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Thread: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

  1. #61
    Enlightened WhatMACHI's Avatar
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    The old IMB keyboard i had from 8 or so years ago is still one of the best keyboards ive ever had. It still works 100% and i dont ever see the need to replace it unless it breaks.

  2. #62
    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    Quote Originally Posted by Fallingwater View Post
    I'd kill for one of these.
    I love split keyboards, they are much easier on the hands than ordinary square, and even ergonomic "bent" ones.
    I also love buckling spring boards.
    Put both things together and that'd be my dream typing keyboard (I'd still use a rubber-pad one for gaming).
    I have 6 of those split models too. Maybe I better take a more complete inventory of all the crap I do have that I was gonna have sent to the dump.

  3. #63

    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    I'm still using the M keyboard that was attached to the used IBM 300PL that was my 1st computer. It's odd to think about it now because it's such a common fixture in my space like a chair but this device is the oldest computer artifact that I personally possess. Everything else computer-wise from 10 years ago - monitors, trackballs, hard drives, operating systems, mp3's, cd's - has fallen into the obselete bin. I'll probably throw myself under an elephant if my M ever breaks down.

    Last edited by yummytummy; 07-09-2007 at 01:21 AM.

  4. #64
    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    Or get a spare now while you still can find them.

  5. #65
    Moderator js's Avatar
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    Just wanted to report that the Apple Extended Keyboard II, with the Griffin iMate ADB to USD adaptor does indeed work in Tiger, despite a report I read that it didn't (or had problems). I just recently upgraded to OS X 10.4.11 (Tiger) and the keyboard is working just fine.

    Also wanted to report that I test drove the new Apple keyboard kit, and it's really nice. Very different action than the Extended Keyboard II which I use, but still well done and effective, unlike many of their other offerings in recent years!

    Also, there is a company making new keyboards that utilize the buckling spring mechanism. Google "Buckling spring keyboards" and you'll find them.
    -Jim Sexton, creator of the M6-R, the TigerLight Upgrades, Fixture-ring lamp potting, the SL60, co-designer of the B90 Upgrade, and proponent of the SF A2, the SF M6 X-LOLA, Titanium, the Haiku, and the LunaSol 20

  6. #66
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    We tend to use laptops a lot, even at home, and the two main failure modes are always the screen and keyboard.

    One of the things I really like about my HP 6515B laptop is that the keyboard is easily replaced. It is actually not bad for a laptop, but no doubt will fail at some point due to the heavy use. No problem - it is designed for end user replacement.

    I think this is one of the areas that is often overlooked when people buy "consumer" laptops vs paying just a bit more for a "business grade" laptop - ability to keep it going.
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  7. #67
    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryN View Post
    I think this is one of the areas that is often overlooked when people buy "consumer" laptops vs paying just a bit more for a "business grade" laptop - ability to keep it going.
    Yup. That's why we went with Latitude last time I bought a lappy. A lot more rugged than my old Inspiron.

  8. #68
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    I'm also a rabid IBM Model M fan. I have 2 1991 Model M's and a 1995 Model M. My main Windows PC is using one of the '91 Model M's,and my backup OpenSuse 11 Linux PC is using the other one. It's quite funny to me that while most of the hardware inside my PC is so modern,it's all controlled by a 17-year-old keyboard.
    Long Live The IBM Model M!!!

  9. #69
    Flashaholic* NA8's Avatar
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    I've got an old Northgate Computer Systems OmniKey/PLUS. It's so old the plug needs an adapter.

    http://www.northgate-keyboard-repair.com/ultraplus.jpg

    Manuals available here (includes schematics, dip switch settings, and key codes etc):

    http://www.lueckdatasystems.com/Nort...iKey_Keyboards

    This guy does repairs/cleaning, and has some refurbs for sale:

    http://www.northgate-keyboard-repair.com/

    The picture isn't inspiring, but they are very well made keyboards with Alps switches.
    Last edited by NA8; 09-26-2008 at 10:29 PM.

  10. #70
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    I liked and still kinda like Model M keyboards, still have some in great conditions, and a black one with a mouse stick in the middle - trackpoint - (last model Ms iirc), however my true choice for best keyboards, are the ones that have Cherry MX switches on them, specially the maroon switches.

    Cherry is a german company that has been making mechanical switches for a long time now, as long as model M keyboards, i have an NCR keyboard that has cherry MX black switches, and i love it, a special touch are the red leds it has for numlock caps lock and scr lock (usually they are green).

    the feedback on the cherry marron switches is great the travel is good, long enough to make the weight of your fingers do the work, and short enough that you pull your fingers as soon as you push them and making them ready for the next stroke, it has a low tactile click and a low audible click, as a matter of fact you can hear more the keys when you bottom out than when you reach the audible click section of the switch.

    Needs low force to push, but its very positive, and for those who use all their fingers to type (which i assume is most of the people in this thread) its great.

    will look for info to post here about them, Cherry still makes them i think but its kind of a niche market, and they are more expensive than other keyboards of course, specially if you rate your keys for 50 million worry free keystrokes

    however since they are old and i live in a 3rd world country, this is the place to find old used but in good condition hardware, i have bought many model M keyboards for less than $3 USD, some Cherry keyboards (Made for old Compaq rack servers) for less than $10 dollars, all in perfect conditions, my friends that have seen me buy them say why in hell would i use those old looking things, i answer: because i type with my fingers not with my eyes (altough cherry keyboards imo are really good lookers).

    *edit

    forgot to add, each key module has gold contacts in a system called goldcrosspoint to insure proper contact every time (not gold plated, the contacts on that part are all gold).

    good models from Cherry have the key characters not printed, or laser engraved but injected in the mold, you can wear all the plastic on it, and it will still show the character , like this:

    http://park16.wakwak.com/~ex4/kb/tech_mold.htm

    here come the links:

    http://www.cherrycorp.com/english/switches/key/mx.htm
    http://mykeyboard.co.uk/keyswitches/
    http://www.maltron.com/maltron-cherry-mx.html
    http://park16.wakwak.com/~ex4/kb/tech_cherry_mx.htm

    *update

    forgot to mention: i have executed maintenance of a number of model M keyboards (empiric way) and they are not fully mechanical, they are a combination of mechanical and membrane, its called buckle spring.
    Last edited by manoloco; 09-19-2008 at 11:45 PM.

  11. #71
    Moderator js's Avatar
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    Great posts everyone! Thanks! Good info here. I'm looking forward to checking out some of these links.
    -Jim Sexton, creator of the M6-R, the TigerLight Upgrades, Fixture-ring lamp potting, the SL60, co-designer of the B90 Upgrade, and proponent of the SF A2, the SF M6 X-LOLA, Titanium, the Haiku, and the LunaSol 20

  12. #72
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    Was a bit tired yesterday and forgot i had pictures of my keyboards in my HDD:

    One of my favorites (very small footprint but keys are full size):


    Compaq MX 11800 (cherry mx switches):













    NCR (1985), i wish more keyboards were like this with the leds on the keyswitches, and in red:











    this one shows the 2 color plastic injection that has the character in the whole thickness of the plastic key.
    Last edited by manoloco; 09-20-2008 at 04:54 PM.

  13. #73
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    Quote Originally Posted by ckthorp View Post
    I just bite the bullet and buy the adapter. You can get them for about $11 shipped. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16812101117 What's the fuss? A good typing feel is easily worth 10x that to me.

    Have you bought one in the last couple of months? The one I bought 6 months ago from newegg works fine, so I bought another. The second one doesn't work with my old pre-USB keyboard. It looks almost identical to the first but the PS2 connectors for keyboard and mouse are not labelled with K and M, but rather they have icons.

    But I found one that does work. It looks just like the first one I bought from newegg. Notice the package is labelled "active".
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...3581&CatId=469

    I'm sure the ones clickykeyboards.com sells work also, but they are more expensive and the shipping is rather outrageous.

    By the way, I'm also a touch typist. I took a course in typing in high school. That was one of the most useful courses I ever took. My taste in keyboards is different though. I like my 10 year old HP keyboard because it has a rotary volume control.

    I spilled coffee on it one too many times. I almost had a panic attack when it stopped working. I drink black coffee so there was no cream or sugar to gum up the works, but it corroded away some of the conductive trace on the plastic membrane. I repaired it with a conductive pen used for repairing printed circuit boards. While it was apart I washed and cleaned it thoroughly. I guess I should do that every ten years.

    I no longer trust myself with regular coffee mugs. I now use a travel mug and my problems are over.

  14. #74
    Flashaholic* Black Rose's Avatar
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    I remember using the model M keyboard on our IBM 8088 PCs at college in 1986. I liked the feel of the keys.

    Following graduation, I ended up working in a shop that used IBM ES 9000 series mainframes with 3270 terminals. The keyboard wasn't the model M keyboard (different layout for mainframe vs PC) but it had the same feel. Solid keyboards.

    I really liked the 3270 terminals...for years afterwards I altered the colour coding of my editors to match the 3270 screens I worked on.

    Now come to think of it, I may have one of those keyboards in storage. I'll have to check that out.

  15. #75

    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    I just bought a Saitek Cyborg, I will write up a review when it comes in. My current Saitek Eclipse has worked fine for the last couple of years.

  16. #76
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    I also miss those early keyboards, but not their loudless. Now-a-days, I use the MS Natural Keyboard for comfort reasons - they definitely work for me, even if they are not as "smooth" and effective as the older keyboards

    Will

  17. #77

    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    Quote Originally Posted by eluminator View Post
    Have you bought one in the last couple of months? The one I bought 6 months ago from newegg works fine, so I bought another. The second one doesn't work with my old pre-USB keyboard. It looks almost identical to the first but the PS2 connectors for keyboard and mouse are not labelled with K and M, but rather they have icons.
    No, I haven't bought one in the last couple months. It's been about a year or so since I've bought one.

  18. #78

    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    Quote Originally Posted by Eye of Unk View Post
    I just bought a Saitek Cyborg, I will write up a review when it comes in. My current Saitek Eclipse has worked fine for the last couple of years.

    Well I have been using it for a couple of days now, I really like it, it has different colors like red, green and orange though I wish it had blue, the keypads used for gaming are extra tough but I have yet to do gaming with it. Typing is a breeze in the dark, the pads have a soft click feel not the mushy type like remotes feel like, its heavy duty built, I like it.

  19. #79
    Flashaholic* LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    Typing on an IBM Model M right now, and very pleased with it. I run only the Model M on my main desktops, though my little sister hates them. She likes the light, new, soft-touch types, which makes my fingers hurt.
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  20. #80
    Flashaholic* turbodog's Avatar
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    I've got some rare nmb boards with the 'magic black' keyswitches. Very sweet.
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  21. #81
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    Like this one?:








    i like it, but theres something in the feedback and bottoming that makes me prefer the cherry mx switches, perhaps we type differently.

  22. #82
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    I use Unicomp boards exclusively. Good stuff.
    强光手电是我最爱得

  23. #83
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    Quote Originally Posted by manoloco View Post
    Like this one?:








    . . . .
    Yes. Just like that one, although yours seems to be missing the "IBM" label in the upper left.

    So, I just got a Model M IBM keyboard for my office and I love it! I haven't ever tried a keyboard with the Cherry MX switch mechanisms, and I might prefer it--who knows!--but I certainly do appreciate the model M. It's loud, but it's strangely addicting to type on.

    And, it turns out that those keyboards in the control room that I talked about in the first post, the ones that got thrown away when we had to replace the DEC terminals--well, those were NOT IBM Model M keyboards. They were still nice, and clicky, and I have no idea what they used as the mechanism, but they were definitely not what I have now. I got a 1992 vintage classic IBM Model M 1391401 from www.clickykeyboards.com and I'm thrilled with it. The only thing I wish is that I could replace that grungy cord that came with it. One end has a PS2 connector, but the other end is some special connector. Does anyone know if I could buy a new replacement for that cord?

    On another note, since my wife is the one who mostly uses our desktop here at home, and since she mostly uses the mouse and not the keyboard, I got her one of the newer Apple wired Keyboards and it is nice. Really nice. It is a laptop style keyboard in that it has a short throw and flat, shallow keys, but it definitely has a tactile feedback and is NOT mushy. I can freaking FLY on that keyboard! It took a little bit of getting used to, after living with the Apple Extended Keyboard II for years, but once I did settle into it, I really liked it. Plus it's very small (but not as light as you would think--nice and solid aluminum chasis for stable typing adds weight), and it has all the special keys that are useful on an Apple computer (volume and screen brightness up / down keys, optical drive eject key, etc.) So, I recommend it, FWIW. The reviews on Amazon are similarly positive.

    Anyway, so there it is. Just wanted to update this thread with a new post and correct my mistake in the first post.
    -Jim Sexton, creator of the M6-R, the TigerLight Upgrades, Fixture-ring lamp potting, the SL60, co-designer of the B90 Upgrade, and proponent of the SF A2, the SF M6 X-LOLA, Titanium, the Haiku, and the LunaSol 20

  24. #84
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    The Northgate Omnikey series are the best classic keyboards in existence, bar none. These are much higher quality than any other keyboard I have ever used. Including the IBM battleship boards and anything else mentioned.

    The best modern board, in my opinion, is this. Please buy one as I don't want to see this company abandon the keyboard business, they have already dropped several models.

    Happy Hacking Lite2
    http://pfuca-store.stores.yahoo.net/haphackeyser.html

    This keybord was designed by programmers for programmers and it is really a thing of beauty. However, you do not need to be a programmer to take advantage of the features of this board.

    The HHK boards are designed in such a way that you can access all the functions of a 104 key keyboard without removing your fingers from the home row.

    And yes, they work on Mac too.

  25. #85
    Moderator js's Avatar
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    LLCoolBeans,

    Do you know anything about CVT's Avant Prime, which is a modern remake of the Northgate Omnikey? And if so, how do they compare to the HHK? And to the original Omnikey?
    -Jim Sexton, creator of the M6-R, the TigerLight Upgrades, Fixture-ring lamp potting, the SL60, co-designer of the B90 Upgrade, and proponent of the SF A2, the SF M6 X-LOLA, Titanium, the Haiku, and the LunaSol 20

  26. #86
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    Quote Originally Posted by LLCoolBeans View Post
    The Northgate Omnikey series are the best classic keyboards in existence, bar none. These are much higher quality than any other keyboard I have ever used. Including the IBM battleship boards and anything else mentioned.

    . . .
    And, I just can't help but comment on this. Not to be annoying, but I really must ask: have you had experience with ALL of the other keyboards mentioned in this thread? And if not, on what basis do you say that the Northgate Omnikey's are "much" higher quality than the IBM's and "anything else mentioned"? This is not a rhetorical question. I really want to know.
    -Jim Sexton, creator of the M6-R, the TigerLight Upgrades, Fixture-ring lamp potting, the SL60, co-designer of the B90 Upgrade, and proponent of the SF A2, the SF M6 X-LOLA, Titanium, the Haiku, and the LunaSol 20

  27. #87
    Flashaholic* TONY M's Avatar
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    I had several IBMs and loved the feel and sound of the keys, they looked just like the one in manloco's photographs.

  28. #88
    Flashaholic* NA8's Avatar
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    CVT's Avant Prime looks interesting. My old Northgate Plus just died recently.

    Been using a $9 Compaq surplus keyboard I had lying around. I'll say the Northgates were VERY high quality. If they weren't the very best ever, they were close construction wise. Then again, mine died

    Keyboard layout is a personal thing, but I liked the decadent excess in these models. They had a dip switch on the back so you could change some of the more common layout preferrences such as the CTRL/CAPS LOCK positions.

    http://www.northgate-keyboard-repair.com/ultra.jpg

    Found my old receipt, $109 in 1990 for the Plus model. Not bad, about 18 years of gaming and porn
    Last edited by NA8; 03-15-2009 at 10:20 PM.

  29. #89
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    Quote Originally Posted by js View Post
    And if not, on what basis do you say that the Northgate Omnikey's are "much" higher quality than the IBM's and "anything else mentioned"? This is not a rhetorical question. I really want to know.
    No, I don't have experience with all the boards mentioned on this thread. So, I suppose I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

    I've had both the Northgate's and IBMs apart. Build quality on the northgate is impressive to say the least. If those were made today they would probably have to retail for $1500 or something.


    Quote Originally Posted by NA8 View Post
    CVT's Avant Prime looks interesting. My old Northgate Plus just died recently.

    Been using a $9 Compaq surplus keyboard I had lying around. I'll say the Northgates were VERY high quality. If they weren't the very best ever, they were close construction wise. Keyboard layout is a personal thing, but I liked the decadent excess in these models. They had a dip switch on the back so you could change some of the more common layout preferrences such as the CTRL/CAPS LOCK positions.

    http://www.northgate-keyboard-repair.com/ultra.jpg
    I love the Omni Key Plus and the Happy Hacking because the [Ctrl] Key is where it is supposed to be. Why on earth did IBM put caps lock there? And why on earth did the industry have to adopt that insane layout and make it a standard?

    The [Ctrl] key should be somewhere super easy to reach as it is used very often. How often do you use the freaking caps lock key? A few times a year, maybe? Yet it takes up all that valuble easily reachable space directly to the left of your left pinky finger.

    I always use a board with [Ctrl] in it's rightful place. If I don't have that option, say like with a laptop, I use software to swap the positions of [caps]and [Ctrl].

  30. #90
    Flashaholic* NA8's Avatar
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    Default Re: The best computer keyboards ever made - still

    Quote Originally Posted by LLCoolBeans View Post
    I love the Omni Key Plus and the Happy Hacking because the [Ctrl] Key is where it is supposed to be. Why on earth did IBM put caps lock there?
    LOL. They had a funny thing called a typewriter back before Microsoft WORD.

    Guess where the Caps Lock key was ?

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