliance I want, or a George Foreman Grill or griddle plate that's not totally destroyed. There are also almost always a pile of crappy, old cheap keyboards. They're normally the type you might get with a cookie cutter desktop from Best Buy, but I always hold out for something good. Chances are I might find an original Model M, and that would be something other worldly.

So I'm looking through the keyboards and I notice one that's different. It's heavy, for one, and the keys seem to protrude up from the base, not recessed inside like a normal, mostly plastic keyboard. I pick it  up and it has a braided USB cable. I pull off a keycap (which I didn't need to do, but I wanted to confirm) and see a tiny brown cross above the word Cherry. This is a Corsair Vengeance K70 in almost perfect condition. It's missing one key, the minus button on the number pad. The switch works, the stem is just broken. It's a key I rarely use, so I'm unbothered

I look for a price, expecting it to be a few dozen dollars, but it's not. It's $2. Two Dollars. 1/60 of the normal price. So of course I bought it.

I brought it home, plugged it in and it works. Even if it didn't, I have a keyboard connected to a few handfuls of cherry switches that probably work, so it's worth money one way or another. I wasn't used to typing on a normal keyboard, since I normally use a TypeMatrix 2020, but since then I've gotten used to it. My hands are somewhat uncomfortable in this position, but it's kind of worth it.

The experience is unlike any other. I used to think that mechanical keyswitches seem nice, but are they worth the money? The answer, without question, is yes. If you spend any amount of your day typing, then they are without a doubt the easiest upgrade you could make. It's hard to describe what the feeling is like, which is a shitty thing to say, but the only way to know is to actually try it out. I like the red LEDs on this keyboard, but I don't need them. The Razer Blackwidow Tournament keyboard is under $70 and it's probably worth the investment. I admit, though, I am partial to it's 60% nature.

So I made a decision almost instantly. Off to eBay I went, since I've been on an eBay kick recently, and looked for a Truly Ergonomic Computer Keyboard. I didn't think I would find one, I never have before, but for the first time ever I found one. It's an older model, which I prefer, but it was only $200, a savings of about seventy bucks. The feeling of this keyboard is just so unreal, that I didn't think I should wait, and I never want to use a normal keyboard again. So I went all the way.

I also listed this Corsair Keyboard on eBay, because I'd rather have the money than the keyboard.

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