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posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday October 14 2014, @04:04AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the clickity-click dept.

Adi Robertson writes at The Verge that next year, IBM's Model M keyboard turns 30 but to many people, it’s still the only keyboard worth using. Introduced in 1985 as part of the IBM 3161 terminal, the Model M was initially called the "IBM Enhanced Keyboard." A PC-compatible version appeared the following spring, and it officially became standard with the IBM Personal System / 2 in 1987. The layout of the Model M has been around so long that today it’s simply taken for granted but the keyboard’s descendents have jettisoned one of the Model M’s most iconic features—"buckling springs," designed to provide auditory and tactile feedback to the keyboard operator. "Model M owners sometimes ruefully post stories of spouses and coworkers who can’t stand the incessant chatter. But fans say the springs’ resistance and their audible "click" make it clear when a keypress is registered, reducing errors," writes Robertson. "Maybe more importantly, typing on the Model M is a special, tangible experience. Much like on a typewriter, the sharp click gives every letter a physical presence."

According to Robertson, the Model M is an artifact from a time when high-end computing was still the province of industry, not pleasure. But while today's manufacturers have long since abandoned the concept of durability and longevity, refurbished Model M's are still available from aficionados like Brandon Ermita, a Princeton University IT manager who recovers them from supply depots and recycling centers and sells them through his site, ClickyKeyboards. "For the very few that still appreciate the tactile feel of a typewriter-based computer keyboard and can still appreciate the simplicity of black letters on white keys, one can still seek out and own an original IBM model M keyboard—a little piece of early computing history," says Ermita. As one Reddit user recently commented, "Those bastards are the ORIGINAL gaming keyboards. No matter how much you abuse it, you’ll die before it does."

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Illop on Tuesday October 14 2014, @04:25AM

    by Illop (2741) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @04:25AM (#105818)

    Anybody?

    • (Score: 2) by meisterister on Tuesday October 14 2014, @04:33AM

      by meisterister (949) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @04:33AM (#105819) Journal

      +1 to this, though I got mine from a used hardware store for around $10 because they didn't know what they had. I think that it's unfortunate that hardware has been commoditized to the point that new keyboards are crap, but that's the price we have to pay for our dirt-cheap computers.

      --
      (May or may not have been) Posted from my K6-2, Athlon XP, or Pentium I/II/III.
      • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Tuesday October 14 2014, @05:44AM

        by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 14 2014, @05:44AM (#105834) Journal

        I found mine in a used computer store in a stack of old keyboards. I think they were priced at $5 each though it may have been $10 -- definitely not more than $10. It kind of surprised me that they wouldn't know what they had as it was a computer store. They could certainly have gotten more than $50 for it on ebay.

        --
        Pronouns: I/You/My (ex: He is a jerk: I is a jerk; It's him: It's you; His ideas suck: My ideas suck)
      • (Score: 2) by Marand on Tuesday October 14 2014, @06:07AM

        by Marand (1081) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @06:07AM (#105839) Journal

        That's similar to how I scored a couple Model M keyboards in the mid/late '90s. Office supply store had a couple of them at the back of an otherwise empty shelf, unsold for apparently a long time, judging by the dust accumulation. It was the bottom shelf, low height, and I guess nobody noticed. They were on clearance because the store no longer sold keyboards with the 5-pin DIN connectors any longer, and due to how long they had been on clearance and unnoticed, I ended up getting them both for something like $5-10 (total) for the pair.

        Served me well for a very long time with PS/2 adapters, but I eventually moved on to other keyboards. Still, best keyboard purchase I ever made. I didn't even know what they were until later; that lucky find taught me how great mechanical keyboards are, especially that one in particular.

    • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday October 14 2014, @04:37AM

      Yeah, friend of mine bought one years back. Slightly smaller, slightly lighter, otherwise it may as well be a Model M.

      I can't speak to durability though. My `92 Model M and his much newer Unicomp are both still clicking away. It could be another decade before either breaks.

      --
      My rights don't end where your fear begins.
      • (Score: 1) by Illop on Tuesday October 14 2014, @06:01AM

        by Illop (2741) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @06:01AM (#105837)

        I have had mine (both), work and home for at least 8 years. They get abused hard, especially the work one (gets a hammer fist once and a while). Still clicking away great. It is amazing that there is about a one or two week wear in period where they lessen about 25% in stiffness and keep that *forever.

        *as far as I know
         

    • (Score: 2) by keplr on Tuesday October 14 2014, @06:48AM

      by keplr (2104) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @06:48AM (#105847) Journal

      They are definitely not as good as the original, IMO. I bought their USB replica of the IBM Model M and it last about 5 months before keys started to become mushy and unresponsive. They offered to replace it but shipping was going to be such a hassle I just said fuck it. I bought a modern tenkeyless mechanical keyboard (blue switches, mercifully more compact) and never looked backed. Been working fine for over a year now.

      Maybe I just got a bad unit. But mechanical switches have advanced over the years. Those old IBM designs were great for their day and solidly built but they are not unimprovable.

      --
      I don't respond to ACs.
    • (Score: 2) by mojo chan on Tuesday October 14 2014, @07:36AM

      by mojo chan (266) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @07:36AM (#105855)

      I've been looking at Unicomp keyboards for a few years but they are going to be quite noisy for the most part, and they don't seem to do wireless. They make a quiet version but with no way to try it I can't really tell if it is any good.

      Similar clicky keyboards with Cherry switches are sold in Japan and I played with a few in shops. They are not bad and the quiet ones are pretty quiet, so maybe these are the same. Wireless is a big deal though, I don't need more cables on my desk.

      Currently I use a Microsoft wireless keyboard with laptop style keys. It's quiet, the keys feel good with a very positive response and bounce back. They are low impact too, good for my arthritis riddled hands. The only down side is the poor placement of the control keys and number pad. I keep meaning to switch to an IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad style desktop keyboard, but I'd like to go back to full stroke keys if I could find a suitable 'board.

      --
      const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
    • (Score: 2) by fliptop on Tuesday October 14 2014, @06:37PM

      by fliptop (1666) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @06:37PM (#106031) Journal

      I bought one about 2 years ago, USB model M. It's been a great keyboard, if I can ever get my daughter to stop stealing it for her school reports...

      --
      It's crackers to slip a rozzer the dropsy in snide.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14 2014, @04:34AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14 2014, @04:34AM (#105820)

    I liked the keys of the original IBM PC/XT. Not sure the switches are any different, maybe I liked better the shiny keycaps.

    But the partially raised keycaps (like the shift keys) were stinkers, and AT layout is way superior.

    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday October 14 2014, @11:21PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @11:21PM (#106113)

      The PC/XT was the Model F keyboard, and had a different mechanism for the keys which was more complex than the Model M. Some might argue it's superior. The keyboard itself was definitely heavier than the Model M too. It was probably more expensive to make as well. However the layout of the Model F was horrible.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by rumata on Tuesday October 14 2014, @04:37AM

    by rumata (2034) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @04:37AM (#105823)

    They still exist:
    http://www.keyboardlover.com/index.php [keyboardlover.com]
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/mechanical-switch-keyboard,2955.html [tomshardware.com]

    And most of em are not nearly as annoyingly noisy as Model Ms.

    Cheers,
    Michael

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday October 14 2014, @04:41AM

      As a guy with both a mechanical all-green-switch Razer BlackWidow and a `92 Model M, there really is no comparing them. Yes, the Razer is a damned fine keyboard compared to most and light enough to sit on my lap but it most assuredly does not provide the Model M's unrivaled typing experience.

      --
      My rights don't end where your fear begins.
      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday October 14 2014, @06:44AM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 14 2014, @06:44AM (#105846) Journal

        Still rocking my Northgates. One to use, two for spare parts.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday October 14 2014, @11:47AM

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Tuesday October 14 2014, @11:47AM (#105892) Homepage
      "annoyingly noisy"? I let my g/f (who types a lot more than me) use my Model M (a gift from work colleague - many thanks Sakari!), and I never mind the sound of her typing away; the Model M is almost musical. My cheaparse kepboard rattles and creaks, that's an annoying noise.
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
    • (Score: 2) by francois.barbier on Tuesday October 14 2014, @01:46PM

      by francois.barbier (651) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @01:46PM (#105924)

      Still looking for a laptop with such a great keyboard :-D
      ... and small pixels (high DPI)

  • (Score: 2) by Techwolf on Tuesday October 14 2014, @04:41AM

    by Techwolf (87) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @04:41AM (#105825)

    I have one orianigle IBM XT keyboard. It had the XT plug on it. Only used it for a short while before upgrading to the IBM model M. My father worked for IBM and brought home some of those keyboards. I still have mine, and some spares with extras keys.

    My touch type typo rate is much lower on that keyboard then any other keyboard I've used over the years.

    "You can have my IBM M when you pry it from my head."

    Question: Do all motherboard still come with ps/2 keyboard/mouse ports?

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by jimshatt on Tuesday October 14 2014, @08:31AM

      by jimshatt (978) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @08:31AM (#105868) Journal
      Why is it in your head?
      • (Score: 2, Funny) by irfan on Tuesday October 14 2014, @01:54PM

        by irfan (84) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @01:54PM (#105928)

        Because at 2.25 kg (5 lb) and having a heavy steel backplate, his assailant probably hit him in the head with it.

        • (Score: 2) by el_oscuro on Tuesday October 14 2014, @10:03PM

          by el_oscuro (1711) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @10:03PM (#106094)

          These are good to have in the office in case we have a zombie attack or have to fend off some former humans or imps. Now that is a real gaming keyboard!

          --
          SoylentNews is Bacon! [nueskes.com]
    • (Score: 2) by Aiwendil on Tuesday October 14 2014, @10:36AM

      by Aiwendil (531) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @10:36AM (#105879) Journal

      Model-M works with many (but not all) active usbps/2-converters, since they only are 1-3usd each pick up a few models until you find someone that works and stack up on that model.

      However, sadly enough those will sacrifice they key rollovers.

    • (Score: 2) by gman003 on Tuesday October 14 2014, @07:32PM

      by gman003 (4155) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @07:32PM (#106047)

      Question: Do all motherboard still come with ps/2 keyboard/mouse ports?

      No, but many come with at least one, particularly gaming models (not sure if it's true, but there's among some gamers there's a belief that PS/2 is lower-latency due to being interrupt-based instead of poll-based like USB). So while not ubiquitous, it's not uncommon.

  • (Score: 2) by Techwolf on Tuesday October 14 2014, @04:44AM

    by Techwolf (87) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @04:44AM (#105827)

    Has anyone dared to pop off all the keys and clean under there? I have and couldn't believe the keyboard worked without a hitch with all that crud there.

    • (Score: 2) by jimshatt on Tuesday October 14 2014, @08:33AM

      by jimshatt (978) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @08:33AM (#105869) Journal
      Oblig. xkcd [xkcd.com]
    • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday October 14 2014, @10:28AM

      I lost the key cap to my left Ctrl key and ended up having to replace it with one that was a bit smaller. It's scary under there.

      --
      My rights don't end where your fear begins.
    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by VLM on Tuesday October 14 2014, @12:05PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 14 2014, @12:05PM (#105897)

      Yes I do that every couple years and to all new keyboards because they're usually filthy.

      There's a whole strategy WRT you take a paper clip and needle nose pliers and make a maybe 1/16th inch hook on the end and thats about right to pop the caps off and then the caps go in a peanut butter jar (back when those were glass) with dishwashing detergent and water and shake for a few seconds every couple minutes for like an hour, then rinse rinse rinse and dump out on dish towel to dry before reassembly. Try not to F up and swap two of the weirder keycaps like scroll lock vs pause/break.

      Apparently I'm quite a bit older than everyone else because my Model Ms occasionally came as a package deal with an old PS/2. You know, the PS/2 was a computer model line, a legendarily bad one, before it became known as a connector standard. This is an aspect of the model M that isn't often discussed that people would get a PS/2 because "its IBM and nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" and realize they sucked, but OMG the keyboard was amazing compared to the POS they'd get with the replacement computer, so the rare person who knew what they were doing would keep the good keyboard and the legend of the model M was born.

      I've had the same model M on my desk since .... honestly I donno. Early 90s at least.

      Its been like 25 years and I still don't understand the noise complaints. If you work in a shitty open plan office, the experience is by definition going to be shitty and distracting and annoying and you're going to have to wear headphones and maybe blinders to keep your sanity, so who cares how loud something is you can't hear over your headphones. And if you work in decent conditions or at home, its practically silent compared to a dot matrix printer or daisy wheel printer or old fashioned electric typewriter or a TV or a radio blasting music or the lawnmower outside or the screaming little kids in their back yard or ... again I'm just not seeing it. I worked in networking at a factory that had an air compressor so loud it was unsafe unless you wore earplugs and earmuffs. But there's an ignorant journalist fixation on pointlessly bringing up that the sound of a M is pretty quiet, but it is probably the loudest commonly used keyboard in the modern era, but that doesn't matter...

      If you work inside an anechoic chamber at a Zen monastery then I could see the noise being offensive.

      I find the beep from my KVM when it switches much more annoying than the sound of the keyboard itself.

      Currently my desk has a PS/2 style KVM and everything either speaks PS/2 or if its something like the PI I have a converter box (not just an adapter, but a converter) that changes PS/2 to USB. So I have one keyboard, three monitors, three machines, and three trackballs one per machine. Eventually I'll probably upgrade to converting the model M to USB and then doing a USB KVM with six monitors and some number of machines between 3 and 6 but I still haven't gotten around to it. The only thing better for productivity than multiple monitors is multiple computers so I probably won't multi-monitor.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Reziac on Tuesday October 14 2014, @01:17PM

        by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @01:17PM (#105914) Homepage

        Try liquid laundry detergent instead, preferably Cheer or Tide. It will soak off the peanut butter as well as the crud. I don't buy dishwashing liquid anymore. (Tho Ajax is almost as good, but it doesn't work in cold water the way laundry detergent does.)

        And you can have my share of the IBM keyboards. For me, silent and light touch makes me a better typist.

    • (Score: 2) by Aiwendil on Tuesday October 14 2014, @08:52PM

      by Aiwendil (531) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @08:52PM (#106067) Journal

      As soon as you find the proper screwdrivers to open the case a model-m is very easy to clean and reassemble; I tend to clean my keyboards by simply disassembling them, cleaning all electronics and metal with pressurised air and all the plastic with a quick (couple of minutes) soak in water and detergent (for washing dishes) followed by toweldrying all the parts (and giving slight elbow-grease to get rid of grime).. after that I usually allow it to dry overnight before reassembling it again.

      Only drawback with this method is that the label on the backside doesn't like it (easily fixed with a piece of plastic sheet cut to size and then taped over it (make sure that the tape seals shut against the plastic of the case).

      If you don't feel like disassembling the keyboard completly (or just want a quick clean) then a screwdriver to pop off the keytops, pressurised air, tweezers and a dedicated toothbrush does the job very well.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14 2014, @06:19AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14 2014, @06:19AM (#105842)

    How many times will this story get published on here?

  • (Score: 1) by Squiff on Tuesday October 14 2014, @06:33AM

    by Squiff (2979) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @06:33AM (#105844)

    After reading several articles like this I actually went out and got a model m keyboard (well the unicomp reproduction). I hate it and so does my wife. It is INCREDIBLY noisy in use. I suppose this wasn't considered an issue back in the day when other people would have electric typewriters and computers would be beeping all the time anyway. Today it might be acceptable for those living on their own but just isn't on in any sort of shared environment- home or office.

    • (Score: 2) by jasassin on Tuesday October 14 2014, @07:42AM

      by jasassin (3566) <jasassin@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 14 2014, @07:42AM (#105859) Journal

      I'll give ya $20 for it.

      --
      jasassin@gmail.com Key fingerprint = 0644 173D 8EED AB73 C2A6 B363 8A70 579B B6A7 02CA
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14 2014, @09:08AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14 2014, @09:08AM (#105876)

        I bid 25!

    • (Score: 2) by Aiwendil on Tuesday October 14 2014, @10:48AM

      by Aiwendil (531) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @10:48AM (#105880) Journal

      There are ways to silence the Model-M (and I assume the reproduction) (just look at how the mechanics work and design your own method, most non-liquid ways work).

      But yes they are loud (and yet less annoying than many fans in modern computers) and it is a thing one gets used to (my girlfriend hated the sound of it at first (I have my main computer in the bedroom) but now she enjoys waking up to it (akin to how many enjoys waking up to the noise of a coffemaker)).

      However it also matters how hard one hits the keys, if one lets go just as the spring buckles they actually are not too loud in and off themselves, but if one always hits the keys until they bottom out (a bad habit needed on rubberdomes) they becomes the very loud things many think they are - pretty much as with typewriters.

  • (Score: 1) by tftp on Tuesday October 14 2014, @07:44AM

    by tftp (806) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @07:44AM (#105861) Homepage

    I had all sorts of keyboards - long stroke, clicky, medium stroke, less clicky, and all the way down to membrane (dome) keyboards that have hardly any stroke. I finally settled on modern keyboards that have short to medium stroke, that have low switching force, and that are not necessarily mechanical (elastomeric keyboards are, technically, mechanical.) I do not want those old beasts that came with IBM 360 and 370 machines; nor do I want the early PC keyboards. Plenty of modern keyboards are junk, in my opinion, but you can always find something that works for you - and chances are that it will cost under $10. I have far more issues with expensive keyboards that are horribly overdesigned. Perhaps I am not sufficiently demanding :-)

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Aiwendil on Tuesday October 14 2014, @08:23AM

    by Aiwendil (531) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @08:23AM (#105867) Journal

    Typing on borrowed time? I have half a dozen model-m's, and the specs for the ps/2-connector and the specs for the interchangeable cord (of grey-label model-m) printed out.. I plan on typing on the model-m until I die :)

    Currently typing this on a 1391411 with a DoB of 1989-05-18 :)

  • (Score: 1) by ardent on Tuesday October 14 2014, @08:37AM

    by ardent (3269) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @08:37AM (#105870)

    Tim Tyler: My keyboard

    http://mykeyboard.co.uk/microswitch/ [mykeyboard.co.uk]

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yg3s77nAMQ [youtube.com]

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14 2014, @11:59AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14 2014, @11:59AM (#105894)

    I still have the FKB4700 around somewhere. I recall liking it on the machines with the full size keyboard plug.
    http://deskthority.net/wiki/Fujitsu_FKB4700 [deskthority.net]

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by VLM on Tuesday October 14 2014, @12:28PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 14 2014, @12:28PM (#105901)

    stories of spouses and coworkers who can’t stand the incessant chatter.

    From personal experience, these whiners are the same people who have 15 minute conversations with Siri to send a text that would have taken a minute to type or seconds to say in a phone call, think nothing of blasting music and talk radio and youtube videos, insist on multi hour long football debates and TV debates and even worse, political debates involving loud shouting, seem to think its funny to re-enact "cheers" sitcom behavior every time a coworker arrives or leaves or just for the heck of it, and always have conference calls on speakerphone for hours at a time. Then if anyone complains about their behavior, they fight back with "hurr durr your nice keyboard is louder than my shitty keyboard, therefore what I'm doing is OK". And you end up fairly speechless. Like, apparently there really are humans raised by wolves? Or how did I make such a big mistake when implementing my "don't work with assholes" policy?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14 2014, @12:52PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14 2014, @12:52PM (#105907)

    I happen to have at least three of these famous Model M keyboards! I like them overall, but I have to say that they don't really suit my needs very well. I like Cherry micro-switches these days, especially since I can pick the type of feedback/mushiness/whatever that I'm looking for. Since I play esports when I'm not coding, a good keyboard means everything to me.

    Well, almost everything. Maybe "half" of "everything". A good mouse is just as important. I've got a box filled with the latest Razer Deathadder 2013, a Zowie AM, some Logitech things, etc, etc, but still to this very day -nothing- comes close to being superior to my Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 3.0. Which is why I own five of them, with aftermarket teflon skatez! And it's why that box filled with state-of-the-art mice is gathering cobwebs in my closet.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by nitehawk214 on Tuesday October 14 2014, @01:08PM

    by nitehawk214 (1304) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @01:08PM (#105911)

    If you ask me... CLACKEYCLACKEYCLACKEYCLACKEY.

    --
    "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
    • (Score: 1) by pnkwarhall on Tuesday October 14 2014, @07:21PM

      by pnkwarhall (4558) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @07:21PM (#106041)

      it's more like....
       

      CLACK-CLACK-CLACKITY-CLACKCLACK-CLACKITY-CLACLACLACKITY-CLACKCLACKITY-CLACK-CLACK

      ...Model M paradiddles...

      --
      Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
      • (Score: 2) by nitehawk214 on Wednesday October 15 2014, @01:57PM

        by nitehawk214 (1304) on Wednesday October 15 2014, @01:57PM (#106246)

        I used to work at a company that had a lot of Dell servers. Dell made (still makes?) a decently noisy Model M knockoff that the sysadmins would horde for their personal desktops. You could always tell when the lead sysadmin was on a conference call. I think he knew just how loud it was and had done it as a sort of protest against being on useless conference calls when he actually had work he needed to do.

        --
        "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
        • (Score: 1) by pnkwarhall on Thursday October 16 2014, @12:30AM

          by pnkwarhall (4558) on Thursday October 16 2014, @12:30AM (#106476)

          a sort of protest against being on useless conference calls when he actually had work he needed to do.

          Keyboard Cowboys want to be on the range!

          I have a loud mechanical keyboard (I'm too young for a model M, it's one that was slashvertised a few times in the late 2000s) that I really love. I think it's because

          a) I wish that I had learned how to play snare drum
          b) I really like this type of music [youtube.com]

          --
          Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
  • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by khallow on Tuesday October 14 2014, @01:31PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 14 2014, @01:31PM (#105919) Journal
    I liked the Apple IIc keyboard better, though nowadays any keyboard I get needs a number pad.
  • (Score: 2) by spxero on Tuesday October 14 2014, @02:44PM

    by spxero (3061) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @02:44PM (#105947)

    My favorite has always been the original Microsoft Natural Keyboard. The future iterations of it just keep taking steps backwards. Too-close buttons with the elite, awkward layouts with the multimedia, etc. It's a shame they can't just make a wireless version of the original without adding unnecessary buttons. Does anyone really use the search, mail, or web buttons on the keyboard?

    At any rate, the original Microsoft Natural Keyboard always fit my hands the best and was the easiest to type on. I never understood the fascination with the Model M; it felt uncomfortable and awkward to use.

  • (Score: 1) by Bob The Cowboy on Tuesday October 14 2014, @02:52PM

    by Bob The Cowboy (2019) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @02:52PM (#105949)

    Scanned through the comments, surprised no one has mentioned the "CODE Keyboard". http://codekeyboards.com/ [codekeyboards.com]

    I haven't tried one yet (They're on my list), but they look like pretty nice mechanical keyboards. Available with or without numpad, adjustable backlight (which I personally can't understand why people like, but there it is), DIP switches on the back even let you adjust some key mappings, comes in mechanical and mechanical-but-quiet. Pricey, though.

    Would love to see a review from a Soylentil...

    I love my Model M, but its so loud I can't use it at work or at home.

    • (Score: 1) by dwmoody on Tuesday October 14 2014, @05:02PM

      by dwmoody (1661) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @05:02PM (#106007) Homepage

      I have a CODE keyboard, tenkeyless, with the Cherry MX Green switches. It's easily the best keyboard I've ever used. I've typed with IBM Model Ms, various membrane-style keyboards, and keyboards with Cherry MX Brown, Blue, Clear, and Green switches. The Green switches in the CODE, combined with the little o-rings to prevent bottoming out, make for the best typing experience yet in my opinion. Very crisp.

      The build quality of the CODE is very solid. Not Model M tank-like, but solid with no flexing or creaking.

      I run the backlights on the dimmest setting. It gives a nice subtle illumination of the keys without being distracting or ostentatious.

      The DIP switches can be useful if you need the features it offers. I use a traditional QWERTY layout on all my equipment and don't use any of these features, but the CODE does have DIP switches to swap the layout to Colemak or Dvorak, disable the Windows keys, or swap the left Control with Caps Lock.

      I keep mine at the office and do all of my coding on it. The clicking is present, but it's not loud and it doesn't seem to bother my co-workers. One of the guys in my office has a Ducky keyboard with Blue switches, and between the two, both of us like the Greens better for coding.

      I will say that I wouldn't necessarily want to game on the Green switches. It seems like they would be a little too stiff for that.

      This is all just my opinion, of course. I found that with the Model M, I would consistently TYpe DOuble CAps for whatever reason. If you really like the Model M, the CODE keyboard isn't like that.

      The only real downside with the CODE is that I'm now growing increasingly dissatisfied with the Leopold keyboard with Brown switches I have at home.

      On a side note, I have become a big fan of the tenkeyless layout. I feel that having the mouse closer to hand is more ergonomic, and there's no problem entering numbers using the number row.

      • (Score: 1) by Bob The Cowboy on Tuesday October 14 2014, @09:35PM

        by Bob The Cowboy (2019) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @09:35PM (#106082)

        Awesome, thanks for the review!

        I'm with you on the tenkeyless. I just don't key in numbers all that often. Half the time when I do NumLock is toggled incorrectly anyway.

        I just wish they weren't so expensive... $175 would make this one of the most expensive components I've bought for a PC in a long time.

  • (Score: 2) by el_oscuro on Tuesday October 14 2014, @09:58PM

    by el_oscuro (1711) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @09:58PM (#106091)

    I picked up one of these on E-Bay a few years ago, with the usual 20 years accumulation of grime. Fortunately, they are easy to take apart and clean. Besides the case, you can also remove the key caps from the actual spring mechanism. You know what I used to clean them?

    Denture Cleaner.

    I saw the tip on an Aussie website, and couldn't believe how well it worked. 20 years worth of grime just gone. The keyboard looked brand new afterwards.

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