I Lament The Loss Of Beige

Posted Saturday, March 20, 2010, 5:46 PM


I am a night owl. That is, I prefer to work in the afternoon and evenings and into the night. I do not like getting up early, even though that is a very pleasant part of a day.

This means I tend to work when it's dark outside, and it goes further, in that I prefer to work with the lights out. I will probably have the TV on, which is four or so metres away from me, and my desk will be illuminated by the LCD monitor, but otherwise it will be completely dark, just the way I like it. I don't even have a lamp.

In the days of CRT monitors, the illumination afforded by the screen was enough to let me see everything on my desk before me. It helped that all the items I use are in a lighter tone, beige or grey. But two things have changed in computing that has caused me some bother.

LCD screens no longer have illumination power. They light themselves up, but as for my desk, I can barely see my own fingers.

And computer peripherals have foregone beige entirely, and are all almost exclusively black.

So with no light, and a dark keyboard, I cannot see what I am typing (Yes, I am a two finger typist who still needs to look at his keyboard to type. I am far from alone in this, so get over it).

This has not been a huge bother to me, because I still possess my favourite keyboard, a quiet cheapie I got from Dick Smith that has held me in good stead these past ten or more years. I even remember which store I bought it at. And it is beige, so is a light enough tone to be seen when barely illuminated.

But my other computer, the one I use for my 3D Graphics work, has a black keyboard. Not only is it impossible for me to read the keys in the darkness, but the arrangement of keys is slightly different to my other one, which I am much more familiar with after ten years of constant use, so I often hit the wrong key or have to go hunting at close quarters to find my way. Believe me, hitting "Delete" when you wanted "Page Up" is not a fun mistake to make.

And worse still, my favourite keyboard model is now discontinued. There are other beige or silver keyboards here and there, but with a different arrangement of keys, and there are properly arranged keyboards out there, however they are all black, at least so far as I can find locally.

I remain vigilant, and if I ever stumble upon another keyboard of the right colour and key situation I will pounce on it. But I fear it may be a long time before beige ever comes back into style.

3 Reasoned Responses:

Dags said...

Considering I'm a guy whose favourite colour is black, there are times when using black equipment is a HUGE inconvenience. The biggest problem is finding connectors to ports which are often labelled with indented text in the black plastic housing. Considering ports for TVs, DVDs, Hi-Fi gear are always at the back of a particular unit (where there is the least amount of light), I need a torch to see what it is I'm trying to read (why they simply don't use bright coloured labels is beyond me). So yes there are definately times when have bright coloured equipment is a bonus.

As for you being a two fingered typist, you know I would never have guessed that considering all the writing that you've done in the past.

As for being a night person, I'd love to be able to sleep in every morning, ahhh it would be bliss!

GuanoLad said...

Despite being a two-finger typist, I do know where all the keys are, and I am pretty fast at typing. I just can't do it without looking at the keys.

This is probably worthy of a post of its own.

Cameron said...

Get a back lit keyboard... lots of people here at work have them for this reason... they're black, but since the letters light up it doesn't matter (on some the entire key is lit up)

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