Friday, March 4, 2016

Hello Old Friend

Back at Christmas 2012, I asked for and received a new keyboard based on an old PC favorite, customized for a Mac OS X environment. Sadly, it turned out to be neither a true Mac keyboard nor a true PC keyboard, and that made it quirky in some ways that were hard to work around. It's also almost as big and loud as the classic IBM Model M units, which are not their strong suits.

So after couple of years I tried a different direction, this time ordering a compact keyboard from WASD Keyboards, which used Cherry MX Blue switches. Favored by some gamers, Cherry MX switches of all flavors are tough and have good feedback. At the same time, they are lighter and quieter than the classic IBM keyboards, and the compact versions (sans numeric keypad) are quite bit smaller. Mine (with the help of some keyboard mapping software) has been excellent.

I had my last employer buy a duplicate for the office, and when I departed I bequeathed it to an officemate who was interested in Cherry MX-based keyboards. Now that I'm starting a new position, I'll need a new one at the office; for now, I'll take my personal one in when I start I Monday.

This in turn led me to haul one of my original Model M units out of the closet for temporary duty:

My 1996 IBM Model M keyboard, in active service to type this post.
I didn't realize how far I've moved away from that design in the past few years. It's still got its great feedback, but after years of other brands, I feel a bit of a shock to see the huge footprint, arch fingers to the height of the keys, push down that extra bit to get the keys to activate, and hear the unmuffled buckling spring action rattle the windows.

At the end of the day, it's still a classic that does its job beautifully after 20 years.

Retro computing. I haz it.

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