The saga of the keyboard

We have just bought ourselves a new computer.

Among other things, the software I wanted to run to create snazzy-looking video clips with accompanying soundtrack was placing too many demands on the system, and annoyingly hanging it in the middle of processing. And it had become increasingly sluggish – as happens when one installs an assortment of updates, plug-ins and bug-fixes over a number of years.

Our new ‘baby’, ordered from online computer store Sybaritic, arrived – disassembled – at hubby’s place of work last Tuesday. He and a helpful colleague(s) spent some time putting all the bits together. (He really has very nice colleagues.)

And then followed several very late-late-late nights of painstaking installation, and making sure that all the data from the old system was gradually migrated over to the new one. You know how it is.

I kept out of the way, thanks to a veeeeeery long and twisty network cable connecting the laptop in the lounge to the old PC, which stood in a corner of the office, kept on ‘life-support’ so that I could continue reading my email, doing my work, connecting to the internet, etc. The poor thing looked a bit disconsolate without its monitor, mouse, and assorted bits and bobs.

At some stage, we realised that our old faithful Microsoft Natural keyboard, dating back to the early 1990s, required a PS/2 port. Which the new PC, though endowed with many USB ports, didn’t have.

Oh dear.

Personally, I really wanted to keep the keyboard we had, one of those original, beige MS Natural Keyboards, because I’d gotten so used to the split between the left and right hands, and the gentle curve which moulds itself to my hands. And fancy-shmancy keyboards aren’t all that cheap.

Thus followed web searches, phone calls, and visits to computer stores, looking for either a simple converter or a new keyboard.

As a first attempt, we bought a little PS/2-to-USB converter, looking similar to one of those USB-to-PS/2 converters which you get with most new keyboards. Alas, it didn’t work. Disappointed, we returned it.

Meanwhile, hubby was still consulting the internet with focused dedication, on a mission to identify the perfect replacement keyboard for wifey. He decided that the MS Windows Natural Elite would be the one. Or perhaps the more expensive MS Windows Natural Pro. However, these keyboards were nowhere to be found in South Africa (it seems like you can buy them online in America, but I sure as heck wasn’t going to rely on our Post Office to deliver it!).

Currently, the best ergonomic keyboard (available in SA) seemed to be the MS Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. The only reason we were reluctant to go for it was that some users on the internet reported ‘mushy keys’ and problems with the spacebar. Oh, and I think they said you sometimes had to push the keys really hard, which I think kind of defeats the object of having an ergonomic keyboard that doesn’t place extra stress on your hands.

Today, we were finally in luck!

Hubby brought home an active PS/2 to USB converter: it has a USB connection at the end that goes into the PC and forks into two PS/2 ends, one for the mouse and one for the keyboard. It has a fat little section in the middle, which presumably contains a little chip that does the conversion.

And amazingly – IT WORKS! And it costs only R45!

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