Linked by David Adams on Fri 17th Jul 2009 23:57 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems How does the Alpha Geek establish dominance over the other techies in the herd? With a self-consciously old fashioned, expensive, and fussy computer accessory, of course! We take a look at the Das keyboard and see if it's that much better than the mushy crap keyboard that came bundled with your Dell.
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Nothing to do with status
by JMcCarthy on Sat 18th Jul 2009 07:28 UTC
JMcCarthy
Member since:
2005-08-12

I often hit the wrong keys or don't press down with the appropriate force. My ancient keyboards aren't cramped, so I rarely miss keys, and I rarely misjudge the amount of force required, and the sound is an extra little confirmation.

Life saver when entering excessively long passwords.

Reply Score: 3

You don't have to settle with a clone....
by atcurtis on Sat 18th Jul 2009 07:55 UTC
atcurtis
Member since:
2007-04-03

If you want the "real deal", Unicomp has purchased from IBM/Lexmark the original moulds to make the IBM clicky keyboards. You can order them at

http://www.pckeyboard.com/

Reply Score: 3

dan_hibiki Member since:
2008-06-24

I bought the USB Customizer keyboard from Unicomp and though it types great and is defintely the best keyboard I've ever owned so far, the Das Keyboard does have one advantage. The makers advertise 12-key rollover meaning you can hit up to 12 keys at once and be guaranteed to have them register. With the Unicomp (at least the model I got) it will sometimes jam on as little as three keys being pressed at once.

This isn't a big deal if you're just using it to type but if you play games it's definitely an issue.

Reply Score: 2

atcurtis Member since:
2007-04-03

Electronically, the Unicomps are identical to the IBM/Lexmark keyboards which have banks of 5 keys common so it can't correctly sense multiple keys held down on mixed banks.
With how (relatively) cheap modern electronics are, I suppose there is no reason why each key could be sensed individually which is what I suppose your gaming keyboards would do.

Reply Score: 1

Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

The 12-key rollover only works if the keyboard is plugged into a PS/2 port, I believe. The USB spec wasn't built with N-key rollover in mind, so the best it's going to do is 6-key rollover. (http://www.diatec.co.jp/en/det.php?prod_c=524)

If you need full N-key rollover use PS/2 and check geekhack.com.


I can't comment on the Unicomps locking up after 3 keys, but I can't get more then 5 keys out of my 1370477 Model M.

Reply Score: 1

dan_hibiki Member since:
2008-06-24

I think that's why my particular Unicomp doesn't handle that many simultaneous keypresses but I suspect it's more to do with Unicomp's implementation of the USB part. I say that because the Das Keyboard spec page claims their's can handle 12-key rollover with the USB model.

http://www.daskeyboard.com/specifications.php" http://www.daske...

Reply Score: 1

Dell
by Vanders on Sat 18th Jul 2009 08:46 UTC
Vanders
Member since:
2005-07-06

...the mushy crap keyboard that came bundled with your Dell.


One of the best clicky keyboards I've ever used was from Dell. Try the QuietKey (& QuietKey II). I think they were going for some sort of irony in the name, but I'm fairly certain the Model M was the inspiration. I've got two of them around here (somewhere).

Reply Score: 2

Comment by marcp
by marcp on Sat 18th Jul 2009 09:19 UTC
marcp
Member since:
2007-11-23

I'm affraid I don't understand that kind of nostalgia, although I am devoted to some of the old HW, like Commodore or BePC machines.
I just can't sign myself under this, because I am a fan of a very thin keyboards with the super-slim designed keys [preferably "no keys" design], and my favourites - although quite balanced with the functionality of its predessesors - are the ones from IBM/Lenovo ThinkPads and today's notebooks/netbooks of various models from IBM/Lenovo.
I also heard a lot of good things about the technology being used in these [that you presented] keyboards, but I can't say that I care for it today.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by marcp
by kaiwai on Sat 18th Jul 2009 10:56 UTC in reply to "Comment by marcp"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm affraid I don't understand that kind of nostalgia, although I am devoted to some of the old HW, like Commodore or BePC machines.
I just can't sign myself under this, because I am a fan of a very thin keyboards with the super-slim designed keys [preferably "no keys" design], and my favourites - although quite balanced with the functionality of its predessesors - are the ones from IBM/Lenovo ThinkPads and today's notebooks/netbooks of various models from IBM/Lenovo.
I also heard a lot of good things about the technology being used in these [that you presented] keyboards, but I can't say that I care for it today.


The best way to describe the difference is this: play an electric keyboard then play a real piano - there is a difference to the feeling of playing the instrument just as one would feel the difference when typing.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by marcp
by marcp on Sat 18th Jul 2009 16:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by marcp"
marcp Member since:
2007-11-23

Thank you for this original comparison. I can imagine the difference and I appreciate the fact, that some geeks like this kind of stuff.

I still can't find myself in this particular niche - in fact, I didn't like the "previous generation" of keyboards and I always thought that it's a weird idea to create the keyboards with such unpractical, tall keys. I couldn't find myself typing on them as It was too uncomfortable to me. But that's just me.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by marcp
by bralkein on Sat 18th Jul 2009 20:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by marcp"
bralkein Member since:
2006-12-20

Yeah I agree with you I personally prefer keyboards with a nice light action, with loads of extra buttons for frequently used apps and tasks. I won't begrudge the Model M fans their fetish, but I'll never understand it myself ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by marcp
by Doc Pain on Sat 18th Jul 2009 21:43 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by marcp"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Yeah I agree with you I personally prefer keyboards with a nice light action, with loads of extra buttons for frequently used apps and tasks.


I'm quite happy with my Sun Type 6 USB keyboard which has 2x5 keys on the left (which I use for starting programs and control window manager actions) and additional 4 keys above the numerical keypad (which I use for multimedia control, logging off and shutting down). The keyboard is very well "programmable" (assigning actions to keys) and feels quite good. Okay, the older Sun keyboards (especially type 4) are much better, but they are not usable with non-Sun hardware.

It looks like this:

http://www.msusurplusstore.com/catalog/Sun-Type-6-Keyboard-Kit.gif

(of course, I have the german version. The three button mouse is really good, too.)

I won't begrudge the Model M fans their fetish, but I'll never understand it myself ;)


You've got to use it, feel it, love it. I own some model Ms from IBM, as well as such with another layout for my AS/400 terminals.

Recently, I came across PC compatible (!) keyboards manufactured by BOSCOM. They have a 5250 layout and support two "modes": In "standard mode", each key does what it is labeled, the keys on the left partially do strange things (like Alt + PF3), the top row of function keys does Shift + what's on the lower row (PF13 = Shift + PF1). If you open the keyboard and unset a jumper, each key sends a unique scancode. Now you can re-arrange (with the caps) and re-assign everything as you want. The mechanics and the feeling is equivalent to the IBM models. The keyboard comes with a standard PS/2 mini-DIN plug.

This is how it looks like:

http://www.ioconnections.com/images/products/bos_5250keyboard_black...

There's also a "standard coloured" version:

http://www.bsafesolutions.de/media/images/122keyboard.jpg

This keyboard is the best synthesis of the Sun layout and the IBM "mainframe layout": two rows of function keys and 2x5 on the left - and you can reprogram everything.

I think all those "ancient keyboards" will live (and work) much longer than I will.

And a final note: It's worth mentioning that both the Sun and the BOSCOM keyboard do not have any MICROS~1 advertising keys (near the space bar). :-)

Edited 2009-07-18 21:46 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by marcp
by bralkein on Sun 19th Jul 2009 04:43 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by marcp"
bralkein Member since:
2006-12-20

Yes actually we have to support Sun users at my work so we have a small collection of Sun boxes lying around. I do like the extra buttons along the side, they are quite useful! I particularly like the Stop key which as I'm sure you know is a non-ignorable hardware interrupt which halts the CPU mid-instruction and drops you into the firmware environment. Be careful or you will corrupt the FS ;) It's cool stuff like that which makes it worth trying out non-PC platforms IMO.

Currently I use a laptop so replacement keyboards are not really an option, but if I had to get one I'd be interested in those keyboards which have F13-F24 as well as F1-F12. It really annoys me that the software people use up all the F? keys for their own purposes.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by marcp
by StephenBeDoper on Sun 19th Jul 2009 02:49 UTC in reply to "Comment by marcp"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

In my experience, those who prefer the Model M also tend to have learned to type on electric (or manual typewriters). So they're accustomed to, and prefer, keyboards that require you to apply a bit more force when pressing the keys.

Of course, that's not always the case. My main reason was incidental - the keyboard on my desktop died and I had an old Model M kicking around. Now, though, it would need to be pried from my proverbial cold, dead hands.

Reply Score: 2

Dell
by Bending Unit on Sat 18th Jul 2009 09:59 UTC
Bending Unit
Member since:
2005-07-06

I have somewhat of a keyboard fetish and work at a second hand store where a lot of keyboards ends up. I usually buy and try out the interesting ones.

I own a couple of clicky boards, including a Model M but the one I have settled on happens to be a Dell. Nice in several ways, ordinary key placement, quiet, comfortable, keys feel good.

The Model M feels too big for me, takes up a lot of space and the keys feel too big and far apart. And it's ugly as hell ;) But I use it from time to time just for fun ;)

Reply Score: 2

you should try..
by graigsmith on Sat 18th Jul 2009 11:48 UTC
graigsmith
Member since:
2006-04-05

you should try the kinesis contoured keyboard.

not only does it click, and have hardware switches for the typing keys. but it's fully programmable, remappable, and ergonomic.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Eddyspeeder
by Eddyspeeder on Sat 18th Jul 2009 11:52 UTC
Eddyspeeder
Member since:
2006-05-10

Nice work, David! I enjoyed reading this review.

Indeed the MBP keyboard is outstanding! Every time someone else is allowed to do something on it, I get a remark down the lines of: "wow, this thing types really well!"

Reply Score: 1

Alu
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 18th Jul 2009 11:58 UTC
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

I have a weird preference for my aluminium Apple keyboard. I paid a ridiculous amount of money for it the day it came out, and I'm still using it every day. It's got an extremely short key travel, requiring little force to press a key - just the way I like it.

I do have a model M. Don't use it though.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Alu
by darknexus on Sat 18th Jul 2009 13:35 UTC in reply to "Alu"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I have a weird preference for my aluminium Apple keyboard. I paid a ridiculous amount of money for it the day it came out, and I'm still using it every day. It's got an extremely short key travel, requiring little force to press a key - just the way I like it.


I used to really like the Aluminum Apple keyboards too, until I had to do some serious typing on it. For me, the almost slanted yet flat profile was murder on my rists. I replaced it with a Logitech Wave keyboard, which is honestly the most comfortable keyboard I've yet used.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Alu
by alcibiades on Sat 18th Jul 2009 16:51 UTC in reply to "Alu"
alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

Do agree. I've been using mine since I wrote a review of it a few months ago for OSN, and am still quite happy with it. Yes, the angle is a bit odd. The keybindings are mildly irritating. But its quiet, quick and very low effort. It might not be the thing to get for someone who is typing several hours a day continously. But for normal moderate use with frequent rests, no problem.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Alu
by stestagg on Sat 18th Jul 2009 17:19 UTC in reply to "Alu"
stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

I'm now the proud owner of 2, one for work, and one for home. I now have the problem that typing on 'normal' keyboards for too long hurts my fingers.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Bobthearch
by Bobthearch on Sat 18th Jul 2009 14:06 UTC
Bobthearch
Member since:
2006-01-27

I too like a keyboard with a nice 'click'. I don't care about imaginary dominance over co-workers though, since I generally don't use computers where other people are. My motivation is better tactile feedback and seemingly faster typing. And I despise the bells-and-whistles keyboards that require installing drivers, running background services, or batteries.

But I don't need a keyboard that's unnecessarily noisy or heavy either (like the vintage IBM keyboard). And I absolutely do not need to pay $100+ for a simple keyboard.

The keyboard that suits me best are the full-size Keytronic models, available for $10-$15 at NewEgg and in USB or PS2. Someone above mentioned the Dell QuietKey model; these Keytronic keyboards appear to be the exact same except for the name tag.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Bobthearch
by bnolsen on Sat 18th Jul 2009 19:49 UTC in reply to "Comment by Bobthearch"
bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

Thanks for the good info here. For a primary keyboard it may be worth spending over $50, but for secondary/other people it isn't. But other people shouldn't have to settle for pure crap. This keyboard looks like a good solid general use keyboard.

I've been using a silitek sk-6000 keyboard now for 13 years, the last 9 as primary work keyboard (bought from compusa under mouse systems brand). I bought 2 more of these about 8 years ago since I couldn't find them anywhere anymore. The first keyboard is still going strong although it looks like a germ farm.

This keyboard lifts in the front, not the back and is very comfortable. Extra bonus is that it discourages others from using your computer.(http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/acc/sil_6000/Graphics.htm)

Edited 2009-07-18 19:58 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Bobthearch
by msieweke on Sat 18th Jul 2009 20:55 UTC in reply to "Comment by Bobthearch"
msieweke Member since:
2006-07-18

I also settled on a Keytronic keyboard for my Dell PC at work. The Dell keyboards only last a few months before the keys start sticking (usually the left shift key). The Keytronic keyboard has lasted about 3 years and is still going strong. Of the plastic-dome keyboards, I like the Keytronic the best. But I may get a buckling spring keyboard someday.

For my Mac I prefer an old Macally iKey (no longer available). I like it so much that I bought a spare one when Frys was getting rid of the last of their stock. The Apple Extended Keyboard II is a better keyboard in general, but it annoys me that the space bar requires much more force to press than the other keys.

BTW - Both the Apple EKII and the Das Keyboard use mechanical switches, but they are not buckling-spring type. AFAIK, Unicomp, Lexmark, and IBM are (or were) the only makers of buckling-spring keyboards.

Edited 2009-07-18 20:57 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Bobthearch
by StephenBeDoper on Sun 19th Jul 2009 13:52 UTC in reply to "Comment by Bobthearch"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't care about imaginary dominance over co-workers though, since I generally don't use computers where other people are.


Ditto, that would be my only gripe with the review (though I'll give David the benefit of the doubt that he was being tongue-in-cheek).

The keyboard that suits me best are the full-size Keytronic models, available for $10-$15 at NewEgg and in USB or PS2. Someone above mentioned the Dell QuietKey model; these Keytronic keyboards appear to be the exact same except for the name tag.


Do remember the particular model offhand? It looks like the CLASSIC-P1 - I'd been lusting after one of the Unicomp keyboards to replace my Model M (mainly due to the lack of Win/Option & Menu keys), but they're fairly pricey.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Bobthearch
by Bobthearch on Mon 20th Jul 2009 01:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Bobthearch"
Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

Here's mine:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823131060
It's not referred to as a "Classic", so I don't know if it's the same model you're thinking of.

Place one of these side-by-side with a Dell QuietKey and it's impossible to tell them apart except for the brand logo. I suspect they're both made by the same company.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Bobthearch
by StephenBeDoper on Mon 20th Jul 2009 15:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Bobthearch"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Even better, thanks - that looks to be about a 5th of the cost of the Unicomp keyboards.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Bobthearch
by friday on Tue 21st Jul 2009 12:09 UTC in reply to "Comment by Bobthearch"
friday Member since:
2008-07-08

In one clients office, there is an office girl who would go through keyboards nearly one every six months. She would literally wear keyboards out at that rate. I ordered her a Keytronic LT Classic, and she's been with that keyboard now for almost a year and a half.

I was so impressed with the feel of the keyboard, I ordered one for myself too. Using it right now to type this message.

Reply Score: 1

I use Das keyboard
by somebody on Sat 18th Jul 2009 14:52 UTC
somebody
Member since:
2005-07-07

and it is the best thing I ever bought (well, 6 of them). One thing that is really important for me is accurate keys as I type for living. And Das?... does its best job exactly there.

Keyboard is not suited for users, this is real geek hardware. You have to be serious about typing or you'll just waste 100EUR for nothing but geek appeal.

No special keys is a bonus to me and usb ports I don't need as I use logitech wireless laser mouse.

Having blank keys, click is really needed and I have no coworkers to be annoyed.

Basically, 600EUR I spent to equip my self for typing on my computers was best buy ever.

So... if you don't code for living... look away. Das keyboard is just fetish for you.

The worst keyboard I ever tried? Mac Pro aluminum. Somehow reminds me on zx spectrum. No mass, bad angle, no feeling in pressing and to wide spaces between keys. Keyboard is probably very good for casual typing. But if your life depends on it... it's just not accurate enough to be worth of mentioning between keyboards for 1EUR.

Reply Score: 2

Nothing like clicky-switch keyboards
by daschmidty on Sat 18th Jul 2009 15:21 UTC
daschmidty
Member since:
2007-03-01

My family owns a number of Model M's and still use them on occasion, but they're AT keyboards and their uses are dwindling fast. I looked into Das, but it was just too expensive for a broke college student. I ended up picking up the scorpius M10, which uses the same Cherry scissor switches as the Das, and costs about half the price (~$70). For anyone who hasn't a real keyswitch keyboard, I must agree that the piano analogy is pretty spot on. Those normal cheap keyboards feel fine if they are the only thing you've used, but once you try a good one, the difference is really night and day.

I also agree with the previous poster that the thinkpad still has the best notebook keyboard on the market. I don't get the big trend to go to slimmer flatter keyboards on everything. Sure they look sleek, but they are really unpleasant to use, and in the end, for anyone who works with computers for a living, the keyboard has to be a functional tool and not just a fashion accessory.

Reply Score: 1

I had one of those IBM keyboards
by boudewijn on Sat 18th Jul 2009 16:35 UTC
boudewijn
Member since:
2006-03-05

I took it with me from job to job. Typing was a pleasure and I never got a pain in my wrists from it, and I loved the sound. Sadly, it stayed behind when I switched jobs last time because I couldn't muster the energy to go into that horrible place even just one more time.

And -- there was a problem connecting it: I had to use usb-ps2 adapters (and the ps2 plug was an add-on anyway), and that adaptor tended to miss that I had shift pressed. So I lost my selection a lot of times.

These days I just use whatever is on my laptop. My X61t is great, the old-style 17" macbook pro keyboard is okayish once you get over the lack of keys and the idiotic idea that home should go to the beginning of the document and end to the end, instead of begin and end of the line.

The new macbook keyboards are too ghastly for words. Computer makers have been sued into oblivion for better keyboards.

Reply Score: 2

Today's paltry keyboard selection
by coreyography on Sat 18th Jul 2009 16:48 UTC
coreyography
Member since:
2009-03-06

Geek cred aside, I too keep around an IBM model M, because the Dell keyboards that came with our work machines are utterly unusable. I have to use it with a USB adapter, and it misses keystrokes sometimes, but it is still orders of magnitude better than the Dell.

I have not found too many good keyboards from anyone anymore, and finally bought one from pckeyboards.com for my home machine. I like it. I also still like my old Dell Quietkey (my KVM hates it, though) and a Sun keyboard I have. They don't "clack" but have good feel and feedback and accurate entry.

Fortunately I don't game much, and don't need extra keys or funky layouts. But I even typed on a few of those gaming keyboards, and did not like any of them either.

Reply Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

At my previous job, before the advent of virtulaization, I had nine computers surrounding my desk, with four keyboards. Two IBM M's and the rest were newer, quieter ones. I typically wrote code with the quiet ones, but switched to the loud ones when things weren't going my way. Its much easier to express your frustration with model M.

Edited 2009-07-18 16:55 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Obsolete!?!?
by mrstep on Sat 18th Jul 2009 17:40 UTC
mrstep
Member since:
2009-07-18

- T-shirts from trade shows and conferences that are ironically obsolete (NeXTWORLD Expo!)

Hmmm, I still have 2 unopened (in the bag) NeXTWORLD Expo shirts... but I'm not sure it really counts. It's pretty much OS X / iPhoneOS development, so it's more hip and with it than it ever was back in the day. ;)

Reply Score: 1

1984 IBM AT keyboard is the best
by mrAmiga500 on Sat 18th Jul 2009 18:40 UTC
mrAmiga500
Member since:
2009-03-20

I'm a keyboard fanatic and of all the keyboards I ever used, the 1984 IBM AT keyboard is the best (I'm using it now). It's "clickier" than the Model M, and has a more solid feel. Old keyboards from the early 80's - like the TRS-80 Model III, Kaypro, TI-99/4A, etc. have nice sculpted keys and a quality feel you just don't get any more. I think keyboards started getting cheap in the mid to late 80's.

By the way, the Apple Extended II is not a buckling spring keyboard (though it does have a nice feel). The buckling spring is an IBM patented design.

Reply Score: 1

Look keyboard! They are talking about us!
by Wegg on Sat 18th Jul 2009 19:05 UTC
Wegg
Member since:
2009-07-18

http://www.eggington.net/~wegg/Keyboard.jpg

I have always loved the feel and sound of this keyboard. I got an iMate converter from e-bay to allow me to use it on my Windows machines.

Edited 2009-07-18 19:06 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Cherry
by Dryhte on Sat 18th Jul 2009 20:48 UTC
Dryhte
Member since:
2008-02-05

I do agree a keyboard is important. However, I've used a couple ancient clicky ones, and they just didn't feel as good as my current one (Cherry CyMotion Expert) which is spill proof, has very good feedback, gives me better speed and accuracy even than my current Thinkpad keyboard (which is the best laptop keyboard I ever had), and doesn't make too much noise either.

For me, there is no keyboard maker but Cherry.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Cherry
by smashIt on Sat 18th Jul 2009 21:11 UTC in reply to "Cherry"
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

For me, there is no keyboard maker but Cherry.


same here
but i prefere the g80 series

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Cherry
by Dryhte on Sun 19th Jul 2009 09:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Cherry"
Dryhte Member since:
2008-02-05

Well... I can't find my way through their product line-up without a gps ;) the keyboard I have is the one that was available here at decent cost.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Almafeta
by Almafeta on Sat 18th Jul 2009 21:03 UTC
Almafeta
Member since:
2007-02-22

But PS/2 ports are only still around because Wintel PC users are hopelessly nostalgic


(And because Windows Vista doesn't recognize USB keyboards before the logon screen, so ever want to choose among boot options or boot into Safe Mode, you need to get a PS/2 keyboard to do so... but I digress.)

Edited 2009-07-18 21:03 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Almafeta
by Johann Chua on Sat 18th Jul 2009 21:16 UTC in reply to "Comment by Almafeta"
Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

Yeah, that's a really weird bug. Lots of new PCs don't even have PS/2 ports anymore.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Almafeta
by tylerdurden on Sun 19th Jul 2009 00:09 UTC in reply to "Comment by Almafeta"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Huh? then I must have had a "weird" vista version that allows me to pop into safe mode via my USB keyboard.

That, or maybe... just maybe... you have a PeeCee with a buggy or misconfigured bios which does not do the proper handshaking with your USB keyboard at boot time. Hint, hint...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Almafeta
by Soulbender on Mon 20th Jul 2009 09:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Almafeta"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

You BIOS probably has the "Legacy USB" option set and that's why it works.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Almafeta
by bluedodo on Sun 19th Jul 2009 00:29 UTC in reply to "Comment by Almafeta"
bluedodo Member since:
2006-03-26

"But PS/2 ports are only still around because Wintel PC users are hopelessly nostalgic
(And because Windows Vista doesn't recognize USB keyboards before the logon screen, so ever want to choose among boot options or boot into Safe Mode, you need to get a PS/2 keyboard to do so... but I digress.) "
That's bullshit learn how to set your bios options, this isn't a windows only problem. Don't use your lack on knowledge as an excuse to bash Vista.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Almafeta
by Andre on Mon 20th Jul 2009 09:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Almafeta"
Andre Member since:
2005-07-06

what's this BIOS option called? Legacy PS/2 Emulation?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Almafeta
by Soulbender on Mon 20th Jul 2009 09:15 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Almafeta"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

He's technically right though. Most OS's can not use USB keyboards that early.
That can usually be fixed with the Legacy USB option though.

Reply Score: 2

Model M killer here
by Johann Chua on Sat 18th Jul 2009 21:15 UTC
Johann Chua
Member since:
2005-07-22

Actually I threw away the caps lock key after reading a John C. Dvorak rant, and the V key is the only one that was really broken. The cable was shredded from being stored in an open (hot and dusty) warehouse, though. Maybe I'll get another one with a detachable keyboard cable, with a few spares.

In the meantime, I need to find a Griffin iMate so I can my Apple Extended Keyboard II on modern Macs and PCs.

Reply Score: 2

Special Keys
by frajo on Sat 18th Jul 2009 21:20 UTC
frajo
Member since:
2007-06-29

No special keys? And what are those "windows" keys?
Yes, the M model was the best keyboard I ever had. And it didn't have any of these obviously unavoidable MS advertising keys.

Reply Score: 1

Just got an IBM Model M at work
by chemical_scum on Sat 18th Jul 2009 22:22 UTC
chemical_scum
Member since:
2005-11-02

I have my original Model M keyboard that came with my IBM PS/2 30286 in 1989. It has been used as the working keyboard on all five computers I have had over the past twenty years. My wife is a touch typist who swears by it and despises all other keyboards.

I recently changed jobs. The keyboard on my PC there is is the usual modern piece of junk. In the lab I am using an ancient Preparative Liquid Chromatograph dating back to 1986. The more recent white box PC used for the instrument's data system is fitted with a glorious IBM Model M keyboard that is probably all that survives of the computer that came with the system. Great!

Reply Score: 2

I want one of these, but ...
by WorknMan on Sun 19th Jul 2009 00:50 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

I'm really torn over this. I love the keys on the old-style keyboards, but I've become spoiled by the newer ones and their special keys.

I'm using an MS Natural Keyboard 4000 (or whatever it's called), and it has a row of buttons above the F keys, which I have most mapped to various AutoIt scripts and other type of stuff. I use these for all kinds of tasks... for example, I press one to switch my screen resolution to 1080 (I have a 16:9 monitor) when I want to watch a movie, and then press it again to switch back to my preferred 'working' resolution when I'm done.

For now, I stick with the keyboards with the special buttons and the craptastic mushy keys. However, if somebody comes out with a keyboard with the old-style keys and the features of newer boards, I'm definitely in ;)

Reply Score: 2

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm really torn over this. I love the keys on the old-style keyboards, but I've become spoiled by the newer ones and their special keys.


Know what you mean - my Model M replaced a decent, but mushy Logitech Internet Navigator and the main thing I miss are volume controls on the keyboard (aside from the Win and Menu keys).

I had assumed that someone must have written a Windows app that would let you control the volume with a keyboard shortcut (E.g., Ctrl-Alt+up/down arrow), but haven't had any luck finding one.

Reply Score: 2

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

[quote]I had assumed that someone must have written a Windows app that would let you control the volume with a keyboard shortcut (E.g., Ctrl-Alt+up/down arrow), but haven't had any luck finding one.[/quote]

Try AutoHotkey. You may end up having to do the work yourself, but I'm sure somebody on their forums has already solved this problem ;)

Reply Score: 2

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Thanks! After posting, I also found another app that seems to do the trick quite nicely - volumetray.

Reply Score: 2

Minimalistic is a pro!
by werterr on Sun 19th Jul 2009 01:47 UTC
werterr
Member since:
2006-10-03

I want to love this keyboard I really do. Because it is minimalistic and it takes all the good things about old-style keyboards.

But... why-O-why, did they have to include those windows key's.... nobody uses those...

Have you ever seen anybody use that key that pop's down the menubar ? Or the windows key for opening the start menu ?

Instead while coding and doing sysadmin work, these keys are horribly in the way. Hindering your hands from taking optimal paths to ctrl-alt and shift.

Get rid of those windows keys and they'll have a loyal customer in me.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Minimalistic is a pro!
by ElCabri2 on Sun 19th Jul 2009 02:03 UTC in reply to "Minimalistic is a pro!"
ElCabri2 Member since:
2009-03-11

Win+E to bring the file explorer. Win+D to show the desktop. Win+L to lock the computer. I use these three all the time, and there are many others.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Minimalistic is a pro!
by StephenBeDoper on Sun 19th Jul 2009 04:11 UTC in reply to "Minimalistic is a pro!"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Have you ever seen anybody use that key that pop's down the menubar ?


Yes - myself, many times a day. Granted, it's mainly because Win Explorer still has no keyboard shortcut for creating a new folder - and Menu+W+F is still faster than doing it with the mouse.

Or the windows key for opening the start menu ?


Yup. In addition to the keyboard shortcuts that ElCabri2 mentioned, there's also Win+R for bringing up the "run" dialogue.

Not to mention that many other OSes make better use of it than Windows (IMO, at least). E.g., both OS X and BeOS/Haiku will treat it as the Option key.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Minimalistic is a pro!
by Soulbender on Mon 20th Jul 2009 09:08 UTC in reply to "Minimalistic is a pro!"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

nobody uses those...


I use them, somewhat ironically, with the Awesome WM.

Reply Score: 2

Notes...
by bhtooefr on Sun 19th Jul 2009 02:35 UTC
bhtooefr
Member since:
2009-02-19

The Model M and Unicomp lines are not electrically identical. They're close, but not identical. They are both two-key rollover. Also, Unicomp uses lighter springs, thinner metal, and may use slightly different materials.

The Das Keyboard uses an ugly hack to get 12-key rollover, that can result in keystrokes appearing in the wrong order.

Anyway, I own a few Model Ms, but my favorite keyboard is an iOne Scorpius M10, based on the same keyswitches as found in the Das. $50 instead of $130, but there may be some quality control issues. Then again, there were less reports of failed M10s than Das IIIs on Geekhack (a keyboard forum that I'm on - http://geekhack.org ,) IIRC.

Reply Score: 2

I own...
by Tuishimi on Sun 19th Jul 2009 10:35 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

...I own a Tactile Pro 2.0. Nice keyboard. I enjoy it, wife does not, late at night.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I own...
by Lennie on Sun 19th Jul 2009 14:39 UTC in reply to "I own..."
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Noise is the only reason I don't use the Model M.

Reply Score: 1

Keyboards have become junk...
by ruel24 on Sun 19th Jul 2009 16:44 UTC
ruel24
Member since:
2006-03-21

I've never used one of the IBM models you talk about, but I did type on an IBM Selectric typewriter, as a teenager. They were the easiest typewriter I'd ever typed on. I imagine the keyboard you refer to is very similar in feel.

I have watched as the quality of keyboards and mice have just plummeted. I have a Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro USB, and I refuse to part with it. All the newest keyboards, and even those in some expensive territory, to do not feel as well made or as comfortable to use.

I had an original Microsoft Explorer 3.0 mouse and it went bad. Shopping for a new mouse is just a pain, because I'm not into wireless and see no need for it on a desktop, and the quality of mice have just went down the proverbial toilet. They feel clunky and cheep.

The entire PC market has moved into a position of lowest price, and that means crappier goods. It's a shame. When you spend a lot of time on something like your keyboard and mouse, the extra quality is noticable, and I'm willing to pay extra for it. Too bad the major manufacturers aren't providing it.

As far as this keyboard, it's too small for my tastes, and I'd like to see multimedia keys.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Keyboards have become junk...
by vivainio on Sun 19th Jul 2009 18:58 UTC in reply to "Keyboards have become junk..."
vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26


I have watched as the quality of keyboards and mice have just plummeted. I have a Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro USB, and I refuse to part with it. All the newest keyboards, and even those in some expensive territory, to do not feel as well made or as comfortable to use.


I got a good vibe about this one:

http://glyph.twistedmatrix.com/2009/01/meandering-review-of-logitec...

(Logitech Illuminated Keyboard).

I haven't yet dared to order one, since I don't know if the "switched" keys allow rearranging the keycaps easily for Dvorak layout.

Reply Score: 2

Wow
by nickelbackro on Sun 19th Jul 2009 18:36 UTC
nickelbackro
Member since:
2009-04-12

I thought i was the only one to hold onto one of those Model M's after all these years. I have like 5 (2 came with old PS/2 computers i owned) and the rest i got at yard sales. I recently moved on to a Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 which I am slowly becoming more attached to.

I used one of the original IBM PS/2 port mice for awhile but not as long because of the new wheel mice that came out years ago (although i have yet to find a truely great mouse for someone with big hands).

Reply Score: 1

No match for IBM
by rondunn on Mon 20th Jul 2009 00:23 UTC
rondunn
Member since:
2009-07-20

I own both the Das Keyboard and the original IBM beast.

Das Keyboard is nothing like the IBM ... its closest resemblance is the original NEC PC keyboard that was sold in the late 80s. The click is much softer than the IBM, and not as positive in its action.

Das also suffers from some position sensitivity in where keys are pressed. If larger keys are not pressed in the centre, the key will often catch in its downstroke.

The Das Keyboard isn't bad, it just isn't as good as the original.

Reply Score: 1

keyboard as a cluebat
by bearlinux on Mon 20th Jul 2009 03:02 UTC
bearlinux
Member since:
2009-07-20

I have a black unicomp Endurapro usb for programming and logitech g15 gaming edition for gaming. I love the feel and sound of the model M but that has been covered by other posts. I think one thing people forget to mention about a model M or clone such as the unicomp models is that it weighs about 5 pounds and has a steel plate running across the entire bottom. If you're ever in urgent need of a cluebat a model M will will hold up much better than any other keyboard.

Reply Score: 1

IBM PC keyboards--yuck
by bousozoku on Mon 20th Jul 2009 04:28 UTC
bousozoku
Member since:
2006-01-23

My Atari 800 had a better keyboard that IBM had for their PC and I was using an IBM 5251 terminal at work that had a 30 pound keyboard containing the full Selectric layout plus 24 command keys above and 10 function keys to the right. IBM later went to the PC-style keyboard with modifications but the slightly modified PC keyboard couldn't keep up.

The best keyboard I'd ever had was a Microspeed ADB keyboard, which included 4 ADB ports for joysticks and graphics tablets and mice but the most memorable keyboards were the Atari ST and XE keyboards with their diagonally-cut function keys.

By the way, the IBM image shown with the 101-key layout--wasn't the 101-key layout new in 1987 with PS/2?

Reply Score: 2

My favorite keyboard
by Jonix on Mon 20th Jul 2009 08:55 UTC
Jonix
Member since:
2007-02-14

My favorite keyboard is not a proper clickety-click, though it sounds similar, but the the old-style Microsoft Natural Keyboard. The keyboard has no extraneous keys and the layout is splitted in half making it very comfortable typing on.

The keyboard was pulled ten years ago, but last year I managed to stock up on a few precious one.

In that Era Microsoft really could do hardware. Talk about irony since I use the keyboards on GNU/Linux systems. ;-)

Reply Score: 1

boards
by MamiyaOtaru on Mon 20th Jul 2009 09:21 UTC
MamiyaOtaru
Member since:
2005-11-11

Das Keyboard does not manufacture their own boards. The Das is made by Costar, an ODM out of Taiwan: http://www.costar.com.tw/products01/?p_sid=32

They also manufacture ABS's gaming keyboard, (the M1) and *may* be behind the excellent Filco keyboards from Japan.

One thing some of the Filcos have that the Das does not is n-key-rollover, the ability to press as many keys on the keyboard at once as you want without it locking, or losing some of the presses. This isn't possible with USB, PS/2 port is needed.

Filco, Steelseries, Deck (my choice, for the backlighting among other things) all have keyboards with this feature, and mechanical switches. Deck also sells a blank keycap set if blank keys is a selling point for you ;) My Deck doesn't use tactile switches, but rather linear switches for gaming usage (they also last longer). They still provide a nice click noise as they bottom out though. But apparently one can get Decks with tactile switches now

Anyway, I got my Deck for gaming, but kept my Cherry brand keyboard (ironically a standard rubber dome membrane board) for work. But I simply can't use it anymore. The mechanical action on the Deck is superb (and so would be on other keyboards with the same switches).

n-key-rollover is great to have, but if that isn't needed, I would still highly recommend a mechanical switch keyboard to anyone. Feels soooo good to type on ;)

Edited 2009-07-20 09:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

IBM model M
by richmassena on Mon 20th Jul 2009 13:03 UTC
richmassena
Member since:
2006-11-26

I have a Model M which I've used for a few months. I like the fact that it is large and substantial and doesn't slide off my lap. It's ugly and loud so I wouldn't use this at an office, but for home use it perfect. I'm starting to grow attached to things which are well-built, even if they are heavier than the cheap stuff. Who would have guessed 20 years ago, when plastic signified cheaply made, that we'd prefer a better grade of plastic over what we have now?

Reply Score: 1