Tech Life You’re the problem!

Two Keyboards at a Bar


The bar is full. Two keyboards sit at the bar: APPLE EXTENDED II and MACBOOK PRO. The front door opens, TOUCHBAR looks around, sees the two keyboards at the bar, grins, and heads their direction. Skipping.

APPLE EXTENDED II sits at the bar nursing a Macallan 18. Next to him is MACBOOK PRO who has not taken a sip of his glass of water.

APPLE EXTENDED II: Lonely times, man. Lonely times. First, it was scissors then butterflies. Do you want to know what I miss? Electric Alps switches. That was the dream, right?

MACBOOK PRO (nervous, staring at the bar, napkins in both hands): Did you clean up before I sat down? It looks clean, but…

APPLE EXTENDED II (interrupting): Kids today. They don’t appreciate the reliable, credible haptic feedback of a single healthy keystroke. It’s all hunt, peck, and swipe swipe swipe.

TOUCHBAR (arrives): Hey! Nobody told me we were going out to drinks 🍷. This is great! 👍

APPLE EXTENDED II: Wait, who invited him?

MACBOOK PRO: Sorry, we’re a package deal. It’s not…

TOUCHBAR (interrupting): Kind’a loud in here, you don’t mind if I turn up the volume a bit? Ok? Great. That’s better, right? I’m helping!

MACBOOK PRO: … an ideal situation.

APPLE EXTENDED II (glaring at TOUCHBAR): This a keyboard meeting. You’re not a keyboard.

TOUCHBAR: Not a keyboard? Just look at me I’m…

SIRI (appears in a puff of colorful smoke): Hey, can I help with anything? No? Ok.”

SIRI vanishes. APPLE EXTENDED II drops his face into his hands.

TOUCHBAR: … more than a keyboard, I am chock full of buttons.

The bartender approaches noticing TOUCHBAR’s arrival.

BARTENDER: Can I get you something?

TOUCHBAR: Can I get a Blue Hawaiian?


MACBOOK PRO: NACHOS? Wait, WHOA WHOA. You didn’t say we’d be eating food. I’ve got work tomorrow, and a single bit of chip, a smear of cheese, or a bit of jalapeño and I’m screwed.

APPLE EXTENDED II: Right, ok. Hold on the nachos. Back to you faux-keyboard. Do you know what you’re great at? TouchID. It’s a wonder because it simplifies a standard action. It transforms the process of typing a long secure password into a single click. That is legit magic, but TouchID is a button, and a button is always in the same location, it has a discernible shape you can feel with your finger, and when you press it, you feel the action of it being pressed. You are a touch screen.


IPHONE (three martinis in, across the bar): Leave me out of this!

APPLE EXTENDED II (standing up, pointing furiously at IPHONE): You’re the problem! You’re the problem! You showed them a world without real buttons, and now we get him!

IPHONE (also standing): My feedback is haptic!

APPLE EXTENDED II: It sure is except when I accidentally take a random screenshot of whatever is on my screen.

IPHONE: You’re a loud annoying dinosaur! We can hear every single one of your keys click-clacking all the way across town at the mothership.

MACBOOK PRO: Heyeveryonecalmdownwe’reallonthesameteam.What?

APPLE EXTENDED II: Your space bar is dead again, Pro.

MACBOOK PRO: Itis?Areyousure?

APPLE EXTENDED II: I’m sure. Screw this. Check, please.

BARTENDER: That’ll be $700. Wait no, this one’s on me.

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28 Responses

  1. David Lerner 6 years ago

    That was beautiful. Thanks!

  2. Love it, reminded me of the famous post by John Gruber about the Anthropomorphized Brushed Metal Interface Theme. Will you write a sequel and include Apple MB110D/B as the quiet one (she’s my favorite)? Cheers!

  3. Then the doors swing open and there, in silhouette, stands IBM Model M. The letters are completely worn off his keycaps, but otherwise he looks exactly like he has since, well … forever.

  4. Spacebardeadagain… brilliant.

  5. Robert.Walter 6 years ago

    Sent from my MacBook Pro.

  6. JustLikeMyOpinionMan 6 years ago

    Things that I want: a good reliable keyboard, a hardware Escape key, hardware function keys. You know, the standard on every Pro level laptop since the beginning of Pro laptops.

    Things I do not ever want: a Touch Bar, a virtual escape key, virtual keys in a maze of virtual menus behind other menus, to ever have to look at my keys to type anything, to ever have to look at the keyboard to navigate a digital menu, or to press any button, any virtual / digital key.

    The Touch Bar and current MacBook/Pro keyboard are concept hardware at best, they do not belong in a Pro user machine at any level. The Touch Bar should be killed off, or be optional and opting out should subtract $300+ from the price of the computer.

    I don’t even care about Touch ID, typing a password has never been a problem for me.

    Will Apple fix their MacBook Pro? I remain hopeful but not particularly optimistic as I type on my increasingly worn but faithful 2015 MacBook Pro.

  7. Brilliant!

    At least we finally got to the “Wait no, this one’s on me”

  8. “You’re a loud annoying dinosaur! We can hear every single one of your keys click-clacking all the way across town at the mothership.”

    Actually that would be the original AEK. The AEK II had damped switches and is one of the quietest mechanical keyboards you can find.

  9. Art Hackett 6 years ago

    Is the new “keyboard” around just to make the possibility of a giant touch bar keyboard seem like a viable option? Spray & wipe?
    In twenty five years of Mac keyboards, only one, an early USB power mac board had a problem after many years, and that was kernel panics, even though it looked physically fine. Then again, I’ve never owned a butterfly powered one.

  10. Mr James E. Tyler 6 years ago


    “Bartender, Call me a 151.”

  11. Meanwhile, I’m in a classy bar spending the money I saved by buying a Toshiba.

    (Obligatory keyboard reference: We use a generic wireless keyboard, because after 4 years of near constant use, the writing on the keys is illegible)

  12. Thanks for sharing the wonderful post the information is very helpful.

  13. Joe Joe 6 years ago

    @Martin … Who are you kidding? You’re at an Olive Garden.

  14. Erik Brown 6 years ago


  15. Lance Berc 6 years ago

    And wealthy old IBM Selectric II sits alone at the end of the bar, sipping on her her 12th Cosmo, smug in the knowledge that she was and will always be the most beautiful even if nobody that comes out these days remembers her.

  16. geForce 6 years ago

    This is why I got a Surface.

  17. Heikki 6 years ago

    Amazing 🙂

  18. steve 6 years ago

    wait till stylus shows up, late as usual!

  19. Jesse 6 years ago


  20. Most people don’t realize that Apple Extended II fought in both world wars, was a member of SEAL Team 6, and has seven Purple Hearts.

  21. Bob Warren 6 years ago

    @geForce – you didn’t notice Surface, skulking in the corner of the bar and slurring his speech because one too many glasses of port has fried his firmware again. He’s on his own, because Surface Pro was turned away at the door for not having a proper keyboard on, while Surface Book was a no-show as his battery didn’t charge overnight so he can’t leave the house. Pretty soon, Surface will keel over in a kernel panic as everything turns blue. The bartender will call Microsoft to come pick him up, but they won’t return his calls and Surface will be spending the night in the local eBay shelter with Blackberry and Note 7.

  22. I was definitely expecting a cameo appearance of a Model M.

  23. APPLE II-C 6 years ago

    Why was nt I invit ed? I am al ways miss in g out on t he fun !

  24. This was really great. I haven’t used an Apple Extended II, but I love the newest Apple Magic Keyboard. It’s so much better than what they’ve put on the MacBook Pro that I can’t even. After getting the second-gen butterfly switches on my MBP last year, it took me a while to get used to it. After I got used to it, I thought, okay, it’s not that bad. But then I got an iMac and with it came the Apple Magic Keyboard. That reminded me how good Apple keyboards were before they screwed it up. 

  25. Brett Gomez 5 years ago

    You forgot something.
    Macbook Pro : * Crashes from T2 Chip *

  26. Mark Mason 5 years ago

    No mention of the “form over function” choice to destroy the ease-of-use of the arrow keys as redesigned on these same keyboards. The arrow keys on former keyboards had spaces above the left and right arrow keys where the user would place their index and third finger. The spaces acted as registration positions allowing the user to know wheee they were on the board. Now, the new left and right arrow keys are larger, taking up the former flat spot on the keyboard, and thusly making it impossible to use the arrow keys without staring at the keyboard to find the proper location. It’s a disaster for those who use he arrow keys frequently.