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Author Topic: Anybody else here a keyboard snob?  (Read 88 times)

Jason Knight

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Anybody else here a keyboard snob?
« on: 12 May 2020, 10:26:24 pm »
For years I was a Model M or GTFO kind of guy. Can't stand the modern "low travel" approach, and I generally found alternatives lacking. I hoarded model M's for parts as I could even burn those out. (yes, that's a thing).

For near on 30 years, it was my first and often only choice for a desktop keyboard.

For the younglings unfamiliar with it:


Uht, uht uht ut, here we go: IBM Model M. The very best there is. When you absolutely positively got to type every mother-****ing letter in ASCII 7, accept no substitutes.

But about three years ago I was forced off of it due to parts scarcity and support waning. Build 1903 of Win 10 in particular doesn't like PS/2 interface keyboards even with a USB adapter, but even prior to that they were getting unreliable and problematic at both the OS and motherboard level.

I had switched to a G-Skill with cherry green switches on my workstation, but I already blew that thing out. Oddly I think the switches are ok, but the cable is iffy. Someone needs to explain to G-Skill that a solid non-flexible piece of plastic is not a strain relief.

I was like "fine, I'll settle for blues". Blue switches have weaker springs, but still have the tactile and audible feedback I EXPECT a keyboard to have. These soft mushy no-feedback keyboards for the "wah wah, its bee teh noizy" pansies ranks right up there with the "let's starve the computer or air" fan-haters on the derpitude scale. They can all sierra the foxtrot up until they've spent a few weeks seated ten feet from a DEC LA-50 printer.

I managed to snipe off e-bay a cheap mechanical for $25 new (half off sale last month, normally goes for $50 which is still absurdly cheap) built around outemu switches. I've done a few gateron and outemu builds for other people, in brown, red, and even blue switches and they seemed "acceptable', so for $25 the worst that happens is it lasts me six months and I grab another.

I have to say, I'm rather impressed with the build quality given the price. It feels crisper than a cherry blue I have here that I'm customizing the keycap colours for, and despite being smaller with the backplate "open" to the front (so the switches stick up with no hood around them -- easier to clean) it seems heavier and more durable than the G-Skill. I mean, it's not model M weight, but it's got some heft to it.

... and unlike a lot of today's little girly-men who cry about how heavy things are, I actually equate higher weight with better quality construction. A likely contributor to why I think crApple products are rinky poorly made artsy-fartsy crap!

Did I mention I do custom cap colour layouts? I but stacks of colour sets regularly from a factory in china on the cheap, and put them onto mechanical keyboards for people.

Used that in this case for a mix of black, grey, and white... with the prerequisite red escape key. The black are OEM for Aukey which I like over the ones this came with as they have alumimum powder in the inner-shot that makes them reflective lighting off, but sill allowing the backlight through. The white and grey are the usual chinese mass vendor, though these are thermoset not the cheaper PVC.



I'm not sure about the white, since it's backlit. I mean, it's not like I need to read those keys, but it might look nicer. Arguing with myself about that as I was aiming for the look/feel of a TRS-80 Model 16 (or a rev 1 model II). I might swap them out for part of a purple set I have.

You folks out there have any preferences, or do customization of your own?
« Last Edit: 12 May 2020, 10:30:22 pm by Jason Knight »
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coothead

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Re: Anybody else here a keyboard snob?
« Reply #1 on: 13 May 2020, 04:22:13 am »
Hi there Jason,

this is my personal  keyboard...

Das Keyboard 4 Professional

Whether this choice of tool makes me a snob, I cannot say.

Like you though, I do prefer my keyboard to be weighty and robust.

I am also certain that this little bugger will outlive me.

coothead
~ the original bald headed old fart ~

Jason Knight

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Re: Anybody else here a keyboard snob?
« Reply #2 on: 13 May 2020, 07:40:03 am »
this is my personal  keyboard...
Browns (linear) or Blues (clicky)?

DAS has always seemed overpriced to me, given that my equivalent G-Skill was effectively half the price with the same switches, and 80% the price with greens. (that I can't even find advertised anymore)

More so given how cheap the gateron and outemu switches can be, or the superior build quality of brands like Aukey. Though Aukey got out of the business of keyboards :( the market was flooded briefly with some of their highest quality designs at bargain basement prices.


« Last Edit: 13 May 2020, 07:47:14 am by Jason Knight »
"It is amazing what can be accomplished when nobody cares who gets the credit." -- Kelly Johnson

coothead

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Re: Anybody else here a keyboard snob?
« Reply #3 on: 13 May 2020, 10:40:10 am »
Browns (linear) or Blues (clicky)?

Browns.  8)

Quote from: Jason Knight
DAS has always seemed overpriced to me...

Oh well, perhaps I do have a  snobby tendency
of which I was hitherto unaware.  ???

Thinking about keyboards though, reminded
me of my first home pc ...

Commodore 64

... and my love/hate relationship which I had
with it back in the early 1980's.

I can't remember how old it was when the
keyboard started behaving oddly but I do
know what triggered it's demise.

Every time that I typed a "t" it output a "q".
This  so infuriated me that I punched the
keyboard with all the might that I could
muster. Seeing  the result of my actions
spurred me on to then jump on it just to
make sure the fcuker was dead.  >:(

It was some twenty years before I allowed
another p.c. to cross my threshold.  ;)

coothead
« Last Edit: 13 May 2020, 11:22:00 am by coothead »
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Jason Knight

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Re: Anybody else here a keyboard snob?
« Reply #4 on: 13 May 2020, 06:54:25 pm »
Every time that I typed a "t" it output a "q".
Laugh is a lot of times that failure on a 64 isn't even the keyboards fault, but that of a dying PIA chip. The MOS 6281 was a breakout/relay for all the various I/O devices including the keyboard. Misreported keys is a common side effect when that chip starts to break down, and even back in the day they were hard to find replacements for.

I've been really lucky with mine in that it's still working 100% fine, as are both of the miniature space heaters masquerading as floppy drives.

Yes, I still have a -64 in my collection... along with a minus 60.
"It is amazing what can be accomplished when nobody cares who gets the credit." -- Kelly Johnson

coothead

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Re: Anybody else here a keyboard snob?
« Reply #5 on: 13 May 2020, 07:58:04 pm »
Yes, I still have a -64 in my collection

Wow!!

Do you keep it under lock and key?

It must be worth a fortune now.

coothead
~ the original bald headed old fart ~

benanamen

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Re: Anybody else here a keyboard snob?
« Reply #6 on: 13 May 2020, 09:51:50 pm »
The problem with most keyboards is that they are missing the Any key.

« Last Edit: 13 May 2020, 09:53:29 pm by benanamen »
To save time, let's just assume I am never wrong.

Jason Knight

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Re: Anybody else here a keyboard snob?
« Reply #7 on: 14 May 2020, 01:42:01 am »
It must be worth a fortune now.
Typically they're worth less than they were new at retail. If you're selective and wait, or get lucky bidding on e-fence you can have a working base unit for around $100, if you're impatient it's double that. Same for each of the floppy drives.

The hard thing to get is the official monitor -- I'm using a 20" Dell 4:3 1600x1200 LCD that has an excellent scaler and SVHS inputs instead. The old mono-composite and separate chroma of the C64 is compatible with SVHS (at least for NTSC) if you add a resistor (I used a mini pot) to the chroma line to bring the voltage down. Folks in the UK can make similar cables for use with SCART.

The "real" monitors are often the hard part of vintage machines. A lot of them used custom monitors with unique frequencies and custom connectors, CRT's murder you on the shipping, they often don't survive shipping if they're not packed properly, and of course capacitors blow in them all the damned time. With most people being too timid, ignorant, or lazy to do a re-cap, and the general negative view towards CRT's these days, they tend to go to landfills instead of being put up for sale.

Thankfully most -- but not all -- vintage machines are either CGA compatible, can run through a CGA/EGA/Arcade to VGA converter box, or have composite/RF output.

Even so it's often nice to have a COMPLETE machine -- like my Tandy 1000 SX with the matching CM-11 monitor,



But my cup doth runneth over when it comes to Tandy CM-11's, you'd think I was living in "Wayne Green Country", where both Byte and 80-Micro magazines were published just over the hill in Peterboro, NH.

For the eagle eyed, yes that's a Sega Master System next to it... and a hand carved (by me) Macross Tomahawk / BattleTech Warhammer game mini sitting atop it. Yeah, I make my own mini's.

Speaking of keyboards, that T1K has great linear switches, but damn that layout. Especially since the back-slash is shift-numpad 7 which breaks some software and is awkward in DOS. Even so it's a joy to use compared to my PCJr... though thankfully I have the full-travel keyboard for that and not the goofy chiclet one.

Though thinking of chiclet keyboards, keep meaning to add a Speccy -- or as its' jokingly called in the states, the Sinclair Speculum -- to my collection. Tough as they were never sold here officially and almost all of them are PAL and not NTSC.

World: "The PCJr keyboard sucks"
Uncle Clive: "Hold my beer."
« Last Edit: 14 May 2020, 01:49:30 am by Jason Knight »
"It is amazing what can be accomplished when nobody cares who gets the credit." -- Kelly Johnson

 

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