What bothers me about IBM Model M

kbdfr wrote:Which still works perfectly and has no broken rivets :mrgreen:

Have a decently near NIB 1986 Model-M and there are NO broken rivets on the back plate, have opened and inspected it personally.

So your spurious 'jibe' doesn't connect at my place kbdfr ;) .
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Unread post14 Sep 2018, 11:29

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Elrick wrote:Have a decently near NIB 1986 Model-M and there are NO broken rivets on the back plate, have opened and inspected it personally.

Just the fact that you have to mention this makes a point.
It's like when talking about Alps and mentioning how clean and smooth they are.

Both are keyboards/switches that have some well known flaws from age and use.
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Unread post14 Sep 2018, 11:33

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darkcruix wrote:Back to the original intention of the thread...

I guess we all can agree that the Model M is simply the father of the "modern" keyboard layout. The layout is so deeply buried in our cultures that parts are even showing up on the iPad screen today.
Personally (and this is very subjective), it is a nice feeling switch (especially when compared to most modern switches).

Overall, I am in agreement with Wodan here and also agree that maintaining a Model M is a different story. Remember, back then, the owners only thought about using the board and enjoying the key-feel and sound (if at all). I can't believe that many thought about using this model 25 years later.

I think the LK201 doesn't get enough credit for the modern layout! Though admittedly its take on it was not entirely sane.

I guess the topic is one of those things where there's a lot of technically accurate stuff mixed in with subjectivity, though. My feelings are I agree with the former, as it's quite hard not to: I would prefer an F (well, I have one, but don't like the layout especially and it doesn't work with my already flaky KVM even with a Soarer doing the honours) but there are reasons why the M happened. As previously mentioned, the F was just way too expensive: I've commented before that I remember a review of the IBM PC in an early '80s computing mag praising the keyboard as "even better than the BBC Micro's": and there was so much snobbery about the BBC's actually not-that-special keyboard that it was a high accolade indeed. But it did go on to point out that the price of the PC's keyboard alone was half that of an entire BBC. If accurate, that's £200 in 1982 money, so... a lot.

But for me personally, I don't really see enough of a difference as an end user between my SSK and my XT keyboard to think, "yeah, the M sucks in comparison": my subjective opinion is that they're variations on a theme from a user's perspective and actually the M is the first keyboard I used that I actually genuinely liked. I mean about 15 years after using my first computer keyboards that those early '80s magazines were referring to. I don't think I'd ever encountered PC as made by IBM at that point, they were all clones; and indeed this was a Dell Optiplex, but in their Model M phase.

I suppose ultimately does it really matter? Personally I think the M is a fine keyboard. Yes, there are better, but I would position it pretty close to the top end of a scale that may be measured more objectively. Whether that could be subjected to the argument that it's only because there's so much crap out there now... well, I guess that's an argument for another time. And similarly, I personally don't like Cherry MXs: any of them. But lots of people do, so I guess other than occasionally posting "meh" or advising people to try-before-you-buy if they've no experience with mechanical keyboards I figure I shouldn't be too enthusiastic with that opinion.
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I mean, sure, Model M's are good keyboards (though 2KRO, srsly, that is the fucking shit), but the cult following seems a bit weird. (BTW making an M sound like an F by removing the noiseproofing is like drilling the muffler of an old shit Suzuki Swift, and then acting like you're a cool guy in a cool car.)

I don't say M doesn't have good points. Its key action is far more tactile than any leaf switch. It does take a lot of abuse before breaking down, compared to leaf switches - a keyboard I built with new Cherry blues a year ago is already losing the click on some keys. But 2KRO, srsly? :D

I'm a Model F fan, and have restored several XT keyboards to full working order. You can get XTs for real cheap compared to more popular F keyboards, and they aren't as bad as people make them out to be. The layout may look weird, but it feels just right - in real-life use, the enter key actually is exactly where I need it to be. I'd take an XT I refurbished any day before a more recent layout Model M. (And besides, Ctrl belongs to the left of A now and forever, and that is that.)
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vometia wrote:I think the LK201 doesn't get enough credit for the modern layout! Though admittedly its take on it was not entirely sane.

The LK201 was the first which brought this layout into existence (afaik), but like with many things, it took a large market penetration to make it a standard. IBM was the one who did that with the Model M and many others followed.
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Unread post14 Sep 2018, 11:56

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@Sigmoid: An XT layout fan? Well, Stockholm Syndrome is real after all! (Before our Canuck ranter strikes back: no, Stockholm is not in Denmark. Try again!)

No, the XT layout is profoundly upfucked. So wrong it ain’t even right. Pity, seeing as IBM had already found perfection in layout in my own personal favourite Model F for daily use:

Image

Better laid out than even an SSK. The Kishsaver’s weakness remains its unobtainium price. Well, and the small matter of 3 solid metal kilos of weight. A touch overkill for a 60%! More manly than most of Elrick’s!
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How do you press Window and Menu (application) keys on such keyboards?

Don't you use MS Windows? Do you update firmware to alow layers? Or do you use special keyboard layout in the OS (which remaps some keys to provide Win and Menu keys)?

2KRO is also a serious problem if you play at least some games. I think 6KRO is plenty enough though.
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Muirium wrote:@Sigmoid: An XT layout fan? Well, Stockholm Syndrome is real after all! (Before our Canuck ranter strikes back: no, Stockholm is not in Denmark. Try again!)

:D I never said I'm a fan, it is quite strange... But it's worth the price to ping ratio of the keyboard otherwise, as its upfuckedness never really got to the point of actually frustrating me. ;)

The Kishavers are beautiful, but they cost their weight in gold, and I'm a miser. ;)
vvp wrote:How do you press Window and Menu (application) keys on such keyboards? Don't you use MS Windows?

I don't use Windows too much, but I can't recall ever pressing the Windows or Menu keys on Windows either. On Linux I have Menu remapped as Escape for keyboards that have escape out of comfortable reach, and I never, not once ever thought "omg I want to press the menu key". :D
vvp wrote:Do you update firmware to alow layers?

Both Soarer's and TMK allow you to remap the keyboard and add Fn layers. (You need a converter anyway for XT keyboards, they aren't PS/2 compatible like ATs are.)
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Complex, eh?

Meanwhile on my Kishsaver: like every Model F it’s NKRO. I don’t use Windows at all, but both those blue keys by the spacebar are Command or “GUI” as it’s known in the USB standard. I have an Xwhatsit controller inside, which you program like this:

Image

Total control over every key on the keyboard. Including macros. For example, I like to press both Shift keys to toggle Caps Lock:

Image

Model Fs are a lot of fun with such a powerful controller. You can alter their physical and logical layouts quite a bit. ANSI <> ISO conversion is just the start of it.
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I want a Kishsaver soooo bad. Hurry, Ellipse, hurry! Or I have to ride to Stockholm in Denmark on my Warhorse and steal Muriums!
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I’d like to try one of Ellipse’s remakes, to compare. But I ain’t buying one just for the curiosity. I could tell just by a quick hands on how it stands next to the king. I’ve used the Kishsaver as much as you’d expect for a board so well conceived!

If not for my Hasu Bluetooth HHKB, that Kishsaver is my apex keyboard. But sling it in a bag and you better watch your shoulder…
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I've been having a great deal of fun with mechanical keyboards, and the IBM Model M is largely responsible for triggering this interest.

It started years ago when I had outfitted the computer and instrument workstations in my lab with Model M keyboards. Then I began to worry about how I would replace them if they failed for some reason. This (unfounded) concern led me to Clickykeyboards.com where I stocked up with a few extras.

Then it was my right shoulder that failed rather than the Model M, and I started looking for more compact keyboards (to relieve "mouse shoulder syndrome") that still had a satisfying mechanical action. This led me to DT and a thorough exploration of keyboard space. SSK, ... XT, ... HHKB, ... and the F62 on order.
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Unread post14 Sep 2018, 13:41

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The lack of the Windows key doesn't really bother me unless something really insists: I prefer having the gap there as it's easier to locate my hands than the (to me) entirely unnoticeable knobbles on the F & J. What does bother me, going back to the LK201 (and I think these were quite popular and influential in their own right, for better or worse) is the lack of a compose key: on Unix I'll remap the right-alt key but on Windows I just have to do without. :/
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Unread post14 Sep 2018, 14:49

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vometia wrote:The lack of the Windows key doesn't really bother me unless something really insists: I prefer having the gap there as it's easier to locate my hands than the (to me) entirely unnoticeable knobbles on the F & J. What does bother me, going back to the LK201 (and I think these were quite popular and influential in their own right, for better or worse) is the lack of a compose key: on Unix I'll remap the right-alt key but on Windows I just have to do without. :/

Compose Key: If I set my Mac to "U.S. International - PC" and the Windows machine to United States-International, I get nearly the same functionality as with the compose key. I can type e.g. the " and then an A and get Ä or ^ and the o and get ô etc etc etc. While I am using a US keyboard layout but of German nationality, I use this constantly.
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Unread post14 Sep 2018, 14:57

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It's a good tip and I did try it for a while but just couldn't get used to it. As I probably made very clear elsewhere, I'm rather set in my ways. :D But since most of my office and web stuff is on a Unix thing it doesn't matter too much. I never understand how people remember all those millions of number sequences for the AltGr method though. Well actually I understand it exactly, I just never wanted to do it!
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vometia wrote:…the lack of a compose key: on Unix I'll remap the right-alt key but on Windows I just have to do without. :/

I use WinCompose on Windows and I've mapped the same Right Alt as Compose key.
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Unread post14 Sep 2018, 15:11

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Quartz64 wrote:I use WinCompose on Windows and I've mapped the same Right Alt as Compose key.

Cool: thanks for the link, I really need to give that a try!
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vometia wrote:It's a good tip and I did try it for a while but just couldn't get used to it. As I probably made very clear elsewhere, I'm rather set in my ways. :D But since most of my office and web stuff is on a Unix thing it doesn't matter too much. I never understand how people remember all those millions of number sequences for the AltGr method though. Well actually I understand it exactly, I just never wanted to do it!

:) I am just like that.

I am going off-topic again, but you wouldn't believe it ... I do it the old fashioned way. I have little cards with printouts with my keyboard that can be flipped according the stuff I am doing:
IMG_7600.jpg

IMG_7601.jpg
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Unread post14 Sep 2018, 15:17

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@darkcruix: It is great to see someone actually using the trap door on a beam spring in a very practical way!
=====
Regarding comments by others about the lack of a Win key on the Model M, I've never missed this. I use it very seldom anyway, but in order to have a Command/Win key, I have remapped the Model M Alt keys to Command/Win, CapsLock to Ctrl, R-Ctrl to Option/Alt, and L_Ctril to Fn.

On Model M and other WKL boards on which I have not yet installed programmable controllers, I have used Karabiner for Mac and ATNsoft Key Manager for Windows.

Now I mostly use Windows and Linux, and I share the keyboard and mouse among machines using a combination of a hardware KM switch and Synergy software. The key remapping software can be on the Windows machine and it carries through to the Linux boxes just fine.
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Unread post14 Sep 2018, 15:37

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What bothers me about IBM keyboards is that they didn't follow through with the German patent 1279693 from the 1960s.

Image
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darkcruix wrote::) I am just like that.

I am going off-topic again, but you wouldn't believe it ... I do it the old fashioned way. I have little cards with printouts with my keyboard that can be flipped according the stuff I am doing:

I'm exactly the same. My desk is covered in Post-Its with often cryptic scribbling as I've typically long since forgotten what the random abbreviations and hex codes relate to. Eventually I file them all in the bin and wonder if I've lost anything incredibly important; but considering my memory does that all the time, chucking some random Post-Its away makes little difference.

Also ludicrous jealousy regarding that keyboard: it's awesome. I hate you, etc. :D

Edit: and someone who uses the correct editor and not... well, that other branch of editing. No matter how many keys you have or don't, escape-meta-alt-control-shift should never be a thing.
Last edited by vometia on 14 Sep 2018, 15:50, edited 1 time in total.
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I disagree, cost is a pretty important factor. The Model M design is worlds better than any rubber dome, even a rubber dome with the same build quality, and a metal backplate is still nowhere near as good. The only reason new Model Ms are around $100 is because they are made in the USA, a bureaucratic and corrupt excuse of a government, that taxes and fines you every step of the way. If they were being made in China they would be considerably cheaper.
Also, If Unicomp revived the Model M2, and sold it for around ~$50, I'd definitely be a regular buyer of them, as I sell refurbished PCs.
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davkol wrote:What bothers me about IBM keyboards is that they didn't follow through with the German patent 1279693 from the 1960s.

Spoiler:
Image


Perhaps someone ripped off the design and built an accordion. ;-)
Spoiler:
accordion.jpg

Seriously, though, whereas IBM did produce the M15 split keyboard, they didn't follow through with something more like a buckling spring ergodox.
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Unread post14 Sep 2018, 17:43

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Hypersphere wrote:Seriously, though, whereas IBM did produce the M15 split keyboard, they didn't follow through with something more like a buckling spring ergodox.

The patents are expired, with some effort we could make one. Probably a better use of the community's time and effort than making a million, billion different 60% cases and artisans.
I also have an idea, if we make the flippers out of metal, or some kind of conductive plastic, they could bridge contacts on a PCB, which could have surface mount diodes on the other side, giving it N-key rollover.
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@abrahamstechnology: I'm with you regarding Artisans. As for 60% cases, there does seem to be no shortage of these, although I am sympathetic, as 60% is my favorite form factor. I appreciate the looks and additional or redundant functionality of TKL or full-size keyboards, but after acquiring a HHKB, I find it difficult to use anything larger (or any other layout). Regarding NKRO, might as well go back to the Model F design.
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Hypersphere wrote:@abrahamstechnology: I'm with you regarding Artisans. As for 60% cases, there does seem to be no shortage of these, although I am sympathetic, as 60% is my favorite form factor. I appreciate the looks and additional or redundant functionality of TKL or full-size keyboards, but after acquiring a HHKB, I find it difficult to use anything larger (or any other layout). Regarding NKRO, might as well go back to the Model F design.

True, I really don't even think we need NKRO on a Model M anyways, as the hardcore gamers would like light linears without any hysteresis.
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Hypersphere wrote:
davkol wrote:What bothers me about IBM keyboards is that they didn't follow through with the German patent 1279693 from the 1960s.

Spoiler:
Image


Seriously, though, whereas IBM did produce the M15 split keyboard, they didn't follow through with something more like a buckling spring ergodox.

Again, the patent is from the 1960s. If IBM had pushed it rather than the other form factor / layout, the current de facto standards would have been very different.
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Well, they always were a typewriter company at heart…
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Muirium wrote:Well, they always were a typewriter company at heart…

Indeed. And the Selectric was a marvel of ingenuity and engineering.

selectric_ball_75.jpg

http://www.decadecounter.com/vta/articl...hp?item=66
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Unread post14 Sep 2018, 22:55

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The patent (GB 1016993, the UK equivalent of the German patent) is called "Improvements relating to Typewriter Keyboards".
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