In praise of cheap keyboards

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By Paolo Amoroso (

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Paolo Amoroso says:

@tmo Thanks, the Microsoft Compact Designer Keyboard looks really nice and the Italian keyboard layout I want is available.

tmo says:

By the way, Paolo, since this is “praise of cheap keyboards”, the Microsoft Compact Designer Keyboard is worth taking a look at. $45, I ordered one today, and it looks quite akin to the original Anker (Apple wanna-be) keyboard I mentioned previous. Only this one is in black (comes in black or white). Simple chiklet thing.

Have a good one! :)

Paolo Amoroso says:

@Javo Thanks, this is something to keep in mind for when I'll research a new keyboard.

Javo says:

Hi @Paolo,

Since you write a lot, I would give a modern, no-so-cheap-no-so-expensive (~€100) mechanical keyboard with cherry MX brown switches a try. More pleasant to write than the original IBM mech keyboards or modern but cheaper devices, in my opinion. Well worth the money.

Just as @tmo, I thought mechanical keyboards were not my thing. Until that day, when I borrowed one from a friend, and I could never go back.

Not providing affiliate links here. Not even mentioning brands. Just an innocent comment :)

Paolo Amoroso says:

@tmo Thanks!

I wasn't familiar with the Orange Pi 800 but it seems like a lovely little gadget.

In the past I actually did like mechanical keyboards, particularly the original IBM XT and AT ones.

The chromeOS feature I like most is it's a zero-maintenance system, as well as the ability to switch devices by just signing into an account. That sealed the deal for me.

tmo says:

haha, I love the homage to the appreciation of cheapness/frugality! :)

I always said the original Anker (Apple wannabe) keyboard from 2012 was the best kb I ever used. I may be in the market for a low profile Keychron with the dev project I am starting to get going. In the meantime, the OrangePi 800 (a microcomputer built within a keyboard) I hope is a nice experience. Both in computing and typing :)

Large mechanical keyboards are not my thing, as I discovered with a couple DELL units I got for free in 2014. It was like a half-loud typewriter (which I don't use to this day primarily because of noise).

Nice post, and ditto on the Chromebox setup being the primary machine. I made an HP...something, Chromebox my primary for a year in 2020, and it's where I learned elements of the CLI (using Linux (beta) apps). Chromebooks have been a bust for me five times over, but the initial Samsung Chromebook Series 3 lasted 2+ years, and I adored that machine more than nearly any other laptop I've ever had. Booting Crouton/Chrubuntu onto it lengthened it's journey, but I always went back to Chrome OS with it, because of it's easy reset settings when I powered on/off the machine.

Anyway, nice post, have a good one! :)