2 min read

Split keyboard, THE PANACEA

Split keyboard, THE PANACEA

The image for this post was borrowed from https://www.zsa.io/moonlander site, let me know should I remove it and I will comply!

Also a lengthier read recommendation for those interested in the subject - this piece would have sold me the idea way sooner if it existed back when I was wavering! https://mihaiolteanu.me/programmable-keyboards.html

I've recently started feeling the toll my sedentary lifestyle is taking on my body - there was this unpleasant feeling in my upper back, stiff hands especially the right one (this is the one I've injured a bunch of times in more active times) at times even neck stiffness limiting the ability to turn my head. Suffice to say it was also affecting also my mood and general wellbeing. I went to physio a couple of times, but since it was recurring he recommended changing something in my work machinery. He told me a lot about what happens when we use those narrow keyboards for an extended period of time - and you might have guessed I was using an Apple keyboard until recently. So I've taken a plunge and got a split keyboard!

Specifically the Moonlander a rather pricey piece - especially someone who was never big on the whole mechanical clicky keyboards club.

After a couple of rough days when my fingers could not keep up with my thoughts (started from ~11 WPM) both in terms of precision and speed, I am at around the 70 WPM mark now. I find it quite ok given the limited time I had to get used to the new size / positioning of keys.

I am using most of the fingers to type now. I feel like the wider spread of fingers is also helping - not only is the back pain gone, my wrist and elbow seem to be way better now as well!

Besides the obvious changes I started using more keyboard shortcuts and less of the mouse. From what I know the Apple Mouse is far from good for your palm, so I will be moving away from that as well shortly - have yet to decide what to though. I am a little tempted to go for the trackpad - I am staying with Apple, so it won't hurt and I like the convenience of it. It comes with the added benefit of not being good for most of the games out there!

One of the worries I had when getting this keyboard was whether I would still be able to type reasonably quickly on a regular keyboard after the switch. This worry went away yesterday when I spent a while typing both on another external keyboard and on MacBooks built in one! It's like a new set of memories my palm muscles have created -  they seem to be taking over only when they recognise the surface & palm positioning.

Besides all the possible placebo effects I am starting to find the sound the keys make actually enjoyable! Keep it up ZSA team, once I discovered the Oryx typing tool the transition became ohhhh so much smoother!

I am just starting to explore everything I can do with it - the keyboard software is perfectly capable of executing macros, although I must say I am a little disappointed by the process of changing those - afaik I need to flash the keyboard driver if I want to check out a new setting. It seems to be more viable for battle tested macros, although it might also be I want it to do way more than it was intended for. We have Alfred / Keyboard Maestro for more complex flows anyway, and those are easily editable.