Linked by David Adams on Sat 2nd Oct 2010 16:47 UTC, submitted by sawboss
Humor If you follow the keyboard collectors market (yeah, didn't think so . . .) then you'd certainly know that the IBM model M15 split ergonomic is pretty much the most desirable keyboard out there. A small number of them were made over a short span of time (1994-1995), and their clunky plastic knob and super-adjustable design meant that over years many of them broke. So when one lands on eBay, it's a big deal.
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More money than brains?
by cmost on Sat 2nd Oct 2010 17:53 UTC
cmost
Member since:
2006-07-16

I guess some people have more money than brains. There are a plethora of ergonomic keyboards on the market today. Though I must confess I once paid $65.00 U.S. for a brand new old-style IBM buckling springs keyboard. It was even beige! I always loved the tactile feedback and firm response of these well-built boards. And of course it was fun to drive everyone within earshot nuts with the clickity clacks. ;-) I had that beloved keyboard for years before I finally had to let it go.

Reply Score: 2

RE: More money than brains?
by M.Onty on Sat 2nd Oct 2010 19:28 UTC in reply to "More money than brains?"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

before I finally had to let it go.


Why? Those things don't die naturally, they're head and shoulders above your normal membrane tat (like the one I'm using right now).

Edited 2010-10-02 19:28 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: More money than brains?
by AmigaRobbo on Sat 2nd Oct 2010 19:44 UTC in reply to "RE: More money than brains?"
AmigaRobbo Member since:
2005-11-15

He probably sold it on ebay for a profit!

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: More money than brains?
by Doc Pain on Sun 3rd Oct 2010 09:22 UTC in reply to "RE: More money than brains?"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Why? Those things don't die naturally, they're head and shoulders above your normal membrane tat (like the one I'm using right now).


Yes, those devices are supposed to live longer than their users. :-)

I'm using some of them myself on different system, both the 102 and 122 key variants. They even beat my Sun keyboard to death, and the Sun keyboard is still 100 times better quality than anything you can buy today. You see the relations now.

The "greatest" thing I've ever done to an IBM model M keyboard is fully disassembling and washing (!) it. Some idiot had thrown a glass of cola into it, but no problem - this (!) keyboard is still in use today.

About the "use factor" of the split keyboard... hmmm... maybe there are persons who would like that design, but its magic didn't open up to me. I've tried an Apple split keyboard in the past, but no go. Maybe those models are so rare that they have a certain collector's value, but use value... it's like if you own an original DEC vt100, all nice and fine, and rare equipment, but hardly a use for it. I wouldn't say so if I didn't have one. :-)

Still nice to learn about this specific piece of hardware. It must be really rare.

Reply Score: 2

RE: More money than brains?
by Mark Williamson on Tue 5th Oct 2010 17:44 UTC in reply to "More money than brains?"
Mark Williamson Member since:
2005-07-06

The thing with the M15 is that it's both an adjustable split keyboard *and* it uses genuine buckling springs, despite the low-profile appearance of the keys.

There are very few keyboards around that both offer a split layout *and* non-membrane switches. The main consumer-level split keyboards tend to be based on membranes, like all consumer keyboards. There are only one or two keyboards that offer a split layout *and* mechanical switches and are still in production. It's a sad state of affairs really, I've toyed with the idea of building my own - various other people already have.

All that being said, Model M buckling springs are a bit heavy on the action for me (even though my M is one of the best keyboards I've owned so far)...

The price here is a bit ridiculous. Nonetheless, the price of other split layout mechanical keyboards (none of which are buckling spring - the M15 would be your only option for that) makes this purchase look more reasonable.

Reply Score: 2

$$$
by dimosd on Sat 2nd Oct 2010 19:53 UTC
dimosd
Member since:
2006-02-10

If you look around I'm sure you can "steal" an old mechanical keyboard for 5 Euros

In the past I've paid a ridiculous amount of money for better keyboards... but never been truly satisfied. Today I've settled for the cheap ones because even the most expensive rubber ones feel cheap anyway

Edited 2010-10-02 19:57 UTC

Reply Score: 2

keyzor
by xaeropower on Sat 2nd Oct 2010 20:34 UTC
xaeropower
Member since:
2005-12-16

Hah you must be really bored if you writing about crap like this keyboard.

HW what I never invest money in is the keyboards and mouses cause within a half year my keyboard will be full of beer, cola, food if I don't break it in half first. So just keep buying 10$ keyboards and donate the money to poor ;)

Edited 2010-10-02 20:34 UTC

Reply Score: 0

RE: keyzor
by n.l.o on Sun 3rd Oct 2010 00:54 UTC in reply to "keyzor"
n.l.o Member since:
2009-09-14

Hah you must be really bored if you writing about crap like this keyboard.

HW what I never invest money in is the keyboards and mouses cause within a half year my keyboard will be full of beer, cola, food if I don't break it in half first. So just keep buying 10$ keyboards and donate the money to poor ;)


You've obviously never had the privilege of using a Model M.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: keyzor
by bhtooefr on Sun 3rd Oct 2010 01:42 UTC in reply to "RE: keyzor"
bhtooefr Member since:
2009-02-19

Not to mention, a Model M or similar board is fairly easy to clean. There are 25 year old Model Ms still in use today.

And these are the only way to get the feel of a Model M along with an ergonomic layout, if you have an RSI that requires it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: keyzor
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 4th Oct 2010 02:15 UTC in reply to "RE: keyzor"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

This may sound crazy to everyone else, but at a former workplace we were forced to use model M keyboards. Not because they thought they were better than anything else, but because they bought model m's when they were new and were too cheap to spring for anything new.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: keyzor
by sorpigal on Tue 5th Oct 2010 16:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: keyzor"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

The important lesson here is that they didn't need to spring for anything new. How many years had they been in operation when you were there? What's the lifespan of an average keyboard? Did they still function properly?

Sounds like good business to me.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: keyzor
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 5th Oct 2010 18:46 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: keyzor"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Eh, sorta. But the lack of the windows key, reduces my overall efficiency by maybe 1%.
Even if I was making min wage of $8.00 and that was the total value my work brought the company, and I only worked 40 hours a week.

New keyboard cost over four years: $10.

Reduced efficiency of Model M - windows key: .01* 8.00*40*52*4 = $665

So, no it was not a good business decision.

Edited 2010-10-05 18:46 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: keyzor
by StephenBeDoper on Sun 3rd Oct 2010 16:47 UTC in reply to "keyzor"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Hah you must be really bored if you writing about crap like this keyboard.


"crap"?!? Careful, now - fans of the Model-M have been known to defend its honour by demonstrating how well it doubles as a bludgeoning device ;)

HW what I never invest money in is the keyboards and mouses cause within a half year my keyboard will be full of beer, cola, food if I don't break it in half first.

So just keep buying 10$ keyboards and donate the money to poor ;)


I certainly wouldn't expect cheap rubber-dome keyboards to last more than a year or two. On the other hand, there are still original IBM Model-M keyboards that have been in heavy use for 20-25 years.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: keyzor
by Morgan on Mon 4th Oct 2010 00:57 UTC in reply to "RE: keyzor"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I certainly wouldn't expect cheap rubber-dome keyboards to last more than a year or two. On the other hand, there are still original IBM Model-M keyboards that have been in heavy use for 20-25 years.


We had a couple of those on our TTY machines back when I first started working as a terminal operator. From what I remember, the only thing we ever had to replace was the occasional keycap that would get popped off and stepped on.

Today, my terminal is a Gateway Pentium IV with a crappy membrane keyboard that should have been replaced three years ago. If it were up to me I'd order a couple of Model Ms and dare anyone to complain about the clicky keys. If they can get used to the dot-matrix printers and the server room grade UPS, they can handle noisy keys.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: keyzor
by StephenBeDoper on Tue 5th Oct 2010 01:51 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: keyzor"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

"I certainly wouldn't expect cheap rubber-dome keyboards to last more than a year or two. On the other hand, there are still original IBM Model-M keyboards that have been in heavy use for 20-25 years.


We had a couple of those on our TTY machines back when I first started working as a terminal operator. From what I remember, the only thing we ever had to replace was the occasional keycap that would get popped off and stepped on.
"

Yeah, those things are built like tanks. I've heard some amusingly semi-plausible conspiracy theories about why no stores stock Unicomp's keyboards (Model M descendants): their durability means low sales, because hardly anyone ever needs to replace them. Admittedly, their cost probably plays a part.

Today, my terminal is a Gateway Pentium IV with a crappy membrane keyboard that should have been replaced three years ago. If it were up to me I'd order a couple of Model Ms and dare anyone to complain about the clicky keys. If they can get used to the dot-matrix printers and the server room grade UPS, they can handle noisy keys.


You could try telling your boss(es) that it would make you more productive. To quote my sister (a fan of the Dell QuietKeys keyboards), clicky-keyboards may not make you type any faster, but they certainly do make it SOUND like you're typing faster ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: keyzor
by Morgan on Tue 5th Oct 2010 02:11 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: keyzor"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

You could try telling your boss(es) that it would make you more productive.


Obviously you've never worked for the government. My boss isn't the problem; she comes to me all the time for advice when she has a big decision to make, as I've been doing this job for over 10 years (longer than she's been the supervisor). The problem is getting it into the budget at a time when they take away our raises -- both performance-based and cost of living -- our holiday pay AND make us furlough hours.

No, until the keys literally fall off of the crappy keyboards we have now, we won't get a replacement. And when that does happen, it will be $10 crapboards made by Micro Innovations that last about six months. We run the office 24/7/365 and the keyboards are in constant use.

I've even considered buying good quality keyboards out of pocket just so we'd have something nice, but our IT department would shit bricks. They are hyper-paranoid about security and would swear I was bringing a virus-infected spyware laden keyboard onto the network. I'm not joking or exaggerating; one of the techs explained to me that their IT manager had read an article about keystroke loggers and flash storage modules being embedded in a keyboard and subsequently banned any USB device not purchased directly by the IT department.

Gotta love local government.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: keyzor
by sorpigal on Tue 5th Oct 2010 16:09 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: keyzor"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

Unicomp makes PS2 model-M clones. Buy one, take it to the IT department and ask them for a PS2 to USB adapter (if your computer has no PS2 port).

I bet they've never even heard of a hardware PS2 keylogger, so you might get away with it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: keyzor
by Morgan on Wed 6th Oct 2010 01:53 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: keyzor"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

No offense, but you'd lose that bet. Our IT manager may be a paranoid dick, but he's a smart paranoid dick. He's a few years older than me and has been working in the IT field his entire adult life; he's great at what he does, just anal and schizoid about it. I'll be happy when he finally gets his consulting firm off the ground and "retires" from the county board.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: keyzor
by StephenBeDoper on Thu 7th Oct 2010 19:55 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: keyzor"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

"You could try telling your boss(es) that it would make you more productive.


Obviously you've never worked for the government.
"

Not if I can avoid it ;) - doing semi-freelance work for so long has definitely spoiled me. But I had enough of a taste that my eyelid starts twitching while reading this description:



I've even considered buying good quality keyboards out of pocket just so we'd have something nice, but our IT department would shit bricks. They are hyper-paranoid about security and would swear I was bringing a virus-infected spyware laden keyboard onto the network. I'm not joking or exaggerating; one of the techs explained to me that their IT manager had read an article about keystroke loggers and flash storage modules being embedded in a keyboard and subsequently banned any USB device not purchased directly by the IT department.

Gotta love local government.


That must be a nightmare.

My personal favourite example of that sort of bureaucratic silliness from a previous job, where I worked in an access centre in a middle school (which meant dealing with the provincial gov't branch that oversaw us, the federal department that funded the program, and the local school district):

In the middle of my 4th year (out of 5) in that job, someone mentioned to me that even opening/removing the case of any computer on school grounds was an (apparently) serious violation of the district's tech policy (only exceptions were the largely-incompetent district tech staff).

For obvious reasons, I neglected to tell them that between myself and a co-worker, we had *built* the majority of the computers in the centre from scavenged hardware.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: keyzor
by Morgan on Thu 7th Oct 2010 23:14 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: keyzor"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

That must be a nightmare.


That is quite the understatement.

I've been dropping hints to the department heads that the sheriff's office needs its own, self-managed IT department for a while now. I get the impression that while it's certainly not falling on deaf ears, they are just too tangled in with the rest of the county government to be able to do that. I'm sure budget constraints are also part of the issue.

Perhaps one day it will happen, but I'm not holding my breath.

Reply Score: 2

Damn!
by StephenBeDoper on Sat 2nd Oct 2010 21:17 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

And here I felt self-indulgent paying ~$80 for one of Unicomp's Model-M descendants.

Reply Score: 2

it is a very big deal
by benb320 on Sun 3rd Oct 2010 02:32 UTC
benb320
Member since:
2010-02-23

to 5 people

Reply Score: 3

Model M
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 3rd Oct 2010 11:52 UTC
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

I have an IBM Model M keboard somewhere - and it's a very rare one, since it has the barely-used Dutch keyboard layout.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by tomchr
by tomchr on Sun 3rd Oct 2010 18:00 UTC
tomchr
Member since:
2009-02-01

I never really got on well with IBM Model Ms or any buckling spring keyboard for that matter. In my opinion, they're simply too noisy and have awkward and uncomfortable key travel distance. The best keyboard I've come across, is the IBM laptop ThinkPad T4x Series NMB type. Quite tactile and snappy.

Edited 2010-10-03 18:01 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by tomchr
by Morgan on Mon 4th Oct 2010 01:04 UTC in reply to "Comment by tomchr"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I have a long-standing project in the back of my mind that one day I'll get around to doing. I used to own a G3 PowerBook Pismo (well two, actually...one was a parts mule) and that was the absolute best laptop keyboard I've ever used. I want to buy one off eBay and put it in a regular keyboard chassis -- or perhaps build my own chassis for it -- so I'll have a good "writing" keyboard for my desktop machine. I'm sure it's possible, even if I have to use a prototyping board or something similar. It would have to be converted to USB of course.

I'm currently using an original Macally iKey which is not bad for what I paid for it, but I find it a bit mushy on some keys.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by tomchr
by Doc Pain on Mon 4th Oct 2010 10:59 UTC in reply to "Comment by tomchr"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

In my opinion, they're simply too noisy [...]


A keyboard is about typing, not about listening to it. :-)

[...] and have awkward and uncomfortable key travel distance.


That is debatable. Personally, I think key handling (resistance, vertical travel, inter-key distance) is just fine. But I admit that this might be seen differently by anyone else.

The best keyboard I've come across, is the IBM laptop ThinkPad T4x Series NMB type. Quite tactile and snappy.


The IBM Thinkpad keyboards really are very good. Especially the Trackpoint and the three (!) mouse buttons make it powerful. I have a Thinpad 755C which has a keyboard that is even slightly better than all the new models. Your chances to try out such a keyboard are nerly zero, but let me ensure you that it is REALLY excellent.

Reply Score: 2

Mind boggling
by mrAmiga500 on Mon 4th Oct 2010 01:48 UTC
mrAmiga500
Member since:
2009-03-20

This is an absolutely stupid price. Even a new in box 1984 IBM AT Model F (best PC-compatible keyboard ever, in my opinion) can be found for less than 1/4 this price.

I have a bit of a keyboard obsession myself. I'm sitting here, surrounded by 20 different keyboards from the 1980's (before keyboards went cheap) - and I'm typing this on an IBM AT Model F - but I'd certainly never even consider paying more than $200 for a keyboard.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Mind boggling
by Doc Pain on Mon 4th Oct 2010 11:19 UTC in reply to "Mind boggling"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

This is an absolutely stupid price. Even a new in box 1984 IBM AT Model F (best PC-compatible keyboard ever, in my opinion) can be found for less than 1/4 this price.


If you feel (!) that the AT keyboard is good, try the XT keyboard. In my opinion, it is even a bit better than the 102 and 122 key "modern" model M keyboards. Allthough the design and the protocol definitely indicate it as being for XT (and not for AT), its mechanics are a bit different than the others. It layout may not fit today's purposes, but its handling, how it feels, is really great.

I have a bit of a keyboard obsession myself.


Be sure that I do understand this. :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Mind boggling
by mrAmiga500 on Mon 4th Oct 2010 11:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Mind boggling"
mrAmiga500 Member since:
2009-03-20

Well, yes, the feel of the XT keyboard is slightly better than the AT. I've got a 5155 keyboard beside me as I type this. (kept there just to click for fun, actually)

Unfortunately, the annoying layout and compatibility problem prevent it from being overall better than the AT.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Mind boggling
by sorpigal on Tue 5th Oct 2010 16:15 UTC in reply to "RE: Mind boggling"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

Ahh, osnews. How many other sites on the internet have a community of keyboard geeks?

Yes, slashdot, but they have everything.

I love keyboards that come from the pre-mass-consumer era, when devices were built for quality first and cheapness second, and where nobody cared if it made noise (what? more than the computer? nonsense).

Buckling spring forever.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Mind boggling
by mrAmiga500 on Tue 5th Oct 2010 18:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Mind boggling"
mrAmiga500 Member since:
2009-03-20

Ahh, osnews. How many other sites on the internet have a community of keyboard geeks?


This is nothing. You need to go over to http://geekhack.org/

They've got polls on what their favourite keyboard switch is, and talk endlessly about n-key rollover and custom double-shot keycaps.

Reply Score: 1