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A Letter to the Keyboard

typing on a laptop keyboard

A letter to my keyboard.

Ah, keyboard. You’ve been in use by the humankind for 150 years in some form or another, (or at least according to the quick Google search I did.) first on type writers, which were no doubt considered a “Gay device” back in the day, before spreading widely in the 20th century; then on computers, the device which spread all over the world at the latter half of the 20th century, and put the type writers out of use.

You are the only reason why I can use a computer in the first place. The mouse simply does not work for a user of the screen reader like me. I was very fortunate to be born in an age where computers are quite prevalent, which always comes with you. People balk at me when I tell them that I use the computer with a keyboard 100%, while they’re taught in their schools that 90% of the computer can be used with a mouse, and only 10% require you.

How wrong they are. They just don’t realize how important you are to the world. Without you, sites wouldn’t come online, because no one would know how to type the command on a server, since most servers lack a GUI. Without you, programs won’t be written, because writing programs on a touch screen is a recipe for disaster, and without you, the lives of the writers would be much more difficult, since we wouldn’t be able to take advantage of modern technologies like word processors.

And of course, this blind guy wouldn’t be able to write at all.

Many have tried to replace you. first by mouse, then by touch screens, then by voice input. All these attempts say that the days of keyboards are done, and yet you still are here, still doing the work silently. The world may not like technology which can’t be updated and “Made new” like so many other things. But a lot of things don’t need to be updated and “Made new”.

I suspect as neuro-technology becomes more widely spread in the future, they’ll try to replace you. I do not know whether it’ll succeed or not. But they’re doomed to fail if they can’t develop a better way of parsing the thoughts, because human thoughts run like a stream.

I need to write that assignment, I should make sandwiches for lunch, those were the days I need to finish that book, that person is hot…

And that is just one example. And I’m even generous enough to add spaces, and that’s without getting into dealing with thinking in multiple languages. Whatever the future may bring, to me, you will remain the greatest input device for a computer.

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Published by Tanish Shrivastava

I'm a guy who likes programming, chess, and writing.

5 thoughts on “A Letter to the Keyboard

  1. If you love your keyboard so much, why don’t you marry it then! Ha ha just kidding. Thank you for reminding us not to take something but so essential for granted. While I don’t really use the keyboard to navigate, I couldn’t do the amount of speedy typing that I do without a keyboard. I’m amazed at work when I’m training young people and they don’t know how to type on a keyboard. We must keep carrying its torch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I proposed it. But after an awkward silence, I withdrew the proposal.

      I know this is beating a dead horse, but I think people don’t know how to type these days is because of touch screens.

      I don’t pity the fool who tries to write an epic story on a touch screen.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You know, I actually never thought about this, especially as someone who grew up in the age of paper. Accessibility must’ve been a pain then. The keyboard really does shine now under the spotlight you’ve put it under. As someone who prefers using keyboard shortcuts (and relying on the keyboard so I don’t need to move my hands so much), I can definitely appreciate keyboard navigation and features. Also, I’m a mech keyboard fan so maybe I’m biased. Thanks for this post, Tanish!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, in the old days, blind people had braille… And that was pretty much it. Even braille is only available for the last 150 years or so.

      So yes, you’re not wrong in thinking that accessibility sucked back in the day. You certainly won’t find any blind authors like me back in the day. (If you do find an exception, tell me. I would love to review their work here.)

      Thanks for the comment, Stuart.


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