In the name of God, St Michael, and St. George, I dub thee the SUBOptimus keyboard

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/08/25 03:01 -04:00, original URI:

A quick follow-up blog after Optimus: from science fiction to fiction to frustration to geek porn, in just 24 months...

One of my regular readers, a colleage of mine, suggested someone at Microsoft who had one of these Optimus keyboards, he thought perhaps I'df be interested in taking a look and seeing one up close.

Well, anything that excites Chris Pirillo as much as this piece of hardware did is probably worth a look, to say the least! :-)

Turns out the guy who it was issued to was going to be working from home for a few days, but the computer was in his office. He'd talk to folks there and if I wanted to pop by and try it out, I was welcome to do so. :-)

I scooted out to Red West and plugged in the exciting keyboard everyone was talking about....

Well, it worked, as a keyboard.

The first thing I did was switch layouts in windows with the Language Bar.

No effect on the keyboard.

I decided to look at the info in the box it came with, and it pointed me to the Configurator, online.

Once I installed that:

I found I could switch the layout.

All kinds of ones I tried out that I had installed, from Georgian:

to Georgian again:

to Arabic:

to Hebrew:

But then the bad news....

None of the IMEs I tried worked.

And none of the Table Driven TIPs did, either (both the ones I created and the ones that were already on the system).

Plus it didn't switch based on my selection in the Language Bar -- the Configurator merely gave the option to import and export the files to show the different faces, which I could then stick on the device if I wanted to.

Now clearly this is easier than putting stickers on all the keys, or buying a whole new keyboard for each language.

But for $1800 I'd really expect a lot more.

A whole lot more.

I may play with the Configurator a bit more and blog again.

Perhaps I'll do a little comparison/contrast with what the OSK and the Tablet soft keyboard do.

Or what I think Surface might be capable of doing if the right people are working on it.

But I am really happy that I didn't spend $1800 on the Optimus (as I now plan to call it).

When I can get wireless keyboards from Apple or Microsoft for $60-$70, the privilege of not needing to change keyboards so I can plus in thie wired one with a power cord, that isn't smart enough to change its faces when it is told to?

Do you think it would be a moonlighting violation if I offered to write a service to do the lookup and switch work on the fly? At $1800 a pop and all the money they save by having such terrible customer service, they could probably afford to pay me pretty well to have the keyboard do the one thing it probably ought to....

Never mind, if they pay as fast as they service customers, I'll have to leave the wages to someone in my will.

This keyboard will henceforth be known to me as the SubOptimus, to me. I dub it thusly.


This blog brought to you by O (U+004f, aka LATIN CAPITAL LETTER O)

# Patrick H. on 25 Aug 2008 5:15 AM:

So in "geek porn", just like in actual porn, the reality falls short of the fantasy. A good lesson!

RAJESH. j V on 28 Jan 2013 10:34 AM:


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