Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboards Rock/Suck (the "no good Perl jobs"/"ergo keyboards" myth)

Andy Wardley abw at
Wed Aug 9 08:45:55 BST 2006

Peter Corlett wrote:
>> "They make nice keyboards"
> I disagree. 

BZZT!  Invalid answer.

Please enter "Microsoft Keyboards Rock" or "Microsoft Keyboards Suck".

I'm of the opinion that they suck, but far less than any other keyboards 
out there that I've tried. First thing I do is rip off the windows keys. 
  I have a large gap between "Ctrl" and "Alt" which ensures I never hit 
the wrong one by mistake.

As the for the split keyboard thing, I believe it *is* better for your 
wrists than an unsplit keyboard.  I once spent some time studying the 
physiology of the wrist while designing some handles for a kite:

The kite and the handles are symmetrical. Unfortunately, your wrist 
isn't which is why one of the connecting lines on the handles is longer 
than the other.  Yes, a piece of string can be "ergonomic"  :-)

Equate this to a regular typing position and you'll see that you can
bend your wrists to angle your hands inwards to about 40-45 degrees.
Angling them outwards you'll be lucky to get 20 deg.  So you don't need 
to stick your elbows out in the air when typing - you can keep them by 
your side (or on the arm rests of your chair) and let the natural angle 
in your wrist assume the position (ideally about 10 degrees in - the mid 
point of the two extremes).

For the record, the most damaging typing action (on your wrist) is to
angle your hands outwards and then rotate as if pushing your little 
finger down on the Ctrl key.  I forget what all the little bones are 
called, but it's this particular angling/twisting action that grinds the 
bones together and pressures the nerves, ultimately leading to carpal 
tunnel syndrome. It's this action that you really want to avoid, and the 
MS Ergo keyboard helps do that.

Sure, there's lots of things wrong with it, and if you're not happy with 
your fingers doing the typing then you'll struggle to hunt'n'peck with 
the split layout.  But if you're looking for something that tries to 
give your arms and wrists the most natural typing position and avoid 
long term stress damage, then this offering is the best you can get on 
the high street IMHO.  Specialist ergo keyboards are usually several 
hundred quid and often so weird that you have to learn to type all over 

Now don't start me on Apple's keyboards...  I really struggle to 
comprehend how a company that makes such beautiful and well thought out 
hardware/software can fail so miserably in keyboard design and layout!


More information about the mailing list