Tag Archives: Hardware

Back to a Real Keyboard

As some of you know, we’ve spent the last several months moving around looking for a nice place to settle down. That’s finished. We’re now in Salem, Virginia.

Before starting that search, we bought a laptop to take over the duties of the desktop. On the night before we left Tucson, I dumped a cup of water on it and fried the keyboard and other parts. It turns out the model was too new to get replacement parts. And since we had just spent $1,400 on this thing, my wife wasn’t about to let me buy another.

As a result, we’ve been using iPads for our computing needs with occasional jaunts to the library.

Oh my gosh! I thought I was going to die. Typing anything of any length on the iPad is horrible. Being back on the desktop with a keyboard is just so… good! I never want to go through that again.

(Still don’t have the laptop repaired.)

Me2 iPad2

My wife and I have birthdays that are just a few days apart. This year we ended up getting each other an iPad 2. We have an iMac but have never bought into the whole iPod, iPhone, iThis’nThat thing.

We were really excited to get started playing with our new toys. They came in nice boxes with the needed accessories, but little else including any guide on how to get started. There was a little card that mentioned updating iTunes, but we have never used it. When we turned the things on, they presented us with a screen demanding something about iTunes. We couldn’t seem to get them to do anything else.

Imagine our disappointment. Here we have these bright shiny new toys and can’t use them because they need something we don’t use. I tried attaching them to our Linux/Windows dual boot machine and it said device drivers loaded successfully. But we still couldn’t do anything with them.

Eventually it occurred to us that we had an iMac. We connected to that. Apparently it has iTunes, although, as I said, we had never used it. It seemed to connect and do whatever it needed to get done. It also loaded an update to iOS, which took over an hour. (Thankfully it didn’t need to do a second download for the second system.) And now we are enjoying our new tablets.

But what a disappointing out-of-the-box experience. Having to connect through some other software system designed primarily to extract more money from you leaves a bitter taste in one’s mouth. Terms like “stupid”, “arrogant”, and “monopoly” come to mind. It’s like Microsoft in the bad old days.

We were already planning on getting rid of the iMac soon. I had decided to stop developing for the Mac anyway — the lack of attention to OS X over the last few years, the hostility to Java, the outrageous fees Apple is charging for subscriptions made through it’s app store. Apple has just become developer hostile. This latest annoyance just confirmed my earlier opinion.


Unknown USB Device

After my many re-installations of Windows 7, I often have an “Unknown Device” in the list of USB devices shown by the Windows Device Manager. It is almost always because of my LogiTech G110 keyboard. It works as a USB keyboard with no additional setup after these re-installations, but its extra functionality (like the cool lighted key caps) require that the device driver be installed. Doing so invariably removes the last “Unknown Device” warning from the device list.