What happens when your "White Whale" disappoints?

User avatar
Polecat

25 Jul 2021, 19:36

NeK wrote:
25 Jul 2021, 11:14
My White Whale was the Acer KB102A which I was lucky enough and got it. It didn't dissapointed me, in fact it was even better than I thought. However I prefer the Monterey's for daily driver, because they are simply not that rare and not that expensive and honestly, they may not be better than the acer, or as good, but they are right up there in the same leauge with it. I am serious.

If you take care of your monterey, it gives you the best keyboard experience. I don't see any reason to use any other keyboard in that case.
It was a KB-101A with blue Alps I found in my storage that led me here. It was badly yellowed, with the front edge of the upper case cracked at the retainer tabs, but the switches were like new. The guys here talked me into saving it, so I painted the case dark gray and replaced the keycaps. A strip of metal tape fixed the front edge, for a while. Just a few weeks ago I replaced the upper case with one from a 6312, again painted gray. and eliminated the chrome edge. The 6312 upper case turned out to be identical (minor differences in the lower half, which I didn't need). Anyway, I agree about the Monterey being top notch. The Acer is in my top three, but I never went looking for one. Before that I used a beige K104 for about ten years, and it performed flawlessly for all that time. But the legends eventually wore off the printed caps and it turned yellow. That's why I'm hesitant to use a beige keyboard. The earlier K104s, including my current gray one, had doubleshot caps. Time will tell if the gray doubleshots are prone to yellowing, but I suspect the answer is yes.

User avatar
Yasu0

27 Jul 2021, 02:16

hellothere wrote:
24 Jul 2021, 01:40
A yellow Vespa, like in FLCL? I do live in a place where riding one makes some sense.
Exactly. Buzz around breathing in your gang's sweet vapor trails in and forget all about mechs.

User avatar
hellothere

27 Jul 2021, 21:00

Yasu0 wrote:
27 Jul 2021, 02:16
hellothere wrote:
24 Jul 2021, 01:40
A yellow Vespa, like in FLCL? I do live in a place where riding one makes some sense.
Exactly. Buzz around breathing in your gang's sweet vapor trails in and forget all about mechs.
I need a hobby to distract me from my hobby?

ivanthetolerable

28 Jul 2021, 13:25

hellothere wrote:
27 Jul 2021, 21:00

I need a hobby to distract me from my hobby?


Escapism isn't good.. I tried that and now I have a very expensive motorcycle hobby, vintage computer hobby, and vintage mech keyboard hobby. It's also fun when one group, i.e, the vintage computer guys hate you for also being part of the group that buys up $1000 beam springs so the computer guys can't get their terminals complete..

User avatar
Yasu0

28 Jul 2021, 21:10

What do you guys do with a vintage terminal anyway? I actually run emulation daily but I never thought about running actual terminals. Should I be?

If the escapism is too expensive maybe buy in a more ideal portion of the depreciation curve.. meaning the 80's 90's portion. That 60's 70's part of the curve has already gone exospheric for desirable bike models. Cars too.

User avatar
Weezer

28 Jul 2021, 22:54

Yasu0 wrote:
28 Jul 2021, 21:10
What do you guys do with a vintage terminal anyway?
I use mine as a smart screen. It shows me the weather forcast, the news headlines, my texts, etc

User avatar
hellothere

28 Jul 2021, 23:21

https://www.rainmeter.net

FWIW, I have two IBM 5140 laptops. If I can't sell one AND if I can remember how DOS 3.2 works, I wouldn't necessarily mind having it sit in a corner and just run a screen saver ... if there was one in DOS 3.2. Provided it's not excessively noisy. I don't think the 5140 has a fan. Floppy drives are a bit noisy, tho.

Oooh. Vintage computer enthusiasts vs. vintage keyboard enthusiasts should be its own topic. Or forum. Or website.

I do like the fact that keyboard buying & repairing isn't that expensive a hobby to start. Maybe $300 in tools or less. Then search ebay or similar and buy a keyboard that looks like it'll be fun to tear into.

User avatar
hellothere

03 Aug 2021, 21:15

Provided my buyer pays, the keyboard has been sold.

I only have two keyboards on my mind, now: an Omron B3GS and a Pingmaster. The search continues.

User avatar
TNT

03 Aug 2021, 23:58

have white whale
life good
white whale appears
spend absurd amount of money
white whale disappoints
...
regret

User avatar
hellothere

04 Aug 2021, 03:41

BTW, US ebay does have a Monterey K104 listed. I can't tell if they're white Alps or clone. It's also too expensive. IMO, of course.

User avatar
Polecat

04 Aug 2021, 04:01

hellothere wrote:
04 Aug 2021, 03:41
BTW, US ebay does have a Monterey K104 listed. I can't tell if they're white Alps or clone. It's also too expensive. IMO, of course.
Those are genuine Alps, but not the early ones.

There are a few other K104s listed, including an earlier one for less than half that price:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/313622169080

And a less yellowed one with unknown switches:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/164878991028

And another pricey one with genuine Alps:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/133732027828

The K104 often came with SMK ("Monterey Blue" or white) switches, and you can't tell that without pulling a cap. Best bet for the early Alps switches is to find one with bold arrow keys and doubleshot caps. They show up on ebay regularly, so if in doubt just wait for one that's what you want. Or ask the seller to pull a cap if it's not shown in the photos. Lots of them floating around out there still.

User avatar
hellothere

05 Aug 2021, 00:43

I have a Chicony 5181 sitting right next to me with SMK 2nd Gen switches. I think this is my fourth or fifth KB with them. I don't like them as much as blue Alps, but they're not bad. I need to scrounge my key caps bin to see if I can find something nice for this keyboard.

I had two SMKs with Windows keys. Both had key caps that were terribly faded. One of the biggest problems I had, when trying to fit new keys, is that whover built the KB had used the long plastic stabilizer hooks and I think one had Costar metal stabilizers. Kinda hard to find matching key caps for those.

User avatar
Polecat

05 Aug 2021, 06:57

I also happen to have a 5181 (Mitac-branded) with blue SMK switches. It's a decent keyboard, but not my favorite either, layout or switches. I just don't do well with a 1u backspace. If I could type I'd be ok with it, but then I wouldn't need it in the first place. From my database some of the K104s had blue SMKs, others had white SMKs. From the wiki there's some confusion, because the white ones aren't supposed to be clicky, but it also says there are clickly and non-clicky white SMKs, which you can tell apart by the upper housings. And the Monterey ones appear to be the clicky ones from the photos I've found. I haven't tried a Monterey with any version of an SMK switch, blue or white. If I find a cheap K104 with SMKs I'll probably end up buying it, but for now the 5181 is my only SMK keyboard, so I really don't have an opinion on those switches. But I suspect my feelings will be similar to yours.

User avatar
robo

05 Aug 2021, 18:31

I guess this is totally mundane compared with the rare vintage keyboards being discussed, but 7 years ago or so I convinced myself based entirely on reading forums like this that Topre was the ultimate thing and splurged on a RealForce board. Within a few minutes of receiving it and using it, I hated it, and a week of use didn't change my opinion. I easily sold it on to someone in the UK as I was making a trip there anyway, and they buyer was happy to get one without the international shipping hassles.

Honestly it was kind of a relief to know that I could basically disregard that whole expensive family of keyboards and move on.

User avatar
an_achronism

05 Aug 2021, 22:03

robo wrote:
05 Aug 2021, 18:31
I guess this is totally mundane compared with the rare vintage keyboards being discussed, but 7 years ago or so I convinced myself based entirely on reading forums like this that Topre was the ultimate thing and splurged on a RealForce board. Within a few minutes of receiving it and using it, I hated it, and a week of use didn't change my opinion. I easily sold it on to someone in the UK as I was making a trip there anyway, and they buyer was happy to get one without the international shipping hassles.

Honestly it was kind of a relief to know that I could basically disregard that whole expensive family of keyboards and move on.
Rarely have I felt a switch vary so much because of the construction of the rest of the board, is all I'd say to that, hahah. The main thing I dislike about RealForce does not apply to other Topre boards like HHKB: RealForce uses a rock solid metal plate, but boards like HHKB don't. In my opinion, the hard plate rather ruins the typing experience to some extent, but I like it otherwise, quite a lot as it happens.

tiltowait

06 Aug 2021, 00:37

That's really strange. I used to own both a Realforce and an HHKB and felt no difference due to the plate. Perhaps it had something to do with my setup. I still regret trading that HiPro, even if I got a sweet SSK out of the deal.

User avatar
an_achronism

06 Aug 2021, 01:58

tiltowait wrote:
06 Aug 2021, 00:37
That's really strange. I used to own both a Realforce and an HHKB and felt no difference due to the plate. Perhaps it had something to do with my setup. I still regret trading that HiPro, even if I got a sweet SSK out of the deal.
I've never tried a HiPro one but the HHKBs I've tried don't feel anywhere near as solid as my RealForce... and I don't mean that as a compliment toward the RealForce. Doesn't make any difference to me apart from the bottom out feeling too abrupt on the RF. It isn't like it's awful or anything but it isn't necessarily for me. Otherwise though? Love that thing. I'm using it just now again, as it happens.

User avatar
Go-Kart

06 Aug 2021, 08:42

an_achronism wrote:
05 Aug 2021, 22:03
Rarely have I felt a switch vary so much because of the construction of the rest of the board, is all I'd say to that, hahah. The main thing I dislike about RealForce does not apply to other Topre boards like HHKB: RealForce uses a rock solid metal plate, but boards like HHKB don't. In my opinion, the hard plate rather ruins the typing experience to some extent, but I like it otherwise, quite a lot as it happens.
I agree.

When I first tried Topre, I thought it was Topre that I rated so highly. Many boards on, I do like Topre but the key feel that really caught my attention was actually Topre in a HHKB chassis.

Absurdly priced and my least favourite form factor but here I am, using my HHKB 80 % of the time...

User avatar
Palatino

06 Aug 2021, 10:28

It's the classic, isn't it: what, you're using a chiclet keyboard? You can't be happy: try something with fuller travel. But what's that - a rubber dome keyboard? No, no, you need mechanical. Oh my god, you got Cherry MX? Blues are too high-pitched, browns too linear, reds too boring: you need Alps. Oh, black Alps I see: no, you need a more rounded bump: get a good dome with slider. Oh dear, that's a bit too rattly isn't it, and doesn't have n-key rollover which you haven't heard of but definitely definitely need: get Topre, it's endgame. Oh, you got Topre, but with a steel plate. Almost there. Just one more purchase. WHAT do you mean you have no money or space left? I don't think you're taking this seriously!

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Go-Kart

06 Aug 2021, 13:07

:lol:

A common trajectory I'd wager.

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Wodan
ISO Advocate

06 Aug 2021, 13:11

webwit wrote:
25 Jul 2021, 00:11
The Answer To The Question

Image
Weirdly based

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Yasu0

06 Aug 2021, 19:02

Palatino made a $3000 beamspring sound like a bargain.. with that post.

User avatar
hellothere

07 Aug 2021, 04:16

Regarding Topre, I bought a Realforce all of about 5 minutes after I bought the Plate Spring. It's now my favorite keyboard. I only bought it because it was a customer return at MechanicalKeyboards.com and was $40 or so off. I was not expecting it to be any good.

The other day, I bought an Abko K935P v2, which is a "Nopre," for all of $100 and I'm typing on it right now. I haven't spent enough time with it to make any kind of conclusion, but it's OK. My purchase was based on recommendations from folks here.

I kinda don't want to try a HHKB because I don't like the layout and don't want to find out that folks are right and the plastic mounting plate in the HHKB does make everything more than 5% better.

FWIW, when I started playing with mechanical keyboards 5 or so years ago, the first keyboard I bought was a blue Cherry MX Rosewill and it cost around $70 or more. That was before the market was saturated with low cost Cherry clones.

I really couldn't go back to a plain membrane keyboard after experiencing the dozen or so vintage and modern key switches that I have.

I've been extremely good ... lately ... about selling keyboards that I don't like. I do think that I'm going to wait a long while before I decided I want to sell my brown Alps keyboard, though.

User avatar
raoulduke-esq

07 Aug 2021, 06:40

Shame you didn’t love the plate spring, but you found something you DO love so it’s all good!

micmil

08 Aug 2021, 23:05

You sell it and move on. Take the information you learned and find something that fills the gaps.

User avatar
depletedvespene

08 Sep 2021, 15:31

hellothere wrote:
28 Jul 2021, 23:21
https://www.rainmeter.net

FWIW, I have two IBM 5140 laptops. If I can't sell one AND if I can remember how DOS 3.2 works, I wouldn't necessarily mind having it sit in a corner and just run a screen saver ... if there was one in DOS 3.2.
There were. There was even a program to create a screen saver program with a custom image you'd feed it. Lemme check my dusty collection of SIMTEL20 stuff...

User avatar
hellothere

08 Sep 2021, 18:49

LCD goodness.

If I can get my act together, I'll probably get the 5140s ready for resale in a week-ish.

thechemtrailkid

Yesterday, 22:17

I started my fascination with keyboards with modern, custom MX compatible builds. I loved the variety of designs, colors, the attention to detail, and the time I myself would invest in the project; it's my major hobby after all. I have a handful of boards; ranging from $100 to $1,000.

I remember when I finished putting together my first really expensive board. I was impressed with every detail down to the surface finish on the screws. It was my "grail", my white whale. I turned it over, plugged in, starting typing and was underwhelmed. Nothing was wrong. The switches were smooth, in a weighting I liked, and had a comfortable typing position. From a technical standpoint I really couldn't fault it. It just didn't stand out, and I was looking for that more than competency.

I've come to realize that there is no white whale, just different expressions of the artifacts we collect. This holds true for my vintage keyboards too. My favorite is still my $60 AEK with salmons.

Lucid

Today, 02:18

I don’t have this problem because I can’t seem to identify a white wale. Seems like everything off the shelf needs some level of modification to be the ideal keyboard.

The ideal keyboard would include:
-at least 115 keys
-Alps compatible (preferably salmon or black) or Topre compatible (so I can stick BKE redux domes in it)
-Built in full programmability and key remapping (or programmability using a GUI based program such as Via or Vial)
-metal mounting plate (metal back/bottom plate would be a plus)
-somewhat standard ANSI layout with the extra keys above the F row and/or the left side XT style

Closest thing that ticks all the boxes is the gateway anykey but the switches are crap (I know, I have one). The next closest are the northgate ultra-t (have one) and the ortek mck-142 (don’t have one). But neither are fully programmable/remappable (I don’t even think it’s possible to get the SF keys on the ultra-t to send different single-key scan codes from the regular F keys anyway - jusr F key + modifier) and I can’t for the life of me figure out how to use TMK after reading countless threads and all the TMK documentation (where do I even type a makefile?).

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