Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | August 14, 2013 - 08:46 PM |
Tagged: windows rt, mouse, microsoft, keyboard

I would normally begin a product announcement with some introduction but, this time, a quote from Mary Jo Foley seems a better fit:

These new peripherals work with Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows RT, though only "basic functionality" is provided when used with Windows RT.

Problems with Windows RT, it is now obvious, go beyond Ethernet dongles and I would be shocked if Microsoft Hardware are the only ones suffering. We have already heard Plugable, an adapter and peripherals company, complain about Microsoft and their demand for Plugable to pull Surface RT drivers from their website. I cannot see this being a few localized issues.


These are the problems you will experience with a platform where the owner has complete control. Imagine how bad Windows RT will be if Microsoft slips behind, again, in Internet Explorer development; the only browsers allowed must be Internet Explorer reskins. But I digress.

The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop is a mouse, keyboard, and number pad with a unique appearance. Non-uniform keys pushing upward to a split should conform to the hand of a typical home row typist. WASD gamers might as well stop reading by this point. Microsoft is not known for mechanical switches so I would expect this keyboard to be typical membrane-based activation.


Side-on shows off the depth better.

That said, most Microsoft peripherals I have used tends to keep up with mechanical in terms of durability and performance... except wired Xbox headsets. Those little turds snap within a matter of hours.

The mouse, on the other hand (literally), does not seem to include extra mouse buttons except for a dedicated Windows button. If you have not figured it out by now: gamers are not the target audience. It seems fairly standard otherwise, from a feature standpoint, although comfort and durability are the big deciding factors for many users which we are not in a position to give an honest opinion on.

Together, the devices are available within the week and retail for $129.95. The keyboard, separately, will be available in September for $80.95; the mouse, separately, will be available for $59.95. High price, but it might just be worth it for dedicated typists.

Source: Microsoft

CES 2013: Corsair Next-Gen Vengeance Series Gaming Keyboards, Mice, Mouse Mats, and Headset Drivers

Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2013 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: vengeance, mouse, MM600, M95, M65, keyboard, K95, gaming mat, gaming headset, corsair, CES

Corsair upgraded their Vengeance line of products with the Vengeance K95 Gaming Keyboard, Vengeance M95 and M65 mice, Vengeance MM600 Gaming Mat, and driver enhancements for the Vengeance 200 Wireless Gaming Headset.

Vengeance K95 Gaming Keyboard


Courtesy of Corsair

The Vengeance K95 Gaming Keyboard is an evolutionary step in the growth of Corsair's award-winning keyboard line. Corsair used the K90 keyboard as a foundation, and added a brushed-aluminum chassis and Cherry MX key mechanical switches on all keys. Additionally, the K95 keyboard features 18 programmable macro keys and a 1ms reporting rate.


Courtesy of Corsair

Corsair further enhanced the original K90's design by added individually back-lit keys with adjustable light intensity. The keyboard back-lighting can be macro-controlled and is adjustable to four pre-set levels.

The Vengeance K95 Gaming Keyboard will be available at a retailer near you in January at an MSRP of $149.99.

The Vengeance Gaming Mouse - Enhanced

Building on a successful design, Corsair pushed the envelope with the Vengeance M95 and M65 Gaming Mice. Both are encased in stylishly designed uni-body aluminum chassis and feature the Avago Technologies ADNS-9800 LaserStream™ gaming sensor. With this sensor, both mice boast a maximum tracking resolution of 8200 DPI more than enough to defeat any electronic foe.

Vengeance M95 Gaming Mouse


Courtesy of Corsair

The Vengeance M95 Gaming Mouse has been fully optimized for MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) gamers with 15 intuitively placed, programmable buttons. Further, the M95's on-board memory can store up to six macro profiles.


Courtesy of Corsair

The M95 Gaming Mouse also includes a fully back-lit mouse-wheel house area and back-lit buttons. The Vengeance M95 is available in both Gunmetal Black and Arctic White colors.

The Vengeance M95 Gaming Mouse will be available at a retailer near you in January at an MSRP of $79.99.

Vengeance M65 Gaming Mouse


Courtesy of Corsair

The Vengeance M65 Gaming Mouse was designed with FPS (First Person Shooter) gamers in mind with a programmable Sniper button, instantly adjustable DPI, and adjustable center of gravity. The Sniper button is the red thumb button on the left side of the mouse, placed for easy access for instant toggle action.


Courtesy of Corsair


Courtesy of Corsair

Similar to the M95, the M65 Gaming Mouse includes a fully back-lit mouse-wheel house area and back-lit buttons. The Vengeance M65 is available in Gunmetal Black, Military Green, and Arctic White colors.

The Vengeance M65 Gaming Mouse will be available at a retailer near you in January at an MSRP of $69.99.

Vengeance MM600 Dual-sided Gaming Mat

Corsair designed the MM600 Dual-side Gaming Mat to appeal to many types of gamers. One side of the mat has a more textured design for superior mouse control, while the other side is a smooth texture for high-speed gliding. The MM600 is designed with a 3mm piece of aircraft-grade aluminum at its heart to provide a rigid surface and is encased in a specially designed polymer for superior performance and longevity. Additionally, Corsair includes non-slip rubber corners on the mat so that the surface stays in place during those critical fragging moments.

The Vengeance MM600 Dual-sided Gaming Mat will be available at a retailer near you in January at an MSRP of $39.99.

Vengeance 2000 Wireless Gaming Headset Driver Update

To further enhance you audio gaming experience, Corsair will be releasing driver support for the Dolby 2.0 Headphone spec on the Vengeance 2000 Wireless Gaming Headset series. With this updated support, the Vengeance 2000 series will fully support audio delivery in full 7.1-channel surround sound. Corsair expects to release this update sometime in February.

Press release after the break.

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Is your keyboard made from lasers? If you have the Celluon Magic Cube it is!

Subject: General Tech | November 30, 2012 - 03:55 PM |
Tagged: input, laser, Celluon, Magic Cube, keyboard

Who needs a mechanical keyboard if you can have one made out of lasers with an IR sensor to detect where your fingers are typing?  With both USB and Bluetooth connectivity the Celluon Magic Cube will beam a virtual keyboard onto any flat surface allowing you to type on a full keyboard without having to cart one around with you.  This will be more handy for tablet and phone users but still might be worth using with a laptop just because it is made of frickin' laser beams.  Hardware.Info tried out one of these hard to get a hold of devices and loved it as it performed as advertised and even has a mouse mode.  You may not type quite as fast as you would on a normal keyboard but you will look far more impressive.


"It still looks and feels like science fiction, but this actually works. With the Magic Cube from Celluon you can create a fully functional keyboard on any surface, that types much better than the mini-keyboards on your average smartphone. The added value for tablets is more limited, because for those there are many more alternatives in terms of external keyboards."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

The cleanest keyboard going

Subject: General Tech | November 15, 2012 - 06:51 PM |
Tagged: input, logitech, washable, K310, keyboard

It doesn't sport fancy mechanical switches, LEDs or movable macro keys like many keyboards sold today; this Logitech is special because it is washable.  You may have seen this product around before but if you haven't you can check out The Inquirer's review here.  The key design is unique looking and functional too as a spill will be directed around the keys and the bit that does get through will exit through the back.  Once you have spilled on the keyboard you just unplug it, take it to the sink and give it a thorough cleansing. Once it has dried you can plug it back in and get back to what you were doing before your beverage took a nose dive.  This may not be the sturdiest design or the best type of keys you have encountered though at $40 you really shouldn't expect that from this board, instead enjoy having the cleanest keyboard in the neighbourhood.


"Pulling the Logitech keyboard out of the box, the first thing you'll notice is its bright blue underbelly that we assume is meant to connote the keyboard's friendly relationship with water. Lined around the edges on the back are drain holes, for spilled liquids or cleaning water to run out of."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer
Manufacturer: PC Perspective

Thoughts about Interface Design in General

I have been in several situations where a variety of people claim the gamepad is superior for gaming because that is what it was designed for. No elaboration or further justification is given. The controller is designed for gaming and is therefore clearly better. End of – despite often being start to – discussion in their minds.

Really it is a compromise between the needs of popular games and the environment of a couch.

Interface design is complicated. When you design an interface you need to consider: the expected types of applications; the environment of the user; what you are permitted to use; what tolerances are allowed; what your audience is used to; and so on, so forth. There is a lot to consider when you design an application for a user and I could make an educated guess that it is at least as hard to design the input device itself.

The history of keyboard design is a great example of tradeoffs in input devices.

Sometimes it is better to be worse...


The first wave of keyboards were interfaces to the mechanical typewriter. These keyboards were laid out in alphabetical order because as long as each key is accessible and the user could find the letter they wanted – who cares, right? We already have an order for the alphabet that people understands so the users should not have too much difficulty in finding the letter they need.

Another constraint quickly game to light: typists were too fast and the machines jammed.

The engineers now needed to design an input method which could keep up with the typist. Correcting the machine itself was somewhat futile so the solution was to make the typist as slow as possible. The most common letters in the English language were spread all over the place and – while possibly by fluke – the left hand is favored, as in made do more work, over the often dominant right hand.

The problem required making the most aggravating keyboard layout engineers could imagine. QWERTY was born.

What has been designed to threaten QWERTY? Read on to find out.

Got moss growing on your keyboard? Logitech can fix that!

Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2012 - 04:19 PM |
Tagged: input, logitech, keyboard, washable, K310

Some of you may remember keyboard covers, similar to the plastic covers that batty old relatives place on their couches and chairs and every bit as attractive.  They've gone out of style which is part of the reason why there are keyboards out there growing moss and with enough crumbs inside for a decent emergency snack during a MMORPG raid if you flip it upside down.  Logitech realized that not everyone wants goop, crud and worse hiding below their keys and so they've released a washable keyboard called the K310. Legit Reviews tried it out and liked it, as far as they could like a membrane keyboard with just the basics but they are hoping for a model targeted at gamers in the near future.


"Most of us spend many hours every week typing at a computer, but when was the last time you cleaned it? How dirty and nasty is your keyboard that you are using right now? Last month, Logitech unveiled the Washable Keyboard K310 that grabbed our attention as you could easily was it and the keyboard costs just $39.99 shipped. Using disinfectant wipes gets expensive over the years, so a washable keyboard like the Logitech K310 could make life easier for germaphobes or anyone that hates dirty keyboards..."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Synaptics Announces New TouchPads And Keyboards

Subject: Mobile | August 22, 2012 - 12:51 AM |
Tagged: touchpad, synaptics, notebook, laptop, keyboard


The march towards thinner laptops has challenged computer manufacturers in a number of ways. When designing a laptop that’s just three-quarters of an inch thin or thinner, everything matters. Even the size of thickness of a keyboard or touchpad makes a big difference.

Synaptics is responding to these design realities with the introduction of new user interfaces. One is the ForcePad, a new type of touchpad that is capable of measuring the precise amount of force the user inputs. This makes it possible to drop physical left/right mouse buttons entirely, reducing maximum thickness from 5mm to 3mm. It also provides additional input which can be harnessed by software for precise control.

The company is also introducing a new keyboard design called ThinTouch. This keyboard redesigns (or rather, eliminates) the keyboard switch to reduce overall thickness by 30 to 50 percent without sacrificing an optional backlight. The keyboard is also force sensitive, which means that users can activate alternate characters by pressing harder instead of using the Shift key.


Both new technologies are interesting, though also potentially problematic. Of concern is the lack of key travel in the ThinTouch design, which is evident in the picture above. There’s little movement in the key, which makes me wonder what typing on this keyboard is like. I’d wager it’s not the best experience. I find it very odd that a company responsible for designing user interface elements for a laptop would seek to reduce one of the laptop’s most noticeable advantages over a tablet – a tactile keyboard.

With that said, I'm sure these devices will make their way to ultrabooks in short order. Reducing the size of the keyboard and touchpad will allow for a larger battery and/or better cooling. The battery life increase will be of particular use to OEMs, who see battery life as a nice, easy figure that can be used in marketing materials. A better battery can be explained with a handful of words. Explaining a better keyboard takes more time.

No release dates or launch products have been detailed yet. We'll probably hear more at CES 2013.

Source: Synaptics
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Introduction, Design And Features


The gaming keyboard market seems to rigorously follow a common rule of consumer products - more is more. If a keyboard is for gamers it should include lots of fancy gaming related features, and the more that are included, the more hardcore the keyboard. Macro buttons, customizable back-lighting and LCD screens are all features of modern gaming keyboards–and you don’t see many companies going the other direction.

But there are products that buck the trend. One of them is the CMStorm QuickFire Rapid, a mechanical gaming keyboard that became available in North America earlier this year. Unlike most competitors, the QuickFire rapid cuts features instead of adding them. Back-lighting? Macro keys? You’re kidding me, right? This keyboard doesn’t even include a numpad.

Cooler Master (the company behind CMStorm) has not cut out the features that matter, however. This keyboard comes with Cherry MX keys (the blue variant, in this case) and also supports PS/2 connections for full NKRO. For those who’ve seen the light of day recently, this gobbly gook means the QuickFire Rapid scans key activation individually and therefore can detect new key activations even when other keys are still depressed. It’s a feature hardcore gamers love because of their tendency to press multiple keys simultaneously.

Cutting back on unneeded features has a notable side effect–it reduces price. Currently this keyboard is available for $79.99 at retail or as low as $65 on Only Razor’s bare-bones version of the BlackWidow keyboard sells for less, and it only beats the QuickFire by $5 dollars.

So can you really buy a decent gaming keyboard for $65, and will you miss the numpad? Let’s find out.

Continue reading our review of the CMStorm QuickFire Rapid Keyboard!!

Rosewill Launches New Limited Edition RK-9000I Mechanical Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | August 9, 2012 - 03:51 AM |
Tagged: rosewill, mechanical keyboard, keyboard

Rosewill, a PC peripheral company popular for its lineup of mechanical keyboards has announced a new model. Following in the success of Rosewill’s second generation RK series (which we reviewed here) is the Limited Edition Elite Ivory RK-9000I. The new mechanical keyboard features the same form factor and black keys as the existing RK-series, but has a white color keyboard color.

Rosewill Limited Edition Elite Ivory RK-9000I.jpg

The Elite Ivory mechanical keyboard will be available with either Cherry MX Blue or Cherry MX Brown switches. The Blue variants are tailored towards typists while the Brown keys are made as a compromise between typing feel and the ability to press the key multiple types rapidly–a feature highly sought after by gamers.

Key press animations. On the left: a Cherry MX Blue. On the right: a Cherry MX Brown

Further, the keyboard will come equipped with both gold-plated USB and PS/2 connectors. The PS/2 connector will give you the full performance and allow many more keys to be depressed at the same time than is possible over USB. When Scott reviewed the RK-series keyboards, he generally liked them. As this Limited Edition Elite Ivory RK-9000I is based off of those keyboards, it should offer very similar performance.

Unfortunately, pricing and availability have not yet been released by Rosewill, but I would expect that it is coming soon.

Source: Rosewill
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Introduction and Design


Change is hard. The Internet, for all of its talk about openness and cultural advancement, seems to have crystalized this more than any other form of communication. If something popular is changed, for better or worse, it’s only a matter of time before the virtual pitchforks are brought out.
Laptop manufacturers usually dodge this bullet because they change designs before they have a chance to gain a following. It’s hard for fans to become mad about a new design if the old one wasn’t used long enough to create an expectation. But there’s always been on exception – Lenovo’s ThinkPad. 
Though this line of matte-black business laptops has been expanded over the years with the ThinkPad Edge the core of the line-up has remained stubbornly similar. The ThinkPad T420 I reviewed earlier this year was strikingly similar to the T42 that I owned in college. Yes, the display’s aspect ratio had changed, but the keyboard, trackpointer and overall design aesthetic was familiar. 
I wasn’t surprised to see Lenovo’s announcement that it would be changing the keyboard on its new ThinkPad laptops send waves through the enthusiast community. Now Lenovo has sent the X230, one of the re-designed models, and I can see if this change is blasphemy or a new revelation. 
Oh, and the hardware’s different, as well. Ivy Bridge, blah blah blah, Intel HD 4000, blah blah blah. You’re likely familiar with this tune – but you may be surprised to hear it played on an instrument this small.