19.8 Our Picks

The choice of keyboard is, above all, a personal matter, but unless you have very strong preferences you'll probably find one of the following keyboards suitable. Here are the keyboards that we use and recommend:

Standard keyboard

Microsoft Internet Keyboard, Office Keyboard, or MultiMedia Keyboard. If you want a standard straight keyboard, one of these models should suit you. The Internet Keyboard and MultiMedia Keyboard are PS/2-only. The Office Keyboard connects with PS/2 or USB. Barbara uses one or another of these standard keyboards on all of her systems (http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/keyboard).

Ergonomic keyboard

Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite or Natural MultiMedia Keyboard. You'll either love or hate these "melted" keyboards. Robert loves them; Barbara hates them. The Natural MultiMedia Keyboard uses the PS/2 interface. The Natural Keyboard Elite uses the PS/2 or USB interface. Robert uses one or another of the Natural Keyboard models on his primary office systems.

Some say that getting used to the Natural Keyboard layout takes a long time. That was not Robert's experience. He is a touch typist, and became completely comfortable with the Natural Keyboard in less than an hour. He uses Internet Keyboard models on some of his test-bed systems and switches back and forth without difficulty. The major adjustment is that the Natural Keyboard errs in putting the 6 key above and to the right of the T key, where it must be struck with the left index finger. Touch typists learn to strike the 6 key with the right index finger, and the change is a bit disconcerting at first.

Cordless keyboard (short-range)

Microsoft Wireless Optical series. If your keyboard cord gets in the way, you like to work with the keyboard in your lap, or you need a cordless keyboard for your den or living room entertainment system, one of these Microsoft Wireless Optical keyboards may be just the thing. Microsoft makes various models in standard and ergonomic layouts, and either PS/2 or PS/2 and USB interfaces. Each includes a wireless optical mouse.

Keyboard-Video-Mouse (KVM) switches

See Chapter 16.

For our most recent detailed recommendations by brand and model, visit: http://www.hardwareguys.com/picks/keyboards.html.