Product Evaluation: Maltron Keyboard
May 29, 2005 Gizmag reader Joe Blake reports on his experiences with the Maltron Keyboard. Joe has been a court reporter since 1990, producing 10,000+ words a day, which he calculates to more than 200 million keystrokes over the last ten years. When he switched from touch-typing on a QWERTY keyboard to the Maltron keyboard, his productivity improved immensely. He can now “transcribe a single person speaking in real time, all day, every day, with no problems.”
Gizmag reader Joe Blake sent this report on his experiences with the Maltron Keyboard:
I have searched through your archives and I can find nothing that indicates you have looked at the Maltron keyboard so I thought you might like to hear of my experiences with it.
I've been a court reporter since 1990, and prior to that I was a legal secretary and word processing operator.
As a court reporter it is my job to listen to tape recordings of hearings of courts, tribunals, boards etc and transcribe them onto the computer as text. Obviously this is quite a large amount of typing, and on an "average" day (if there is such a thing) I may create 11,000+ words. Now at an average of five keystrokes a word, that’s 55,000 keystrokes a day, 275,000 keystrokes a week, 13.2 million keystrokes a year and 198 million keystrokes since I started.
Whilst I have in the last few years moved into using Speech Recognition for a large part of my work, and I have three Maltron keyboards, I've pretty much used the same keyboard since about 1986, when I purchased my first one. Apart from sending it back to the UK to be "refilled" (ie when I changed from using an Apple II+ computer to using an IBM AT I had to have the internal electronics of the keyboard replaced), the Maltron keyboard has been as reliable as a hammer.
When I obtained my first Maltron, I had been touch typing since 1967, and I decided that I would learn the "Malt layout" (Designed by Lillian Malt) rather than the "QWERTY layout". (There is a switch to swap between layouts).
I moved from 0 to 15 words per minute touch typing in about 6 weeks, and now I can transcribe a a single speaker pretty much in real time all day every day, with no problems. I cheat here, and use a version of keyboard "shorthand" I created with WordPerfect software.
I understand that your website is based on introducing the latest in technology to the public, but I thought I'd bring this piece of equipment to your attention just to say that "new" is not necessarily the best.
As well as computing, I also enjoy motorcycling, push biking (a Greenspeed Trike) and a few other activities, so Gizmag is pretty well first on my list of websites to visit every day.
ED: Many thanks Joe – readers interested in the Maltron should visit the Maltron web site where they can access a wide range of information and resources on the keyboard’s benefits which include improved productivity over the QWERTY keyboard and reduced stress that has been successfully used to combat repetitive Strain Injuries.
Gizmag would welcome reader letters and reports on useful technology we have not previously covered in the magazine. We can’t promise to run them all, but if you’re clear who you are (we need to be able to verify your identity though you can be anonymous in the magazine) and have useful and valid comments and decent images, it’s quite likely to score a place.