For the average user, a keyboard is just an inanimate tool you use to fire off letters to your PC, but for the career programmer, finding the perfect device that matches your preferences and typing style is a mission in itself. Imagine your favourite board crapping itself and being forced to switch to one with a slightly different layout or configuration... sounds like hell, right?
This is exactly what happened to me last night. The "S" of my current keyboard decided to die on me and no amount of cleaning, reboots or gentle smacking resolved the issue. Fortunately, I made the decision to buy a second, identical keyboard a year or two ago, just for this eventuality.
The problem is I never physically inspected the second keyboard. The model numbers matched, so why bother?
Boy, did I learn my lesson. Figures A and B, my friends:
Old board on the left, new on the right (click for larger versions).
Can you spot the differences? Despite having identical model numbers, the keyboards are not the same — enough so that my typing speed and accuracy has suffered as my muscle memory adjusts to the new glyph positions. (Who puts the pipe key in the bottom left corner, seriously?)
My advice is, if you find a keyboard you love — buy four of them, preferably at the same time, from the same place.