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Video Mechanical 'Clicky' Keyboards Still Have Followers (Video) 147

For a good number of years, the sound of the old IBM or other mechanical keyboard clacking away was the sound of programmers (or writers) at work on their computers. Then, according to Edgar Matias, president and cofounder of the Matias Corporation, computer companies started using membrane switches and other cheaper ways to make keyboards, which made a lot of people mutter curse words under their breath as they beat their fingers against keys that had to go all the way to the bottom of their travel to work, unlike the good old mechanical keyboards we once knew and loved.

Enter Edgar Matias, who started out making the half keyboard, which is like a chorded keyboard except that you can use your QWERTY typing skills with little modification -- assuming you or your boss has $595 (!) to lay out on a keyboard. But after that Edgar started making QWERTY and Dvorak keyboards for semi-competitive prices. FYI: No Slashdot person got a free keyboard (or extra money) for making this video, but I have a Matias keyboard, and in my opinion it's far better than the cheapie it replaced. A lot of other people seem to want "real" keyboards, too, which they buy from Matias or from other companies such as Unicomp, which makes keyboards just like the classic, heavily-loved IBM Model M. Again, I've owned a Unicomp keyboard (that I bought; it was not a giveaway) and it was excellent. Both companies put out quality products that are far easier on your hands and wrists than the $10 or $20 keyboards sold by big box electronics retailers.

Slashdot: Edgar, you’re in – what I might think of as a noble campaign, you’re making mechanical keyboards, mechanical switch keyboards.

Edgar Matias: That’s correct. Yes.

Slashdot: And there aren’t a lot of those around anymore?

Edgar: That’s true.

Slashdot: Can you talk about why that is?

Edgar: Basically, the keyboard market moved away from mechanical keyboards to reduce the cost. And originally ALPS keyboards were very, very popular and the rubber dome keyboards that you get these days were actually done to recreate the feel of the ALPS keyboard. That’s why they’re generally tactile, the best rubber dome keyboards and scissor switch keyboards are designed to be – to feel tactile whereas most of the gaming keyboards are very linear, they use cherry switches, so you can’t feel the actuation point, the trigger point where the key gets activated when you press it. That’s good for gaming, but it’s not that great for typing.

When you’re gaming you’re basically pressing the same couple of set of keys repeatedly, very quickly, with typing, you want to feel each key, you want to know exactly as forward trigger, so you can apply just enough force to trigger it and then move on to the next key. And that’s they try to simulate that with rubber dome keyboards, and with scissor switch keyboards that we use on laptops, but you have to go all the way to the bottom, press all the way to the bottom before it actually registers the key. With mechanical key switches, it registers part way down and without switches, we can feel the exact spot where it registers. So, that’s why we’ve been making ALPS keyboards since 2003, we’ve probably been doing it longer than probably anybody else in the market right now for mechanical keyboards.

Slashdot: So what happened to those ALPS switches?

Edgar: We used to buy from ALPS. But back in early 2000s, they decided to stop making them, and they’d been threatening to do that for a while, and so I figured eventually they’re going to stop making them, we need a backup plan. So, we did our own tooling for the ALPS switch. We recreated the original ALPS switch. We made some improvements to it. We used higher quality materials. We used transparent housings which allowed for back lighting, which we needed for having an LED on the caps lock. And at the same time, we decided to do a quiet version, because the only complaint we ever got on our keyboards is that they’re too noisy. I don’t mind that and lots of people who work by themselves in a room don’t mind that, but if you work in an office or you talk on the phone a lot, the noise really gets in the way.

Slashdot: So you’re trying to get the best of both worlds; the real feel but not be too loud at the same time.

Edgar: Exactly, exactly.

Slashdot: Can you show us the actual keys, the modules?

Edgar: Absolutely, for sure, so that’s the original switch, so that’s our recreation of the original ALPS switch, and it’s very clicky, you can actually – I don’t know if you can hear the click. And so that’s the switch that was originally in our – or still is in our Tactile Pro, that’s our recreation of the original ALPS switch. We’ve since done the second switch which is the same looks, you can see it looks the same, but the difference is we’ve put a rubber bumper in there. You probably can’t see it. So, I’m going to grab another component that will let you see it. So that’s the stem, and you can see it’s got a little white kind of shape of a barbell, but when you press down instead of plastic hitting plastic, hard rubber hits the plastic and that dampens the sound, and you’ll notice this is on the top and the bottom, so it dampens the sound going down and coming up, so it’s very, very quiet. It’s basically you can’t tell, other people can’t tell that you are using a mechanical keyboard it is that quiet. So that’s one thing we did, we also clamped down on some of the internal parts to keep the vibration down, so it’s very, very quiet.

Slashdot: You’ve been making keyboards for more than a decade now?

Edgar: Absolutely, I am.

Slashdot: But here at the show you’ve actually brought a mechanical keyboard that is unusual and that it is a split design.

Edgar: Yes.

Slashdot: Can you talk about that a little bit?

Edgar: Yeah, we launched a – we’re launching an ergonomic keyboard, that’s mechanical, it’s called Ergo Pro. It’s been in development for over two years, and this is actually I think the third or fourth version. We weren’t happy with the original design, so we iterated a couple of times before we settled on this design.

The nice thing about it is the two parts are completely separate. So you can set them apart at whatever distance is most comfortable for you and at whatever angle. The gel, the palm supports are gel, so really really thick gel, you can see really nice – so you can – all the bony parts of your hand have a nice soft part to rest on and we also made a number of other improvements that you don’t see on other organic keyboards. We got for example, we’ve got the six key on the correct side, most of them put them on the left. If you learned how to type in school, you were taught to use your right hand for the six key, so we got that right. Another interesting thing that we did is, we actually have the navigation keys in the same pattern you get on a full size keyboard, page up or page down, home and end, follows the standard layout and they are right next to arrow keys. So that allows you to have a keyboard that’s not wide but still narrow, but still have the standard layout for the nav keys that you’re used to from years and years of using a full size keyboard, and it makes the Ergo Pro narrower so you don’t have to reach as far as the mouse which is also a problem with bigger key boards.

Slashdot: Is this keyboard using those quiet keys?

Edgar: Absolutely yeah. It’s the quiet click switches. We figured, most people are going to use this are going to use it probably in an office environment and it’s our most popular switch, in fact we have people who normally use cherry switches buying our keyboards so they can use it at work, because their, you know, the cherry switch keyboards are too noisy.

Slashdot: Did you still sell some noisy models, for somebody who really craves that sound?

Edgar: Yeah, for sure. We still sell Tactile Pro and we also have our new model called the Mini Tactile Pro which uses a clicky switches, it’s very popular. And I personally use one. So you know, we’re going to keep making it.

Slashdot: Will there be renaissance to mechanical keyboards?

Edgar: No I think the renaissance has pretty much happened. The mechanical key boards have pretty much taken over the market for gaming keyboards. I would say the majority are probably mechanical by now and the cherry switch is super super popular. I think the gaming market is ahead of the general keyboard market. Most people who type still use the cheaper style switches but we sell a lot to creative professionals, writers, lawyers, doctors, judges. Roger Ebert was one of our customers. He used the Tactile Pro for many years before he passed way and there are some musicians who use it. So, yeah, we’re happy to still be making it.

Slashdot: I can go to Walmart and buy a keyboard for about $10 right now with a membrane board. What is the cost to get today’s mechanical board?

Edgar: So, it depends on which model you buy, the smaller models in USB are 129, the standard size model with the number pad is 149, the Ergo Pro is 199, and we also make the smaller models wireless as well. There is a Bluetooth 1 for the Mac, that’s 169. And we do really interesting one called the Secure Pro that has 128 bit AES encryption. So it’s minimal acceptable level of security for selling to government or into the financial industry. As far as we know, it’s the only mechanical keyboard that has 128 bit AES encryption.

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Mechanical 'Clicky' Keyboards Still Have Followers (Video)

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    The most common mechanical keyboards are gaming boards using Cherry switches, which are usually a little under $100. They've been in common use for at least six or seven years, and work for 'normal' use in a pinch.

    • by Jumunquo ( 2988827 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @06:40PM (#49701645)

      I got my CMStorm for $55 after $20 rebate from Newegg. It was shocking how much less the gaming peripheral companies could sell these for.

      It's my normal-use typing keyboard that I use for gaming too. I got the Cherry MX Brown. Common types are:
      Cherry MX Blue - classic clicky switch, half-way press
      Cherry MX Red - pure gaming - key is light (a lot less force to push down) and must be pressed down all the way (to benefit double-tapping)
      Cherry MX Brown - In-between blue and red
      I initially purchased a Blue (from DAS), but I hated it (too heavy and noisy), and returned it to Amazon. Brown was perfect though. More info about switches here: []

      • Cherry MX Red - pure gaming - key is light (a lot less force to push down) and must be pressed down all the way (to benefit double-tapping)

        I'm typing this using a Das Keyboard with Cherry MX Red switches, and the strokes register after only about two mm .

        • You're right. I misunderstood. It registers does halfway, and it's supposed to be smooth all the way (no bump).

          • I guess I've gotten used to the membrane keyboards - sure you have to push the keys further down, but I learned on a manual typewriter in high school, and switching to a Selectric was a real PITA - I found the touch was way too light. To each their own.
      • I've been using the Logitech G710+ (w/ MX Browns) for about a year. I could not imagine going back.

      • My clicky keyboard is the basic one from [], which was the cheapest I could find at them time. It has Cherry MX Blue switches and no funky lights or anything, and was about $60 without any rebates.

    • The most common mechanical keyboards are gaming boards using Cherry switches, which are usually a little under $100. They've been in common use for at least six or seven years, and work for 'normal' use in a pinch.

      Other then that pesky little fact that they do not use Cherry switches. They use an ALPS inspired switch. [] Of course that is not covered in the article or summery. They just talk about a half keyboard that uses space like a shift key to make it the other half of the keyboard. Also not exactly common.

    • by kriston ( 7886 )

      Yes, but as Edgar Matias explains, we need to use and preserve the far superior keyboards that use ALPS switches.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    My Model M turned 25 last month, and is still going strong :D

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I've had mine for 20 years, it spent 5 years as a toy for my kids and they did not manage to damage it, but I did need to degunk it before using again. I don't know why needing more effort lets me type faster and more accurately but it does. The fact that it can't host malicious firmware is another advantage that it has over newer USB keyboards.
      • Is the Model M a ps/2 keyboard? If so, have you had trouble finding a computer to plug it into? (Serious questions, the last computer I built in 2007 has PS/2 ports but I don't know about the market today.)
  • I'm writing this from a das with Cherry MX Blue keys. And I'm only a hobbyist programmer.

    • What I would love is a "Good" keyboard. I have lots of computers so I do not want to spend $150 a pop for all of them. But I would love a keyboard better then the $12 specials, and the $50 keyboards really are not any better.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Tried the Cherry MX too. Hated and returned it, then bought one from Unicomp. It's really NOT the same thing. The big difference is in how the click is generated and how the key-press is reported to the computer. With the Cherry MX, the fact that the keys are typically harder to push, (increased force required as compared with modern dome-switch and Apple-slim keyboards,) and the click it makes are INCIDENTAL to the function of sending the key-press to the computer. You can try this with your cherry

      • I agree, Unicomp keyboards are hard to beat thanks to their buckling spring switches. And the price is awesome: $80 or so for a keyboard that feels *solid*. Compare to at least $120 for most Cherry-based keyboards. I use mine in a software development office (cubicles) and I don't have complains. To the contrary, other developers and sysadmins have bought their own Unicomp after typing a few test lines. Too bad the poster posted as AC, this is a very thoughtful post.
        • by Sun ( 104778 )

          Started a new job about eight months ago. Asked for a Unicomp keyboard, but said I'd bring my own first so people have a chance to object before money is spent.

          In a room with two other people, one didn't mind and the other did object. Went with a MS ergonomic 4000 or something.

          Moved to another room. Room mate said he also owned a unicomp. Next room over had people sensitive to noise. We decided to both bring our buckling spring on April 1st and see what people say. March 31st, one of the next door programme

      • I have two Unicomp USB keyboards; nothing better currently made.
      • I was thinking about buying a Unicomp keyboard for my Apple computer, but after seeing this story, I suspect their site will be slashdotted. I'll probably wait a few weeks before trying to order anything.

        If they can get increased sales, so much the better.

      • by dierdorf ( 37660 )
        You might have mentioned that Unicomp basically IS the old IBM keyboard line in Lexington, KY. AFAIK IBM sold their manufacturing equipment (and probably their employees) to them when they stopped making keyboards themselves. (Lexington is where the Selectric typewriter was made, too.)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Where's the keyboard driver that can do this?

  • Which half? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @05:47PM (#49701211) Homepage Journal

    I'm right handed, and I think a half-keyboard for the right hand would make much more sense. I only saw references to the left-hand one in the given link. I've found a number of good reasons [] to mouse on the "wrong" hand.

    On another, more general note, mechanical does not have to mean clicky. I can't stand any extra noise, but I still like the feel of good mechanical keyboards, so something like Brown switches are a good compromise.

    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      I've toyed with the idea of getting a Maltron one-handed keyboard or using one of the Dvorak one-handed layouts, but I use too many different machines, including a slew of portable machines, that would make this impractical.

      The only keys I really can't stand in computer keyboards are the older-style chicklet keys that could be pressed sideways to no effect. There were some early toy computers that had keyboards like that and they suck. Modern ones are quite a bit better.
      • ...are the older-style chicklet keys...

        Chicklet keys..? You are referring to the half-sized function keys that are at the top of the keyboard, yes? An entire keyboard of chicklet-sized keys would be darn annoying!

    • That have a full sized keyboard that goes both ways... [] (OK, I think that came out wrong...)
    • You're missing the point of a half keyboard, it's designed to accommodate one-handed surfing. Washable silicone protective cover optional.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It's the same with gamepads and arcade joysticks. You can only get left handed ones, so us right handers are left having to either adapt or in the case of larger joysticks it is possible to cross your arms. Back when joysticks were symmetrical and only had one button right handers were well supported, but it seems like around the time that the NES came out everyone decided that left handed use was best.

    • I'm right handed, and I think a half-keyboard for the right hand would make much more sense.

      I think you would want a half-keyboard for your left hand -- that way, your right hand would be free to use your mouse (or other pointing device).

      • I think you would want a half-keyboard for your left hand -- that way, your right hand would be free to use your mouse (or other pointing device).

        I think you missed my link about the reasons for this handedness. My right hand has better/faster control for individual finger movements, while my left hand is better at blind spatial awareness. It's not just me, though, there is research evidence supporting the latter -- the left hand is more in tune with the "spatial" brain hemisphere. I also play the guitar, where you need to do complex stuff on your left hand, and I don't think they designed it just to annoy everyone.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 15, 2015 @05:52PM (#49701243)

    You can't walk through the aisle of a Fry's or Best Buy without passing an array of mechanical keyboards. They're pretty much the de facto standard for gaming.

    "still" have followers? They're mass market implements.

    • I work with a guy who uses a refurbished old IBM keyboard. Heavy clicking, bulky, and honestly awesome. I grew up with an IBM manual and love feeling like I pressed a key. Now if my monitor would stop falling over when I accidentally hit the invisible carriage return...

      Get your new fangled crap off my lawn!

  • I bought myself an all black Unicomp with blank keycaps as a celebration once I reached my 90 days at my first IT job. It's fantastic, and it's so cool that it's actually made in the USA.

    It's a bit loud though, but my coworkers don't seem to mind.

    • Find a largish Terminal F board, sacrifice a black M13 for its labeled black keycaps, get a unicomp trackstick controller, and then you have this [].

      • by Noxal ( 816780 )

        No need, they already make a 122 key model! []

        • That's a model M buckling spring, not a model F capacitive buckling spring. The main difference is that the latter sounds much more like a typewriter - the Model F uses a curved circuit board + thick metal plate versus the Model M's plastic membranes + thin metal plate. Other minor differences are that that my conversion has M13 black keys, trackpoint, and a ANSI-like layout - things that are not present on any Unicomp terminal board.

          With that aside, I have that one you just linked as well (the "Affirmati

    • by Burz ( 138833 )

      I would buy a Unicomp if they still made the spacesaver model; the usual 104 key boards are too wide for me.

      The Matias mini I opted for is a pleasure to type on, however. I can see why the OP likes them.

  • Mfg. date: 7/31/92

    I have about 5 more in reserve, should be enough to last me until I can't type no mo'.

    clickity clickity clickity!

    • You should be aware that some PS/2 Model M keyboards will not work with a USB-PS/2 adapter. Some keyboards draw too much power (amps?) for some USB-PS/2 adapters, even though both PS/2 and USB are 5v. So, you may replace your Model M with an (older) one and it suddenly won't work with your adapter or will drop at random times. There's no way to tell which adapter-keyboard combination will fail until you try it...

      That's why I went with a Unicomp USB clicky keyboard, as they bought the factory & pate
    • by radja ( 58949 )

      may 8, 1989... salvaged from an earlier employer where it was just gathering dust.

      My keyboard is older than some of my colleagues...

  • It's the keyswitch FEEL. Clicky or non-clicky, you want a mechanical keyswitch. There are many options now for people who want a non-clicky keyboard with good feel - check for a keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sexconker ( 1179573 )

      It's the keyswitch FEEL. Clicky or non-clicky, you want a mechanical keyswitch. There are many options now for people who want a non-clicky keyboard with good feel - check for a keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches.

      Mechanical switches are a poor replacement for buckling springs. It's a world of difference.

  • by kuzb ( 724081 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @06:15PM (#49701417)

    I'm all for clicky keyboards, but when your keyboard is priced at nearly $600 you can guarantee it's going to fail. No qwerty keyboard on the planet is worth $600.

    • by jpatters ( 883 )

      Matias makes full-sized keyboards with mechanical switches that are much less expensive than the half-keyboards. They are priced from $130 to $150 or so. The half-keyboards are niche products and they are more expensive in part due to the tooling costs being a much more significant proportion of the overall cost of manufacture.

      There are quite a few mechanical keyboards available on the market that are cheaper than Matias, and some that are more expensive. Unicomp has has both Mac and Windows layout keyboard

  • Manufacture Date November 1, 1994.

    Saved it from an old employer that was throwing it out for one o' dem new fangled Dell quietkeyboards.

    Used it daily up until about 6 months ago when my company switched to macs for development. (Still have the windows box running in case I need to do some maintenance on legacy stuff but once that's gone it'll replace my old VT keyboard (that I also saved from an old employer) that I use at home.

  • No Chicklets! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @06:22PM (#49701483) Journal

    The problem I have with current keyboards is not just the short travel and lack of clickyness, but the tiny height of the keys.

    Instead of the tall keys with space between them for fingernail clearance, there are these thin squares maybe an eighth of an inch above a solid surface. If I don't keep all my fingernails cut short, when they go past the side of the key they hit the panel and the key doesn't "strike". Letters get dropped. (So I get to pick between typing well and playing the guitar. I pity those who must keyboard for a living but want long nails to maintain their social life.) The short travel means there's little margin for finger variation, so some letters, where my fingers don't depress the keys as far, normally, don't strike, while others, where I support the weight of my hands, do strike when they shouldn't, or strike multiply.

    After over a year I haven't been able to adjust. You may have noticed that my spelling has gone to hell as a result: I have to do a lot more correction and sometimes miss fixing things up.

    (The inadequately-configurable trackpads, in positions where they detect the palm resting on the laptop (or brushing them) and randomly jump the cursor or highlight whole paragraphs so the next keystroke replaces them, are no help, either.)

    On the other hand, when the nails do hit the key, they quickly wear through the top level of black plastic, exposing the backlit transparent light below it. I replaced a laptop about a year ago and after about six months about a half-dozen heavily-used keys had their pretty letters obscured by the giant glow of the scoured away region.

    I had been running on older thinkpads and toshibas, with classic keyboard-shaped keys, or at least the little fingertip cup and substantial fingernail clearance. Switching (in a two-dead-laptops-in-two-weeks emergency) to a lenovo z710, then to a company-supplied toshiba s75, both with the stupid "I'm so thin", square, low-travel, no-finger-cup keys has been a disaster.

    • So plug a regular keyboard into a USB port on your laptop. And while you're at it, plug in a large external screen and a mouse. Huge improvement.
    • The inadequately-configurable trackpads, in positions where they detect the palm resting on the laptop (or brushing them) and randomly jump the cursor or highlight whole paragraphs so the next keystroke replaces them, are no help, either.

      What do you mean by inadequately configurable? There's usually an option to disable while typing somewhere.

      • The inadequately-configurable trackpads, in positions where they detect the palm resting on the laptop (or brushing them) and randomly jump the cursor or highlight whole paragraphs so the next keystroke replaces them, are no help, either.

        What do you mean by inadequately configurable? There's usually an option to disable while typing somewhere.

        It's there. It's on. Didn't help. Don't know if it's that Ubuntu 14.04 doesn't support it properly on these two machines or if it doesn't do the job I want done.


  • by Cimexus ( 1355033 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @06:24PM (#49701501)

    "Still" have followers? Mechanical keyboards have been making a huge comeback for years, and are pretty much a standard for gaming and other high-end self-built machines now. You don't have to spend anywhere near $500 to get a good one either. This article/video sounds like it was written for an audience from six years ago or something.

    Love my Corsair K95. Marketed as a gaming keyboard (it's got fancy LEDs and 18 macro keys etc.) but works well for long coding sessions too.

  • But I've yet to find one of those half and half keyboards that felt right. The Microsoft Natural curves slighly towards the center. Most of the split keyboards are a flat plane that you prop up at an angle. Literally just a regular keyboard cut in half that you can put at about a 30 degree angle. The trouble is my pinkies are shorter than my middle/index fingers. The Microsoft shape seems to talke that into account more.
    • For regular typing the "truly ergonomic keyboard" is actually really nice. Symmetric stagger but the rows are not straight...they curve to match finger length.

      For coding I found that the punctuation keys (the huge cluster by the right pinky) were moved around too much and it was hard to switch between it and a normal keyboard.

    • by Burz ( 138833 )

      I think Chris is talking about this: []

      I've wondered for a long time how nice it would be to have keys without the horizontal staggering. What deters me is the impossibility of getting the same built into a laptop.

  • I may have to try out the ergonomic version. I currently use a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 keyboard. I love the shape of it, and I don't mind the key action, but I wonder if it's more because I really haven't tried something else. Still, $200 is a lot of money to drop on a product you're not sure you'll actually prefer using.

    Is there anyone out there who's actually tried mechanical vs membrane keyboards and actually prefer the latter (excluding the noise factor, as it sounds like that problem has be

  • There has been a near continuous stream of articles, videos, advertisement, and reviews of mechanical keyboards coming out over the last few years. They only 'went out of style' because they stopped making new models for a few years. That only lasted until the keyboard manufacturers saw how much we were paying for model Ms and wanted back in on the action.
  • The best keys are the Honeywell Hall-effect devices, now out of production for 18 years.
  • Ever notice that as membrane keyboard rose, repetitive injuries flourished?

    • Yep. My carpal tunnel got a lot better when I started using my Model Ms. I have one at home and one at work. My coworkers laugh and give me shit about my "ancient" keyboard but I'm never going to give it up.
  • If you start having pinched nerves or spasms of your inner arm muscles (mostly teres minor and brachialis) simply buy a second "micro" keyboard for $14 and put it off to the side of your other keyboard.

    You type on the right half of the right keyboard and the left half of the left keyboard and your arms are in an open relaxed position. You won't be "clinching" your arms to your side any more.

    It works. I did it. I recommended to others-- it worked for them. Everyone who has tried it so far has adapted in

    • There are actual split keyboards out there. Some have a very short wire between the two halves - penny pinching, I suspect - but this looks like it would suit even a university librarian. []

  • 1) Wireless is a must.
    2) Split is a must.

  • I've spent thousands of dollars on keyboards and mice over the years I've owned computers. While a mechanical keyboard may cost twice as much as some of the cheaper models out there, it lasts for many long years without failing. Contrast that with, for example, Microsoft or Logitech keyboards, which only last about 9 months under my heavy use.

    The sole exception was the original Natural Pro that Microsoft released. The first one I owned lasted five years. The second and third lasted 6-9 months, after

  • The reason I have a Model M at home, one in the server room and not one at my work desk is the noise pisses nearby people off. It just goes to show, those keyboards are a hell of a lot quieter than a mechanical or electric typewriter so the noise was not a big deal when they were designed.
  • I love my Unicomp. It reminds me of the IBM Model Ms we used in school.
  • I still have my first keyboard, an Omni Key 101 from 1994. Wouldn't trade it for the world.
  • The Unicomp clicky keyboards are also available with blank keys (no letters). I've found that to be a good way to improve touch typing. Even if you don't think you're looking at the keyboard much (I didn't) it can be surprising how much you're cheating.
  • I actually watched this video. It appears about 1/4 of the video is the guy saying "um" or otherwise stammering through his statements. Everyone would look better with a little trimming of the fat in this video.
  • I do a lot of writing, fiction and non. About a year ago I got a Rosewill keyboard with the Cherry Brown switches and love it. Once had a Toshiba notebook that had a great keybd but other than that everything I'd used for years was the flat, no-feel, lowest-common-denominator cheap ass junk that everyone seems to put up with. I never seemed to find anything at the local computer stores (Micro Center etc) that was worth a damn either. But the Rosewill seems pretty damn nice. I can pound it mercilessly all da
    • by Mal-2 ( 675116 )

      The problem with double shots is that until quite recently, they were always made of ABS. That means they get shiny, and generally (but not always) feel kinda cheap. PBT and POM have much better feel and don't pick up a shine, but double-shot PBT has always been a low-yield process. Recently a process has been developed to use POM for the inserts and PBT for the key body, and this seems to work, though the wrinkles are still being ironed out. Also, PBT tends to warp while cooling, making the yield low for s

  • by kriston ( 7886 ) on Saturday May 16, 2015 @12:26AM (#49703667) Homepage Journal

    Edgar Matias saved the ALPS switch industry. His company, at significant expense, and through expensive trial-and-error, has succeeded in perfecting the manufacture of clicky and non-clicky ALPS switch clones.

    While most of us keyboard enthusiasts extol the virtues of buckling-spring IBM/Lexmark keyboards continued by Unicomp, and the recent introduction of full Cherry MX Green heavy clicky switch keyboards (previously only used in spacebars alone), Matias is a true hero.

    Newegg Rosewill/Striker, Newegg ABS, DS International, and Ducky have had reasonably good ALPS clones that have fallen out of production. But Matias continues to be the gold standard for those of us who appreciate the sound and feel of classic ALPS clicky and non-clicky keyboards.

    It's a complicated and varied history in the original and clone ALPS switches if you're into that sort of thing.

    • by kriston ( 7886 )

      This keyboard at Massdrop is offered with Matias switches. All you need is a soldering iron and an hour. []

      Sorry for the link, it requires an account, but mechanical keyboards are an important legacy to continue, at least so future generations can enjoy carpal-tunnel-free computer usage.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Cherry MX brown are the ultimate switch for keys. Quiet but with a very definite response. They don't need to go down far too respond, but will if you like lots of travel.

      • by kriston ( 7886 )

        I really like Cherry MX Brown switches. I tried MX Blacks, which seem to always be on a discount sale, but after a few days it dawned on me that my fingers were tired because of them.

        ALPS don't really seem to have any real standard to weight or click sound--a recent Rosewill had really bad quality problems--but they're usually pretty soft.

      • I use Cherry MX browns at work, and MX blues at home. I hugely prefer the blues. The audible click is satisfying, but the tactile feel is just so much better. I haven't tried MX clears yet (strongly tactile, quiet), but I think they would be better off for my work keyboard.

  • by quenda ( 644621 ) on Saturday May 16, 2015 @02:44AM (#49704065)

    Keyboards? Voice recognition had rendered them obsolete. You are all living in the duck cages.

  • Of course there are still people liking mechanical keyboards. so what?

  • I started with mechanical keyboards and barely noticed when they all disappeared. I liked them well enough but there is no way I'm spending $100.00+ on a keyboard for nostalgia or some imperceptible gaming edge. Certainly not when I spill a beer in my keyboard every few months. Perhaps if I were a coder or writer who actually typed all day...
  • A 'C' in touch-typing in high school on an IBM Selectric has over some decades of practice become a fairly quick set of fingers.

    There are polite comments--"gee you type really fast". Sometimes people even walk over to make the observation.
    Folks are NOT impressed with typing speed. They're distracted by the racket from the next desk over. This with a 'regular' soft keyboard.

    We *do* have an original Model M in the lab. One of the Engineers brought it in along with an IBM AT so we could test some ancient p

  • I am generally a "touch typist", having learned keyboarding on a manual typewriting more than 60 years ago.

    When I bought a new PC from Dell, it came with a Dell keyboard with a USB connection. The keys were nearly flat on top with straight sides and little space between, which meant I had constant problems with positioning my fingers without looking down on the keyboard. Since the keyboard was black with white lettering (very poor ergonomics), I had to keep the lights on in my home office to see where I w

  • I'm typing this on a 1994-vintage Model M. Best keyboards ever made.
  • Best keyboard I ever owned - built like a truck and cost me - I dunno - $65? The two previous keyboards died after about couple years each - with the money I pissed away on them, I could have bought the unicomp...
  • Get a Cherry MX Board 3.0, its 60€ and you can get whatever switches you want. No stupid lights, no useless macro keys, just a pure keyboard with awesome feel.

Your good nature will bring you unbounded happiness.