Issue 40 Jul 30, 2023

Mechanical keyboards ruined me

Hi! My name is Thord, and this is my weekly letter to you, and anyone else who wants to read. You’re getting it because you decided to subscribe, at some point, but if that was a mistake, then by all means cancel your subscription. No hard feelings.

Now, for this week’s essay. 👇

Mechanical keyboards ruined me

I write a lot. Emails, documents, code, essays, fact and fiction. Most of it is done on either a Keychron K4 or K6, mechanical keyboards both. They’re good, not the best I’ve ever experienced, but barring building yourself (I can’t be bothered), it’s the best options for someone who wants a Nordic layout. We have special characters here in Sweden, and these days 90 per cent of my output is in Swedish.

There are times when I need to get work done while away from any of my work desks. If I’m primarily writing, editing, or doing light design work, I’ll probably bring an iPad Pro with its Magic Keyboard, but this past year, I’ve been pretty tied to tools that are Mac only. That means I use a MacBook Pro, 16 inches of glorious screen real-estate on the go. It’s a crazy fast machine, I have no complaints whatsoever.

Except that I can’t type on it. I just can’t. Apple might’ve moved away from those dreaded butterfly switches that the previous generation of MacBooks, of all sorts, had, and people are happy. I’m not, for some reason I can’t touch-type on this keyboard. It’s weird, I certainly can hammer out words at high speed on the 11” iPad Pro’s Magic Keyboard. I find my rhythm, the length of each keystroke, fast enough. I can’t do that on the MacBook Pro keyboard. Granted, this is probably due to not using it much. A week with it might make it feel right to me, but I’ve never experienced this before. Every other MacBook I’ve picked up, from the old whitebooks and the first generation Air (which had one of the best laptop keyboards ever, as it were), to the dreaded touch bar MacBooks, it just worked. The flow was there, it felt right.

The mechanical keyboards must be the reason for this. For a long time I used them for gaming, never really for typing, at least not for the past decades. Now they’re everywhere, and most of them are offering a superior typing experience, albeit with some noise attached to it. It’s the only thing that I can think of, that my muscle memory has gone stupid on me, and tailored itself after mechanical keyboards.

But then, why does the iPad Pro’s Magic Keyboard work just fine? That’s definitely light touch-typing, cramped at that.

I’m considering stealing my wife’s M2 MacBook Air to see if that has the same effect on my typing as my 16” MacBook Pro. Maybe it isn’t me, maybe it’s the keyboards that are bad. Or maybe I’ve just gotten sensitive to what I’m hitting all day. After all, Logitech’s overall lauded mechanical keyboards feel way off to me, too.

Take this as a warning: If you’re going down the mechanical keyboard route, expect to get stuck there.


🔋 A potential breakthrough might change the way superconductors work. Well, not really work, but rather the temperatures and the amount of energy wasted on transmissions. Science has a piece on it, and Alex Kaplan breaks it down in a thread on Twitter too. This is one of those things that might prove to be a lot bigger, and a lot more than it seems at a first glance. I'm still thinking about it.

💩 The Reddit drama continues, with Reddit taking over popular communities who won't play ball. Sort of like when Elon Musk grabbed the @x username on Twitter from Gene X Hwang after the Twitter rebrand.

🤦🏻‍♂️ Speaking of Elon Musk, it seems like Tesla rigged range projections. On brand, eh.

📚 Salomé argues for literary agents. An interesting read for someone who's both self-published and being published by traditional, err, publishers. I've never had an agent though.

🇷🇺 Five days of Russian TV left this poor author scarred. Again.

Got something I should read? Send it to me, either by replying to this letter, tweeting to @tdh or hitting up on Bluesky. Thanks!


📚 I finished Den andra kvinnan by Therese Bohman, a Swedish novel. You can find it translated to a bunch of languages. I liked it.

🎵 There’s been a mix of music playing this week, while I was working on a bench that turned out to be a bit bigger than expected, both physically and as a project. That was fun, I like working with wood. Goes well with southern rock, too.

📺 We’ve started watching Dirty John. I’m not sure what I think of it yet.

🎮 I managed to finish both Mortal Kombat (9) and Mortal Kombat X, in-between outdoorsy stuff and work. That was brutal and fun.

Sorry about missing last week. My summer has become a lot more work-laden than initially planned. It's hard to schedule things properly at times then. I've already had to pause a writing project until things have calmed down. That said, it's all good, the money's good, and I'll try to reclaim lost time with an extra trip or two this autumn.

Anyway, I hope you had a great week. I'm typing this a couple of days before you get it, as I'm off in the archipelago visiting friends. They have their own island, how about that? And there are supposedly friendly ducklings there, so don't feel sorry for me.

Until next week, take care.

— Thord D. Hedengren ⚡

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