Questions About Technology Investment: CharaCorder

“The CharaChorder is a new kind of typing peripheral that promises to let people type at superhuman speeds. It’s so fast that the website Monkeytype, which lets users participate in typing challenges and maintains its own leaderboard, automatically flagged CharaChorder’s CEO as a cheater when he attempted to post his 500 WPM score on the its leaderboards.

It’s a strange looking device, the kind of thing Keanu Reeves would interface with in Johnny Mnemonic. Your palms rest on two black divots out of which rise nine different finger sized joysticks. These 18 sticks move in every direction and, its website claims, can hit every button you need on a regular keyboard. “CharaChorder switches detect motion in 3 dimensions so users have access to over 300 unique inputs without their fingers breaking contact with the device,” it said.”

-Matthew Gault, “This Keyboard Lets People Type So Fast It’s Banned From Typing Competitions.” Vice. January 6, 2022.

Open Question: What is a good “investment” in technology?

Let’s imagine you have a child that it at the age they are starting to use a computer and a QWERTY style keyboard. Do you spend $250 and get them this kind of peripheral knowing:

  • It’s a new technology that likely will not be around in 20 years
  • It seems likely that in 20 years or so that the main input with computing will be via voice and/or video
  • It is even possible that in 20 years everyone will have a brain-computer interface.

Personally, I think it is useful to learn how to use new devices, even if they turn out to be novelty devices. It’s easy to see that certain popular devices that became obsolete have paved the way for the evolution for the subsequent devices that come later. Examples:

  • Mainframe computing led to personal computing which led to mobile computing
  • Blackberry, PalmOS, iPods were the precursors to Android and iPhones
  • Every few years, someone makes a new chat app, from ICQ and IRC to Telegram and Discord.

Familiarity with the previous version can help you transition to new variants. So, it’s probably a good idea to get familiar with technologies, even if you don’t think they will last.

Accessing a Locked Android Phone Not Displaying A Keyboard

I use AnySoftKeyboard as my keyboard of choice on Android. It’s great, except when my SD Card becomes corrupted. When that happens, AnySoftKeyboard no longer works. If my device is locked at the time, there doesn’t appear to be a way to type in my password to unlock the device.

There is a solution to this problem, if you have enabled Developer options and USB debugging on the device. Boot into recovery (Volume Up, Home & Power, all at the same time). Start adb on the device. Connect it to your computer with adb and reboot. Then from a command prompt on the computer, type in the following:

$ adb shell input text password && adb shell input keyevent 66

This will basically work just like the displayed keyboard on your device. keyevent 66 is the equivalent of Enter. Then, you can reformat your SDCard in Settings. Then, reboot the device and you will be good to go.

Emacs: Rebinding Caps Lock to Ctrl

I was reading this piece, The Beginners Guide to Emacs, which suggested making the Caps Lock Key into CTRL. I’ve been using emacs for years, and it never occurred to me to make this change. Lovely! Since it isn’t in the instructions, I’d thought I’d make a note here in case it comes up in the future. This version simply makes CapsLk into Ctrl.

$ sudo emacs /etc/default/keyboard

Then add: 

XKBOPTIONS="ctrl:nocaps"

$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration
$ shutdown -r now