IBM SSK club!

John Doe

05 Feb 2021, 15:25

arkanoid wrote:
05 Feb 2021, 12:16
I recently sorted out my storage and had a chance to take the photos of 38th SSK!
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May I ask what this is? Looks like it's not kinda M-cut mod result neither normal SSK?

arkanoid

05 Feb 2021, 17:46

Myoth wrote:
05 Feb 2021, 12:32
wow that's impressive, magnificent piece !!!
Thanks!
John Doe wrote:
05 Feb 2021, 15:25
May I ask what this is? Looks like it's not kinda M-cut mod result neither normal SSK?
It's the 38th SSK as the serial number says. The chopping job was done by IBM engineers. :)

headphone_jack

10 Feb 2021, 23:26

After many months of eBay stalking, I finally nabbed an SSK for a decent price. Can't wait for it to get here and join the club!
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robo

27 Feb 2021, 21:05

headphone_jack wrote:
10 Feb 2021, 23:26
After many months of eBay stalking, I finally nabbed an SSK for a decent price. Can't wait for it to get here and join the club!
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Nice! The date looked familiar, so I flipped mine over... my SSK was built on the same day! March 3, 1993. But our ID numbers are 1188 apart - they sure made a lot of them that day for such a rare keyboard! (or maybe regular Model M's shared the same number space... or they produced big runs of SSKs on certain days...)

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Muramasa

08 Mar 2021, 01:20

Finally I can formally join the SSK club! Ikea Alex drawers make perfect SSK storage!
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depletedvespene

08 Mar 2021, 10:16

Not one, but TWO industrial SSKs? ENVY.

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derzemel

08 Mar 2021, 16:23

you know that sensation of butterflies in your stomach? that's what I felt when I saw the image above

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sharktastica

08 Mar 2021, 17:55

Whilst certainly not as valuable as a Mopar, I'll take the distinction of posting the first Mini M (well, prototype of) nu SSK on this thread.

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Redmaus
Gotta start somewhere

08 Mar 2021, 19:19

Muramasa wrote:
08 Mar 2021, 01:20
Finally I can formally join the SSK club! Ikea Alex drawers make perfect SSK storage!
That is too much clout dude my NIB SSK's can't even compete.
sharktastica wrote:
08 Mar 2021, 17:55
Whilst certainly not as valuable as a Mopar, I'll take the distinction of posting the first Mini M (well, prototype of) nu SSK on this thread.
How's the build quality? Also the legends for the windows key and context menu looks off. Maybe it's just me. I do like the lock lights though.

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sharktastica

08 Mar 2021, 22:44

Redmaus wrote:
08 Mar 2021, 19:19
How's the build quality? Also the legends for the windows key and context menu looks off. Maybe it's just me. I do like the lock lights though.
It's pretty good. This is a prototype keyboard and the right Windows key alignment is a known issue that's already been fixed (chyros' example, which is a slightly later prototype, doesn't have the same issue). Tbh, I hadn't noticed the context key - it's not bad enough to be worth a fuss.
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wobbled

09 Mar 2021, 22:08

How did you manage to get your hands on the prototypes?

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Muramasa

10 Mar 2021, 01:27

wobbled wrote:
09 Mar 2021, 22:08
How did you manage to get your hands on the prototypes?
Probably sent them for review

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sharktastica

10 Mar 2021, 02:44

wobbled wrote:
09 Mar 2021, 22:08
How did you manage to get your hands on the prototypes?
Unicomp approached me to critically review the Mini M to find any outstanding issues and review from my perspective.

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Muirium
µ

10 Mar 2021, 09:12

sharktastica wrote:
10 Mar 2021, 02:44
wobbled wrote:
09 Mar 2021, 22:08
How did you manage to get your hands on the prototypes?
Unicomp approached me to critically review the Mini M to find any outstanding issues and review from my perspective.
You mean help them promote their forthcoming product. If they wanted substantial input, they’d ask earlier! I mean, that bottom row is an unforced error. The mods look like Unicomp approached a random number generator for its ideas…

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zrrion

10 Mar 2021, 09:36

What's the issue with the bottom row? Just throw a 7u space bar on it and get over it.
From what I understand the prototypes were sent out to sus out issues with the firmware (and to promote it obviously) and not to get input on the layout as the layout is determined by price-point and nothing else. No idea why they don't put go 1.5-1-1.5-7-1.5-1-1.5 windows on the left 1u and menu on the right 1u and toss in a dip switch to swap them I have no idea, seem to me like that would give folks the keys they need in the places they prefer without upsetting people and without much in the way of cost.

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Muirium
µ

10 Mar 2021, 10:05

It’s the damn foolish size of the mods on the right which annoys me. The two keys either side of the spacebar should be equally sized. Don’t mess that up! Why’d you go and mess that up Unicomp? Didn’t you show this thing to anyone at all before the decision was final?

7u spacebar IBM style is best. But as they really wanted 4 mods on the right, do it like everyone else! Not this janky rando cap assortment that looks like it came straight out of the spare parts bin… by design? Gah!

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JP!

10 Mar 2021, 17:09

Besides the layout of the bottom row like others mentioned I think this would look better if the lock lights were shifted further to the right.
Spoiler:
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Muirium
µ

10 Mar 2021, 17:24

Same. There's natural symmetry in putting them above the 3 keys wide "navigation sixpack", instead of over the last group of 4 function keys. They look a bit daft pulled in like they are.

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Redmaus
Gotta start somewhere

10 Mar 2021, 21:17

Muirium wrote:
10 Mar 2021, 17:24
Same. There's natural symmetry in putting them above the 3 keys wide "navigation sixpack", instead of over the last group of 4 function keys. They look a bit daft pulled in like they are.
I couldn't agree more. Also don't know why they didn't make this like ten years ago.

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Muirium
µ

10 Mar 2021, 21:20

Alllllllso: why are all the keys the same colour? We like darker mods! I certainly do.

And where’s the port and what socket does it have? Correct answer: USB C.

stormcrash

11 Mar 2021, 05:18

Muirium wrote:
10 Mar 2021, 09:12
sharktastica wrote:
10 Mar 2021, 02:44
wobbled wrote:
09 Mar 2021, 22:08
How did you manage to get your hands on the prototypes?
Unicomp approached me to critically review the Mini M to find any outstanding issues and review from my perspective.
You mean help them promote their forthcoming product. If they wanted substantial input, they’d ask earlier! I mean, that bottom row is an unforced error. The mods look like Unicomp approached a random number generator for its ideas…
Geez dude, no need to be a jerk about it. From sharks other comments he helped identify some bugs in the anti ghost code at extreme high rollover among other things. Sounds like standard pre-release/beta testing to me.

And to answer some of your other pointed questions, it has options right now for either all gray keys, or white with gray modifiers.

The port is a locking USB A port, so it does use a somewhat unusual A to A cable.

My goodness Unicomp will never please people no matter what they do with the bottom row. I do kind of wish they had left Alt on the right 1.5 key, but after years of hearing people complain about the "non standard" key order people still aren't happy when they make a board with it.

Personally I like the position of the lock lights where they chose to put it, it feels less lopsided, and it does mean the lock light area is the same standard width of 4 key units

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Muirium
µ

11 Mar 2021, 10:49

For some background here: we've been talking to Unicomp about doing an SSK for about a decade. This is something they know we want, where we are, and how detailed our responses can be. :lol:

Yet they gone went and done this instead. Oy! :roll:

The SSK is an absolute classic of a keyboard. It needs remade with care and attention. And it's not like China's just pooping out rando junk these days either. Look at Ellipse's Model Fs! Unicomp would make more money if they targeted this thing right. Real SSKs go for a pretty penny for a reason: there's a market right there! Details matter, all of them.

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JP!

11 Mar 2021, 15:09

The lock light position is an aesthetic anomaly compared to decades worth of IBM and PC clone keyboard designs. Also there is no good reason for the lock light area to take up 4 key positions on an SSK. It can easily fit 3 spaces. This is a space saving keyboard by the way! I'd rather it not been included at all as it is now.

headphone_jack

11 Mar 2021, 22:28

I cannot stress how much the lock lights are a deal breaker are for me. I would have absolutely bought this board if not for how butt fucking ugly they look just thrown on the top. I asked them about why they decided to put it they, and their answer was basically "because we said so". Should have either put them over the nav cluster or left them off entirely. I don't care about the bottom row, as I never use the right modifiers. But this case design is just not acceptable. I understand they're a small company, and that Covid is hitting everyone, but for fuck's sake I piss better lock light positions than that. At least they finally moved on from their horrible stickers after almost 20 years.

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sharktastica

11 Mar 2021, 22:32

stormcrash wrote:
11 Mar 2021, 05:18
Geez dude, no need to be a jerk about it. From sharks other comments he helped identify some bugs in the anti ghost code at extreme high rollover among other things. Sounds like standard pre-release/beta testing to me.


My goodness Unicomp will never please people no matter what they do with the bottom row. I do kind of wish they had left Alt on the right 1.5 key, but after years of hearing people complain about the "non standard" key order people still aren't happy when they make a board with it.
Thanks! Very much, this. Due to the 'clunky' nature of a Model M barrel plate design, they don't really have a lot of options without sinking money into a new mould or modified membrane when people demand change.
* The reason they now made the right Alt smaller was that people complained that their bottom row didn't follow industry standard functional arrangement, hence tried this compromise.
* The originally had an industry-standard functional and physical arrangement prior to 2014: https://sharktastica.co.uk/resources/do ... om_row.pdf. IIRC, they moved away from this because of their desire to have a universal barrel plate. But apparently, people complained then that they were diverging away from the classic Ctrl/Alt sizes so they went with the physical arrangement we had prior to the Mini M and they introduced the 103-key-style option. People still complained. Although, the 103 itself seems to be rather liked so I would like to see such an arrangement made on the Mini M.
Redmaus wrote:
10 Mar 2021, 21:17
Also don't know why they didn't make this like ten years ago.
They've always put their business as an OEM for other companies first, which is common knowledge. GE wouldn't want an SSK since it needs a lot of custom keys on a dedicated numpad and Affirmative wouldn't want an SSK since they resell M122s for terminal emulation. Hopefully, their focus may change in the future (as it seems to be) but I don't blame them for putting their cash cow first.

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depletedvespene

11 Mar 2021, 22:50

sharktastica wrote:
11 Mar 2021, 22:32
I don't blame them for putting their cash cow first.
A company behaving in a fiscally responsible manner? The gall some people have...

stormcrash

12 Mar 2021, 07:18

Not to mention the practical reasons why the lock lights aren't all the way right, above the nav cluster, looking inside an old SSK that's where the post holding the barrel plate in place and a case screw are. Not really much space there for a bank of lights and not like those things can be easily moved to someplace not close to the edge of the board. There was clearly a reason IBM didn't put lights in back in the day, not a lot of space left inside the SSK (shocking I know), it's great that Unicomp was able to use newer components to fit them in at all

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clickykeyboards

12 Mar 2021, 15:54

Photos of what the 3 LEDs would look like on an 84-key SSK.

Pictured are 5mm LEDs from a vintage 1390131 model M.

Certainly 3mm or 1.8mm LEDs could be used to fit the plastic case mounting constraints.

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JP!

12 Mar 2021, 22:43

clickykeyboards wrote:
12 Mar 2021, 15:54
Photos of what the 3 LEDs would look like on an 84-key SSK.
:D I guess I just might have to settle for a for a vintage SSK / FSSK, painted black with custom machined LED provisions, and a custom controller with integrated Bluetooth.

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Redmaus
Gotta start somewhere

13 Mar 2021, 22:55

clickykeyboards wrote:
12 Mar 2021, 15:54
Photos of what the 3 LEDs would look like on an 84-key SSK.

Pictured are 5mm LEDs from a vintage 1390131 model M.

Certainly 3mm or 1.8mm LEDs could be used to fit the plastic case mounting constraints.
Thanks for the excellent visual aid!
I would argue however that this is not a hard problem to solve, simply have two separate PCB's for the the two on the left of the screw post, and a separate one for the single to the right of the screw post connected via jumper wires. You could even use one PCB with a hole for the screw post and cutout for the barrel plate holder, and that way it would be better fastened to the case.

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