February 23, 2019

.comment: The Search for a Truly Great Keyboard - page 2

The Weak Link

  • February 7, 2001
  • By Dennis E. Powell

One thing I'd hoped to avoid was keyboards with Windows keys. It's bad enough having to deal with Wintrash in the form of lousy modems and braindead printers. I'll not be constantly reminded that Windows users are apparently incapable of hitting Ctrl-Esc at the same time.

Fortunately there is in my town a fellow who deals in what I suppose the unenlightened would call computer junk. If you really must find a 40-meg MFM drive, he's the guy to see. (No, I won't tell you his name, no matter how sorry your story. He's mine. Find your own.) He is also my supplier of IBM PS/2 keyboards (note to the newbies: PS/2 signifies a line of IBM computers, not an over-hyped and under-produced Sony game console).

A visit to him and the relinquishment of $30 got me a nicely boxed PS/2 keyboard. It's not as solid as the original PC-AT keyboard, but it's sturdier than just about anything else. The keyes have a satisfying click, and the springs are about twice as stiff as the ones on my Omnikeys. The tops of the keycaps are smaller, too, like truncated pyramids, making it less likely that you'll hit one key while aiming for a different one.

The bad news is that the function keys are splayed across the top, instead of living in useful fashion on the left, making combinations such as Alt-F2 as much of a contortion as the Ctrl-Esc that has apparently bedeviled the Windows crowd. And I did have to poke around my miscellaneous hardware drawer for half an hour in search of a PS/2 to AT keyboard plug adapter (after which I gave up and bought one, after which within a day I found two that I already had).

This is turned out to be the baseline keyboard: I would use it until I found something better.

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