Linux Blog

I got a Mac

Filed under: Linux Hardware,The Linux Blog News — TheLinuxBlog.com at 2:05 am on Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I’m not really a huge consumer of hardware, but I today I got a Mac, more specifically a MacBook Air. It is my first brand new computer since I built my desktop which I probably never wrote about. I didn’t pay for it, as it was promotional item from training I signed up for. I had a choice of a Toshiba Ultrabook that never really closes, or the MacBook Air. After I thought about it, the choice was not too hard, I choose the one that would have the higher re-sale value, the better of the two OS’s, and probably better Linux support.

So far I’m impressed, it is a very elegant design, the internal hardware is meh but it does have a SSD which is the first I’ve owned. It would be nice to try and hook up an external monitor, but I’m not sinking any money into it, because I don’t really want to pay the standard $79 apple accessory fee, and am not sure if the thunderbolt port even converts to HDMI, and I’m sure as hell not going to buy a thunderbolt display. There is only two USB ports, which is rather pathetic, even my Netbook manages to squeeze 3, a VGA port and a media card reader in. As far as OSX, I’m not so happy with, it has a few nuances that will take some getting used to, such as the command key which changes the way I use the keyboard (command+t, command+w, etc.) There is probably a fix for that and I’ve already changed some settings to make it more familiar.

My DNS-323 NAS had to have some changes to the Samba config using funplug as it doesn’t connect with SECURITY=SHARE, it has to be SECURITY=USER, not sure why that is. I’m happy to report that my SDR experiments were just as hard with OSX as they were with Linux, I blame that to not really knowing much about radio theory. Other than that, installing XCode, Macports and writing this post I haven’t really had much time to play with it. I’ll stick out using OSX until the training is over, then I’ll look at another OS. Until then, it’ll be VM’s and SSH connections into the desktop PC, which while aging still has more horse power than the Air.

image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dansapples/7157645924/

Avoid The Apple Keyboard: Sexy Brushed Aluminum Alternatives

Filed under: General Linux — TheLinuxBlog.com at 10:51 pm on Friday, August 17, 2007

I feel a bit goofy tonight so I figure I’ll make an attempt at a post that might make a few people giggle and catch a few others on fire. This post is going to be about Apples new keyboard, or as I like to call it the iKeyboard.

Don’t get me wrong I do like the look of Apples new keyboard but brushed aluminum keyboards are nothing new. To be quite honest for a company being largely based on style I’m quite surprised that they hadn’t released one sooner. The previous white plastic one was a fantastic keyboard to use and there was also the bluetooth version. The new one is a complete redesign. The plastic has gone and it has a new modified layout. They removed the Apple icon from the Open Apple button and its now been replaced with the word command, they also moved the function key to where the insert button is suppose to be and changed the num pad layout a bit. Now with all of the layout changes and being used to a standard keyboard I don’t think I would be able to use one properly let alone justify buying one.
Having a fancy keyboard is nice. An elegant design feel and a quiet keyboard is what in my books makes a nice keyboard. Most standard keyboards can’t touch the look of the new Apple keyboard so I set on a quest to find the ultimate Linux keyboard.

The Linux Friendly Keyboard Requirements I came up with:

  • Must be compatible with Linux out of the box.
  • Must be brushed aluminum to match the look of the iKeyboard and clash with my other ugly hardware.
  • Must be thin and light but also strong so that I can’t break it when I smash it because my code isn’t working or WordPress fails to format my blog post correctly.
  • Wireless would be a plus but is not needed.

After some searching I found three keyboards that match my criteria. I have my findings listed below:

Speed-link Keyboard
This keyboard from [speed-link] is a pretty slick design. Its pretty like Apples new keyboard, it has media shortcuts that I will never use and they also re-arranged the keys so I’ll have to re-learn a keyboard layout. Thats perfect! Just kidding, they have an U.S layout available and there is a review of it here: [altgamer.org]
Its about the same price as the Apple keyboard and its not completely aluminum the base is actually made of plastic but I don’t know too many people that would actually inspect your keyboard (unless their Apple fan boys.)

The Hiper Clavier Aluminum Keyboard
This keyboard can be purchased from [ipcrepublic.com] for a mere $37. Thats pennies on the Apple keyboard. Its been out for at least two years so it has been tested longer than the Apple keyboard. I don’t know about you, but I like to have my products tested before I buy them, why not buy a product thats been on the market for a while? Like the other keyboards this one also has media shortcuts that nobody ever really uses.
A review can be read here: [phoronix.com] Like the Speed-link keyboard the base is also made of plastic.

Enermax Aurora
Enermax makes keyboards?
Yes they do and this is probably the best alternative I have found. It can be brought from [newegg] for about the same price as the Apple. It has the USB ports on it like the Apple but also has audio jacks which the Apple doesn’t have. Granted its not flat but it has an elegant design to it and also a standard layout. It comes in two colors aluminum and black aluminum. Considering its made of one solid piece of aluminum its quite light. It also doesn’t sit flat which is a plus as I like a raised keyboard.
A full review can be read here: [digitaldingus.com]

Since I’m picky, I would actually have to go to the store and test a keyboard before I purchased one. I have tried many keyboards and to be honest I’m perfectly happy with my $5 keyboard that I purchased on sale. Its the keyboard that makes a difference, its how its used. Its clear that any skilled Linux user is going to have the best keyboard for their needs since they can modify the layout as needed. This also allows the consumer to use the keyboard the way that they want it to work not how a hardware manufacturer has decided it should work.

Perhaps this is the best keyboard for Linux users: [thinkgeek.com] I would love to be able to type in DVORAK and have one of these keyboards! With this keyboard nobody would ever know your top secret shortcuts. It would also give you the flexibility of customizing it as you needed without any markers on the keys. This would stop people saying

“Well it has the windows logo on it, why did it lock your screen?”.