Saturday, October 01, 2005

Bought my Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 from Fry's

After a lot of hunting and a lot of waiting, I finally tracked down a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 today. I had been searching on Technorati for both user feedback and to find out where people might be buying them, but didn't find much information except for a few reviews. I knew that I would buy the keyboard regardless of the reviews, so I just wanted to find out where people were buying them from. In case you're in that boat, I just bought mine today, October 1st, at the Sacramento Fry's.

I called or went to most all the other stores earlier this week (CompUSA, Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples) but none of them had the new keyboard and no one I talked to knew when they were getting it (or even what it was). I went to Fry's partly because it had been a little while since I had my last Fry's fix (I'm originally from the Bay Area, and only moved to the Sacramento area after visiting the Fry's here) but also hoping that they might have the keyboard in stock. I had called them on Tuesday, 9/27, and they didn't have it then, so I lowered my expectations and didn't think they'd have it in stock. When I got to the keyboard aisle and saw that they had half-a-dozen on the display shelf and about 20 on the overhead shelf, I was pleased as punch. This was exactly the type of Fry's experience I wanted, being one of the first to get a new product. I even did my little fetish thing of reaching past the first box (which I know everyone probably touches) for a fresh one in the back. And yes, I did smell the box, but I can't help it.

The price of the keyboard was $59.99, which I thought was very reasonable. I would be willing to pay more even, but that's because I'm a keyboard snob (and apparently fetishist). I think I'm going to quickly get used to and depend on this keyboard, which is a good thing because in my impatience I also ordered one from Amazon ($50.69 total with the free Super Saver Shipping). That's fine, though, since I had planned to get at least two (one for home and one for work) since I first heard that Microsoft was coming out with a new Natural keyboard.

I've only been using this keyboard for a little over an hour but already but I like it very much. The first thing I noticed after switching from my Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro (circa 1999) was that this keyboard is much quieter. At first I missed the satisfying clack of my Natural Keyboard Pro, but I quickly started getting used to the softer feel of this keyboard. In fact, I'm quickly becoming accustomed to the feel of my new keyboard. I feel like my hands and wrists are in a more comfortable position while I'm typing and think that in the long run I'll be in slightly better shape than I would with the older Microsoft Natural Keyboards.

At first I wasn't sure about the new lift that goes under the wrist rest of the keyboard. It is one of the most obvious differences you notice between this keyboard and the other Microsoft Natural keyboards, since it makes the keys slope away from you more. I'm really starting to like it, though, and think I'll probably keep the keyboard in the default position it ships in (i.e. keeping the wrist raiser on and not engaging the feet under the top corners of the keyboard).

Now that my keyboard lust has been sated, I can turn my attention to enjoying my new keyboard. Of course, Microsoft has the new Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 coming out sometime in October, so there is always something new to start lusting after.

I updated the Wikipedia entry for the Microsoft Natural keyboard to include a link to information about the new keyboard.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Cheap ($5) case for iPod nano

OK, so I've had my iPod nano for just over 24 hours now and I'm still handling it like a newborn baby. Maybe a little more carefully, since it probably scratches easier than babies do (and they can heal).

First thing I did after buying the iPod nano was to get a temporary case for it. There weren't any cases available yet at the Apple store and I couldn't handle the thought of it getting all scratched up. I went to CompUSA and found a cool little case from Case Logic for only $4.99 called the Digital Media Case. It's actually designed for flash media cards, but happens to be just the right size to hold an iPod nano. I can put my iPod nano inside it and have the headphone sticking out of the bottom of the zippered case. It works great, but of course you have to open the case to access the nano. It's just temporary until I can get a quality case.

I've also left the front plastic protection on the iPod nano. The whole thing comes with a plastic wrapper around it, but if you open it carefully you can keep the separate protective plastic sheet on just the front of the unit, which I'm most worried about getting scratched. Not so worried about the back, since once it's in a good case I'll rarely see it again. It makes it a tiny bit harder to use the scroll wheel, but not much.

The only case from Apple that looks like it is going to be available in the next couple of weeks is the armband case (available in 1-3 days from their site), but that case doesn't protect the screen, the main thing I'm worried about. Also, I'd look like even more of a dork if I walked around the office with an iPod on my arm, no matter how cool it is.

I can't wait until more cases become available, especially from Marware. Or better yet, maybe Otterbox will come out with another waterproof case so I can take my iPod nano swimming just like I do my iPod Shuffle.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Just bought my iPod nano from the Sacramento Apple Store

Yes, I have a sickness, and the only cure was to drive to the Sacramento Apple Store today (Thursday) and pray that by some stroke of luck (or good marketing/distribution) they had the iPod nano in stock. And they did, and I immediately bought one. Below is a short description of my experience.

I called the Sacramento Apple store on Wednesday and asked when they expected to receive the iPod nano and they said hopefully tomorrow (Thursday). So I tried calling the store today (Thursday) just before noon but got no answer. Being, as I said, afflicted with the sickness, I decided to just drive the 20 or so minutes over to Arden Fair Mall and see if they might have some. When I walked in the store around 12:15 this afternoon I saw two employees showing off both the black and white iPod nanos to just a few customers. I waited for a minute to be able to touch one and asked tentatively if they had any in stock. The guy said they did behind the counter so I immediately stopped fondling his and went straight to the registers. They were keeping them locked up in the little storeroom in the back, so I just had to ask for a 4GB white iPod nano and they went and got it for me. The hole in my techno soul was instantly filled with a warm glow.

I was surprised there weren't more people in the store buying them when I got there. I saw one other guy opening up his black iPod nano right at the counter and starting to play with it. From talking to the clerk who rang up my purchase it seemed like they had been doing a pretty good business in iPod nanos so far that day. They genuinely seemed pretty surprised to have them in stock already, as was I!

I had a fever, and the only prescription was one iPod nano (and more cow bell)!

More later once I get it safely home so I can fondle it in private...