I have always promoted the idea of a renewable copyright. I suggest a renewal fee that’s small but real. Say $100. The idea is to sort the economically viable works from the rest of the herd.
You see, the copyright extension act is brought forth every 20 years so that corporations won’t loose their profitable properties. The Disney Corp is the most obvious example. Their vault of classic animation is far more valuable than gold. But, if the copyright ran out, it would be worthless—to Disney, anyway. To avoid this disaster, Disney (and the rest of the entertainment industry) goes to Congress every 20 years and arranges for an extension.
But they also extend the copyright on every other work in the country at the same time. Books, music, and movies that have no commercial value left—but that may have value as the basis of new works. As a recent example, look at The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. All those characters are in the public domain. So they could be used to create a new work of art. (OK, there is some disagreement about how much art was in that movie, but the graphic novel was brilliant!)
Without material falling into the public domain, we lose the intellectual equivalent of fertilizer. We lose the ability to build on the works that have gone before. We must “reinvent the wheel” for every work created.
But realistically, we are never going to see Mickey Mouse in the public domain. It just ain’t gonna happen. So let’s keep the mouse safe, along with the rest of the Disney Vault, but free the hundreds of thousands of other works to the public domain.
So, you’re saying Disney is exempt just because it’s Disney, but Joe Schmoe’s cartoon character—one of those “hundreds of thousands of other works”—is not? Sorry, but copyright laws should not give preferential treatment based on popular culture or anything else. Yes, copyrighted works that are owned by deceased individuals and/or nonexistent organizations—things from which absolutely no one is or could be profiting—should be considered for release to the public domain. But I should not lose a copyright just because I live longer than a certain number of years or just because I chose to give oversight of the copyright to a particular organization that will be around for a long time. —Lee Bennett
You can import images into DEVONnote. It took me a while to figure it out, but DEVONnote can handle RTFD files, which is a NeXT file format that includes images or other attachments. So you can just create an RTF document from the menu, and then drag an image into the document. It will then be stored and shown as an image. I use this application for writing. It helps me organize characters and plot lines easily. I wish the backup was all one file as well, instead of six.
A question/comment about portability. It looks like the iRac would be rather bulky to fit into a computer case, briefcase, etc. The ends might also damage the inside of the bag. One good feature of the Podium Pad and some other stands is that they can be folded or disassembled to fit nicely into a bag.
Also, for travelling, I would like a stand that can be used anywhere, like on an airline seat tray, on one’s lap in the waiting area at an airport, etc. I’d reverse your recommendations and suggest that the iRac is better for local use, not for travel.
Great review, covering exactly the criteria I’m interested in. I too have been looking for a great replacement for my Apple Extended Keyboard (which, I must say, was even better than the Extended Keyboard II), and I too settled on the Micro Connectors keyboard (labeled something else)—after trying four others; I “joke” that the Micro Connectors product cost me $500…
I am curious if you have tried the Kensington StudioBoard Mechanical Keyboard, which looks almost identical to the Matias product reviewed here (they are clearly twins separated at birth).
My own judgement of it is similar to yours about the Matias product: not quite the right feel, not quite as good as the Micro Connectors / Ballistic product, which is itself not quite as good as the original Apple Extended Keyboard.
I guess this is another example of a product so commoditized that it’s impossible to make money selling it, and so it’s impossible to find a quality version any more…
I enjoyed your article very much. I went to a yard sale about a year ago and they had three of these Micro Connectors keyboards for $2 each, two Blueberrys and one Graphite. I bought them all. I sold two of them but kept one for a backup. I recently bought a G4 Dual 533 that didn’t have a keyboard, so I pulled the old Graphite Micro Connectors out and hooked it up. My son and I love it. I can tell when I’ve actually hit a key and when I haven’t.
Because of some miscommunication between me and the wife, I ended up with both the Matias and Kensington keyboards. I also have a Micro Connectors, a Northgate Ultra keyboard, and a Ortek MCK-142 Pro. Yes I’m a keyboard snob, and for me the louder and springier the better (if they had a keyboard with hydraulics I’d be right in line for that).
The Micro Connectors keyboard is pretty good, but I had an early model that had weird firmware issues with the USB (would stop working every so often).
The Northgate and Ortek are very similar and both are awesome. The Ortek is too tall for my keyboard drawers so I haven’t used it much. The Northgate is a perfect fit but I spilled some Coke on it a while back and it killed some of the keys.
When I got the Matias keyboard I was very disappointed. Its nice enough looking but just doesn’t feel right. I think the main problem is the keys wobble when typing. I probably can’t describe the exact issue, but it just doesn’t feel right.
I got the Kensington a few weeks after the Matias and thought I was in for the same problems. However the Kensington keyboard feels right. I think the keyboards are made in the same factory, but they must use different keyswitches.
I did eventually replace my beloved Northgate with the Kensington, and in my opinion that’s the Mac keyboard to get. Its not perfect, but I think its better then all the mush that’s out there.
The two big problems with the Kensington are that it’s too light (which means it slides around a lot), and there are issues with pushing some key combinations.
The Matias has the same problems above (though different key combinations) plus the weird feeling (to me) keys. On the other hand, it’s got the different key combos printed on the keys which is probably nice (for the 1-2 times a year I need those).
Oh, and the Kensington one is a bit cheaper then the Matias.
Sorry for the rambling, but it’s hard to describe a keyboard’s feel in words.
I too hate the mushy keyboards Apple use these days. I'm using an Extended Keyboard II (bought brand new at a show!) on my iMac G4 using a Griffin iMate. Works like a charm. Shame about the grey color, which doesn’t look right with the white iMac.
Wanted: Left-handed Keyboard
I am ambidextrous and mouse with my right hand, while operating the keyboard with my left. (I cringe when I see people painstakingly move between keyboard and mouse with their right hand, while their left arm lies in their lap like a dead log.)
Anyway, to avoid moving my left hand to the right side of the keyboard to press Enter key, I have been looking for a keyboard with an enter key on the left-hand side. Anyone seen one?
Kensington has one with programmable buttons, but it doesn’t say what you can program them to do. Anyone used it?
Here is my quick-n-easy, home-made solution. Ya, I know I am a freak but what else do you wish you can have on your keyboard?
Ergokomfort makes a keyboard with the numeric keypad, arrow buttons, and cursor/scroll buttons to the left of the typing area, but the numeric keypad’s Enter key may still not be in a good position and, unfortunately, it’s only sold with a PS/2 connector. Alternatively, check out the Matias Corporation’s products. On that page, toward the bottom, you’ll find a Half-QWERTY Keyboard that can work as both a single-handed or standard input device. If you wish to save real estate on your desk, you can even get a literal half keyboard. There’s even a wearable half keyboard. The cheapest solution for what you desire might be to remap the keys on your keyboard. You could simply swap the Caps Lock and Return key locations. —Lee Bennett