Proof that I’m working hard

May 6, 2010 | By | 7 Replies More

I haven’t had much time to share my thoughts at this website lately–too much legal work to do.  I’ve never written so much as I have in the past few weeks, including co-authoring a long book chapter on the topic of “Arbitration,” another article on products liability, two appellate briefs and probably a dozen legal memoranda.   Yes, I’m looking for a bit of sympathy! Now, if you want proof that I’ve been working maniacally at the keyboard, take at look at my keyboard: the letters are wearing off.

img_1062-1What you’re seeing is part of my actual computer keyboard at the law office.  Ignore all the dust between the keys, please (it doesn’t look quite this dusty in person).  The “M” key is almost gone, as is part of “L.”  I completely lost my comma and period keys.  Losing the label of one key is not too bad, but losing several in a row is annoying–I was finding myself often pausing to figure out which key is the period and which was the comma when I was in editing mode (when typing a rough draft, none of this much of a problem, because my fingers usually know where to go and I don’t need to look down).

I like fixing things rather than throwing things away, so I “invented” the above-illustrated method of putting pieces of customized label on top of the distressed keys. I’m thinking that I ought to coat the labels with something clear to keep the image readable–maybe clear nail polish??  Perhaps someone out there has a ideas for coating the label or for otherwise repairing a keyboard that is losing its letters . . . here’s your chance to be an environmental hero, because I would bet that there are many people out there with this same problem, and a good idea could save thousands of keyboards.

BTW, I think I lost the comma and period because I type so intensely fast that I need to pound those pause/stop keys repeatedly in order to slow myself down.  That’s my theory.


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Category: Sustainable Living, Whimsy

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (7)

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  1. Dan Klarmann says:

    I hardly work, yet my keyboard is even worse:

    <img src="/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/kybard.jpg" alt="Kybard" width="425">

    That's not glare; my keys really are buffed white.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Somehow I knew that Dan Klarmann would take the prize for nursing along a distressed keyboard.

      Kenny, I did coat my labels with clear nail polish. I'll see whether that lasts for a year. The keyboard is perfectly functional other than the letters rubbing off, so it feels right to take a few minor steps to avoid throwing it into a landfill.

  2. KennyCelican says:

    On my keyboard at home I'm missing m, n, comma, period, a, s, d, w, e, r, c, v, and most of b. I don't think on it much, because the index finger nibs are still there, and I touch type. However, when I want to hit a single key without positioning both hands, it takes me a bit, so I really ought to.

    My first thought is that a fine tipped paintbrush and some white nail polish might be employed, but anything that lifts above the surface of the key will wear away. Your solution with attaching a label might work, but it might get ripped off by the same forces that removed the original coloration.

    Perhaps this; remove the key, shape your printed label to exactly fit the surface of the key, apply a coat of clear nail polish to the key, apply the label, apply another coat of clear nail polish, apply a coat of clear-coat protective polish, then reattach the key?

    A bit of overkill, possibly, but we both have eroded the keys on our 'boards already, so belt-and-suspenders might actually be to little, not too much.

  3. NIklaus Pfirsig says:

    I have actually seen keyboards used by data entry operators where the keys had horizontal grooves worn into the keys by the typists fingernails. They regularly typed at over 60 wpm, averaging about 5 keystrokes per second, for long periods.

  4. Dan Klarmann says:

    Another preservation technique for a keyboard is to go Steam Punk and use old typewriter key tops. As in this Ergonomic Steampunk Keyboard<img src="; alt="Steam Punk Keyboard" width="425"> with a velvet wrist rest.

  5. Dan Klarmann says:

    Other keytop preservation thoughts: Dymo embossed adhesive labels (after the keys are already toast)Super glue coating (hardens to an acrylic layer). Only apply in a well ventilated area well separated from anything on which you'd mind having a gray matte finish.

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