Make sure your controller is turned off and the wireless receiver is plugged-in to your PC before proceeding with the steps below:
Press Windows key+X (or right-click the start menu icon).
Click “Device Manager”.
Find any listings of “Unknown Device” in the list of devices, likely under Human Interface Devices or Other Devices, or devices that have a yellow “!” warning icon on them.
Right-click each unknown device device and select “Scan for hardware changes” and then “Update Driver Software” > “Search Automatically for Updated Driver” options before the next steps, especially if you have more than one “Unknown Device” listed.
Right-click on “Unknown Device” and click “Update Driver Software”.
Click the option “Browse my computer for driver software”.
Click the option “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”.
Near the bottom of the list, select the option that looks something like “Xbox 360 Peripherals” and click “Next”.
From the list, select the driver option “Xbox 360 Wireless Receiver for Windows” and click “Next”.
A warning will appear about the possibility of the device or your computer not working properly and likelihood of system instability. Disregard it and click “Yes” in the bottom right corner of the panel.
A message should appear within a few seconds saying that the device has been correctly installed. Click “Ok” and exit out of all device manager windows.
After performing these steps, power on your controller if it is not already powered on.
Then press Win + R to bring up the run dialog and type in joy.cpl and click OK.
This brings up the Game Controllers control panel applet. You can use this to check whether the game controllers have been identified, and if you select the game controller and click “Properties” you can test it: it will demonstrate which joysticks and buttons are being pressed.
What keyboard and mouse do you use, is it the one that came bundled with your PC? The last couple of PCs I ordered I made a point of making sure they didn’t include a cheap, budget keyboard. Instead I ordered my own.
Recently I’ve been on the hunt for a replacement for what has long been my standard, trusty keyboard, the Microsoft Digital Media Pro.
As you can see from the image above, the Digital Media Pro has lots of extra buttons:
Volume buttons (volume up, volume down, mute)
Four media keys (play/pause, stop, previous track, next track)
Five My Favorites (sic) keys for launching your favourite applications
Hot keys (My Documents, My Pictures, My Music, Mail, Web/Home, Messenger, Calculator, Log Off, Sleep)
F-Lock key (toggles F1-F12 between standard function keys and predefined actions, e.g. Help, Undo, Redo, New, Fwd, Open, Close, Reply, Send, Spell, Save, Print)
In practice I always remapped the Calculator hot key to open My Documents as it was the closest reconfigurable key to my mouse; the shortest distance for my right hand to move.
I rarely if ever used the zoom slider, and since upgrading to Windows 7 I stopped using the My Favourites, as you can achieve something similar by holding down the Windows key and tapping a number (Win+1 will open the first application pinned to your taskbar, Win+2 opens the second, etc.). Similarly, I rarely used any of the other hot keys.
In the end I realised that the only extra keys that I used regularly were the four media keys.
And after six years of constant use I was beginning to get very sore fingers after typing with it, not to mention prolonged bouts of RSI.
It was time to get a new keyboard, both at home and at work. I like to use exactly the same keyboard in both locations so that I don’t have to think about where my fingers should go.
Logitech Media Keyboard K200
I spent a few weeks researching what kind of keyboard I should buy, investigating the options, and weighing up the pros and cons. USB or PS/2? wireless or wired? mechanical or membrane?
In the end my fingers were getting so painful I just ordered a really cheap Logitech Media Keyboard K200 as a stopgap. It cost me about £9.99 GBP.
The K200 is a full-size, 105-key keyboard with four media keys, and four hot keys. For a keyboard so cheap I was quite surprised by how comfortable it was to type on.
What let it down for me, however, was how flexible it was. When the adjustable legs were flipped out the whole keyboard bent in the middle whenever I typed on it.
As a temporary solution, however, it was perfect and within a few days my fingers were no longer hurting and the RSI was calming down. Time to find something more permanent, though.
Logitech Wireless Keyboard K360
I first spotted the Logitech Wireless Keyboard K360 in a gear review in .net magazine (issue 224, February 2012). The verdict of the review was “we found this to be a very comfortable keyboard to use, and — as wireless keyboards go -— it’s well worth checking out”.
The K360 comes in five designs, which makes a change from the standard grey, black or silver offerings from most keyboard manufacturers:
I wanted something simple and and non-distracting, so I ordered the black one from Amazon for £19.99 GBP.
The K360 uses Logitech’s Unifying receiver, a small USB dongle that plugs into the PC and which can be paired with up to six devices (keyboards and mice). I discovered pretty quickly that this needs to be plugged into a the PC itself and not into a USB hub. I multi-boot my PC and the USB hub wasn’t available during the power-on test so the keyboard was still unresponsive when it reached the boot menu. Plugging the Unifying receiver into the USB port on the front of my PC tower, however, fixed that.
As far as the keyboard itself goes, it has the feel of a very nice laptop keyboard, with its low profile and ‘Scrabble tile’-like keys. The keys themselves are good sizes and very easy to use. The travel is very short so you don’t need to use much pressure to type with, which was great for my wrists.
You can lay the keyboard itself flat on the desk, or flick out two little legs to raise up the keys a little. I found that arrangement more comfortable and meant that the keys were all easily reachable without having to move my hands too much.
I did find, however, that overall the keyboard did feel to be a little smaller than standard and my fingers did begin to cramp up after a few hours typing.
And with it being a compact keyboard, like a laptop, the position of the ‘editing block’ keys had also been moved: the arrow keys, insert, delete, home, end, page up and page down keys, as well as the print screen, scroll lock and pause/break keys.
That was the thing that I found most frustrating and which led me to looking for something else. For years my fingers have just known where to go to grab a screenshot, or move the cursor to the end of the line. With this keyboard I couldn’t just get on with typing, it slowed me down, it forced me to think about the device, it forced me to keep looking down to locate the keys.
I gave myself a couple of weeks working with it to see how quickly I could adapt, and to be fair, by the end of the fortnight I was feel much more comfortable with the keyboard. I was able to locate the moved-keys more quickly but it still didn’t feel natural.
What I did find very useful, however, were the media keys (previous track, play/pause, next track) and the volume keys (volume up, volume down, mute). I liked that the K360 didn’t have lots of extra keys cluttering up the design (like the Microsoft Digital Media Pro), but I did find those six extra hardware keys very handy indeed.
In short, though, overall the keyboard’s compact layout got in the way of my typing, and that’s not a particularly efficient way to work. I needed to find something else.
Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750
That was when I opened the latest copy of .net magazine (issue 227, May 2012) and spotted a review for the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750.
The review itself wasn’t exactly glowing, “spending over £60 on a keyboard that’s nothing special design-wise seems crazy to us, but it’s your call” but it looked exactly what I wanted.
I ordered one from Amazon for £49.98.
“Another keyboard?!” said Jane as I unboxed it. “What are you like?”
The K750 paired very quickly with my existing Logitech Unifying receiver and I was good to go.
It has a similar low profile to the K360 but is wider. It has more of a feel of a full-size keyboard and before long my fingers were finding the ‘editing block’ keys again (insert, delete, home, end, page up and page down) without my having to look down at the keyboard. Perfect!
The keys themselves are a little different to those of the K360: they are slightly dimpled which makes them feel surprisingly comfortable to type on. Your fingers sit easily in the hollow of the keys. Logitech calls this “hand happiness”: “Treat your hands right with keys that feel good and make every keystroke comfortable, fluid and whisper-quiet.” And they are right.
There is only one additional hardware key on this keyboard, to the right of the Pause/Break key. Press it and one of two LEDs lights up, next to a happy face or a sad face, to indicate whether the keyboard’s built-in solar panels are receiving enough light to top-up the rechargeable batteries. Logitech claim that even in total darkness the batteries would last for three months. Perhaps not long enough for Gollum to write his memoirs but certainly enough to get you through the night on a long coding or writing spree.
In the absence of additional keys the functions keys double up via the help of a Function (Fn) key sitting between Alt Gr and Ctrl to the right of the spacebar:
F1 – Web/Home
F2 – Mail
F3 – Search
F4 – Calculator
F5 – Media player
F6 – Previous track
F7 – Play/Pause
F8 – Next track
F9 – Mute
F10 – Volume down
F11 – Volume up
F12 – Sleep
Print Screen – Windows context menu
Typically, I regularly use the media and volume keys, and have once reached for Fn+F4 to launch the calculator. Thankfully these additional, and mostly extraneous options, are unobtrusive. I really wouldn’t have missed them if they had not been available, but I guess these days such media keys almost come as standard as though providing a solid, comfortable and highly usable keyboard isn’t enough.
Shortly after last month’s issue of .net magazine dropped through the door—I’ve been subscribing to it for the last few years—I tweeted about a keyboard that I spotted in their regular “latest gear this month” feature:
It’s not often I see something in @netmag‘s gear reviews that makes me think “I really want that”. But today: @LogitechUK K750 solar kbd 🙂 — Source
What a very pleasant surprise this morning to discover that I’d been quoted in .net magazine’s Tweet feed round-up on page 12 of the latest edition (issue 228, June 2012) which dropped through my letterbox this morning.
And it’s true. I’d just bought a new keyboard (the Logitech K360) and then I spotted the larger K750 solar keyboard and I have to confess that I coveted it. During Lent.
“It will be mine,” I thought. “Oh yes, it will be mine.”
And a month later it is, and I have a keyboard up for sale on eBay. But that, I suspect, will be the subject of another post, another evening.
Here’s a weird thing. Ever since installing my new webcam (Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 with QuickCam v11.7 software) and after using it for a while, mostly with Seesmic my MP3s play at about 3x or 4x normal speed. They should like a chipmunk band!
I’m still trying to work out what the issue is. Could it be to do with the way that Adobe Flash Player is interacting with the webcam and audio input/output?
Strangely, normal service resumed as soon as I’d closed the Seesmic tab in Firefox and closed down Twhirl (Twitter client).
I’m also not sure what software/drivers I should have installed. It came with QuickCam v11.7 but the download version (for XP) from the Logitech website is QuickCam v11.5. Hmmm…
Saturday 21 June
I’ve just uninstalled Adobe Flash Player and reinstalled it. Everything appears to be working as expected now, which is promising. That may have been the issue … I’ll keep an eye on it.
Friday 27 June
The problem is still continuing, although not as much as previously. It happened again this morning when I fired up WinAmp. However, I’ve discoverd that if I exit from Last.fm that fixes the problem. Not sure what’s going on. Seems to have happened around the time when I upgraded to Firefox 3 and installed the Logitech webcam.
Investigations continue …
Wednesday 02 July
Having lived with this issue over the last couple of weeks, it certainly looks as though the main culprits are Flash player in Firefox 3.0 and Last.fm. The audio in WinAmp just went ‘chipmunk’ again this morning and wasn’t resolved until I did the following:
Stop WinAmp playing (not exit, just stop)
Exit Last.fm for Windows 184.108.40.206527
Start WinAmp playing again
Music returned to its normal tempo. Very odd, rather annoying.
Monday 28 July
I’ve now not experienced the chipmunk audio effect for nearly two weeks now. I found somewhere on the Adobe website that in order to run the Flash uninstaller fully it required a /clean switch:
Download the Uninstaller
Open the Windows Command Prompt ( Run > cmd ).
Navigate to the directory where the uninstaller was downloaded.
Run “Uninstall Adobe Flash Player.exe /clean.”
After that I reinstalled Adobe Flash Player 220.127.116.11 and all has been well again ever since.