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What is "The Best Keyboard Ever Made"?

Terry Yager

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All this brain talk makes me think of the distant future, when keyboards at all may obsoleted and computers become assistents to the brain, probably interconnected wirelessly at private frequencies. Maybe it is sci-fi, but part of the technology is there already today for disabled people. To run a computer with a keyboard will be sooo 20th century, almost as outdated as we might think it is to hit two stones to get a spark and start a fire.

I can hardly wait to get my TekWar implant and jack-in to the net!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TekWar

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Chuck(G)

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All this brain talk makes me think of the distant future, when keyboards at all may obsoleted and computers become assistents to the brain, probably interconnected wirelessly at private frequencies. Maybe it is sci-fi, but part of the technology is there already today for disabled people. To run a computer with a keyboard will be sooo 20th century, almost as outdated as we might think it is to hit two stones to get a spark and start a fire.

Lately, I've been wondering why we still have widgets with screens when it's possible to simply project an image directly onto my retinas.

But I'm old-fashioned; I think at about the same speed at which I type. The problem, as I have discovered, is that I often speak faster than I can think...;)
 

barythrin

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That brings current keyboards into the mix (off topic, but the thread is wavering anyway lol). The Xybernaut MA-IV, etc that have the headset say a similar claim of projecting the image into the retena. That sounds cooler than it is. It's just a mini screen on a quite uncomfortable head mount with a see through mirror in front of it that reflects the image in front of you so you can see it. It'd be nicer if everyone around you couldn't see it as well, but whatever.

The MIT Twidler was a semi-historical one handed keyboard.. obviously created for all the college kids that heard about typing with one hand j/k it was via a discussion we all had on the wearable computer list back in the day trying to figure out some of the best methods for portable typing. Some of the things mentioned were adding contacts to a jacket or shirt that you could type on both side of your jacket (split keyboard). One person thought about typing with your tongue with contacts inside of your mouth (I didn't dig that idea).
 

Chuck(G)

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'Way back when, a co-worker thought he'd take a high-tech approach to gambling (this was pre-microprocessor). He rigged up a couple of LEDs in his glasses and a switch in his shoe that he could work with his toe and concealed various bits of circuitry and batteries in his clothes. The idea was to count cards in blackjack.

Well, he went to Reno, and to make a long story short, it didn't work. His companion who came along to watch the show found him in a stall in the men's room trying to repair his failed contraption.

But I could imagine simple signaling devices activated by bringing one's teeth together in a certain way, etc. A player of any musical wind instrument will tell you that there's a lot that goes on in the mouth, lips and fingers to get just the right sound, so I could imagine a data entry device based on that.

So there aren't any devices out there that actually scan a raster onto the retina?
 

vwestlife

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Now that you mention it, although this may not count our Z-15(1?) system (Zenith Data Systems 8088) and it's keyboard makes a click sound but it is through the speaker (which I think is actually in the bottom of the keyboard, unless I'm remembering it incorrectly as a child).
The Atari 400 and 800 also made a key click beep through an internal speaker -- separate from the 4-voice tone generator, which had its own external audio output. All newer Atari computers (XL, XE, ST, STe, TT, Falcon, etc.) routed the key click beep through the main audio output and no longer had an internal speaker dedicated to it. On all, the key beep can be disabled if desired.

The NEC PC-8001 series also had an electronic key click beep through its small internal speaker. Its keyboard had no tactile feel, but it was very sturdily constructed with a metal case, so it had a nice solid feel when typing.
 

TNC

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For me is "Das Keyboard II" the best one ever. The old IBM klicky XT keyboards will also give you a really sweet soft experience.... ;)
 

carlsson

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Yesterday I borrowed a boxed BBC Micro from a friend, because mine has broken down and I want to diagnose what's the fault. In the last two years I've owned four different Beebs, and felt the keyboard is nothing particular. Now this fifth one.. wow, it has such an instant, tactile response that I suspect it is barely used, just discoloured over the years. I was actually shocked to type on it, almost like the characters displayed themselves before I pressed the keys.

What I'm trying to say is that the feel and response of a keyboard may depend a lot about what condition the computer is. I also realize a tactile response does not automatically make a keyboard nice to type on for a long while.
 

Tinkerer

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As far as I know, all of the Northgate Omnikey keyboards 'click' and they use mechanical ALPS switches as did Zenith, Dell, Focus, and Leading Edge, to name a few.
 

Fallo

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Nothing will ever beat the Model M, IMO. The IBM XT keyboard is unmatched in terms of sheer indestructibility, but the amount of noise it makes is a bit irritating.

I had an NEC 101-key keyboard which I did not like at all. The keys made a very springy sound that I found annoying. They were also very flat, and hurt the tendons in my hand after a while. Eventually I killed the spacebar playing the PC version of Double Dragon (try that game and you'll see what I mean).

I'm typing this on a Compaq keyboard that I've always detested. It's a typically modern Chinese-made piece of garbage with very thin plastic and mushy rubber dome keys. It also has a bunch of buttons on the top that do things like go to shopping websites, Compaq's website, or check e-mail. They need a special driver, and have no function on my AMD 64 machine. Still, the black-and-silver colors of the keyboard are cool. Reminds you a little of the TRS-80.
 

Mr.Amiga500

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I just got a surprisingly un-yellowed (is that a word?) Apple Extended Keyboard (M0115C). It is - as I expected - very similar in feel to the Apple Keyboard (M0116). I don't know why people keep saying it's a "clicky keyboard", because it certainly isn't. It only makes noise when the key hits bottom. If this is what people call "clicky", then nearly every keyboard is a clicky keyboard. So far, the only real clicky keyboards I've ever tried are the ones made by IBM. (need to check out that Tandy)

It is a nice keyboard though - just nothing really special. I wouldn't say it's "The Best Keyboard Ever Made". There are plenty of keyboards that feel just as nice (Amiga 1000, NeXTstation, SGI, basically anything else that uses Alps or Cherry switches). I actually prefer the feel of the TRS-80 Model III keyboard or early TI-99/4A.
 

kishy

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IBM Model M...just about any of them (there are about a bazillion varieties), with a few definite fails for sure.

Buckling spring like the Model F XT / AT, but with a layout that's actually usable. Noise is a plus. Feel is awesome.

I game on one. Not one like you'd expect though.
It's a converted 3179 terminal keyboard which happens to use Model M technology.
 

Anonymous Freak

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I like the Model M, but I also like the Apple Extended Keyboard (basically their version of the Model M; sadly, ADB-to-USB adapters don't work in the later versions of OS X, so I can't use it on my newer machines, but it works great on my Blue & White G3, which is the last desktop to have an ADB port.)

My NeXT keyboard is nice, but not excellent.

One style I have become enamored with is the recent spate of 'modern large chicklet' keyboards like Apple's latest batch. I find that I can type faster on my new Apple Wireless Keyboard than I can on any other keyboard. I don't know why, but it's just really easy to type on. (The only problem I have with mine is that it occasionally decides when I hit a modifier key to not release it when I stop pressing it. I have to turn the keyboard off then on again to get normal function back. It happens most often with the 'fn' key, but it also happens with any modifier key. I've had it happen with the space bar once, too.)
 

Mr.Amiga500

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The horror... the horror...

The horror... the horror...

sadly, ADB-to-USB adapters don't work in the later versions of OS X, so I can't use it on my newer machines

What?? That was my whole plan! I don't understand why it would stop working with newer versions. It doesn't make sense.

I bet Apple did that on purpose. They want to sell new hardware, not have people use old hardware. Years ago, I used to think Apple was a "good" company and Microsoft was the "evil". That was before I started getting and researching Apple computers. Obviously, they've both been just as evil all along.
 

Anonymous Freak

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What?? That was my whole plan! I don't understand why it would stop working with newer versions. It doesn't make sense.

I bet Apple did that on purpose. They want to sell new hardware, not have people use old hardware. Years ago, I used to think Apple was a "good" company and Microsoft was the "evil". That was before I started getting and researching Apple computers. Obviously, they've both been just as evil all along.

I think it's just that Griffin, the company that made the iMate, got lazy and didn't bother writing new drivers when 10.4 came out.
 

Raven

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Yeah that's a bit fail. I have a Model F that is most definitely used and beat up, it was even thrown away and left in the rain (when I stumbled across it and saved it) but it still works and looks nice. :)
 

saundby

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My favorite keyboard wasn't on a computer--it was on my IBM Executive typewriter. Worst keyboard--Atari XEGS. Like typing on a capacitive foam pad with cheesy plastic keys. I'd rather use my original Atari 400 or an original Pet membrane (or yes, a TS1000.)

And the 026 was good, but the 029 was better. ;)
 

geoffm3

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I think my list would have to be (in no particular order):

Northgate Omnikey
Coleco ADAM
Mitsumi clicky and non-clicky mechanical switch keyboards (Amiga and PC... I have a really nice ALR branded clicky one). These use mechanical leaf switches. They tend to get sticky with age but are easily cleaned with cotton swab/rubbing alcohol).
Apple Extended Keyboard, and the one that came with the Apple IIgs. Both are excellent.

Probably my least favorite is a lot of other's favs... the infamous IBM Model M. It's just too clicky for my tastes, and the travel is too deep.
 
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