Just Buy the Keyboard

The holidays have passed and it’s a new year. You probably have a gift card or two and haven’t decided how to use it yet. Allow me to help:

Buy that fancy keyboard you’ve been coveting. Yes, the $100+ model. And get the good mouse/trackball while you’re at it. Just do it.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a “knowledge worker”, developer, data wrangler, or technical writer. You spend hours every day at your computer, hammering away at the keyboard. Why are you still using that $10 membrane keyboard and $5 corded mouse that the company has a 10-year stockpiles of?

I’m a strong advocate for the “don’t skimp on things that separate you from the ground” philosophy. Meaning that it’s well worth spending the extra money to buy high-quality tires for our cars, mattresses for our beds, and shoes for our feet. David Sparks is fond of saying “this is how I pay for my shoes” when talking about his work and the tools he uses to do it. By the transitive property, this means that we should not skimp on the tools we use to get our work done.

A mechanic working at a PC in his shop.

A mechanic working at a PC in his shop. Image generated by Microsoft Designer AI.

These are the tools of our trade. You owe it to yourself to invest in good tools. Is your mechanic buying the $20 socket wrench set down at Harbor Freight to do their job. Hell no! They’re buying the good stuff off the Snap-On or Mac Tools truck that stops by the garage every week or two. They spend more money to get tools that will work all day, every day, and last for years. Because good tools pay you back.

About a year ago, the switches on my trackball were failing, and the whole thing needed to be replaced. For months I agonized over it. “It’s $60, why should I spend so much money to replace this? It seems so frivolous.” So I switched to a mouse that I had in reserve. It worked well enough, but after a few weeks I started feeling the beginnings of RSI. So…I relented, and bought the new trackball. Near-instant relief.

So do yourself a favor. Replace that cheap, beat-up, mushy-feeling keyboard with something nice.