I've just gone back to the future.
Here's the anthesis of Brett's "soft keyboard" post.
Just replaced my Logitech wireless keyboard with a modern version of the classic IBM Model M. (Has the "Windows" and "menu" keys, and a USB interface - produced by the company that acquired the patents from Lexmark, which acquired the patents from IBM).
What is the IBM Model M? It's the classic IBM "AT" keyboard, with the "clicky" keys. IBM patented the "buckling spring" mechanism which is responsible for it's unique feel. Though I can't prove it, I would imagine what IBM had in mind was to replicate the feel of the Selectric keyboard.
Whether you love or hate typing on it, you have to admit, it throws off an aura of solidness. I suspect this keyboard was as responsible for the success of the IBM AT as anything. I just love things that have that certain "snick".
Not sure if this is going to help or aggrivate my aching knuckles, but one thing I noticed right away - a 10-20 WPM increase in typing speed. (I measured it - 70wpm on the Logitech, and 80-90 on the Model M.)
I did give some thought to the Thinkpad-type keyboard. As mentioned in the previous article here, you can get that keyboard in a desktop configuration. Not bad for a notebook keyboard, but it's always seemed a bit too petite for me. (I have an A31p Thinkpad, so was able to try it out.) Maybe the desktop version has larger spacing. What killed that for me is it only seems to come in black. I like seeing the keys at night, thank you!
Anyone else here use a classic model M, or one of the modern versions? I'm curious if there is a big difference - there seems to be a difference of opinion on this - some claim the modern ones just aren't the same as the classics. I have to admit, it doesn't seem *quite* the same, though it's hard to judge - it's probably been 15 years since I've had my fingers on a Model M.
Oh, for the ultimate coolness factor, I ordered a set of re-legendable keys - clear covers fit over special blank keys. My intention is to replace the keys on the numeric pad (who uses those?) and use some key-remapping software. Not sure what I am going to put there, but I suspect "copy" and "paste" are my first candidates.
BTW, a major urban legend about these keyboards is that they are either mechanical or capacitive keyswitches. I don't think any were ever produced with mechanical switches, though a few early ones were indeed capacitive. Nope, they are just rubber dome, like just about any keyboard made today.
The magic is all in the buckling spring. When the spring buckles on the way down, you know that it has made contact (not because you are hearing it make contact, but because the spring has been engineered to buckle at a point where positive contact has been made.) Once you hear the sound, you can release the key without fully bottoming the key out. Only had the thing for a day, so I haven't yet gotten back the light touch that is all you need.
Enough with the soft keyboards! Anybody else have a favorite "clicky" keyboard?