A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Zippy Color Gradation Back-lit Keyboard

As a journalist, I get a lot of swag. Any time a publicist offers me a free product, I'm open to trying it, although I don't always end up an enthusiast. Right now I am reviewing the Zippy Color Gradation Back-lit Keyboard (BL-741), which I'm loving a lot. It's black, like my old keyboard, so it matches my monitor. It's got pads underneath to prevent it from slipping around. Retractable feet allow you to angle it up for comfort. The keys use scissor-switch technology, so they're quiet and responsive. The layout is similar to my old keyboard's, but not exactly the same; "delete" and "backspace" are taking some getting used to. The keyboard plugs into a USB port without any special installation needed.

What makes this keyboard special, however, is the backlight feature. It's got 512 colors and a variety of ways to display them. A combination of the backlight on/off switch on the upper left and various function keys kills the backlight, or allows you to cycle through all 512 colors and choose one, or stores a favorite color, or activates color scrolling so that the colors keep cycling, or activates a keystroke feature, for which colors change with each stroke.

Also on the upper left are shortcut keys which take you to your email, music and video players, home page, and search engine. At under $50 retail, I think it's a bargain.

I worried that the backlight would give me a massive headache. It doesn't. One thing I don't have near my PC is good lighting, so the lighted letter and numerals are actually practical. And it's beautiful. I can match the keyboard to the cobalt blue of my system unit's interior light, or choose a nice fuschia or deep purple (great late-night colors). It's been a couple of weeks and I still haven't tired of the keystroke feature, which I'm using right now. Every keystroke is a surprise!