That was literally the first thing I said after typing on the keyboard. A part of me honestly hoped that the blue alps hype-train was exaggerated – that it was all a ruse to make something rare seem better than it actually was. No way could blue alps feel that much better than white alps. No way could they feel as good as the yellow click-modified alps I spent hours slaving away to hybridize.
I’m now fully onboard the blue alps hype-train. They are, without a shadow of a doubt, the best switch I’ve ever typed on – and I honestly didn’t want that to be true…
For those of you who lurk the Great/interesting finds thread – you might remember that about a week ago I posted that I had purchased an Acer kb-101a.
I bought it.
....the quest...it's....it's finally..over
I was very nervous/anxious about getting the board since hypersphere had warned me that he had bought and returned this very same board because it was unresponsive upon arrival (and also because the seller falsely stated it was a KB-101AS – which it’s not). Today it finally arrived.
The box it came in was MASSIVE, but it was packaged pretty nicely – save for the Bed, Bath & Beyond bag the actual board was wrapped in – plenty of bubble wrap made me feel like the seller took the crazy price for blue alps seriously. I unwrapped the board and set it on the table and just kind of looked at it for a minute or two.
There it was… just sitting in front of me. An infamous blue alps keyboard. The holy grail of alps switches. The thing people on ebay (and I guess myself included) pay ridiculous and unreasonable sums of money to obtain. It was in my house. I could touch it. I could type on it. I could experience it. Is this getting uncomfortable to read? It’s getting weird to type out. I’ll stop.
After typing on it, it was immediately noticeable that the switch felt much different than white alps switches. Easier to press, smoother, and came with a more distinct sound. I told my wife to come over and try it out, and she agreed that it sounded awesome. She was also holding our 7-month-old daughter in her other hand, which wouldn’t particularly be relevant to this story had my daughter not proceeded to spit up half the bottle I had given her 30 minutes ago all over the numpad of the acer…
…yeah. That actually happened.
I was going to go test it out, but decided I should clean up the spit-up/wait for it to be fully dry before I plugged it into my computer. So instead, I opted to do my cleaning up of the board first.
It was pretty bad..
Yes, that is a staple – probably from the early 90s.
It had the gray switchplates though!
The switches themselves weren’t that dirty on the inside. I checked about 15 of them and there was hardly any dust in them, so I decided not to clean all the switches today – save it for another time. I have to retrobright the case at some point anyway (can’t do it anytime soon since I live in Oregon and there’s always an 80% chance of rain on any given day of the year) so probably during the summer I’ll do a little bit deeper clean of the case & switches.
Here it is after a bit of cleaning
I did decide to at least rinse the keycaps in some soapy water while I was cleaning the mounting plate.
But when I went to reassemble the board, the keycaps were still really wet….so I opted to try something a little bit different.
I had some dolch alps lying around after I bought them from a mechmarket user that had a price I couldn’t pass up. I don’t know if I like them better than the original caps – but it definitely looks unique.
Then came the time to finally test it out on the PC. Like I said before, I was very anxious for this part because of the warning I had received from hypersphere. And of course…
…he was right. It didn’t work. The power light came on, but nothing registered. I tried putting it into XT mode and plugging it into my XT soarer’s converter that I use for my model F XT, but still nothing. I was pretty depressed, so I turned off my PC, unplugged the keyboard and went to pour myself some Japanese whiskey.
After letting it sit for an hour or so, I came back and decided to try again. I moved the switch back into AT mode, slapped on a 5-pin-DIN-to-PS/2 converter, plugged it into my motherboard and booted up the PC – but this time, I noticed the num-lock light also came on. As soon as my computer loaded I clicked on google chrome, went to the address bar, typed deskthority.net, lost my shit that the board was working, and then started writing this review.
I don’t know what I did to “fix” it. It wasn’t working and then it was. My computer was off both times I plugged it in. The first time I turned it on nothing registered, but the second time it did – I have no explanation for it. The only thing I could think of is that moving the AT/XT switch back and forth might have done something, but I don’t know what that would have really done. In any case, I’m very happy that it works! Typing on it is amazing!
Here’s a few shots of the finished board:
I also poured myself another whiskey, but this time in celebration.
Thanks for reading! Hopefully I'll find the time to make a video comparison between some of the alps-mods I've done and blues!