Coffee Shops, Laptops and Foldable Keyboards

When I was busy writing screenplays I used to spend a lot of time in coffee shops, libraries and other third spaces.  In fact, if you’re looking for a screenplay I have a few just laying around collecting dust.  Now that I’m writing for the web, I spend more time at home and less time in coffee shops.

For me, the least convenient part of my outside time was trying to find seating where I could get good access to WiFi, electricity and perhaps some quality food and drink.  It doesn’t seem like a lot to ask, but any of you who’ve done the same know how rare it is to find that “great good place”.

Living in a big city the choices are easier.  When I lived in Austin we had a large pool of spots to choose from, and even though I had clear favorites, we rotated the location in order to not make ourselves into too much of a fixture.  Spider House for when I needed some thumping music and a lot of energy, and Austin Java when I needed a bit more tranquility.

In Northern New Mexico, on the other hand, there is a dearth of places that accommodate the freelancer.  We ended up going to the same few places and primarily one place that met all of the above criteria.  The other options usually meant we had to sacrifice one or two for the sake of a decent WiFi connection.

I shouldn’t complain about free WiFi, although it’s rarely free because I’m buying food and drink I otherwise would make at home.  When a place is good, like “Wired” in Taos, NM, I’m more than happy to kick in for some good eats in order to keep the high-speed WiFi flowing.

I’ve mentioned before that I use a variety of personal devices for doing work and accessing the Internet, but my tool of choice for writing has always been a laptop.  I find a laptop to be the ideal form factor for both keyboard comfort and screen size.  I also get something with performance specs that handle large document scrolling while at the same time leaving a bunch of browser windows open.

Have I mentioned that I hate lag?  My first real computer had far less computing power than the average wrist watch does today.  For that matter I think we sent men to the moon with less computer power than that.  You’d think that someone like me who had to deal with the sort of limitations we had back then would be tolerant of slow computing.  I’m just the opposite.  I expect great performance from my computers.

Now that I think about it, a watch is probably not a good example.  Watches are pretty powerful today.  Maybe a coffee pot is a better example.  Picture me typing this on a coffee pot and you’d have my first computer.

Anyway, back to the cafes.  The other limiting factor in working in a cafe is usually desk space.  I either end up in a big comfy chair with the laptop on my lap where it belongs, or shoehorned into some twofer table with just enough room to spill your drink on the keyboard.

For a short while, I took to bringing my Android Tablet out for writing work.  I bought a decent keyboard and installed Kingsoft writer for Android. It’s a decent little system for short work.  I can’t use it for anything more than a page or two before I get frustrated with the keyboard shortcomings.  In short, it needs a better keyboard.

That’s when I started looking into some alternative keyboards.  I didn’t want to ruin the “tiny” aesthetic I’ve got going with the tablet, so I was looking for something that could fold up into a small package.

I ran across some great reviews for this little keyboard on Amazon.  It’s made by Pluggable, works with just about any OS and has decent size keys with good feedback.  Oh, and it comes with a nice little stand for your tablet.

Plugable Full-size Bluetooth Folding Keyboard

Product Highlights

    • Full-size Bluetooth travel keyboard folds into a convenient size .
    • Features six rows of standard-sized keys, with a standard layout.
    • Dimensions are 11.5 x 4.6 x 0.5 inches (292 x 117 x 12.5 mm) when open.
    • Free bundled protective case
    • High-capacity Lithium-Ion battery charges quickly from a standard USB port.
    • Plug the keyboard in a USB port and use it like a USB keyboard.
    • Compatibility modes for Android, iOS, and Windows include function keys for volume, search, home, playback and other functions and other essentials.
    • Connect your iPhone, iPad, Mac or other Apple Bluetooth device.
    • Durable anodized aluminum shell and stainless-steel hinges ensure long life.
    • Large, well-spaced keys facilitate accurate typing with a crisp scissors mechanism as used on most quality keyboards,
    • Backed with a 1-year limited parts and labor warranty and Seattle-based email support.


Some Customer Reviews

When I said this keyboard is uncompromising, I wasn’t kidding. All the keys are exactly where they are supposed to be at 100% scale. In fact, the physical layout of the keys is identical to a Macbook Pro (even if they’re not labeled the same). It feels so much like typing on a laptop keyboard that I keep instinctively reaching for a mouse or track pad.

This thing is cool. At first I thought it was a little pricey, but the first time you open it up in front of friends or coworkers, it becomes a bargain. It’s so cool, the reaction is always priceless. For an added bonus; the Bluetooth was easy to set up, the keyboard is nice, roomy and the key response is crisp.

Best thing ever!! I almost never have to haul out my laptop now. I can get all my work done on my phone. A friend recommended this to me so many times and I kept thinking, “How much of a difference could it really make??” So she finally just ordered one for me and wow!! Then I ordered two for Christmas presents and those two people raved as well!