Retail Therapy For Writers, No. 1

Retail Therapy begins another somewhat-regular feature (is that an oxymoron?) at Sling Words. Why? Because as I said in a similar blog I wrote for my Performancing Blog, writers like to shop too. But when writers have money to spend, you won't find us at the mall checking out the latest Nike shoes or the hot new summer fashions. We'll be at the stores that sell computers, software, office supplies, and books.

Show me a writer, and I'll show you an office supply junky.

Anyway, I'm so in love with my new toy that it's not enough to tell it on one blog. Today's Retail Therapy is about a fabulous new keyboard.

Computers: Bad For Human Bodies

I don't know about you, but I spend too many hours a day, at least five days a week, at the keyboard. I go through keyboards the way some people go through running shoes. If you know me personally, you also may know that I've had significant back problems over the years so I take very good care of my body now. Still, I have bouts of pain in my neck, shoulders, and back, but they're usually controllable.

Of course, I prefer to have NO pain so I've learned, usually the hard way, what cripples me. There's nothing like lots of mouse usage to ignite pain. If I'm doing a lot of editing and a lot of graphic design work, you might as well take me out and shoot me because life won't be worth living until I've had a week or more to recover.

Since I've been heavy into designing promotional and gift items for writers for The WRITE WAY, my cyber gift shop, my pain threshold was reached at warp speed. I figured there had to be a better way. I found one.

Retail Therapy: X-Gene Wireless Imperial 2.4 G Series mini Keyboard.

I got my keyboard at Max Keyboard.

My new toy has taken some getting used to because it's a mini-keyboard which pretty much comes standard now with Dell and the others. I don't really like a mini-keyboard because my fingers are used to the wavy ergonomic style I've always bought since they first came out. Retraining myself to type on this has been a chore.

However, the chore has been worth it because this keyboard is designed for those who spend hours at the computer. Because of the way it's made, I don't have to reach for a mouse and move it around. I just love it! Let me tell you all about it.

Great Design

On the left top corner are two buttons that together make a kidney bean shape. They are left and right mouse buttons. On the bottom left top edge is a scroll wheel. On the right top corner is an optical wheel and just under that on the bottom edge is another left mouse or selector button.

This thing is fabulous. Your hands never have to reach for anything. All the controls are right there at your fingertips.

But Wait, There's More

Since this is a wireless keyboard, it has a USB gizmo that plugs into a computer USB port. The keyboard itself takes 4 - AA batteries. You can lean back in your computer chair with this in your lap and type and mouse away. I can even sit in a recliner in the corner of the study and type away, the wireless range is that good!

There's more still! There's no number keypad, that's why this unit is center-balanced so that it sets squarely in place in typing position. There's an F-Lock key if you need to use it as a number pad. Above the F keys on the left are programmable access buttons for your web browser, email, My Computer, and browsing forward and backward. On the right are CD music controls including volume and mute.


The X-Gene Keyboard is compatible with all Windows versions, even Vista I think. It truly is Plug and Play so if I have a lot of heavy typing as in first draft with little mouse usage, I can unplug the X-Gene, plug in my ergonomic, and type up a storm.

Price: $54.95. I checked lots of different websites and found the best price at Max Keyboards. When I ordered it a month ago, they even paid the shipping and upgraded it to overnight. Don't know if they do that for everyone, so don't quote me on that.

If you order, be sure and tell them Joan Reeves sent you. I like to let retailers know they have satisfied customers out there bragging about them and their products.

Retail Therapy For Laughs

Oh, and just for kicks, here's another Retail Therapy item. My daughter the artist designed this Tote Bag after a particular event which you can easily discern.Isn't it a hoot? Like Coco Chanel said: "The best revenge is living well." In this case, it only costs $14.00 if you want to proclaim your disdain for the Ex in your life.

Laughing and happily slinging words on my new keyboard!


  1. Interesting -- although I have enough trouble shifting from PC to laptop, and I bought a laptop with the biggest keyboard I could get without having to get a laptop I couldn't carry. I don't know that I'd be able to retrain my fingers--dh has a smaller laptop and when we travel and share his, I go nuts with all the typos.

    My current PC keyboard is a wireless one, although I need to be close enough to the monitor -- I have to see what I'm typing!

    My favorite keyboard of all time doesn't exist anymore (of course). I loved the scroll wheel on one side, and the buttons at the bottom that did cut, copy & paste so you didn't have to use the mouse. But since my job entailed a LOT of data entry, I don't think I could handle a keyboard without the 10-key pad. My laptop doesn't have one and I haven't been able to switch to the 10 key function on the keyboard.

    But the BEST thing about the old keyboard for someone who does a lot of data entry was that there was ANOTHER TAB KEY!!! It was with the 10-key pad. Given how many on-line forms require entering numbers, and that the tab key is used to move from field to field, I don't see why more keyboards don't have this feature. I miss it.

    I'd love a keyboard where I didn't wear out the letters!

  2. Hey, Terry! Yep, hardest was getting used to the mini-keyboard, but it has been worth it. As to wearing off the letters, I have that same problem, but then I wear out keyboards too. Joan

  3. Yeah, I'm on at least my 5th keyboard. Maybe now that I'm 'retiring' from my day job, my needs will shift and I won't need a 10 key pad -- we'll have to wait and see. Right now, I'm satisfied with the one I've got (and the company replaced it when I sent them a photo of my label-free keys).

    But I do wish I had the second tab key. Every other key has one on each side; why not that one?

  4. Good question. Let me know if you find one. I'm on the lookout for one like my xGene but with the ergonomic wave. I really don't care about the keypad since virtually all my writing is text-based.