Tech advice again

So, this one is easy

Keyboards. Bored and tired of the cheapy stuff. Also, got some new work starting which will require lots of typy typy.

Those old IBM clicketty click keyboards. Apparently some folks make them like that today. Cherry maybe?

So, the task is, find the brand and model which are like that. On Amazon. So that I can then order from Amazon.es…..

35 thoughts on “Tech advice again”

  1. I think you’ll be surprised by the level of keyboard anorakism there is out there. All sorts of specialist “mechanical” keys with strokes and weights labelled by colours, if I recall.

    I purchased some “old fashioned / IBM style” (non-specialist) Cherry keyboards for my former workplace about ten years ago and they met with satisfaction from both word and number typists. Lasted well, too.

  2. Mechanical keyboards are what you’re looking for. A lot of the stuff you’ll see is garish ‘gamer’ stuff with loads of led lights on. Should be able to get Logitech stuff on Amazon – that’s usually pretty good middle-of-road stuff to start with.

    Oh, but if you can find one of the original IBM keyboards, they are great and will work with modern machines (will cost £££, and they weigh a ton!)

  3. Dunno. Mine is a Fujitsu. Seems OK.

    Off-topic but the “Dr Who being a woman reduces positive male roles” spat is an interesting one and made me think.

    The Equalizer – re-booted with a woman
    Ghostbusters – re-booted with women
    Star Wars – central character (apparently) a woman (Rey? No idea, don’t watch it any more)
    Sherlock Homes had a sister (who knew, never mentioned in the books)

    And on and on. Women now always portrayed as smarter, tougher, more capable than men who are now always portrayed at best as idiotic buffoons and more likely as evil, weak (or bullies), stupid.

    I can’t comment too knowledgably as I just don’t watch much new stuff as it’s just non-stop woke-agenda driven shyte but there is definitely a theme in films and TV at the moment which suggests the single most important attribute a person can have is a vagina or the feeling that even though they haven’t got one, they’d like to have one.

    Thank Christ I’m of an age where most of the women my age still appreciate having doors open for them and would look to me for help if there was trouble rather than assuming I’ll walk into a lamppost and fall down a hole while they sort everything out themselves with VaginaPower.

  4. I can definitely recommend one of these: https://smile.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0041KJKAG/ (Cherry G80-3000LSCGB-2 Click Action Keyboard)

    It’s expensive, but according to Amazon I bought mine in 2014 and it’s still working flawlessly. I haven’t even worn the key labels off yet; with some inferior keyboards I get given at clients’ offices the labels have gone inside 6 months.

  5. Really worth looking in Lidl when they are having their IT middle aisle stuff – I got a great mechanical keyboard from them. Lights up (if you like that stuff) and the letters don’t wear out!

  6. I have an old IBM keyboard in a drawer somewhere. It’s old, but still works perfectly. Nothing wrong with it – apart from the oh so long umbilical for connecting it to the PC. So, I make do with a bluetooth connected Logitech keyboard & mouse. After a few years, my first Logitech wore out. No problem – replacements are cheap enough….

  7. Cherry make the switches used or copied in most mechanical keyboards – they vary in tactile response and sound levels. You might want to try a tester of the different varieties https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cherry-Switch-Tester-keyboard-Sampler/dp/B01GZHU1EG

    If you know what suits the various ones are here:
    https://www.mechanical-keyboard.org/switch-types/

    Mechanical gamer keyboards are normally at the cheaper end simply due to demand but I find them very good for the price. I am a rather late in the day convert to mechanical – much better than the so called ergonomic keyboard I’ve gone through over the years

  8. Bloke in North Korea (Germany province)

    Logitech K270. No cables. Seem to last a couple of years on average before dying of usually user-inflicted damage (stop giggling at the back) but didn’t matter as they were cheap until everything suddenly increased 50% in price.

    Art Lebedev used to have a very cool keyboard back in the day.

  9. . . . tired of the cheapy stuff.

    It does have the advantage of not needing to clean it. Once you’ve spilt enough beer, wine, coffee, tea and curry to mix with the dust, breadcrumbs and chocolate shards such that typing becomes unnnnnreliabl# – jusy buy a new one.

  10. Be careful not to get one with a US layout. I accidentally bought such a laptop and it’s very tedious. Either you use it in US mode and lose the £ symbol, or you use it in UK mode and lose the | (pipe) symbol.

  11. “Those old IBM clicketty click keyboards. Apparently some folks make them like that today. Cherry maybe?”

    Unicomp, a management buyout of the Lexmark factory that used to build them for IBM. But I’m told that since they’re still using the old IBM tooling, which is wearing out, the quality doesn’t really justify the price. They’re not cheap. The magic words if you want something similar are “buckling spring”.

    Prices of other types of “mechanical“ keyboard have dropped massively since the patents on Cherry’s switches ran out two or three years ago. There’s been a flood of clones, some of which are apparently considered even better than the genuine ones. I don’t really know much about those, but I bought an excellent board with real Cherry switches a couple of years ago for just over £30. Compare that to the £100 Cherry are asking for the one Chris links to.

    Cherry colour-code their various switch types, and the most popular clicky ones are blue. As far as I can make out, the clone manufacturers either stick to the Cherry colours or at least compare theirs to a particular Cherry type, so watch out for blue.

  12. jgh, keyboard warrior

    You can get some really good mechanical-like membrane keyboards in the ten-pound-ish price range. I really like my Dell SK3205 and Lenovo SK8825 keyboards. But a must is that they have big chunky keys with decent travel, I can’t understand how people manage to type on those flat thin things with no travel.

    When ordering make sure the order shows a picture. I found to my costs that keyboards with different layouts can have the same product code. My Japanese keyboard and my UK keyboard are *both* SK8825, and I tried to order a standard-layout US SK3205 keyboard and got something really crap with the keys in all the wrong places.

  13. Without getting into a lot of detail, you want a Cherry MX Blue (tactile, clicky keys good for typing) or Brown (the same but less noisy).

    You also probably want a proper keyboard, not some cheap tacky gaming thing. This does seem one of those product categories Amazon is bad at. I’m not sure why. Search for Cherry MX Blue on amazon.es and you get to choose between 18,000 indistinguishable cheap tacky-looking keyboards.

    Having said that, I would probably trust the testing by these guys:
    https://www.rtings.com/keyboard/reviews/best/by-usage/writers

    And what do you know:
    https://www.amazon.es/Ducky-Horizon-Teclado-dkon1887-bdepdzbbh/dp/B078YJ2LY9/

    I would probably spend some time on /r/MechanicalKeyboards before deciding, if it was me, but I find that sort of thing entertaining in its own right, and you probably value your time pretty highly.

    Good move to get away from cheap keyboards, though. It will improve your productivity. (I am typing this on a HHKB Pro 2; it suits me but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have very particular requirements).

  14. Oh, btw, TKL = tenkeyless = no numeric keypad. A full size one is available but I can’t find it on amazon.es.

  15. @AndrewM
    But with a US keyboard one can run US International. Which gives a whole lot of characters off the Alt Gr key. Letters with accents for the major European languages, proper fractions & powers, TM & copyright etc etc etc. For what Tim’s doing, it’s a must.

  16. View from the Solent

    I have a 6?7?-year old Logitech K120 which is still going strong. Satisfying clickety-click when in use and a reasonable amount of resistance when depressing keys. Biscuit crumbs, fag ash haven’t affected it.

  17. I use a Durgod K320 TKL with Cherry Brown keys (tactile but not especially clicky). Not the cheapest but one of the best keyboards I’ve used. Not available on amazon.es unfortunately, but a full size (with numeric keypad) K310 is.

    Lots of techies like a Das Keyboard (German made as you might guess, so shippable in the EU without duty). If you’re a serious touch typer you can even have one with an unmarked keyboard.

    If you want to go total nerd, take a look at the Mountain Everest Core on mountain.gg. Too many damned lights for my taste but very customisable.

    [I’m not putting URLs in as that seems to always make my post vanish.]

  18. @bis: I’ve got a couple of Japanese keyboards from when I taught my company’s software to speak CJK (Chinese, Japanese and Korean).

  19. I quite like the cheap Logitech and Microsoft keyboards, which can be chucked out with no regrets when I do something that wrecks them like spilling drinks on them. I got mine from Scan.co.uk. You can get even cheaper ones, but I wasn’t happy with those.

  20. If you want something that is as “clicky clacky as the old Model M keyboard I can recommend the Unicomp which is basically the same thing. I don’t think mine is quite as well made as the IBM Model M I used to have (which did 20+ years) but it has the same buckling spring keys and feels almost identical. Really worth the money. https://www.keyboardco.com/keyboard/uk-new-model-m-keyboard-black-whitegray.asp They also do some more upgraded versions. I can also recommend the Cherry G80 I think it is with the blue switches. Not as loud as the Unicomp and a little easier to press the keys, not as well built.

  21. I’ve got two Microsoft Ergonomic keyboards. One for work, one for home originally, but with home working it’s one for me, one for the wife. I’ve had one of them for over 20 years. Labels not worn out, still work fine for both of them.

  22. BIS I have a kana keyboard for typing Japanese and a radical keyboard for typing Chinese, as well as a Cyrillic one. 🙂

  23. I used to pine for my wonderful Apple Extended Keyboard II — one of the best ever.

    But, honestly, as someone who still pecks at keys (too old to have been taught to touch-type), I find low-profile keyboards so much more productive. My Apple Magic wireless extended keyboard (bought last year) is just absolutely the best typing experience that I have ever had — and has increased my productivity by being so goddamn fantastic to type on. It’s pricey (£120) but one of my best buys ever.

    Apple aside, I have seen how you type, Tim: give a low profile keyboard a try — you may like it.

    DK

  24. Andrew,

    “Off-topic but the “Dr Who being a woman reduces positive male roles” spat is an interesting one and made me think.

    The Equalizer – re-booted with a woman
    Ghostbusters – re-booted with women
    Star Wars – central character (apparently) a woman (Rey? No idea, don’t watch it any more)
    Sherlock Homes had a sister (who knew, never mentioned in the books)

    And on and on. Women now always portrayed as smarter, tougher, more capable than men who are now always portrayed at best as idiotic buffoons and more likely as evil, weak (or bullies), stupid.”

    That’s at least 3 franchises all of which were mishandled, and didn’t do very well financially (I’ve not seen much about The Equaliser).

    Meanwhile the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is overwhelmingly male and about goddamn heroes has made $23bn in total box office. The Fast and Furious franchise, which is blokes driving fast cars with hot babes everywhere is about the most profitable franchise going (Fast 7 made $1.5bn). Mission Impossible with Tom Cruise saving the world makes a ton of money.

    The point is that it’s a market out there. Teenage boys aren’t going to hand over their money for a radical feminist lecture.

  25. As mentioned above, cherry MX brown or blue style are the keys you want – blue is the ‘traditional’ feel clicky clacky, which can be antisocial if you share office space (I can’t hear calls if my wife starts machine gunning away). Brown keys are marginally quieter.
    Also, the TKL (ten keyless) without the number pad are narrower, which allows a right hander to have the mouse closer to the keyboard. Better shoulder ergonomics, plus better fit on a smaller desk. I couldn’t cope without the number pad but non-techie types might prefer it.

  26. Surely the person to turn to is Captain Potato. The keyboard that can withstand the tuberish onslaught is the one to go for.

  27. “The Equalizer – re-booted with a woman
    Ghostbusters – re-booted with women
    Star Wars – central character (apparently) a woman (Rey? No idea, don’t watch it any more)
    Sherlock Homes had a sister (who knew, never mentioned in the books)”

    Regarding the comment on Marvel

    Shang Chi – more time spent on his sister(who knocks him out in a fight), female sidekick (who saves the day) and his aunt than on the titular hero

    Hawkeye – Disney+ series reboot with a woman

    The male role model comment politician may have a point as we are constantly told how important it is for all these groups to see themselves represented on screen so why doesn’t they apply to whites and males

  28. A Brief Elaboration of a Tube

    BoM4 ” (I’ve not seen much about The Equaliser).” Sorry to continue the off-topic but please don’t trouble yourself to seek out the Equaliser reboot. This from the Wiki page says all you need to know: “Queen Latifah as Robyn McCall, a.k.a. “the Equalizer”, a divorced single mother and former C.I.A. operative who acts as a street vigilante for justice.”

    Rough translation goes along the lines of large, well-dressed middle-aged black woman somewhat improbably out-fights, out-guns and (of course) out-smarts all the (white / white-ish / Latin) male crims of half her age, whose IQs seem approximately equal to their shoe sizes.

    At least the late, great, Edward Woodward managed to convey a sense of menace. Oh no, I said menace……… perhaps “threat” would be more appropriate in these woke days.

  29. Wholeheartedly agree re TKL and mouse placement!

    I use one of them Filco convertible 2 using MX brown (from keyboardco as linked by others above). Love it.

    Anyone know where I might find Spanish keycaps for it tho ? I frequently find myself switching to ES layout these days, but my fingers have yet to learn where everything is. Age doesn’t help…

  30. This keyboard right now was manufactured by NTC -labelled as “For 8088 and 80286”. Found in my mother’s garage. 5 pin DIN to PS/2 adapter for about a fiver and away you go.

    The other one in use is a Corsair, K40 I think. Semi-mechanical, pretty good for about £120 or so, about five years ago. Does the light up stuff, which I found to be reasonably useful.

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