Friday, January 05, 2007

Lesson: No black keyboards for the visually impaired

I learned a lesson, that I passed on via an Amazon review: Microsoft Digital Media Pro Keyboard: Electronics

I bought this keyboard under unusual time constraints for my mother's Mac Mini. Yes, Microsoft does supply a quite good driver driver for OS X that enables all the features.

As an OS X keyboard it's not bad if one remembers to turn on F-Lock (OS X makes good use of function keys but XP does not, which is ironic if one knows the history of the function key). There's no 'eject' button but it's easy to remap the 'Messenger' key to be an eject button. It has a sleep and logout button that are very handy; note that the the modern Mac keyboard lacks both of these.

The main problem for an elderly or visually impaired person, however, is that the black keyboard with white lettering just doesn't work. It's also very complex and daunting with lots of special functions of dubious utility, and some of the most useful buttons (sleep, log out) are tiny. The numbered favorites occupies a lot of wasted space and are pretty worthless for most of us.

Not a bad keyboard, though a bit whizzy and silly, for most OS X and XP users. It's not a good choice for the elderly or visually impaired however.

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