Your Keyboard as a Bottleneck

Originally posted at

It surprises me how many new developers fail to internalize their main development computer as an integrated system. They think that a computer is simply a collection of parts and routinely forget considerations about ergonomics when purchasing new hardware.

Many of these recent grads are coding complex web applications using a laptop keyboard that is probably worth less than ten dollars; their use of portrait screens, secondary monitors, specialized track pads and voice recognition software is also very scant. This post is a wake up call for all the junior developers out there: the keyboard could be your main bottle neck.

Full Size Mechanical Keyboards

These give you better tactile feedback, are easier on your fingers and provide all sort of ergonomic goodies. With them, you can type code faster, last longer and reduce the risk of developing certain illnesses later in life. I use mechanical keyboards because its easier to achieve hand-eye coordination with them and more of my mind is devoted to other tasks.

Input Time vs Processing Time

If you have anything as advanced as a Core 2 Duo (or a Core i5 or faster) you already have most of the processing power needed for modern computing. However, disk transfer times and input times could be hindering your productivity. SSDs and RAM chips’ prices have fallen dramatically, so an upgrade in that department is become trivial. Nevertheless, time and time again I see junior programmers making basic mistakes when it comes to input devices.

Maximizing your Productivity with Novel Input Devices

Voice recognition software, track pads, mechanical keyboards, portable OCR scanners (like the Doxie), track points and digital pens can reduce what could be your greatest productive bottleneck: your hands.

This tip is relevant even for video editing folks. If you’re not using a mechanical keyboard with dedicated keys and a handful of powerful macros along side high quality complimentary input devices, you’re missing a great chance to improve your productivity.