What keyboard do you use?

wblock@

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#26
If there were a standard layout 87-key keyboard without mechanical switches, I would be interested. All seem to the mechanical type, and most mess up the layout to save space. I've been tempted to saw the useless numeric keypad off a normal keyboard and just patch the PC board traces.
 

Snurg

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#27
If there were a standard layout 87-key keyboard without mechanical switches, I would be interested.
Maybe a touchscreen keyboard?
...most mess up the layout to save space.
Worst IMHO is the windows key. Fortunately old keyboards lack it.

I've been tempted to saw the useless numeric keypad off a normal keyboard and just patch the PC board traces.
This is a thing I never understood. The BIOSes of many Eastern Bloc PC-AT clones back in the 1980s supported PC and XT keyboards (these without numpad), translated the different scancode map, but in the West none did.
 

Zirias

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#28
As a long time fan of the Cherry RS6000, I nowadays use the incredibly cheap Logitech K120. Feels nearly as good and really costs nothing. I actually like it having those "windows keys", they can do other useful things like compose and extra meta keys for shortcuts ;)
 

wblock@

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#29
Maybe a touchscreen keyboard?
No, I mean I find mechanical clicky keyboards unpleasant. Cheap rubber dome switches are fine.

As far as layout, the main concern are the arrow keys. Designers always want to move those under the main keys to make for a narrower layout. And they often do terrible things to the Page Up/Down key group. Microsoft's attempt to change that 3x2 layout into a 2x3 layout a while back at least never took hold.
 

aht0

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#30
HP KUS0133 -reliable workhorse with an integrated smartcard reader. At work, keyboards of this model have lasted 6 years of constant 24/7 usage (international border checkpoint), so I bought one unused one for myself as well...
 

ShelLuser

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#31
A relative plain but somewhat custom made Cherry keyboard.

Funny story: I've used tons of keyboards in the past where my favorite used to be an old slim Compaq keyboard. Unfortunately I smoked during those times (we're talking around 90's) and that definitely did its damage on my keyboards. Finally I ended up getting myself a Cherry keyboard and have been using that for years. I was severely hooked on the 'soft click' it makes and the overall touch and feel. Unfortunately that keyboard died on me. After roughly 22+ years.

I always have several keyboards lying around the house and tried dozens of them but nothing really felt as good as my old Cherry. So I decided to look up the Cherry website (Cherry.de) and look around. I was immediately impressed with their massive collection of keyboards but I wasn't out for a gamer keyboard or something futuristic or one with a mousepad. All I wanted was my old keyboard back ;)

SO I decided to write them an e-mail. And I got a response. The model number (I can't be bothered to look under this one) wasn't sold anymore but they could make one for me! It wasn't cheap, I paid around 120 euro's for this, but it was money very well spend in my opinion. I still use the keyboard today (now roughly 6 years later) and it never failed.
 

ronaldlees

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#32
A relative plain but somewhat custom made Cherry keyboard.

Funny story: I've used tons of keyboards in the past where my favorite used to be an old slim Compaq keyboard...
The "old slim Compaq keyboard" was my favorite too, when I used it sometime in the early to mid nineties, IIRC. I've never found another brand or model that has such a nice (almost perfect) soft-click, responsive feel. One thing I remember about it is that it was heavy. Even though it was "slim" - it weighed more than the others because of a heavy bottom plate. It stayed put on the desktop, didn't budge.
 

mickey

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#33
I am a long time user of a bunch of IBM 1391403 keyboards, manufactured in the UK ~1988. Guess they will stay for a little bit longer...
 

ronaldlees

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#35
My current darling is a FAVI Entertainment projector screen pointer keyboard, that's meant to be used along with the screen setup in the classroom, having a laser pointer built into the end of it. It's about as long as a teaspoon, but solid as a rock, and I find it's a perfect match for my Pi.
 

damfreebsd

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#37
I'm using a 1993 IBM model M ps/2, I'm very happy with it, I have a 1991 model M in the orginal box, I'm waiting for a 122 key IBM model F to arrive I can't wait!!, model F is better has full n-key rollover, I will buy a wasd with cherry mx blue in some time. I also want a Northgate Omnikey keyboard.
 

OJ

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#39
I will buy a wasd with cherry mx blue in some time.
I think I mentioned above somewhere that I have a WASD keyboard with Cherry greens. It has held up OK for a few years now. I would mention to you though, that the plastic work is a bit wonky and not up to top standards. The letter markings on many keys are now also worn off. I contacted them, but they don't sell individual replacements for this particular color choice. This is in contrast to several model M's which are many years old, have seen heavy usage, and apart from some plain dirt are essentially like new.
 

Handsome Jack

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#41
Past years I gave insane amount of money for various models of keyboards, just to find out that the cheapest one is the best (for me).
That does not imply that all cheap things are good, this is just result about keyboards.
It would have been better that I gave all that money HERE .

Also, I prefer using all devices with wires - if possible (mouse, kb, router, network cards).
 

Snurg

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#42
I am still on my Cherry G81. I think is about 20 years but the last few years I use USB adapter :).
These were the best, even better than IBM. They had real mechanical switches, not capacitance switches.

However, when I was young, I had the bad habit of hitting with the fist on the keyboard when I was very frustrated.
The cherry keyboards have no metal plate reinforcement like the IBMs, and so I destroyed quite some of them beyond repair (had often to disassemble them and resolder the traces that were broken due to the cracks in the PCB, until the PCBs were broken into so many parts that it became impossible to put them back into function again). :(

And the (more) modern cherries are worthless rubber cap things without proper feel, like the modern IBMs :(
 

OJ

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#43
And the (more) modern cherries are worthless rubber cap things without proper feel, like the modern IBMs
This conflicts with the diagrams and general description of these devices. Do you have a link?
 

Snurg

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#44
This conflicts with the diagrams and general description of these devices. Do you have a link?
At my local university's electronics junk container lots of keyboards get discarded, mostly rubber cap junk.
The good ones usually are at least 2 decades old.

One has to note also, that Cherry changed the feel of the switches over time.
The 1980s were still were very good, just like quality keyboards.
Then from the early 1990s they got softer and softer, more and more like the rubber cap crap. Bleech!

I have two of these mid-90s G80-3000 from that junkyard where one can see the PCB between the keys and which still feel somewhat acceptable.

When I look at the university's junkyard, where occasionally very fine old stuff like IBM F gets dumped, I just judge from the feeling what to take and what to leave there.
Maybe I mistook the newer Cherry keyboards for rubber cap stuff just by judging the feel, and felt them unworthy to take.
Next time I will look more carefully, and maybe take one home for disassembly and examination of the switches.
 
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OJ

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#45
One has to note also, that Cherry changed the feel of the switches over time.
The 1980s were still were very good, just like quality keyboards.
Then from the early 1990s they got softer and softer, more and more like the rubber cap crap. Bleech!
I don't know about the old Cherrys. I'm not sure the soft varieties were made back then, and people are liking the soft ones now. Not all of them have much click and the linear ones have none at all, despite being a mechanical switch. Here is a history of Cherry switches. Note that the reds, which are very soft and very popular now, were not introduced until 2008. This may explain what you have observed.

Edit to add: There is also a "silent red" I see. And I just remembered that it is common to put little rubber grommets on the switches now. This reduces the travel slightly, but dampens the "click" quite a bit. WASD, for example sells the grommets separately, or they can be pre-installed for an extra charge.
 

Snurg

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#46
OJ, that's an interesting article!
It motivated me to look at ebay, just to find that there are practically none of the good keyboards left.

You can recognize the 1980s AT ones as they have no flat surface like the modern ones.
Instead they have some bar/stair/step (don't know the right word) above the F keys, and this leveled frame around the keys.
Their feeling was like those in POS register cash keyboards - high keys, longer travel than the modern ones.
Just the right ones for "hammering" the keyboard.

What nowadays commonly gets sold as "vintage" cherry keyboards, I consider as the "new" ones, which I do not like much.
And they got even worse over time, as said.

I found only one of the old 1980s AT keyboards, but as OEM variant.
It differs from the normal ones that the blue keys were grey.
Here is the ebay link. If the price weren't that crazy, I'd have ordered it instantly.

Even better were the PC/XT ones. They were even stiffer, and still had a metal plate, so mine survived the treatment it got.
Here is one of these, an OEM variant, too.

I feel a bit sad that I threw my one into the trash long long ago, as the scancodes are incompatible with the AT ones.
Nowadays one could compensate for this with a X translation table...

Edit: I never saw the "soft" variant (probably that what gets sold as "red") before about 1995. My unqualified guess is that they attempted to adapt to the feeling of cheapo keyboards imported from the Far East.
 

OJ

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#47
Snurg That "vintage" keyboard sure is expensive. The PC/XT ones are indeed the finest ever made. I've got a couple of those. I believe those are capacitive which is the most robust kind of switch ever made and much too expensive for our modern world. I just love the feel of those and would use one now but the key arrangement is unique and I can't deal with it, although I did do so for a couple of years back around 1990. Actually an XT interface will not work with AT and later, but some of those have a switch to go from XT to AT.

I have quite a few older keyboards, and not just old IBM. Some older computers have special interfaces and nothing new will work with them. Yes, I'm a collector of vintage computers.
 

Snurg

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#48
OJ Yes I was wrong, the pinout is the same but the serial protocol is different.
Back in the 1980s in East Germany the homebrewn Krzikalla BIOS did support both, though. So the homebrewn PCs/ATs in the Soviet bloc could be used with XT and AT keyboards, which was a necessity as all that stuff was very hard to obtain.
Here in the West (I lived in West Berlin back then) we were just decadent, compared with that.
How many good Cherry AT keyboards like that one for 499 euros in that ebay offer I smashed back then... :oops: A new one cost just 60 Marks (~$35), so I just got a new one if a quick repair was not possible.

I think I'll go the university electronics junkyard tomorrow. If lucky, maybe there is another IBM M or even F there... or some 19" rack for my new BBB :)
If I find an old Cherry mechanical keyboard, I'll disassemble it and post photos.
 
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Snurg

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#50
aragats Yes it is useful, but makes using the space bar difficult for me. I hit it just too often accidentally, and when then something pops up, I get confused, or even worse, when I type quickly and don't look at keyboard and screen, it can trigger actions that I didn't want to do at all :eek:

And now I am going to have a morning walk to the electronics junk container. Hoping for good finds :)

Edit: And the symbols on these keys... I don't like them at all :rolleyes:
 
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