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147939-ibmKey1In an affirmation of the endless obstacles set before us to enforce the fact that life is tough, my faithful IBM clickey key keyboard, (circa 1978) failed this morning. I could not type in my password, so I had no choice but to retire it and replace it with an identical IBM clickey key keyboard I purchased about 12 years ago. After the mandatory fiddling with the connector (can’t see the back of the computer easily, and it’s the old PS/2 connector, happily accepted by my duo core motherboard), I got it working. I must say, the keys seem much livelier, as the key springs must certainly be more robust, not having ever been used, as opposed to the springs in my keyboard that has been tapped for 12 years.
Unfortunately, I spilled a bit of seltzer water into the left side of it yesterday, and this morning, sure enough, there was a problem. I am confident I can clean it out, dry it out, and have a shiny looking fully functioning keyboard again, but I am happily learning that, by typing this very blog entry, that I would not go back to it, since the keys on this unused Model M are much, much, snappier.
So, it was a fortunate accident, which caused me to replace a slowly degrading keyboard with a new condition one.
These Model M’s are the best keyboards ever made, and you can find them on ebay for about $75, used. I, however, was fortunate to acquire an additional four of the highly sought after “compact” Model M keyboards, which do not have the separate number keyboard on the right sided. Despite lacking the (for me) much appreciated number keypad, these original Model M Compact keyboards are going for much more on eBay, since people like the smaller footprint.
I got four of these Compact keyboards from the electronics recycling at work. They came from KGO Radio, which had moved out of the upstairs location when they were sold by Disney.
One of these keyboards, in fact, is still in it’s original box. The other three are in like new condition, and have seen essentially no use, since these were sold by IBM with server systems, instead of office systems. Hence, no daily constant use. Very little use, in fact. They go for up to $300 on eBay, used. Mine are new. I did not install one of them, however, since I had a full size Model M with the keypad I had bought years ago.
I am now happily clicking away on it. It’s so clean, having not been subject to my depradations for 12 years.
So, after a bit of fiddling, my computer has a new feel, and my fingers are interfacing with the world in a new, clicky, wonderful way this morning. One thing about these keyboards is the fact that they are noisy. Wonderfully so. These keyboards are used for film work just to get the sounds of keyboards being used, and the new “rubber dome” keyboards make wimply little squishy clickey sounds, as opposed to the hearty satisfying clicks produced by an actual “buckling spring” key. My keys each have a spring inside, which collapses to the side, (bends sideways) as you press it, and returns to full erect status when you lift your finger. The clicks are solid, the feel is solid, and the letters flow across the screen in sync with the clicks. There is no substitute.
IBM stopped making them years ago.
Incredibly, a computer device in use 25 years ago is still the state of the art! At the time these keyboards were produced, 5 1/4 inch floppy disks, and external huge 10 MB (megabyte)! hard drives (Winchester discs) were the best you could get. Processor speeds were around 8 MHz, I think.
Amazingly, IBM made a keyboard format (the 101 keys) which is still the standard keyboard, and these keyboards interface perfectly with any new computer, using a proprietary USB adaptor. Mine, however, simply plugs into my computer without an adapter, using the PS/2 connector, (You know,like the mouse connector before they all went to USB).
Well, that’s about it. I have four of the Compact keyboards ready when I want to use them, but I am pretty sure this keyboard will last a long, long, time before I eveh have to think about it.
Buy yourself a Model M, and you will see what I mean. A Model M keyboard, along with a Diamond Razorback Mouse, makes your physical interface to your computer something so much more enjoyable, you won’t ever consider using a crappy rubber dome type keyboard. (A rubber dome is just that, where the key sits atop a rubber dome which collapses to make the contact. Imagine a rubber dome compared to a buckling spring mechanical switch under each key. Sure, you can buy a keyboard for a few bucks, but that’s about what it is worth.


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