Click, Clack, YAY!

ARGH! Hand me down my walking cane and GET OFF MY LAWN! I’ve been using a computer for 30 years this fall and when I started with my Apple Macintosh 512ke (the e stood for enhanced, which meant it read DOUBLE SIDED floppy disks), a mechanical keyboard that made those satisfying clacking sounds, was all that was available.

Eons ago, in the dark ages, when most college students didn’t have their own computers, I worked full-time in a computer center at a university. During mid-terms and finals, the clack of the keyboards could be heard above all else. It would have been mesmerizing if I hadn’t been running around solving hardware and software issues. We kept a “boneyard” of old keyboard so we could fix ones that broke, you’d be amazed at what could be accomplished with a screwdriver and some electrical tape!

Years go by, “innovations” are made, costs are cut and wires are become passé. Most computers today are shipped with the wireless chicklet keyboards. Slim and sleek they fit the new modern era of computing. And, they drive me CRAZY! I won’t even start on the batteries that croak at inopportune times. Instead, I’ll focus on the crappy little keys that don’t give you the real satisfaction of having selected your letter and the joy of your finger actually depressing a key and TYPING BY GOD! Alas, what’s a writer to do except whine and complain and curse the heavens when the batteries expire yet again. Oh wait, I said I wasn’t going to go there. Sorry.

Then, one day, I’m visiting my happy place on Facebook. It is a group devoted to those who use paper planners to keep track of their lives. We’re not purists, for some of us *cough* me *cough* there is a time and place for Google Calendar, but there is also a connection forged when pen scrapes across papyrus to commit “edit chapter two” or “9:30am Dentist” to a permanent analog state of being. Again, I digress I think it is the humidity, it’s melting my brain.

Anyway, it was in this haven of civility (no really nicest place on Facebook) that I mechanical keyboardlearned that you could buy a “real”, er mechanical, keyboard. Wait, what now? A link was posted. Reviews were shared.


A quick trip to The Amazon, purveyor of all things good and evil and BOOM! A mechanical keyboard was on it’s way to me.

I’ve had it now for about four months and I am truly 100% delighted. I actually bought the “quiet” model, but the clacks are wonderfully satisfying as is the full depression of the keys to create letters on my screen.

My friends in the planner group have found bluetooth versions that give that satisfying clack, but I’m happy with mah old fashioned wire! There are still many chicklet keyboards around the house and I even have an Apple Wireless Keyboard that I pair with my iPad to make a lite laptop, but given the choice, I will always go with the clacky keys.

What is your preference? Clacky mechanical keys or stealthy chicklets?

P.S. I have a video of the sound of the keys, but I can’t upload it here. Visit my Twitter feed (@Fearless) to see the video)

The opinions expresses are my own and my not represent those of my fellow NHWN bloggers. I was not given any compensation nor is the link an affiliate link.

Lee Laughlin is a writer, marketer, social media consumer and producer, wife, and mom, frequently all of those things at once. She blogs at She writes for the Concord Monitor and her words have also appeared in a broad range of publications from community newspapers to the Boston Globe. She is currently typing her first novel, a work of contemporary, romantic fiction on a mechanical keyboard.

21 thoughts on “Click, Clack, YAY!

  1. The 512E was my first computer too. I love all keyboard sounds. I learned to type on a Royal, thought the IBM Selectric was a gift from heaven, and today don’t think I’m entering data if I don’t get instant feedback, whether it’s clicking, clacking or anything in-between.

    • We went with the 512ke over the Mac Plus because we didn’t think I’d get THAT into computers. Heh, spent 10 years making a living in tech support.

  2. I simply enjoy your engaging style of writing. It pulled me in and made me smile. Dare I say I like to do my writing by hand, on a device or typewriter as quietly as possible. I did learn on an actual typewriter however.

    • Thank you for your kind words, I was hot and punchy when I wrote this piece, but it is true to my storytelling style 🙂 There are days when I write by hand, but my transcription skills are weak, so most of the time, I just pound the keys.

  3. hrm. I don’t find my chiclets all that quiet. Maybe I don’t have true chiclets. LOL. They still make a little sound as I type. And I do find the rhythmic clicking very soothing. It helps me to fall into my work meditative state.

  4. I like the small, wireless keyboard that came with my Mac. (I hate touchscreen keys too, except on my phone but I only write short messages there). The keys don’t make much noise, but I still loved your post. Thanks for the chuckle. I went to college in the era of noisy computer labs running all through the night, staying out til 2am to finish a paper! Good times! I also feel I should say thank you for your service as a computer help desk technician! What battles there were, trying to figure out those computers sometimes!

    • LOL! Oh the stories I can tell. 🙂 It was a great first job post-grad for a young woman who wasn’t quite ready to leave college environs.

  5. My first computer has a black screen with green lettering. There was a strip of codes in front of my key board for different coding. The computer box was heavy and I had to carry it on the plane to fly back and forth once a week. Thanks to the flying speed of the computer technology, makes the writing a pleasure.

  6. I HATE wireless keyboards. Apparently, I sometimes type too quickly for those things to keep up, and I’ve lost whole sentences in the lag before. I also like a keyboard that makes sounds; there are days when my hands don’t work quite right, and I need the auditory feedback to let me know I’ve typed something. So I use a satisfyingly clacky keyboard that is physically connected to my computer — can’t carry it around the house with me (and don’t want to, anyway). Touch screens sometimes don’t even acknowledge my existence, so those are right out.

  7. I am so glad you got your clacky keys. It’s really important to have the touch you enjoy the most. I’m on the opposite end of the scale. The soft touch is all I can use. I can’t seem to press hard enough on the mechanical ones and my words look like they have holes in them.

  8. You are not alone. I found my 110 – 120 WPM typing speed suffered the smaller the keyboard got. Give me old-school when it comes to keyboards – I’m here to get things done, and don’t mind the clickety clack.

  9. I’ve never heard of the style of keyboard to which you refer! I guess in the UK we’d call it something else, but i hate wireless things that run out of battery at inopportune moments, and fail to see why one might even desire to do this with a keyboard. OK so wires are a bit of a mess, but I like functionality! I had a hard time finding the ergonomic mouse I favour with a wire. I use a clacky keyboard, I think I would prefer it to be somewhat quieter, but silent would just be weird. If it’s too loud, my husband complains if I type late into the night as he can’t sleep.

    My first computer was a BBC B with a tape deck! We were so thrilled when we upgraded to floppy disks (the big ones that were actually floppy!) because then it didn’t take half an hour or more to load a game. Oh the luxury of playing *one* game of Frogger and then switching to something else, just because we could! Actually my Dad’s first computer was even older than that, I think it was called a Video Genie. It had the game with the maze of twisty little passages.

  10. My first computer was a Commodore 4,…. but what does age have to do with it? (**cue Tina Turner music**)

    That said, your first step is to start your own support group… and while you’re distracted I’ll steal your keyboard because I absolutely agree with you!! 😛

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