Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 18th Jul 2017 17:29 UTC
IBM

You may not know the Model F by name, but you know it by sound - the musical thwacking of flippers slapping away. The sound of the '80s office. The IBM Model F greeting the world in 1981 with a good ten pounds of die-cast zinc and keys that crash down on buckling metal springs as they descend. It's a sensation today's clickiest keyboards chase, but will never catch. And now it's coming back.

I used several of these growing up, and I've come to understand I'm the only one who didn't - and doesn't - like mechanical keyboards one bit - I find them tiring and way too loud. I want the thinnest possible keyboard with the shortest possible travel while still having a decent, satisfying, but very quiet click. I find Apple's Magic Keyboard is the exact right keyboard for me, but I also know I'll be one of the very few, especially on a site like OSNews.

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RE: Comment by leos
by StephenBeDoper on Thu 20th Jul 2017 14:39 UTC in reply to "Comment by leos"
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

Mechanical keyboard is best in the same way that a 1954 Chevy Belair is the best.

In no way other than nostalgia.


That's an example of the fallacy of False Dichotomy. There's more than one type/model of mechanical keyboard - and new mechanical keyboards are actually still being made & sold today (not just replicas of keyboards from the 80s). You do realize that, right?

But feel free to substantiate your claim - assuming that it's not just the sort of contrarian anti-anti-populism you hear from people who, say, defend the Star Wars prequels by claiming that people prefer the originals only because of childhood fondness for them. A good start would be to pick a specific model of mechanical keyboard, or at least a specific switch, and compare it with a specific non-mechanical keyboard and/or switch - and point out all of the ways that the non-mechanical keyboard is superior, or at least equal to, the mechanical one.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by leos
by Megol on Thu 20th Jul 2017 17:55 in reply to "RE: Comment by leos"
Megol Member since:
2011-04-11

"Mechanical keyboard is best in the same way that a 1954 Chevy Belair is the best.

In no way other than nostalgia.


That's an example of the fallacy of False Dichotomy. There's more than one type/model of mechanical keyboard - and new mechanical keyboards are actually still being made & sold today (not just replicas of keyboards from the 80s). You do realize that, right?

But feel free to substantiate your claim - assuming that it's not just the sort of contrarian anti-anti-populism you hear from people who, say, defend the Star Wars prequels by claiming that people prefer the originals only because of childhood fondness for them. A good start would be to pick a specific model of mechanical keyboard, or at least a specific switch, and compare it with a specific non-mechanical keyboard and/or switch - and point out all of the ways that the non-mechanical keyboard is superior, or at least equal to, the mechanical one.
"

So we should compare to no-stroke keyboards? They are junk viewed as keyboards but have their uses as they can be made almost indestructible and are good enough for typing a few characters. No feedback in the key itself means optical (from a display) or a beeper mechanism is needed. For those without sight and hearing they are completely useless.

Yeah I know, here's the proper though long response:

As I wrote earlier my favorite keyboards are using scissor mechanisms (that is the guiding element in the key) with rubber dome springs (ordinary metal spiral springs would work too but is more expensive so not normally used) with a normal switch as the key hit detector.

When people talk about mechanical keyboards they don't understand there is _no_ valid definition that differentiates "mechanical" keyboard switches from the above description of a scissor low-stroke mechanism. Not even defining mechanical keys as using separate, replaceable switch elements! Must the mechanism be long-stroke? Nope - there have been short stroke variants. A certain type of guiding element? Nope, there are multiple variants. A certain type of spring mechanism? No, some have used rubber domes, some rubber domes+spiral spring. Switch mechanism? Most use normal switching, some have used optical(!) or capacitive sensing. But surely the feedback mechanism is common!? No, buckling spring, hammer etc. Not even the noise level that some think is a sign of genuine "mechanical" workmanship is a given as there have been variants that are very silent.

So what's left are the characteristics of the switches that you yourself say varies. Stroke length is generally long (but see above) but otherwise? Activation force varies as does feedback type and strength.

Using "mechanical" as a way to describe a certain kind of keyboard is like using "aura" to describe a design - bullshit.

There are a lot of people that swear that DVORAK layout made them healthy (well their hands/wrists at least), better at typing etc. Anyone that actually tries to measure any improvement will soon realize the only improvement comes from learning to type on a keyboard anew - the same kind of improvement would be the result of simply using a standard QWERTY layout but learning to touch-type correctly.
I haven't seen any evidence suggesting the mechanical craze is in any way different. Self-suggestion is a powerful drug.

I have used a _lot_ of different "mechanical" keyboards in the past. I type faster on my "cheap" scissor-type chicklet keyboard and have no problem feeling when the key is pressed, no problem needing to press too hard for a key to register properly etc. I don't need sound feedback now and I didn't in the past (even hacked together an utility to silence the Wang PC keyboard beeper - required a lot of reverse engineering to get that silence). If most people liked "mechanical" keyboards wouldn't computer manufacturers use them as a standard component? Or in cases where a normal "mechanical" switch is too large (notebook computer) tweak the scissor/spring/switch mechanism to feel more like their larger brothers? Because ignoring the stroke length most features of mechanical switches can be emulated.

Reply Parent Score: 2