Dec 302011
 

I had a Cherry eVolution Stream XT silent keyboard which was pretty nice but it didn’t last very long. Some of the keys began to feel a bit “squishy”, would make weird click noises and one key managed to displace the rubber contact dome. Oh dear. So a few months ago I decided that I had to continue on my quest to find the perfect keyboard. This time, I decided that reliability had to be the number one priority, that the keyboard be wired and come with a PS/2 port connection.

After much research my choices where whittled down to the following which all use the highly robust and highly reliable Cherry MX key switches:

  • steelseries 7G or 6Gv2
  • Das Keyboard Professional
  • Cherry G80-3000 series

All off the above keyboards are high quality; not cheap but certainly high quality and robust. It was tough trying to choose between them.

1. steelseries 7G or 6Gv2

The 7G keyboard looked great and seems to be able to do a bunch of things. But I wasn’t too happy with the “SteelSeries Key” replacing the Windows key (although a lot of people might like it) and I didn’t want the audio ports and USB ports. The 6Gv2 does not have these these audio and USB ports so perhaps that might suite my needs better. However, my biggest concern was that both the 7G and 6Gv2  have an oversized Enter key displacing the # key. They therefore does not fully comply with a UK layout and I didn’t want to go though re-learning especially for such high-priced products.

2. Das Keyboard Profession

Another keyboard that looks awesome and has no gimmicks but which is not available with a standard UK layout.

3. Cherry G80-3000LSCGB-2

This model has the mechanical click-sound (which reminds me of the old IBM AT keyboards) and comes in a fully standard UK layout (see below for the standard UK Windows keyboard layout).

2000px-KB_United_Kingdom.svg

I took the risk and bought it. Happily, the keyboard is not as large or as heavy as some people had led me to believe. It has a weight of 1.132 kg and with the following dimensions:

  • Width 47.0 cm
  • Depth 19.5 cm
  • Height 4.4 cm

Here is a photograph of my keyboard after a few months of use:

SONY DSC

It’s been a joy to type on. I no longer have to worry about fighting the keyboard; it just does the job and lets me get on with mine. I love the sound of the mechanical keys too, but I can see that this might annoy people in an open-plan office (the G80-3000 series also come with silent mechanical MX switches if needed). The only odd thing about this keyboard is that there are no “bumps” or “raised dots” on the F and J keys; these bumps are used to give tactile feedback to a touch-typists to help ensure that the fingers are still aligned without looking. Instead, the F and J keys are more sculpted than the other keys and so have a different curved profile; too subtle for me!

Here’s a (very) short video showing the keyboard in action (I’m typing slowly so the thing is not a visual and audio blur):

And here’s another one with a bit more typing:

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Dec 302011
 

Sam Homola recently posted an article at Science-Based Medicine where he describes his attempts to remove pseudoscience (i.e. subluxations) from chiropractic so as to provide treatments that provide legitimate effective treatment for back pain. It can be hoped that Homola succeeds but he has been at this since the early 1960s and progress has been slow. Chiropractic continues to be seen as quackery, as something that is bogus, by those who apply rationality and will continue to be so until chiropractic changes itself. Homola’s article is at:

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Dec 282011
 

Religion needs people to be uneducated, to be unquestioning, to be stupid and credulous. This is how religion exerts itself and how it continues to enslave people into backwards thinking. Jerry Coyne explains this quite clearly in the recent “Be stupid” command from Pope Benedict XVI of the Roman Catholic Church.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Dec 282011
 

Some people will sell anything, and some people will buy anything. Sellers can be rip-off merchants, and buyers can be morons. And there appears to be an unhealthily high proportion of both  in the Hi-Fi and home-cinema market. You may remember the Pear Cables story from 2008. Here’s a more recent story with an AudioQuest HDMI cable being sold for over $1,000.

audioquest-hdmi

Almost makes Monster cables look reasonably priced!

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Dec 212011
 

speed-wheelI recently bought a Microsoft Wireless Speed Wheel for the Xbox360 and have used it with “Forza 4”. It looks great and feels great. The Speed Wheel does pretty well as a casual gaming racing wheel controller and in that role it certainly allows good steering, braking and acceleration control; it is not, though, for the hard core racer who wants force feedback and much finer control. The Speed Wheel’s main advantage is that its small size allows the device to be easily stored and be more accessible compared to, say, the old Microsoft Wireless Wheel and pedals. To stop my (weakling!) arms from getting tired I mostly use the Speed Wheel by resting it on my lap or on my knees and only occasionally raise it mid-air.

The Speed Wheel has no ports for a headset which I can live with but, most bizarrely, the wheel lacks the Right Bumper (RB) button and Left Bumper (LB) button. These omissions markedly hamper gaming experience (at least in Forza 4); there are workarounds but these are very unsatisfactory.  The Microsoft does say this at their website:

Take the wheel for easy motion-controlled racing. With the Xbox 360 Wireless Speed Wheel, experience realistic, accurate steering, and feel every bump in the road with rumble feedback. The Xbox 360 Wireless Speed Wheel is compatible with all your favorite racing games* on Xbox 360, and puts you in total control with intuitive buttons and triggers.

  • Intuitive steering with motion sensors
  • Trigger buttons for gas and brake
  • Buttons for game-specific functions
    A,B,X,Y for interactions
    D-pad for navigation
    Guide including ring of light, start and back
  • Rumble feedback

* — Does not contain shoulder buttons which may limit functionality in some games.

Really, what were Microsoft thinking by not including the RB and LB buttons? A flawed product.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Dec 212011
 

vertex3_sideI purchased an OCZ Vertex 3 SATA III 2.5" 240 GB SSD a few months ago for my Windows 7 64-bit machine as a boot-up drive. Unfortunately, after installing the drive, I would experience blue screens (BSODs) every few days. It turns out that a significant number of people have had similar issues which appear to be centred around the firmware for the SSD SF-2281 controller (produced by SandForce). So, I removed the drive and went back to my previous configuration of HDDs which worked fine.

But I kept an eye out in the OCZ forums and at other technology websites (e.g. AnandTech) to see if OCZ and SandForce had managed to root-cause the issue(s) and develop a fix; eventually, there was an announcement on 17 October 2011 that new firmware had been developed (version 2.15). So I immediately upgraded the SSD’s firmware to version 2.15 and put the drive to use. I’ve since not had any problems with that drive, and after several weeks I can safely say that the OCZ Vertex 3 SATA III 2.5" SSD is working fine on my system and I am enjoying the extra zip that this SSD gives. Of course, your mileage may vary and some people are still reporting some problems.

Further information can be found at A quick look at OCZ’s 2.15 SSD firmware BSODs begone?

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Dec 192011
 

I’d previously put up a video link from JediJesseSs to “Christopher Hitchens – The Best of the Hitchslap”. And I’ve just seen that Part 2 has now been uploaded. Both videos are shown below:

Christopher Hitchens – The Best of the Hitchslap

 

Christopher Hitchens – The Best of the Hitchslap – Part Two

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011