A REAL Keyboard

People who buy computers are weird.

What do you do with a computer? You type on a keyboard, swing a mouse around, and look at a monitor. If either is lousy, your day-by-day, minute-by-minute experience with one is going to be lousy, too, no matter how many gigahertz and gigabytes you have packed into the box.

Yet two of the three keyboards and monitors are usually afterthoughts in a computer purchase (mice get a little more respect).

Today we talk a little bit about keyboards.

Typing is truly a touchy-feely activity. It’s not just pressing down on the keys, it’s also the feedback feel you get from those keys. The more feedback the keyboard gives you, the better and faster you can type.

Nowadays, keyboards suck. Period. They aren’t made for serious typing. They’re made cheaply, and they show and feel like it. If you’re lucky, you get a little tactile feedback so you know when you’ve typed a letter, if not, you get none at all.

Back in ancient times when the only affordable IBM office product was a typewriter; IBM put incredible effort into coming up with keyboards that optimized the typing experience. This experience went to their initial PC keyboards.

For typing afficionados, these were considered the greatest computer keyboards ever made.

I won’t reinvent the wheel, so read this review to find out why.

I have one, and I will swear that everything in that article is true.

This is a brick. This is a rock. It just works well, no matter what I do to it, no matter how much I abuse it.

This is the only piece of computer equipment I have ever worked with that is heads and tails above its competition.

Let me put it to you this way, you’d have a real problem prying this one out of my hands. Bring a gun.

A big reason for that is that I can replace the other stuff, but IBM doesn’t make these things any more because people didn’t want to pay for quality, and even used ones can be rough to find.

Well, if you’d like a real keyboard, and these IBM keyboards sound good to you, the place to go is here, and click right in the middle of the screen. You can buy the classic 101-key IBM 42H1292 keyboard for just $49. I ordered two on the spot, one for the friend, and an extra just to have.

If typing is important to you, buy this.

Now when do you hear me talk like this about a piece of equipment?

The website also offers their own keyboards that are built more-or-less according to the same standards which come in a 104-key format and Linux configurations. Make sure you get the “buckling-spring” type.

Update: A number of you have wisely pointed out that these keyboards can also sometimes be found where used computer equipment is up for sale. This is something that can be taken apart and cleaned

(That doesn’t mean take it into the bathtub with you, especially plugged-in.).

If $50 is good; $5 or less is even better (though watch out for jammed or missing keys).

EBay is another good possibility (maybe even better than the place above); you can find new and used ones there.


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