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Author Topic: Mechanical Keyboards  (Read 28537 times)

ankhtahr

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Mechanical Keyboards
« on: 14 Apr 2013, 10:36 »

<mod>This seemed the best place to start this split of the keyboard discussion that started in the TMI thread</mod>

also i hate physical keyboards. >:(
what

I mean, seriously, what

* bhtooefr is typing this on a 122-key, 9.3 pound keyboard from hell, with amazingly tactile keys

Woo! IBM Model F capacitive buckling spring Terminal keyboards! (bhtooefr: I don't know if you have yet realized who I am, but I know you from a different forum. And also own a 122-Key model F, the one which was prominently featured in one of the other forum's prominent members…).

There is nothing as nice for typing than a good mechanical keyboard. Well, maybe a IBM Selectric Typewriter (bhtooefr will agree) but I don't have one of these.
« Last Edit: 17 Apr 2013, 02:54 by pwhodges »
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pwhodges

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #1 on: 14 Apr 2013, 10:43 »

I have two of those IBM buckling-key keyboards :)
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ankhtahr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #2 on: 14 Apr 2013, 10:49 »

Model M or Model F? The Model F series is much older, but feels even better than the Model M series. The difference lies in the innards. While Model Ms use a membrane sheet to detect the activation of the switch, the Model Fs have a capacitive hammer under the spring, which changes the capacity on the plate when activated. Because of this Model Fs also have NKRO (N-Key-Rollover, you can press N keys simultanously and all of them register).
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pwhodges

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #3 on: 14 Apr 2013, 11:07 »

Model M or Model F?

They're both Model M, P/N 1391406; from the last batch made by Lexmark with IBM labels.  I prefer the model M to the model F anyway.
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Masterpiece

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #4 on: 14 Apr 2013, 11:08 »

I love keyboards that go "BAM BAM BAM BAM" every time you type on them. Seriously, those are awesome.
« Last Edit: 17 Apr 2013, 02:53 by pwhodges »
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Bluesummers

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #5 on: 14 Apr 2013, 11:14 »

I had a Dell QuietKey keyboard...boy, that name was the biggest load of crap.

"TIKKATIKKATIKKATIKKATIKKATIKKATIKKATIKKATIKKATIKKA"
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ankhtahr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #6 on: 14 Apr 2013, 11:18 »

Model M or Model F?

They're both Model M, P/N 1391406; from the last batch made by Lexmark with IBM labels.  I prefer the model M to the model F anyway.
nah, only these are the real deal:
(click to show/hide)
(this is actually the keyboard I own)
Actually I don't use this board most of the time, so my daily driver is a Unicomp Terminal board. And for gaming I use a modified Cherry G80-2551:
(click to show/hide)

Mechanical keyboards FTW!

and Masterpiece: These Model Fs are probably the loudest keyboards you can get.
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Bluesummers

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #7 on: 14 Apr 2013, 11:28 »

Oh my god...you could anchor a ship with those keyboards!
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ankhtahr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #8 on: 14 Apr 2013, 11:30 »

In keyboard enthusiast circles these boards are being referred to as "aircraft carrier"  :-D
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Masterpiece

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #9 on: 14 Apr 2013, 11:32 »

I wasn't aware of a thing called "keyboard enthusiast circles".

edit: I found a typo and am a Nazi.
« Last Edit: 14 Apr 2013, 11:41 by Masterpiece »
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ankhtahr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #10 on: 14 Apr 2013, 11:37 »

There are multiple Forums about keyboards. One US-Centered forum, which is mainly about commerce, one a bit more Euro-Centered, which is more about older keyboards and is more community focused, and then there are multiple Korean and other Asian communities.
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mtmerrick

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #11 on: 14 Apr 2013, 14:58 »

RE: keyboards -

How the HELL do you guys type on a mechanical keyboard?

I have the flattest keyboard I can find (gateway OEM bundled keyboard I got from my uncle) and I tell ya what, it's much easier to type on my tablet. I do need a little tactile feedback for gaming, though. But for general purpose keyboarding what I really want is a TransluSense Luminae or a Minebea Cool Leaf.
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pwhodges

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #12 on: 14 Apr 2013, 15:02 »

The feel of a physical keyboard gives you feedback through the fingers when touch-typing, which enables your hands to stay in the correct relationship with it.  With a virtual keyboard you have to look at the image you're typing on to keep in line, thus rendering touch-typing impossible.

Disclaimer - I can't touch-type anyway!  But I still find it much harder to type on a pad.
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bhtooefr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #13 on: 14 Apr 2013, 15:14 »

There are multiple Forums about keyboards. One US-Centered forum, which is mainly about commerce, one a bit more Euro-Centered, which is more about older keyboards and is more community focused, and then there are multiple Korean and other Asian communities.
Plus there's keyboard or input device subforums on a few other sites, too, although those tend to be more gaming-oriented. And a couple subreddits, although one of them has a Ripster problem. (Namely, it's run by Ripster.)

And now I know who you are. :)

And, yes, the Selectric is my favorite by far. Beam spring is nice, but I'm not sure I prefer it to a Model F or a Unicomp M (what I really want is something like a Unicomp F, with Unicomp's modern internal tolerances (for low peak force, in the 60-65 cN territory - and this is completely unlike their modern external tolerances, which are dreadful), but with the low preload and very high precision of a Model F. That combo would give me everything I love about the F, without the fatigue I get in a long typing session).

And now you all have way too much information about ~30 year old computer keyboards. :D

RE: keyboards -

How the HELL do you guys type on a mechanical keyboard?
By placing my fingers on the home keys, then moving them around, and pressing down on the keys as needed.  :parrot:

To be more serious, I find it far more precise - well sculpted keycaps help locate my fingers on the keycap, and then the higher quality keyboards give excellent tactile feedback as far as when the keystroke is sent, so that I don't have to bottom out the key to know that the keystroke was sent (although I don't actively avoid bottoming out, and bottoming out is where a lot of noise in typing comes from).

The keyboard I'm using right now... here's a graph of the key force:



Yes, they mixed SI and imperial units.  :psyduck: In any case, the top line (to the tip on the right) is the force as far as pushing the key down (at the tip is when the key bottoms out, and key force goes nearly infinite (it's not actually infinite, with enough force you could break through the two steel plates holding the keyboard together, but unless you're hitting the keys with the force of a motorcycle crash or more, it's effectively infinite)). At the "make" point, the keystroke is sent, right then, so you get the "snap" of the key, you get the click sound, and you get the character on the screen. Then, when you release the key, it goes through a hysteresis period - that's where it's been released further than the make point, but it's still "made" (that is, electrically actuated), and then to the break point (where the key "un-snaps", although that isn't as violent as the initial snap, and the computer sees that the key has been released).
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ankhtahr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #14 on: 14 Apr 2013, 15:16 »

I can't type on a touchscreen very well, I just can't find the keys blindly. I need to rest my fingers on the homerow, which is impossible on a touchscreen. Also mechanical keyboards (i.e. real mechanical keyboards, which have single switch units under each key) usually actuate in the middle of the keypush, so you don't have to push the key down all the way. Also typing on a touch screen isn't particularly good for your wrists, as each impact on the surface affects your wrist. Your fingers get stopped from moving very rapidly, which exerts a great force on your joints. When typing on a mechanical keyboard you can learn to type without “bottoming out”. That's impossible on most rubber dome keyboards (RD boards are the typical keyboards you can find everywhere. There are also Scissor switch keyboards, which are lower, which have their origin in notebook keyboards), and most rubber dome keyboards require high forces to actuate. IIRC most rubber dome keyboards actuate at a force of 65cN (which corresponds with the force of 65g at 9,81m/s accelaration, so normal gravity), while the most typical mechanical switches actuate at 45-55cN, depending on the variant. You might really want to try a keyboard with Cherry MX Red switches. Non-tactile, linear 45cN switches, which are really comfortable if you don't bottom them out. Or Cherry MX Black, which are more widely available and which are easier not to bottom out, as they actuate at 55cN.

If you want a really comfortable and ergonomic keyboard, try this one:

It's one of the most ergonomically shaped keyboards apart from the Datahand (which costs currently around 2700$ more…):


Warning - while you were typing a new reply has been posted. You may wish to review your post.

Well then, hi there bhtooefr!
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mtmerrick

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #15 on: 14 Apr 2013, 15:23 »

Touch typing is all but impossible without learning your specific keyboard. EVERY keyboard has enough differences from the next that your muscle memory and layout memorization from your keyboard aren't applicable to the next one you go to. And I was still able to pull off some pretty good typing on the TransluSense Luminae I tried at CES. Also, I haven't had to look at the keyboard on my tablet in ages.

Warning - while you were typing 3 nice long new replies have been posted. You may wish to facepalm repeatedly.
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bhtooefr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #16 on: 14 Apr 2013, 15:37 »

That's the trick, though, desktop keyboards tend to have standardized spacing (19 mm) of keys, making touch typing much easier even with unfamiliar keyboards. And, unless they get fancy with the layout, they tend to stick to the layout originally released on the IBM Model M 101/102-key keyboards, with slight variations (such as the Windows keys).

Laptop keyboards are a bit different, but I can usually switch between laptop keyboards, even with very different key spacing, without too many issues - it's the special functions, which do often move around (and the Fn key - I get used to the ThinkPad/Apple standard of Fn at the bottom left corner, and then switch to a Fujitsu or Dell which swaps it for left Ctrl, and wonder why things don't work) that trip me up.
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ankhtahr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #17 on: 14 Apr 2013, 15:42 »

Also it really helped that I switched over to a different layout. Admittedly, the one I use (“Neo”) is optimized for the German language, but it adapts very well to English as well, as English was the second language the designers had in mind. It contains the vowels and consonants you use the most on the homerow, and has the positions of all keys optimized for bigrams and trigrams. It's very nice for programmers, as it features multiple layers, the third layer e.g. contains {},(),[],<>,\,/,*?#$|~ all on very comfortable positions, and is activated by keeping the Caps-Lock key pressed. The fourth layer contains a Numberpad under the right hand and arrow keys and other navigation keys (like backspace, delete, tab, enter, page up, page down etc.) under the left hand. The fifth layer contains greek letters, and the sixth mathematical symbols. Terms like ∀x∈ℝ∃0∈ℝ:x+0=x are very easy to type. Some people may also have noticed that I sometimes use the correct quotation marks (“ and ” instead of " and "), these are also available in this layout. Well, and to me typing in different languages isn't a problem as well, as I can even type things like Sigur Rós' Icelandic titles “Dauðalogn” or “Sæglópur”. This layout is simply fantastic.
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mtmerrick

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #18 on: 14 Apr 2013, 15:46 »

I think I have a picture of my keyboards here somewhere.....

Yup,  here we go.





old pictures (the setup has changed a bit) but my laptop and the keyboard I have plugged into it haven't changed.

Yes, the laptop has a 10key pad on the side but I never use it,  so I really didn't care when it got cut out of the pic.

Argh, ninja'd again. Also, I can do all that with SwiftKey, while keeping the qwertyuiop layout.  :-D
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bhtooefr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #19 on: 14 Apr 2013, 15:48 »

Personally, I like OS X's approach of hiding useful stuff under Option, on a QWERTY layout.

(I actually tried US-International on a Windows machine for a while, and found that it had the fatal flaw of, " was mapped to umlaut first, and to get a quotation mark, you had to hit " twice!)
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ankhtahr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #20 on: 14 Apr 2013, 15:49 »

I just don't understand why one would want to keep the QWERTY (or in my case the QWERTZ) layout. It's one of the most unergonomic layouts for a keyboard. It was specifically designed to slow down typists and bring the often used keys away from each other, to stop typewriters from jamming. It has absolutely no use today, it is just being kept in use due to it's wide distribution, similarly to the imperial system in the UK and the US.
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mtmerrick

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #21 on: 14 Apr 2013, 15:55 »

Why? Because everything uses it. It's like saying, I'm the best programmer in the world but I only code in >insert obscure programming language no one had ever heard of before and isn't compatible with anything<

If you type in DVORAK, and leave your DVORAK keyboard, you essentially lose 100% of your typing skill.

It's not like metric, where you can just do a conversion.
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ankhtahr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #22 on: 14 Apr 2013, 16:01 »

Well, after a short transition of around a minute I can touch type in QWERTZ just as good as I could before I switched over. Also I carry a flash drive which contains a xmodmap file, and a AutoHotKey-script, which allow me to use Neo on every Windows, Linux or Mac OS without root privileges. On most systems which use X the Neo-Layout is even preinstalled, so simply typing "setxkbmap de neo" loads it.
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Thrillho

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #23 on: 14 Apr 2013, 16:08 »

I just don't understand why one would want to keep the QWERTY (or in my case the QWERTZ) layout. It's one of the most unergonomic layouts for a keyboard. It was specifically designed to slow down typists and bring the often used keys away from each other, to stop typewriters from jamming. It has absolutely no use today, it is just being kept in use due to it's wide distribution, similarly to the imperial system in the UK and the US.

You mean aside from the fact that it's the only kind I've ever used and I can hit 120wpm on it?
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mtmerrick

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #24 on: 14 Apr 2013, 16:09 »

Hey, I actually agree with Gareth here.  :psyduck:
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bhtooefr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #25 on: 14 Apr 2013, 16:12 »

I actually tried Dvorak a while back, and didn't like it - not because of having to learn a completely new layout (that was frustrating, but not really it), but because my QWERTY typing style is actually to move my whole hand (and sometimes arm, even) to get it to the characters that I want, so I didn't really have much of the downsides of QWERTY, and I found it uncomfortable to keep my hands in one place.

Really, at some point, a moderator should split this out into CLICK. :P
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mtmerrick

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #26 on: 14 Apr 2013, 16:19 »

Yeah, I agree - I don't type "properly" either. I type on the left ⅔-¾with my left hand in a kinda crawling motion, keeping my right hand on the mouse or the arrow keys and jump over to the far right of the letter keys if I need to use those letters.

On a small keyboard (my Bluetooth keyboard, a netbook, smaller tablet) I can type with my left hand exclusively.
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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #27 on: 14 Apr 2013, 17:08 »

Touch typing is all but impossible without learning your specific keyboard. EVERY keyboard has enough differences from the next that your muscle memory and layout memorization from your keyboard aren't applicable to the next one you go to.
On the full-sized keyboards of desk-top computers, terminals etc. the differences are pretty trivial. On any working day, I might type on keyboards from several different manufacturers: Apple, Sun, HP, generic PC hardware etc. I don't have a problem touch-typing on any of them. A few differences in function-key placing would be about it. Laptops are more of a problem.

I am a fast touch-typist, and a huge fan of old-school mechanical keyboards. No rubber-sheet keyboard, never mind a touch-pad/glass pseudo-keyboard, can compare with the tactile feed-back and finger-friendly force-curve of a switched keyboard. I can't get on at all with the modern, horrible rubber Mac keyboards, and on my personal machine I use a Matias Tactile Pro. I bought mine three Macs ago in 2005, so it is an older model that looks like this. The since-deleted "power button" above the F13 key is a relic of older Macs that you could turn on/off from the keyboard. Since at least my old G4 machine, all it does is bring up the same shutdown-menu you get when you press Ctrl-Eject.
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bhtooefr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #28 on: 14 Apr 2013, 18:14 »

Actually, it goes back even further than that.

First ADB computer was the IIGS (and ALL ADB keyboards have the "power" button), and it had its own keyboard (you can certainly use it with no issues at all on any ADB Mac, but that keyboard was only sold for the IIGS). And it didn't have soft power, just a switch on the rear. It was the RESET button (the 8-bit Apple II usage model being dependent on being able to easily (partially, anyway) reset the machine with a Ctrl-Reset sequence, and fully reboot with OA-Ctrl-Reset - more on that later).

The Macintosh II, several months later, was the first machine to actually use that button for power. (Although, it was intended from the beginning as a power button - ADB even has a dedicated pin for that - just that the first Apple product to have it, didn't use it as that.) And, any ADB Mac, you can do Cmd-Ctrl-Power (or I think it even works on USB ones, even x86 - I'd try it on my MBPR, but I don't want to do a hard reboot right now) and get an instant reboot. So, that power key isn't just Mac legacy, it's Apple II legacy, straight back to 1977 (and, actually, any Apple I keyboard needed to have a reset key, too, so even though Apple didn't have an official keyboard (although they recommended a specific Datanetics part), it goes back to the Apple I, in 1976).

Speaking of Cmd, and power being the reset key... notice how every ADB keyboard, and quite a few earlier USB Mac keyboards, has an Apple logo on the Cmd key? That's not a gratuitous logo (well, it is gratuitous on the USB keyboards). It's for Apple IIGS compatibility - see, by the time the IIGS came out, a lot of software referenced the Open Apple key for keyboard shortcuts. So, when the Apple II and Mac lines were unified as far as peripherals, Open Apple became Command, Closed Apple became Option (although the logo never appeared on that key). And, the Open Apple and Closed Apple keys? They appeared on the Apple II line in the //e, in 1983, albeit implemented in a rather quirky way - they were actually tied to the joystick buttons 0 and 1 (so that nothing keyboard-related had to be changed, the Apple II keyboard subsystem really having descended from early ASCII terminal keyboards, and not the modern OS-handled modifier setup - for instance, Ctrl isn't handled by the OS or ROM, it actually shifts the entire keyboard down by 0x40 and ignores shift, IIRC - so Ctrl-G (ASCII 0x47) becomes BEL, or ASCII 0x7). But, those buttons came from the Apple /// - meaning that the Apple logo being on the Cmd key is a bit of 1980 legacy (although you could argue that it's 1983, because no Apple /// software runs on the II).
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Redball

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #29 on: 14 Apr 2013, 21:58 »

I can't type on a touchscreen very well, I just can't find the keys blindly. I need to rest my fingers on the homerow, which is impossible on a touchscreen.
One of the more awesome displays of typing virtuosity: Barmymoo, on an iPad, about as fast as I can type on my laptop.
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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #30 on: 14 Apr 2013, 23:37 »

Touch typing is all but impossible without learning your specific keyboard. EVERY keyboard has enough differences from the next that your muscle memory and layout memorization from your keyboard aren't applicable to the next one you go to.

please tell me someone else is laughing at this too
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Lupercal

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #31 on: 15 Apr 2013, 14:14 »

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #32 on: 15 Apr 2013, 14:24 »

Oh yeah that's really hot, Mark..

Mmmrh~..
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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #33 on: 16 Apr 2013, 09:54 »

I just don't understand why one would want to keep the QWERTY (or in my case the QWERTZ) layout. It's one of the most unergonomic layouts for a keyboard. It was specifically designed to slow down typists and bring the often used keys away from each other, to stop typewriters from jamming. It has absolutely no use today, it is just being kept in use due to it's wide distribution, similarly to the imperial system in the UK and the US.

MYTH!!  Well, the first, bolded part.  The stuff about keeping the typewriter keys from jamming, that's true.  Which is why it allowed for faster typing

One of my aunts could type dictation on a manual typewriter, 140 wpm, easy. 


Frightening woman. 
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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #34 on: 16 Apr 2013, 09:58 »

When I interviewed someone on the phone for my newspaper, I typed their responses, abbreviating as much as possible (In the 60s, I invented IDK). But sometimes the source would connect the sound of the typing with their vocal response, get a little irritated and ask me to stop typing.
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Lupercal

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #35 on: 16 Apr 2013, 14:41 »

She is one hot tamale.

Wow, and I can touch type and barely get to 90wpm. I thought that was good! No wonder I didn't get that job at the Houses of Parliament.

(Not as an MP, as a typist. DUH)

Anyway, what is all this about keyboards? Keyboards aren't gross. Unless we're talking about my work one which my predecessor delightfully left half a year's worth of sandwich crumbs in which have now fused to the keyboard itself. Yay.
« Last Edit: 17 Apr 2013, 02:52 by pwhodges »
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bhtooefr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #36 on: 16 Apr 2013, 16:47 »

140 wpm on a manual typewriter is holy shit level territory.

Definitely within the realm of possibility, but a typebar machine is an art to get high speeds going - it requires perfect typing cadence to go that fast, especially on a manual (where the typebar is on a slower arc, rather than being quickly released and retracted). Basically, on a typebar machine, the typebars fly out with the key action, and fall back when the key is lifted on manual typewriters, or immediately on electric typewriters. Only one typebar can be at the paper at once. Therefore, you have to time your keypresses to make sure that multiple typebars are in flight, but arrive at different times (and the spacing can be dependent on how close the typebars are to one another, even). On a manual, you have to have a strong, smooth press to make sure the typebar hits the paper firmly, but you have to make that press consistent between the keystrokes, and you have to control the POSITION of each typebar in flight.  :psyduck:

But, the fastest typists that were trained to that level actually insisted on typebar machines instead of more modern innovations like the Selectric. See, the Selectric is far, far easier for non-skilled typists to use - it could "cache" the next keystroke while the current keystroke was printing, simulating a second typebar in flight without any chance of clashing. But, the fastest that it could run is the equivalent of 186 wpm (a standard word being 5 characters), or to put it a couple other ways, 15.5 characters per second, or 64.5 ms per character. While that's less than the average rate of most fast typists, it IS slower than the burst rate. The Selectric interposer system can only absorb one character in "stroke storage", so if you hit a key, hit another key, and then hit a third key, with less than 129 ms between the first and last keypresses, the Selectric is unable to keep up, and that third key will not depress until 129 ms has passed. I'll note that the fastest typist in the world was Stella Pajunas, and she drove an IBM typebar machine to an average of 216 words per minute, over one minute, in 1946 - faster than the theoretical maximum of the Selectric!
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Redball

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #37 on: 16 Apr 2013, 17:13 »

But, the fastest that it could run is the equivalent of 186 wpm (a standard word being 5 characters), or to put it a couple other ways, 15.5 characters per second, or 64.5 ms per character.
In another thread a month ago, I was describing the problem with using a duplex teletype machine 55-60 years ago in  Western Union offices. The machines had a maximum rate of 65wpm and locked up if you tried to burst. It made for a very rhythmic typing technique.
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mtmerrick

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #38 on: 16 Apr 2013, 17:40 »

FYI when i help out at my uncle's office, all the computers there have Logitech K120s.

Nice keyboards, if a little tall on the keys.  :-D
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cesium133

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #39 on: 16 Apr 2013, 20:45 »

So... on the subject of keyboards, I have three old IBM Model M keyboards that I fished out of a scrap heap, one of which I'm currently typing on. The computers they came with were also in the same heap, but I have enough old computers as it is.
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bhtooefr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #40 on: 17 Apr 2013, 03:17 »

It's actually kinda amazing how many Model Ms hit the scrap heap, and how many have been fished out.

I think that's reducing now, now that people realize they have value on eBay (and the ones that were in service in businesses have already hit the scrap heap).

Then again, the Model M does have two achilles heels, both related to the membrane. If any contamination does work its way into the membrane, it's done, good only for parts. (Later ones had drainage channels to alleviate that, though). And, compounding the first problem, all Model Ms are held together by stakes in the top plate, that are melted and squeezed in place, then allowed to cool, forming "rivets". Those rivets, especially on older keyboards, are likely to break, affecting the feel and durability of the keyboard (which is where the "bolt mod" comes from - drill out the rivets, replace with bolts and nuts).

In another thread a month ago, I was describing the problem with using a duplex teletype machine 55-60 years ago in  Western Union offices. The machines had a maximum rate of 65wpm and locked up if you tried to burst. It made for a very rhythmic typing technique.

I hear the Hell Feldfernschreiber (Feld-Hell for short, used in amateur radio nowadays, a simplex teletype of sorts, but sending images of the characters instead of an arbitrary bitstream representing the character) is an especially... fun... one to try to type fast on. 2.5 characters per second (for 30 wpm), and the key will only go down when the drum is in the correct position to start a character, meaning you have to stage the next character, and drop it at just the right point. (And, the drum and paper feed are geared off of the same motor, IIRC - this also means that the paper is always coming out even when there's no transmission or reception.)
« Last Edit: 17 Apr 2013, 03:30 by bhtooefr »
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KingOfIreland

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #41 on: 17 Apr 2013, 05:49 »

Oh man, I had a model M. It was my favourite thing in the world until I somehow managed to break it.
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bhtooefr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #42 on: 17 Apr 2013, 06:06 »

I've only actually seen two totally dead ones, and one was in a rather catastrophic power surge event.

Let's see what it took out...

Surge protector (yes, it actually took it out, and yes, it was a surge protector, not just a power strip).
Power supply
Motherboard
Presumably CPU
RAM (to the point that, when I put the RAM in another box, smoke started pouring off the RAM, and that box never POSTed again)
Keyboard controller
Mouse
WAN port on wifi router (but nothing else. I've still got that router somewhere, and it's got DD-WRT, so I could pretty easily work around that)
Cable modem

All drives were somehow spared, the monitor was spared.

I resurrected that 1391401 with the controller from a parts keyboard (a 52G9658 of very similar vintage (so same controller revision), with a damaged cable - moved the SDL connector from the original controller to the 52G9658's controller), and I still have that keyboard.

Also, another 1391401, that my mom was using, got stuff in the membrane and started acting up.
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ankhtahr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #43 on: 17 Apr 2013, 06:35 »

Wow, lucky the drives were spared.

But thare is another thing that Model Ms are not good with, and that is dust. I have a Model M 122-Key Terminal keyboard, which was used in a garage or something, and the whole keyboard was covered in, I'd guess it was dust from brakes. It works without any trouble, but the keys are hella scratchy. I guess the only solution would be bolt modding, and washing the barrel plate.
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KingOfIreland

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #44 on: 17 Apr 2013, 08:17 »

Yeah, I have no idea how it happened. I do remember that at the time (I was living at home then) my dad used to complain that my typing would wake him up on the other side of the house. BEST KEYBOARD.
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bhtooefr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #45 on: 17 Apr 2013, 10:47 »

You can actually get one new, with Windows (or Mac, but that one kinda sucks) keys, and all: http://pckeyboard.com/

And somehow they made them UGLIER than before. Still made in Lexington, Kentucky, though, using some of IBM/Lexmark's old tooling, in an old furniture factory.
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ankhtahr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #46 on: 17 Apr 2013, 10:54 »

I like Unicomp keyboards. The 122 Emulator one is still my daily driver, and I consider it to be the best keyboard I own for daily usage, and it was the first mechanical keyboard I've ordered. (It wasn't the first to arrive though. The aforementioned 122-Key one arrived earlier, and two boards I've bought from a DT member arrived even earlier than that one (G84-4100 PTMDE, G80-1800 LUMDE-2 IIRC))
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bhtooefr

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #47 on: 17 Apr 2013, 11:05 »

I still say, my ideal keyboard would be a Model F with Unicomp internal tolerances, after a couple years of use (took about that long for my EnduraPro to break in). Then, it'd have the Model F crispness, low preload, and low post-tactile force, but with the Unicomp low spring force.

My favorite two boards are my EnduraPro (despite the awful pointing stick implementation) and my aircraft carrier.
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Akima

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #48 on: 17 Apr 2013, 19:55 »

Personally, I like OS X's approach of hiding useful stuff under Option, on a QWERTY layout.
One nice thing about my Matias TactilePro is that the alternative characters you get with Opt and Shift-Opt are printed on the key-caps.
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jwhouk

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #49 on: 18 Apr 2013, 06:26 »

I remember typing on those when I was in college. I'd forgotten how loud they could be.

Those keyboards are probably the reason why I type so heavy on my current keyboard (which, I think, is on its third computer now).
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