Tuesday, December 1, 1998

On the go with the GoType keyboard

Performing a HotSync with the Newton Keyboard and PiloKey software active was an impossibility. You had to go to the driver, open it, and disable it before the serial port was freed up for a HotSync. This time, the Landware folks have made the driver automatically sense the keyboard so that you don't have to disable the driver by hand. This is a big help, since I'm always forgettting to turn off the driver in PiloKey.

Physical attributes

LandWare's GoType keyboard is 10" x 4" x 0.75". It is smaller than the Newton Keyboard. That, in and of itself, has pros and cons.

First the pros. I like the fact that it's self-contained and very lightweight. Since it's only 11 ounces, I don't notice any added weight in my bag.

Cons: Someone with smaller hands will find it easier to adapt to the smaller keyboard, but someone with larger hands will have to be very careful of where his or her fingers strike. Even though I have fairly small hands, my first foray into typing on the GoType looked like this: "M6y cat oisan'yt veryu pasrtioal bnastjh weatetr." (which in English actually says "My cat isn't partial to bathwater."). After about an hour or so of playing around with the keyboard, my typing improved quite a bit. However, I still run into an occasional problem because of the up arrow being where I expect the Shift key to be. That is pretty annoying since I have to figure out exactly where I started to type into a previous sentence, copy it and correct it.

I spent a significant amount of time searching for an acceptable case for my Newton keyboard setup, but was never really pleased with the items I found in my search. Landware has pre-empted my search for a GoType case solution by creating a case, shown in Figure B, for the keyboard, Palm device and another pocket that will be perfect for my modem. At $19.95 it appears to be quite a bargain, but I'll have to withhold judgement since I haven't gotten to hold it in my own hands and run it through its paces.

FIGURE B

You'll be on the go with the GoType keyboard case. (click for larger image)