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The declining quality of pc keyboards

Posted on 2012-03-11
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Last Modified: 2012-03-12
What is it with computer keyboards.  They keep getting smaller and now they're not even real keys.  they're tiny tic-tac type of keys.  I can't do speed typing.   Am I the only person who's finding this a bit annoying?
I want the NORTHGATE click keyboards back!  Anyone old enough to remember those?
And what's with the reconfiguration of the delete and insert keys?
Who decides these things?  
Aren't there any standards?
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Question by:brothertruffle880
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11 Comments
 
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by:John Hurst
ID: 37707677
I am not familiar with the name Nothgate, but I remember, and have in the basement, an IBM Keyboard that with keys that clicked. It was an excellent keyboard but noisy.

I have the following keyboard (or a close variant) on my ThinkCenter M90:

http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/webca/LenovoPortal/en_CA/catalog.workflow:item.detail?GroupID=38&Code=73P5220&category-id=E9ADAEB6787146E29B78400A33E7FE8A&hide_menu_area=yes

It is full size and has real keys. The old ones do not appear to be coming back.

.... Thinkpads_User
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☠ MASQ ☠ earned 250 total points
ID: 37707701
Aren't there any standards?
Nope, and as long as we want to push down the prices of our computers we have to accept that manufacturers will cut their margins by including the cheapest components that are acceptable, that seems to count double for peripherals like mice and keyboards.

If you want a taste of the old days try a keyboard from http://steelseries.com/products/keyboards
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by:kdebugs
ID: 37707718
Hi Thinkpads, you're a child then ;-)

I remember the northgate keyboards. I knew a few people who were big fan of them, as well as others that had to use ibm keyboards. Northgate took such pride in their keyboards, that they were actually one of the selling points for their pc's. OK. Enough of the history lesson.

You can thank apple for chicklet keyboards. Once apple does something, no matter how little sense it might make, it's automatically considered the coolest thing in the milky way and everyone wants to follow.

I suggest you check ebay for used keyboards.

I can say that I like my Microsoft Wired 600 keyboard. It feels quite soft; similar to a laptop's (non-chicklet laptop, that is). Dell's new keyboards are also like this - soft and with little key travel distance, which makes typing faster.

clickykeyboards.com seems to specialize in ibm keyboards, but most (if not all) of the stock is marked as sold. You might contact them and see where that takes you.

Good luck in your quest for the perfect keyboard. I know how you feel.

Alex
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LVL 94

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by:John Hurst
ID: 37707798
????? Hi Thinkpads, you're a child then    <--- I had children before PC's were invented.

Actually I have two in the basement and both have PS/2 connectors. I had ones with the old round connector (PC-1) but they are gone. For either one or both (did not check), the keycaps remove and you can wash them. So both look brand new.

My current (2010) Lenovo keyboard is a very decent replacement and the insert and delete keys are in the "standard" spot.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:kdebugs
ID: 37707901
ok ok... I stand corrected. Northgate died in the early 90's, though.

Alex
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by:John Hurst
ID: 37707920
I don't think my IBM keyboards were made by Northgate.  

One was made in 1989 "by IBM" and is a Model M keyboard and the other was made in 1994 by Lexmark and is also a Model M.

If they were not beige (that is, if they were black), I would still be using them.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:kdebugs
ID: 37708035
Ah no, I didn't say that ibm kbds were made by northgate. Only that they also have a following.

Why don't you paint your ibm keyboard? I think they're held together with screws, so it shouldn't be hard to take apart the casing and paint it. But then... to much work when you can probably find another keyboard you like for $20.

Alex
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by:John Hurst
ID: 37708051
>>> Why don't you paint your ibm keyboard

/me chuckles.   I am really picky. Yes, I could take the keyboard apart (and have) to paint the casing, but the keycaps would still be beige. I have not see black keycaps (and indeed some whole keys) for that keyboard.

Also remember "I had children before PC's were invented", so that I would doubtlessly be in trouble if I brought the loud keyboard upstairs.

I did think about getting a biege monitor (computer in the desk cupboard out of site), but now my speakers and my new HP OfficeJet printer is jet black as well.

I have to go with the flow, but along with others here, I did like my Model M keyboard.

.... Thinkpads_User
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by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 250 total points
ID: 37708172
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by:garycase
ID: 37708282
I remember the Northgate's well ... they were indeed very nice keyboards.

The Unicomp keyboards suggested above by dbrunton are indeed excellent units -- I have one of their "Classic" models, and it's an excellent and very durable unit (mine's ~7 years old and still works great).
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by:Darr247
ID: 37708507
Chicony makes some nice 'tactile feedback' keyboards. I see most of them go for $40 to $70, though... stores will only stock what people buy, and that's $10-$15 keyboards.

What I don't get is why they're still foisting QWERTY boards on us 50+ years after the Selectrix was invented. We should all have been using Dvorak layouts for the last 25 years, at least.
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