It’s time for me to replace my keyboard, and I need help!
For the last 6 years or so, I’ve used the $15 cheapo keyboards on a 6 month replacement cycle. They would invariably die in about 6 months because I would smoke heavily at my PC and the poor innocent kb would fill with accidental ash deposits and spilled diet coke. The mixture of diet coke and cigarette ash has interesting properties, try it sometime.
Now that I’ve 99% quit smoking I can finally justify the purchase of a nicer keyboard on the grounds that I won’t treat it horribly. A quick perusal through my local Best Buy last night indicated to me that the leading edge of kb technology has gone in a direction I don’t really like. The keyboards I saw, even the expensive ones, seem to go for gimmicks instead of quality. No good clicky feel, no solid heavy duty keyboards, only effeminate wireless keyboards festooned with mushy keys and worthless scrollwheels. I have instructed my wife that if I ever profess a strong need for a keyboard with an ‘Internet’ key, she is to have me treated with shock therapy and viagra until I regain my senses.
So in this age of cheap plastic universal remotes masquerading as keyboards, are there still manly keyboards available? Keyboards that have 105 keys with a solid clicky feel and copious amounts of vertical motion to each keypress? Keyboards that won’t make me ashamed to be caught typing by my wife? Keyboards so manly that I can write them off as doctor ordered exercise equipment?
I think the answer to that question is probably no. If you want a clicky, tactile keyboarding experience, I think you’ll be happier with an $8 keyboard. In my experience, Logitech and Microsoft keyboards are a lot more mushy (in a good way!) than what you’re describing.
I use Microsoft Natural Multimedia keyboards, and like them pretty well, the wireless one less so (though it’s still fine). I occasionally use my volume up/down and Mute buttons on the keyboard, but the others are all pretty worthless.
Fortunately, you aren’t technically required to use the extra keys…
(edited to increase longwindedness of first paragraph)
I use the Apple Pro USB keyboard on my PC. This causes cognitive dissonance to no end when people see me typing on my laptop. Not as bad as when I used to use a NeXT keyboard on my PowerMac G4.
Anyway…I really like the Apple Pro USB keyboard since it’s small, compact, and easy to stuff in a notebook bag. The only thing I don’t like about it is that some of the nav keys and numpad aren’t mapped the same as on a PC, for example “Help” maps to “Insert”. But you learn that shit quick enough.
These guys make a clone of the old-style IBM buckling spring keyboards: http://www.pckeyboard.com/customizer.html There are a couple other manufacturers I think, and you can also find originals used sometimes.
I would love to buy one, but that will have to wait for the day my wife and I have separate offices at home.
We have one guy like you at work… funnily enough he’s also the only one remotely into Linux.
He has the pick of the 10-20 old black IBM keyboards laying about, while the rest of us use our various Microsoft and Logitech keyboards.
I like the Bluetooth MX (which I use at work) and the DiNovo, which I use at home… The DiNovo is compact, offers some resistance (like the keys on an oversize notebook) and only have a few added keys - I never use the mail, internet and whatnot keys, but the mediacontrol keys (volume etc.) are useful on any keyboard.