Keyboards

Input devices Keyboards I have known and loathed –

– Keypunch (ka-chunka . . . “Damnit!”). The only CS course I failed was because I had to use a keypunch (well, and submit my programs for next-day turnaround).

– ISC Intecolor (0-key rollover, very bad — you had to completely let up on a key before pressing the next one even a little bit)

– Omron something-or-other. Required a roughly 13-key sequence to put it in the right speed and duplex every time it crashed. Yes, a terminal that crashed. Often.

– Atari 400 membrane keyboard (“Like typing on a formica table top”). Though I wrote my first real video game on this machine (in assembly), and I eventually got proficient, the keyboard was quite painful to type on.

– Kinetics ergonometric keyboard (“Who ever uses escape? Let’s make it a little plastic nub up on the corner.” Sheesh).

– Any number of hideously bad keyboards with F-key madness (“Ours is better because we have sixty five additional F keys you can map”), capslock insanity (“No one ever uses this key, so let’s make it just fucking huge, okay?”) or similar stupidity (like putting arrow keys in a vertical or horizontal rows).

Input devices Keyboards I have known and liked –

– ASR-33 Teletype (ka-chunka).

– The Cherry-based keyboard on my first computer. Lovely, N-key rollover. Capslock in the correct place (practically off the keyboard). You haven’t seen one of these.

– A keyboard sample for a rev of the Atari ST (truly wonderful feel) — they chose the cheaper, much inferior keyboard.

– Original PC keyboard (“I love this thing, but my neighbors are going to beat me to death with it.”)

– VT-100 keyboard (with the leads to the speaker clipped, of course)

Now I use Microsoft ergonometric keyboards, going through one every three years or so (they either get ooky, or something stops working, or a nifty new model comes out). MS appears to be screwing things up (e.g., F-lock, arrow layout), and I’d consider stockpiling a few for the coming decades if it weren’t that the cabling interface is likely to change every five years or so.

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