UPDATE (8/31/2015): I loved the form factor so much, I upgraded to an Alphasmart NEO, which has a much nicer keyboard feel, and (regrettably) displays slightly more type 😉
Technology has made a lot of things about writing easier. You can save little scraps of information in Evernote, write and edit with ease, and you don’t have to go to the library to do research. keep on reading »
Productivity is all about mind management, not time management. If you want to be really effective at what you do best, it really helps to offload as many as unimportant details as you can. I’ve struggled with delegation, while watching my friends scale their impact, and their businesses, thanks to their delegation skills. In this Fancy Hands review, I’ll show you how Fancy Hands helps me scale my business with limited hassle. keep on reading »
UPDATE, September 2, 2017: For the past couple of years, I’ve had readers asking if there’s an alternative to the UltraErgo Wireless Split Keyboard that I now love. Apparently it’s discontinued. The answer is still that I know of no better “truly split” alternative than the Kinesis. Happy to hear other suggestions in the comments.
It’s significantly smaller, making it much easier to travel with.
It has built-in “feet” that flip up and put the keyboard on a tilt.
It’s wireless (NOT Bluetooth – there is a USB dongle), the primary benefit being that it reduces its size and weight when loading into my backpack.
I experienced a strange phenomenon with my Kinesis where sometimes keys would register in a different order than I had typed them. I emailed with their engineers, who seemed confident that this wasn’t possible, but still I experienced it both with their wired and Bluetooth versions. I haven’t had this problem with the UltraErgo.
The UltraErgo is not without compromises, though. A few potential “cons:”
It’s primarily made for Windows, but I use it fine on my Mac. So, there’s a “Windows” key, which I have used Keyboard Preferences to designate as “alt/option.” I have the “Alt” key set to function as the “Command” key.
Where the left “Command” key would generally be, there is instead a backslash key \ which I still hit accidentally.
There is no way I know of to change the volume with the Function keys. I can change the brightness with the “Scroll Lock” and “Pause Break” keys, but there is nothing graphically to indicate that on the keyboard.
The biggest, scariest “con” is that it relies on a tiny USB dongle that has to be in the computer for the keyboard to communicate “wirelessly.” I live in fear that I will someday lose this dongle, and wonder how hard it would be to replace. I simply leave it in my USB port all of the time in the hopes that will prevent my losing it.
Since portability is a huge factor for me, this keyboard is a clear winner for me, but if you’d prefer a keyboard built for a Mac, you may prefer the Kinesis.
Here is the UltraErgo as I use it. There are two “slant” settings, and I prefer it on the lowest one. Notice that there are “battery” indicators on the UltraErgo. The keyboard comes with a mini-USB (?) cable for charging (?) the keyboard. I never had to use this, but I did it anyway, and that was months ago. The keyboard came with no instructions nor manual.
Here is the UltraErgo ready to be put in my backpack (I just keep the tiny dongle in my USB port), next to my Kinesis. You can see the flaps that deploy to slant the UltraErgo. The difference in size and weight is night-and-day in a backpack.
Now, back to the original post:
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