I’ve come across two cool things today.

First one is something that I wanted to have for years: an all-black keyboard without any markings. It’s called “Das Keyboard” and was featured in today’s dose of Slashdot. Apparently it’s simply a Keytronic, just all black. The only other cool feature it has is that key resistance (or in other words force required to depress a key) varies according to function and region as shown on this picture.

Despite a rather hefty price tag ($80 is quite a lot for a keyboard) I think I’ll buy one as soon as I’ll have some free money floating around. I always loved black equipment, and I’ve had some black keyboards already (the best of which came as a gift from a friend who knew about my little passion for black plastic) but this is what I’ve always wanted having dispensed with the need for markings long time ago.

Now, if only Apple would make a black Power Book, also with unmarked keyboard… Just imagine that beauty: oxidized black metal with cool red or – even better – deep blue illumination… Eh….

Enough daydreaming! On to another cool thing I’ve came across while looking for… incense on zensupplies.com (or whatever). It’s a special alarm clock called Zen Alarm Clock, which is of course digital but uses a physical device (small tubular bell) as the sound source. Not very innovative, since old mechanical wall or standing clocks used all kinds of chimes – but still great. And very elegant in its wooden, carved case (two colors available).

I especially like the “E” sound the larger version produces. It can be used for conventional waking up in the morning, but it can also be used to time meditation. While I’m not entirely convinced that something this gentle and non-intrusive could wake me up I like the idea of timing meditation with it. It is definitely something I would love to have since when I’m sitting at home I don’t know how much time has passed. And harsh sound of alarm in my cellphone is certainly not suitable for signaling the end of meditation.

But, since I’m not the richest of guys at the moment I think I’ll settle for short incense sticks. The only problem seems to be getting a reputable source of good incense, since some of the cheap incense made in China and India these days contain chemical additives that can be toxic or addictive (or both). One of the (many) problems of living in a small country at the edge of the European Union is that anything off the beaten track is harder to get.

Tomorrow I’ll write the first of my essays on books. I came up with the idea that – unless I’d be on the move or somethin’ – I’ll post a book review or essay every Friday. Stay tuned.