Bloglines is still the best

March 25, 2006

I'm still using Bloglines after almost two years. If that doesn't seem like a long time then you either don't know me or don't understand how the web works (or both). From my initial post about Bloglines:

After using it for the past two weeks I have to say that it gets just about everything right; my problems with it are both mild and easily curable. The next few paragraphs outline some of the changes I'd like to see, but even if none of these come to fruition, Bloglines is my aggregator of choice until something better comes along.

Not only have they fixed everything I mentioned in that post (save the name change :), they've added quite a few new things as well, including a really great mobile implementation that I use every day. I can't believe how little real competition there has been in this space; I've tried every online reader that has come across the pipe and none of them even comes close to Bloglines' feature-set. It's sad really.

PayPal Mobile

March 22, 2006
PayPal Mobile (must be signed in to see the page). This could be huge. How long until US restaurants allow us to pay for (and even order) our meals with this method? There's so much potential here.

Mac keyboard redux

March 20, 2006

Wow, I can't believe the amount of feedback I got from the previous keyboard post. The funny thing is, no one recommended a keyboard outside of the three I mentioned, which tells me two things: I was right when I said that there were very few good made-for-Mac keyboards out there and I'm not the only person who cares about his typing tool.

A few of the e-mails sounded awfully like the Windows/Mac and Vi/Emacs debates -- everyone was pretty passionate about their weapon of choice and why it was the best one available. Given that some of us are in front of a computer 10+ hours/day (hell, who isn't these days?), it makes sense that we would care so deeply about what we use to interact with it (don't even get me started on mice and tracking surfaces).

I ended up buying both the Matias Tactile Pro and the macally iceKey over the weekend. I probably would have bought the Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2 as well, but I couldn't find anyone selling it locally.

Matias Tactile Pro

After giving both keyboards a good workout, I decided to go with the iceKey and returned the Tactile Pro. While I liked the action on the Tactile Pro much more than on the iceKey, the Matias was so damn loud that I couldn't hear myself think. It was a bit unnerving if I'm being honest. It could not have felt better, but I couldn't stand the fact that I thought someone was tap-dancing inside my head as I typed. I had half a mind to keep it for my Olympic neighbors.

I was a bit unimpressed with its build quality in light of the fact that the website professes it to be "built like a tank." Within the first minute of playing around with it, I thought I had broken the back legs because they made this awful popping sound as I put them back in place. They didn't crack, but I was scared to move them again. Also, the legs had a little too much "give" when in position. For $150, I was a little disappointed. Like I said though, it felt great, and if you have this model in mind you better move fast as one of my readers told me that Alps is no longer making the switches used by the Tactile Pro -- when they're gone, they're gone.

macally iceKey

I'm not going to sit here and say that the iceKey is the greatest keyboard I've ever used, because it's not, but it is a good keyboard and one that I plan on using for a while. It's relatively cheap (~$50), really well-built, and a joy to type on. It reminds me a lot of my aluminum PowerBook's keyboard, with its low-profile, short-travel "scissor" switches. I highly recommend it, especially if you like typing on a PowerBook. Hopefully they'll come out with a black model sometime soon.

Slate, I hardly knew you

March 18, 2006

As much as I like reading Slate, I've just unsubscribed from their feed because they can't seem to figure out that it isn't supposed to represent previous articles as new or updated each and every time my aggregator pulls it down. I'm not sure what they're changing on their end every 15 minutes, but it's not the content. Whatever the cause (and reason behind it), it's completely ridiculous that an organization that large can't figure it out (or chooses not to fix it).

Perhaps there is some sort of disconnect between Bloglines and Slate (I highly doubt that because this problem has persisted for a while now), but either way, it's broken for me and they've just lost a reader.  :\

I need a new Mac keyboard

March 17, 2006

I need recommendations for a good Mac keyboard. I've about had it with the standard-issue Apple model I purchased along with the new monitor. Anyone who thinks this is a good keyboard has never typed on a good keyboard. Period. Every time I use this thing for more than 5-10 minutes my fingers start to hurt. I constantly feel like I'm pressing the keys harder than I should have to -- they're much too "mushy." It's very tiring. The only thing I can say I really like about it are the USB slots on the back, but a lot of keyboards come with these now.

My favorite keyboard of all time would have to be the black Keytronic "Lifetime Series" model I bought ~10 years ago. My dad is still using that very keyboard, and, somewhat suprisingly, the company still sells it (search the page for "lt_designer"). If I wasn't looking for a Mac-centric keyboard, I would buy another Keytronic this very second.

Of the very limited number of made-for-Mac keyboards available, I've currently got my eye on the Matias Tactile Pro ($150!), the macally iceKey, and the Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2 (you can't beat its [non-]footprint). I'm leaning toward the Matias model because I'm partial to mechanical key switches and I know that that one has a nice "clickety-clack" feel to it.

If you've used any of these before and have an opinion, please let me know.