By ANDREW ZIPERN
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."
Mr. Guermeur, a 41-year-old programmer and the chief executive of the Metadot Corporation, an open-source software company in Austin, Tex., has been using a prototype model for two years. His company claims that some users, forced to memorize key positions, can type twice as fast within a few weeks.
Das Keyboard also has one 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.
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, only those who are above the pack: the übergeeks."