Pale Blue Earth Batteries

I have seven trackpads; two are newer, but not state-of-the-art Apple Magic Trackpads that have batteries built-in, are wider, and just plug-in to recharge. And that charge lasts for a reasonable amount of time.

I’d go into how and why I use this configuration, but it’s pretty boring. Well, not for me, but for you. Point being is that I have five other, older trackpads that require two AA batteries apiece, and I go with regular rechargeables. It would be okay to use regular alkalines, which give off more power and don’t require a lot of management, but I kind of like recharging batteries. I also like shredding paper. But that’s another post.

I’d buy all-new Apple Trackpads, but they are pretty expensive. I try to get Trackpads that have cracks on them, since those cracks don’t matter to how they work, it just looks tacky. I just don’t have the will to spend $700 on trackpads.

They blink when charging, and show a solid light when they are done.

Using normal rechargeables isn’t efficient. I have enough logistics to deal with, with all of my peripherals and my super-special keyboard, that when I get to work, I need things to be as simple as possible because it takes time to set everything up, get the bluetooth to recognize everything, etc. Battery issues do not help.

The problem with normal rechargeables is that they don’t put out the same amount of power that the normal alkalines do, and they are very bad at retaining a charge. They get weak very quickly. Charging them takes up to five, six hours. Not always, but that isn’t uncommon. And while you are charging them, you have to have something ready to put into your device, otherwise you are waiting around for your batteries to charge up. So, like I said, logistics. Plus, if the trackpad’s rechargeables are low on energy, they are weaker, so you aren’t using the entire charge and it is tougher to get the Bluetooth to pick them up.

I came across an online ad for a new kind of rechargeable battery, which uses a different kind of material to hold a charge, doesn’t need a charger, has lights on the battery to tell you when they are good-to-go, and charges in under an hour. Among other benefits. So, I had to give this a shot, and they arrived today. We’ll see how good they do.

It’s like with bottled water; more than twenty years ago, when I started to play hockey, I played at this outdoor rink three to four times a week for several years, and always brought tap water with me because, well, water is water, right?

But when I ran out of water, I’d have to go get a bottle from a vending machine. This happened every so often and after a while, this kind of involuntary taste-testing led to my practical understanding that cold, bottled water from a machine is far better than tap water that has been sitting in a bottle. I could actually tell the difference, not over one or two taste-tests, but many, many times.

The same thing is going to happen here; I am very experienced at rechargeable batteries in my computing environment, and how well they do, or don’t work. So I’ll be able to quickly tell if these new ones are a bust or not. The only think I can’t do is determine their overall value over a long period of time. The web site claims that they can recharge (I forget the actual number, but it might be 1,000 charges) a large number of times. Normal rechargeables do stop retaining a charge at some point, too, so I’m not worried about it either way. So long as they last about a year or two, its at least partially worth it. But I’m optimistic I’ll be using them for a very long time.

We’ll see how it goes.

Pale Blue Earth Batteries

Another Moonlander

I bought another Moonlander keyboard. I was finding that when working at home, my home computers’ more standard keyboard, (more standard than a Moonlander, anyway) a Logitech K860, was too different. Going back and forth from an ortholinear keyboard to a standard layout was a bit much. And, the Logitech took too much room. Going back-and-forth kept proving how much better ergonomically the Moonlander is, for the back as well as the hands. It’s best to have one standard in keyboard and stick to it.

It is amazing how fast it has been, all three of my Moonlanders each took just under a week to be customized and sent from Taiwan.

Logitech K860

There is a new keyboard out to compete with the ZSA Moonlander, called the Dygma Defy, although it isn’t out until later this year. They have a non-ortholinear Moonlander-like keyboard called the Dygma Raise, and both are non-wired, have a different kind of tenting system and more LED action. The Defy has more thumb-keys, but I noticed the other day that this is at the expense of some of the lower keys up front that the Moonlander has, so it’s not added keys, just different placement. I’m curious about this board, even though the Moonlander is perfect.

I might try it out next year, but after the first batches have sold as I don’t need it right away and I’m sure it’s going to sell fast. If I don’t like it I can always sell it, these aren’t some standard mass-produced boards one can buy anywhere, they are quality keyboards with a lot of thought put into them.

Being able to choose from multiple switches for feel and sound, in addition to seemingly endless customization of the keys and placement of the board, it makes it very apparent that the majority of people are stuck in a standard that holds them back, and they don’t realize it. Just doing the same old thing over and over when there is a better way. Keyboards and layouts haven’t evolved to their best possible design, which is what the ZSA and Dygma keyboards have done.

Dygma Defy

I actually made it into a Micro Center for the first time, and they had this neat set of key switches so that one can test all available options for sound, resistance and feel. I’m set, with a quiet set for work, and loud, clicky ones for home.

Micro Center key switches test board.

It is just nice to have my keyboard needs taken care of. It’s been a while (I did a different post about this journey), but it has been more than a decade since Microsoft stopped supporting the board I’d been using for more than ten years, and I had to hack into Terminal to bypass the security features of the Mac OS in order to keep using the board with the correct placement of the Control-Option-Command keys so that I could navigate the Adobe Suite efficiently. Eventually, as the OS continued to be updated, this work-around was no longer possible and I was searching for the right keyboard to replace my trusty and cheap Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000. Finally, as of last year, I’ve settled in to a keyboard so much better than even that one, and it is so nice to actually enjoy typing, figuring out more efficient shortcuts and layouts, everything about the Moonlander is just great.

Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000

An odd thing, is that I have maybe ten of these. I found them over and over again at thrift stores for three bucks, and kept forgetting how many extras I had. I’ve actually taken one a part, there are twenty-five screws, two different kinds. Membrane keyboard. I’ll be selling all but one (I’m sentimental) at our upcoming garage sale. It’s like having fifty subscriptions to Vibe. (Office Space reference)

Mac Mini 2018 and friends!

The last day of using the Logitech and the Moonlander together.
The full set-up at home.
The full set-up at work!