Photo of my new Prime



#2

New to me, anyhow, although it was probably manufactured in late 2000, just before the turn of the century:

Prime

Full travel tactile-feedback ALPS mechanical keyswitches, and sculpted keytops. None of this mushy chicklet crap that the keyboard manufacturers are foisting off on us now. PS/2, but an adapter solved that. The key left of "A" has been reconfigured as control. The key below "Z" and "X" is now the worthless "CAPS LOCK", though the previous owner didn't replace the keycap with the bottom-row "CAPS LOCK" keycap that was provided. Since I *never* use CAPS LOCK, I don't care.

Edited: 15 Dec 2013, 2:11 a.m.


#3

Teaser :-)

#4

Nice :-).

But hey, there are still good keyboards being made. I'm using the more silent brown Cherry switches (daskeyboard, silent option). Just enough feedback, reliable contact, not too loud to get kicked out of the office. The number of missed keystrokes went down to zero, exactly the goal with which I advertized it to my boss ;-).


#5

And I'm using a Matias Tactile Pro 4. Uses Matias's own clone of the Alps switches, with lasered keys.

Really, now's a good time for keyboard connoisseurs. Ever since an actual community for discussion of keyboards in Western markets formed (circa 2008 - Geekhack, and then Deskthority splintered off of that for various reasons), instead of scattered pockets of blogs here and there, it seems like a market formed too, out of almost nothing (I mean, sure, Unicomp was around, Cherry was making switches for their own keyboards and for Asian-market keyboards, and Matias was around using third-party Alps clones, but nothing like it is today). In some ways, there's even more offerings now than there were back in the day (although fewer switch types).

And the community is doing a scarily good job of hacking vintage stuff to work with modern computers (especially vintage IBM stuff).


#6

Quote:
And the community is doing a scarily good job of hacking vintage stuff to work with modern computers (especially vintage IBM stuff).

Right, it was never that easy, thanks to the Arduino project. I have myself built an adapter for Amiga keyboards (not that they're in any way better than rubber dome keyboards, but still...the layout rulez ;-D).

#7

Most of the stuff I've seen hasn't actually used the Arduino libraries. And, the Teensy is popular for this. Older Arduinos didn't do native USB device, so they were a poor fit.

There's multiple projects for custom scanning of conductive matrices, there's a project to adapt IBM Set 1 (XT), Set 2 (AT) and Extended Set 2 (PS/2), and Set 3 (most 1983+ terminal keyboards) to USB with N-key rollover, and there's even a replacement controller for some IBM beam spring (mid 1970s) keyboards to scan their capacitive matrices and use USB.


#8

Quote:
Older Arduinos didn't do native USB device, so they were a poor fit.

Yes, in some sense. You can still buy them, and there's even a library to implement the USB protocol! My first attempt was using it before I went over to the Leonardo. Of course, more clever people than me just use the AVR and design dedicated PCBs, still using the Arduino IDE. BTW, my dream would be a replacement PCB for the Woodstocks ... but that's a little late as I fear most of them went into the trash can (not *my* dead 25):-(.
#9

Did you try the bacon free Wifi? ;-)


John

#10

...and with big Enter key, as it should be:-)


#11

Them's fightin' words. ;)

#12

Be careful. One of those "proper keyboards" gave me carpal tunnel which required painful surgery I only use ThinkPad keyboards now which are just spot on.

#13

Quote:
The key left of "A" has been reconfigured as control. The key below "Z" and "X" is now the worthless "CAPS LOCK", though the previous owner didn't replace the keycap with the bottom-row "CAPS LOCK" keycap that was provided. Since I *never* use CAPS LOCK, I don't care.

I grew up with CTRL left of "A", and it really irked me that keyboards started putting "CAPS LOCK" there. I ignorantly blamed the IBM PC because PC clone keyboards were that way, but I was wrong. I just picked up an original IBM XT (IBM 5160) yesterday and to my surprise the original IBM PC keyboards had CTRL left of "A".

I Googled for CTRL vs. CAPS LOCK and got nothing but suggestions on how to redefine them, but no history on who or why it was changed from CTRL left of "A".

Maybe it was Apple's fault. The original 1984 Mac not only put CAPS LOCK left of "A", but also omitted the CTRL key entirely.

BTW, Unicomp still makes the original IBM keyboards. I cannot speak for layout, just design. A new batch of APL keyboards will be available soon.


#14

Unicomp's design is based on the membrane buckling spring-based Model M, and not the capacitive buckling spring-based Model F. Their 101-key layout matches the 101-key IBM layouts, but that was when IBM moved the PC's Caps Lock key to the left of A.

I don't think it was Apple's fault at all, but rather IBM's. The typewriter convention was to have Shift Lock to the left of A, and as IBM's terminals evolved from their typewriters, IBM followed that with Caps Lock being to the left of A on the IBM 3277 in 1971. The 5251 in 1977 continued that, and the 4704 in 1981 did so as well. It's actually surprising that the PC XT keyboard, the mechanical layout being nearly identical to the 5251, didn't do that - I'd guess that there was enough influence from the CP/M market, and therefore the ASCII terminals of the day (which were largely ASR-33 derived, and Ctrl was to the left of A because the ASR-33 didn't have capital letters, and therefore had no use for caps lock).

In any case, the 4704's 107-key keyboard became the basis for the 122-key keyboards that most of IBM's terminals would use from 1983 on, and the 101-key Model M was derived from the 122-key keyboards, which is what set the Caps Lock position in stone.

Apple chose to emulate the IBM Selectric III (1980, for those keeping track) with the Lisa, because that's what they found their target market was used to. And, the original Mac used a cut-down (numpad removed) Lisa keyboard. They did stick with Ctrl to the left of A on the Apple II line, but largely because the users were already used to that. And, some Mac keyboards actually had Ctrl to the left of A (the first-gen Mac ADB keyboard, sharing everything but the case and keycaps with the original IIGS ADB keyboard, was forced into it).

Edited: 15 Dec 2013, 12:51 p.m.

#15

Lucky man!


#16

My favorite is a Northgate OmniKey Ultra-T. CVT bought the rights to the Northgate keyboards, made minor changes, and sold them with the Avant name. The Avant Prime is essentially a Northgate 101, and the Avant Stellar is essentially the Ultra-T. The Avant keyboards have programmable mapping and macro features similar to the programmable versions of the Northgate.

These keyboards can be used with some (but not all) USB-to-PS/2 adapters, but I'm planning to replace the encoder chip with a modern ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller and a Bluetooth module.


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  HP-10C Series Family Photo Max Stone 5 198 10-24-2013, 10:31 PM
Last Post: Eddie W. Shore
  HP-Prime photo critor 9 278 05-18-2013, 02:07 AM
Last Post: BD
  off-topic question about linux photo software db (martinez, ca.) 7 193 07-01-2012, 06:35 PM
Last Post: Jeroen Van Nieuwenhove
  Photo of my HP 15c | 15c LE DigiGal 2 126 10-12-2011, 12:34 PM
Last Post: DigiGal
  wanted: high-resolution photo of 50g internals Eric Smith 9 278 10-04-2011, 02:08 AM
Last Post: Marcus von Cube, Germany
  Photo of Voyager and HP 35s Brandon Poindexter 7 222 09-30-2011, 01:25 AM
Last Post: Brandon Poindexter
  Pioneer series internal photo (17BII, 27S, 42S) Lyuka 4 139 11-16-2009, 06:26 PM
Last Post: geoff quickfall
  HP spy photo? Pal G. 2 109 05-29-2009, 03:15 PM
Last Post: Jean-Michel
  O.T. Gigaspan photo of Inauguration designnut 11 280 02-05-2009, 05:23 PM
Last Post: Martin Pinckney
  HP-35s photo gallery Mike Mander 26 537 08-23-2007, 09:34 PM
Last Post: Mike Mander

Forum Jump: