The Easter Hunt Is Over

Das Keyboard Easter Savings

While everyone else is hunting for the best Easter deal, we are bringing it to you. For four days only (April 18-21), Das Keyboard is taking $25 off the Model S Professional with MX Red switches. The Model S Professional with MX Red switches is a great mechanical keyboard for any office setting. Improve your ability to touch type and the number of words you type per minute all at the same time.

Features:

  • Quiet Key Design
  • Full n-key rollover with PS2 adapter, and 6 keys with USB
  • Two-port USB hub 1.1 and 2.0 compatible

More Features…

Why You Need to Learn Touch Typing

For most people, typing’s a breeze.

You might have taken typing classes in school or just learned as you went, and you can keep writing or coding or gaming with little problem or mistake. But even if you’re around your computer all the time, you still may not know how to use touch typing.

This is nothing short of a travesty (okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration). Touch typing is one of the easiest ways to improve your typing efficiency and productivity.

 

 

What Is Touch Typing?

Touch typing is knowing how to type without relying on your sense of sight.

While that’s easy to understand, in practice there are thousands (if not millions) of people who still rely on sight to work on their computers. If you’ve ever seen a young child pushing one key at a time with only one or two fingers, you’ve experienced someone who hasn’t yet learned the skill of touch typing (if you’ve seen otherwise, you found a super-genius baby).

Now you may be thinking, “I don’t need this. I know my way around a keyboard when I’m gaming.” But think about when you’re not doing something you enjoy or are comfortable with — do you still type as quickly as you do in familiar settings?

If not, you could learn the touch typing method to help improve your productivity.

 

How Does it Help Me?

There are a few different reasons why learning touch typing will help you out.

For starters, when you learn to type without looking at the keys, you train your brain to memorize the key locations. This means you’re not distracted by continually having to glance down at your hands to make sure you’re pressing the right keys.

What that translates to is that the better you know touch typing, the less distractions you’ll have overall. You’ll be able to pay more attention to what you really need to focus on, whether that be your gaming or that 3-page paper your teacher assigned you last week.

Second, touch typing improves your speed. For example, the editor-in-chief of Productive! Magazine, Michael Sliwinski, found that when he stopped looking at the keys, he increased his typing speed by 300%. Check out the video of him explaining this transformation:

Das Keyboard’s very own Daniel Guermeur actually started this company because he wanted to improve his typing speed and accuracy by using keyboards with blank keys.

So if you consider the fact that the average speed of computer typists is only 40 WPM, you can imagine how easy it is to go beyond that average if you keep at it. Need some ideas for practicing your typing? You can always Google “typing games,” or check out some of the links we prefer.

 

So What Will You Do About Touch Typing?

Now that you know how this method of typing can help you have better gaming, typing, and overall computer experiences, it’s time to go teach yourself.

Set some goals that you’d like to reach, whether it’s improving your speed or looking less often at the keys. Once you reach those goals, set new ones, and keep improving!

How has touch typing affected your computer or gaming experiences?

Are Mechanical Keyboards Better for Gaming?

Oh, boy. This question, huh?

Lots of people want to know the answer to this; unfortunately, it’s usually more complicated than they expected.

But don’t worry! Once you’re given some more information on mechanical keyboards, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on whether or not you’ll benefit from using one during your gaming.

 

Are Mechanical Keyboards Better for Gaming? by Das Keyboard

Photo from GNWLAN

 

Understanding Mechanical Keyboard Key Presses

Let’s start with some background information.

First of all, it takes less time for a mechanical keyboard’s key contacts to register that they’ve been pressed. This is called their actuation point.

As an example, if it normally takes other types of keyboards 4mm to actuate, it only takes mechanical keyboard keys about 2 mm to actuate. Note that it also takes a certain amount of force, measured in centiNewtons (cN), to press these keys until they reach actuation point.

Additionally, key switches are also either tactile or linear. Tactile means that you feel a slight bump to indicate when the key has reached its actuation point; linear means you don’t feel this, and just experience one, smooth action. This bump or lack thereof affects how quickly you type, because once you get used to how the keys work, you generally learn to type faster.

And you should also note that different types of key switches have different reset points. A reset point is when the key’s contact is no longer registering. This may or may not happen at the same time as the actuation point, so it can also affect how you type.

 

Applying These Facts to Your Gaming

So what does this mean in terms of your gaming experience?

Well, a lot actually. All those specific things about pressing keys (actuation points, force, tactile vs. linear, reset points) are what cause opinions to fly about whether or not mechanical keyboards are better for gaming. (Seriously, just check out this forum thread about the topic.)

Some gamers prefer mechanical keyboards because they truly feel they improve their gaming. For example, these gamers prefer using Cherry MX black switches or red switches, because they are linear and are “easier” to know when the keys have been pressed. These gamers also claim that it’s easier to double-tap faster with black switches (and sometimes even with brown switches).

However, other gamers think mechanical keyboards inhibit their gaming. Many of these gamers like to mash their keys as hard and fast as they can; though mechanical keyboards last longer and can handle this mashing, often all the little nuances that make typing easier (like those actuation and reset points) just get in the way when you’re gaming.

 

So what’s the best solution for you?

It’s actually quite simple: test out as many mechanical keyboards and switches as you can. You can order key switch testers, head to your local electronics store, or ask to borrow your friend’s mechanical keyboard for a week. You might even want to consider purchasing a used mechanical keyboard off eBay or Craigslist for cheap to see how it affects your gaming.

Every gamer is different. Your best bet in figuring out if mechanical keyboards are better for gaming for you is to try them!

Have you found in the past that you game better with a mechanical keyboard? Why do you think it helped you?

eSports: It’s Not “Just a Game” Anymore

eSports: It's Not "Just a Game" Anymore by Das Keyboard

Photo from Kelly Kline via photopin cc

All you eSports fans out there can rejoice, because it looks like the world’s starting to see gaming through your eyes.

In the past, eSports has been seen as a “fake” version of sports, and the professional players who pursue it as illegitimate, and possibly even a little crazy.

(No, seriously. Go talk to someone on the street and explain that people are paid to play eSports, and you’ll likely get a look that says you’re just as crazy as the players are.)

But the great thing is that interest in eSports is growing, and recent events have helped boost its reputation (and therefore its acceptance as the real deal) worldwide. Here’s a closer look at two of these events — please reference these if anyone ever gives you the “you’re crazy” look when you talk about eSports.

 

League of Legends Championships Draw in Millions of Viewers

For starters, take a look at the online multiplayer game League of Legends.

Riot Games, creator of League, started hosting tournaments and championships of the game, with many participating official teams backed by sponsors like Coke. These championships only grew in size and viewership, until they exploded expectations last year.

The Season 3 World Championship finals in October of 2013 boasted some incredible stats:

- a completely sold-out Staples Center where the finals took place
- 32 million viewers total
- 8.5 million viewers streaming at the same time
- millions of dollars in prize money

Compare those numbers to the fact that 300,000 people watched the British royal wedding on Livestream.com, and only 12.9 million people watched the recent season finale of How I Met Your Mother.

Add that to the fact that gaming has been found to make you smarter, and there’s strong proof that the public is more than ready to watch eSports and accept them as a legitimate form of sports and entertainment.

 

South Korea University Accepts eSports Players as Athletes

Additionally, consider the way that eSports players are starting to be treated.

The best example comes from South Korea’s Chung-Ang University, one of the country’s top-10 schools, which recently announced that it considers eSports gamers to be the same as professional athletes.

Interested students can apply to be considered for admission as an eSports athlete to the university’s Department of Sports Science. The admission policy states that eSports will be labeled as an individual sport.

Now, instead of commiserating over the fact that they’ll never go to college for a sports scholarship, gamers actually have a chance at being recognized for their skills, just as football stars or swim team members are.

 

The State of eSports Will Only Improve

The eSports revolution has begun, and things continue to look up. No longer are gamers considered to be wasting their lives when they pursue professional gaming, and soon more and more companies will invest in the industry (like Coke did), which may actually make it profitable for game studios.

So keep fitting gaming into your day, and you may very well end up being one of those players the rest of us watch during streaming playoffs!

Epic Das Keyboard 4 Professional Mechanical Keyboard Review

Watch now to learn more about Das Keyboard 4 Mechanical Keyboard!

Das Keyboard 4 Professional, learn more here

3 Hilarious Keyboard & Computer Pranks for April Fool’s Day

If you’re a practical joker, it’s likely you can’t wait for April Fool’s Day this coming week.

We don’t really blame you. It’s hard not to laugh at some of the tricks you hear people playing every year, like Google’s past “introduction” of the Morse code keyboard for the Gmail App.

So to aid in your shenanigans on Tuesday, we’ve put together a list of three keyboard and computer pranks you can play on your family, friends, and co-workers.

FYI, it’s best to only prank the people you know can handle it. Some of these might make the wrong person panic!

 

3 Hilarious Keyboard & Computer Pranks for April Fool's Day by Das Keyboard

Photo from Wacky Archives

1. Keyboard Garden

For this prank, grab an old keyboard that you don’t care about or that doesn’t work anymore that looks like the one owned by the person you’re pranking. You can probably find similar ones at your local thrift store.

Normally, you’d also need some grass or herb seed and dirt, but because time’s running short for this prank, you can just grab some pre-grown grass or herbs from your local nursery (or from your front lawn, if it’s starting to grow back already).

Place the plants and dirt in between the keys. If you need to pull off the cover to get it in the keyboard, you can do so, but make sure when you put the cover back on that some of the grass or herbs are still poking through the cracks!

Swap out your victim’s keyboard for the garden one and await the cries of confusion. (If you try this on a mechanical keyboard lover, they might have a heart attack, which is why we recommended you choose carefully who to pull your pranks on!)

 

3 Hilarious Keyboard & Computer Pranks for April Fool's Day by Das Keyboard

Photo from Backupify

2. “Ghost” Typing

Everyone who’s done computer pranks before has likely swapped out keys on their victims’ keyboard, or maybe even adjusted the key mapping so nothing they type comes out they way they wanted to.

However, something even more hilarious is plugging in a secondary keyboard to their tower. This is a fantastic prank option to play on co-workers in the cubicles around you, since you can wire the keyboard under the walls and desk without them seeing it.

All you need to do once you’ve plugged in the second keyboard is keep it at your desk, and start typing random letters, codes, or messages to the person on the other end. It’s especially useful to type when you hear them start writing.

If you keep it simple at first, they’ll think they simply mistyped. Then you can ramp your way up from there until they’re wondering if they have a virus or were hacked!

 

3 Hilarious Keyboard & Computer Pranks for April Fool's Day by Das Keyboard

Photo from Pocket-lint

3. Blue Screen of Death

Possibly the most evil prank you can pull (because it’ll freak out everyone you play it on), the blue screen of death (BSOD) trick is one of the most tried-and-true computer pranks out there.

You don’t need to be a techie to do this one, either. Simply download this free screen saver from Microsoft that mimics the real BSOD. Install it, and set the screensaver to show up in the amount of time you wish.

And there you have it. Your victim’s panic will settle in the moment he or she gets back from their break.

 

Just remember that whatever keyboard or computer pranks you choose to do on your friends, family, or co-workers needs to be harmless, or you need to be willing to accept the consequences. Other than that, have fun this April Fool’s!

Have you ever pulled any of these pranks (or any other fun ones) on someone you know? Tell us about their reaction! 

Introducing the New Das Keyboard 4 Mechanical Keyboard!

Today Das Keyboard announced the launch of the Das Keyboard 4. With awesome features that will have your fingers thanking you…

  • Best-in-class typing experience with cutting edge look
  • A new anodized aluminum top panel for improved durability
  • German-engineered, gold-plated mechanical switches that create the distinct click of each keystroke and provides better tactile and audible feedback than standard keyboards
  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 hub provides a two-port 5Gb/s hub for faster high-resolution picture and video file transfers between USB devices
  • N-key rollover (NKRO) over USB for faster gaming, eliminating the need for a PS2 adapter
  • Over-sized volume knob and dedicated media controls to quickly adjust volume while streaming online music
  • Instant sleep button puts the connected computer into sleep mode, saving energy even when taking short breaks
  • A magnetic footbar to incline the keyboard at a perfect 4-degree angle, which can also double as a ruler, instead of the traditional flip-out feet
  • Extra long 6.6-foot long cable to extend nearly anywhere the user wants to operate

Watch the video: Das Keyboard 4 Mechanical Keyboard

The Das Keyboard 4 is available in both the Cherry MX Blue and Brown switches. Shop Now

Custom Keycaps: What They Are & Where to Find Them

Custom Keycaps: What They Are & Where to Find Them by Das Keyboard

Photo from yakitori77 via photopin cc

Mechanical keyboards are popular for many reasons, like their long-lasting durability or their effect on productivity.

And another reason people love them is because they can be easy to customize.

Where you can’t usually choose anything other than a color or shape with mainstream keyboards, a lot of enthusiasts will either build a mechanical keyboard from the ground up, or order one pre-made and customize it to their liking.

One of the easiest ways to do this is with custom keycaps.

 

What? Custom Keycaps Are a Thing?

Yes, they’re actually a thing. They’re sought by mechanical keyboard aficionados who want to make their device extra-special.

Custom keycaps are manufactured keycaps made for mechanical keyboards according to the customer’s or company’s design. Many companies make custom keycaps, including the ones who manufacture the keys for other places keys are typically needing to be customized, like on bank ATM machines.

When you’re looking for custom keycaps, you’ll find lots of different options available (who would’ve thought?). For example, keys can be made out of either ABS or PBT plastics, and symbols can be put on the keys with any method from printing to laser-etching to double-shotting (a type of molding that tends to keep the lettering from wearing out faster, but is harder to find because it’s not a common type of production anymore).

Then, of course, on top of those options, you can choose from a variety of colors, symbols, and even shapes. Yes, shapes, like skulls or Darth Vader:

You can even find some companies who will take your specific design requests into account, though this is harder to find. Also, most companies currently only make keycaps for Cherry MX switches, but depending on the company, you might be able to get caps made for other types of switches.

Basically, custom keycaps are way more awesome than people realize.

 

Where You Can Get Some…

If you’re the kind of person who did a massive happy dance when your mechanical keyboard arrived in the mail, you should consider buying custom keycaps to turn that dance into a full-out performance.

Fortunately, there are a lot of places to buy custom keycaps. The following is a list of some of the most popular places online to order your caps.

- Pimp My Keyboard
- TechKeys
- Signature Plastics
- KeyPop
- Clack Factory (highly sought-after custom keycaps made by user Click Clack on GeekHack.com’s forums)

You’ll want to make sure you look into what each site offers, because as mentioned above, there are lots of different types of keycaps and not all companies make what you could be looking for. If you can’t find answers to your questions on their site, we highly suggest you contact them directly.

 

Have you put any custom keycaps on your Das Keyboard or other mechanical? Tell us what they look like in the comments below (or better yet, send us a picture).

How to Clean Your Keyboard: DON’T Use the Dishwasher!

How to Clean Your Keyboard: DON'T use the Dishwasher! by Das Keyboard

Photo from banger1977 via photopin cc

When your computer keyboard is starting to get some sticky buildup, or a few of the keys are squeaking every time you press them, it’s time for a good cleaning.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your keyboard helps ensure you’ll be able to use it longer. This is especially important if you own a mechanical keyboard, because dirt and grime can interfere with all the moving pieces that make the keyboard so awesome to use.

While most of you are familiar with using canned air and disinfectant wipes to get your keyboard in tip-top shape, there’s another cleaning method some computer users advocate: the dishwasher.

Really? The dishwasher? Yes, some people throw their keyboard inside and let the larger machine do its thing.

But is this really the best thing for your mechanical keyboard? Let’s look at the facts.

 

Some Keyboards CAN Survive the Dishwasher

If you search the internet for stories about computer users who washed their keyboards in the dishwasher, you’ll find that it does work for some of them.

For example, this author on NPR tried cleaning his keyboard several years ago after reading about another user’s success. He said even though he chose to wait a week for it to dry, it was “absolutely spotless.”

Additionally, there are keyboards that are waterproof, if you really want to take this cleaning route but don’t want to risk ruining a keyboard. A Florida called Seal Shield makes dishwasher-safe keyboards you could consider purchasing for your everyday use, and save your mechanical keyboard for specific purposes like long typing or gaming stints.

 

But Using the Dishwasher Isn’t the Way to Go

When you’re curious about how to clean your keyboard, and you do own a mechanical one, you should avoid the dishwasher method at all costs.

We already mentioned some of the drawbacks to dishwasher cleaning in our Mechanical Keyboard Guide, like how exposing circuits and other electrical parts to water could render the entire thing useless. Suddenly, you’d be looking at replacing that $100+ mechanical keyboard.

In addition, using the dishwasher to clean your keyboard takes a toll on your stress and productivity. If you’ve never tried to clean with the dishwasher before, you have no idea if the keyboard will come out all right or if any sort of hard water deposits will prevent it from working. That’s a lot of added pressure on your already-busy plate.

And considering it could take several days for your keyboard to dry thoroughly (like the NPR author’s did), you’d have to find a temporary solution or replacement keyboard to use during the time your primary one is out of commission.

 

Your Best Bet for Keyboard Cleaning

Sticking to the old-fashioned canned air,  disinfectant wipes, and even small amounts of alcohol is the safest way to get your mechanical keyboard clean. You won’t have to worry about the thing coming out broken and dysfunctional (unless you’re really harsh during your cleaning process).

Remember to check out our cleaning section in the Mechanical Keyboard Guide for step-by-step instructions. They’ll take a bit more time than a dishwasher, but you’ll get longer-lasting, safer results. 

Do you think you’d ever try cleaning a keyboard (mechanical or otherwise) in a dishwasher? Tell us why or why not in the comments!

3 Fun (& Helpful) Free Online Typing Games to Test Your Skills

We’re not all about keyboards here at Das. We like other things, too.

Like typing.

Sure, it’s still technically related to keyboards, but the world of typing is fascinating and has been around since the invention of the typewriter in the 1860′s. Everyone wants to know how to type faster and better. Fortunately, there are lots of free online typing games that we 21st-century people can use.

There are lots of games online for you to play, but not all of them are both fun and useful for improving your typing skills. We’ve picked out 4 of the best ones that succeed at both:

 

KeyMan

This typing games looks just like Pacman, which makes it awesome by default.

The point of this game is, of course, to outrun the ghost. However, instead of just moving around the maze with your arrow keys, you need to move by typing the letter or punctuation mark that shows up in the direction you want to move.

Why’s this so hard? Because you’re not spelling out any specific words; you’re just typing random letters and marks, which really works your knowledge of key locations and makes this one of the best free online typing games around.

 

Keyboard Ninja

If you love ninjas, this could be one of your favorite free online typing games.

In this game, you are training to become a master keyboard ninja, and you’re in your final stage where you must slice all the fruit thrown your way by typing the letters that show above each piece. You can also slice ice cubes to help slow down the rate of the flying fruit.

But you have to avoid the bombs your trainer is throwing at you, too, or the game’s over. And did we mention you’re a monkey?

 

Ninja Cat and Zombie Dinosaurs

Best. Title. Ever. (And yes, there’s apparently a ninja theme going on here.)

Instead of being a monkey like you were in the previous game, you’re a half cat, half ninja (most likely a French one at that, because you start off fighting in various locations around France). Your goal is to save the world from zombie dinosaurs by typing the words that appear below them as they race to attack you.

The words are pretty common, but the dinosaurs come at you quickly, so you need to know how to “defend” yourself. Be careful to not type the wrong thing, either, or your accuracy goes down.

 

Bonus!

There’s no shortage of free online typing games, but these are just some of the more interesting, fun ones that users of any skill level can enjoy. And as an added bonus, you could try our typing game!

It’s called typrX, and the goal is for you to type as fast and as accurately as you can to move your car from start to finish. You can even compete against other players online to see who can type the fastest!

Try out these games and have your friends play them to see who can get the highest scores. Which one was your favorite, and how well did you do?

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