Apparently, in the tech sector it is no longer enough to be a Nerd or a Geek. Now, you really have to be an Ubergeek! Companies are even releasing "snob appeal" products to reinforce the total peculiarity of this sub-set of a sub-set of a sub-set of society.
According to a story by Andrew Zipern published today in the New York Times, in the programming world, only the strong survive. But what about the smug? A new product, Das Keyboard, seems to have both in mind. It's a regular 104-key keyboard--except that nothing is printed on the keys.
"It's really for Geeks," said Daniel Guermeur, the creator. "They can already touch-type without looking. They feel a little bit superior. The keyboard is a statement." Guermeur, a 41-year-old programmer and the chief executive of the Metadot Corporation, an open-source software company in Austin, has been using a prototype model for two years. His company claims that some non-geeky users, now forced to memorize key positions, have ultimately learned to type twice as fast as they did before within just a few weeks.
Das Keyboard also has one additional feature not found in most keyboards. Each key is weighted by location to be more or less resistant to touch. For example, it takes less force to make the Z key register than it does the F--another inducement to speed and accuracy.
The keyboard is on sale at www.daskeyboard.com for $79.95, and the site makes no bones about the target market: "A keyboard with no inscriptions on the keys was obviously only for a certain type of Geek, not just normal ones, not even the super-nerd ones, only those who are totally above the pack: the Ubergeeks."