Back to the HHKB (for now)

I’ve tried. Several times I’ve tried, but I just keep coming back to the Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional, commonly referred to as the “HHKB”.

Apple out, HHKB in

This time I tried using the Apple Magic Keyboard. I don’t mind the Apple keyboards, but I don’t love them either. The idea was that since I regularly switch between typing at my iMac and typing at my laptop, the experience would be more consistent and therefore less frustrating.

As much as I adore the HHKB, it can be frustrating to use two close-but-different keyboard layouts throughout the day. On the HHKB, the Delete and backslash keys are reversed, and the tilde key is on the right rather than the left. I type things like ~/foo/bar/ a lot, and Delete even more often. And there are no dedicated arrow keys. That’s nuts! It’s not terrible, but it does add friction.

I wanted to reduce that friction, but I missed the HHKB immediately. It’s weird because I’m entirely fine using the MacBook keyboard but at the iMac I can’t help but wish I was using the HHKB.

But maybe it was just the mechanical-ness that I missed, so I plugged in the Keychron K2 this morning. It has a normal layout and mechanical Cherry brown-alike switches, so perhaps I could have the best of both worlds. Nope, I can’t stand the Keychron. The keys feel loose and wiggly and sometimes the “e” key misbehaves. The HHKB’s Topre switches are perfect.

So I gave up and am once again back at the HHKB and I am a Happy Hacker once again.

I do miss having real arrow keys, so the next thing I may try is some other keyboard with both Topre switches and a more normal layout. If you know of any that you’d recommend, please let me know.

UPDATE, 10 minutes later: I went to add a link to the HHKB site and see they also sell the Realforce TKL for Mac so I ordered one from eBay (since that’s the only place I could find one that would sell to US). Anyway, I’ll follow up once I’ve had some time with it.