Hardware affection (not quite love)...and a web service too
I'm one of those touch typists (80wpm adjusting for errors: Thank you, junior high school) who loves the Microsoft Natural Keyboard, and will swear that it's saved me from RSI. I've used the same one at home for maybe five years now (I'm not sure how long); it's a little grungy, but what the hey. And my "new" (now 38 month old) home PC came with a Logitech-built optical mouse, back when that was still a $20 upgrade, and of course I've loved that. Even if the mouse wire can be somewhat of a hassle.
I looked at wireless keyboards and mice, if only to cut back on the rat's nest of wires. With my sleek new Sony LCD display (good industrial design is always a pleasure, particularly when combined with first-rate engineering), cleaning up the desk seems even more worthwhile.
But the mice were expensive on their own--and the mouse/keyboard wireless combos, relatively economical by comparison, had one fatal drawback. There's no way I'd go back to a standard keyboard unless a very sizable bribe was involved. Very sizable.
Times change, and special situations provide special incentives. Thanks to a recent visit to Redmond, I'm typing this on a sleek black Microsoft Natural Multimedia keyboard, black and silver to match my old/new Gateway and the Sony, and wireless. It's the newer "elite" Natural, a little narrower than the original. And moving the cursor with a Wireless IntelliMouse, which seemed like it might be blocky (it's taller than my old mouse) but turns out to be a perfect hand-fit. The two extra buttons are OK too (well, three if you include the scroll wheel); I kept the "magnify" feature assigned by default to one (a fairly slick 5x-magnification window I didn't know Windows XP had),and assigned double-click to one that's hard to hit accidentally.
Then there's the scroll wheel itself. I don't use scrolling that much, partly because the wheels have been a little clunky. This one is...smooth is the word that comes to mind. I can see using it a lot more. As an extra whistle, it's a sideways wheel as well, for apps where that makes sense: you can noodge the wheel left or right.
Color me happy. As to the web service? See my W.a.r. post about Pandora. This just might sucker me into listening to more music and a broader range of music. Which might or might not be a good thing.