Keyboards

Paul Looney simplsol at aol.com
Fri Oct 22 14:08:00 CDT 2010


Mike,
Nice to hear from someone who takes typing seriously.
I've found keyboard preferences are as personal as spouse preferences.
Some people regard noise in a keyboard as a sign of quality; some  
people think silence in a keyboard is a sign of quality. Some like a  
long key travel, some prefer short keystrokes. Some don't care enough  
to notice a difference.
For me, one advantage of buying a Mini over an iMac is that I would  
not be tempted to use another "free" Apple keyboard - which I think  
is numb, lacks sculptured keys, has no auditory response and is (for  
me) more pain than joy to use.
Attached to my Mini is a Unicomp Model M. Do a Goggle search and  
you'll find this is rightly regarded by many keyboard affectionatos  
as the best keyboard ever. I love it. It is an absolute joy to use. I  
look forward to typing on it every day.
But...
I've loaned it to people with mixed results. About half immediately  
bought one for themselves. Others complained that it was too noisy.  
One thought it was too heavy?!? Younger users thought the keystrokes  
were too long (I suspect they had never used anything other than a  
scissor switch keyboard) - if you are accustomed to banging the keys  
to the bottom to assure that they have made contact, it takes awhile  
to realize that you don't need to do that with a good keyboard - with  
the M you get both auditory feedback (the "clickety clack") and  
tactile feedback (as the keyspring buckles) - not only faster, but a  
lot more comfortable.
If you are considering an M:
1. Don't let the price scare you. If you use a keyboard daily the  
lack of pain will pay for the M shortly - I type a lot, I've had two  
bouts of carpal tunnel trauma with prior keyboards - expensive and  
not much fun. The M will out-last several computers - when the time  
comes to upgrade your Mini, keep the M. Keep it for a couple decades  
if you wish.
2. The keys on the M have not been rearranged in almost 30 years.  
Compare with Apple keyboards where F-keys do different things with  
different models; where some Apple keyboards require you to use the  
Fn key with the F-key and other Apple keyboards require you to NOT  
use the Fn key for the same action. For years the Enter key floated  
around different locations at the bottom of Apple's smaller keyboards  
- now it is gone (replaced by Fn Return - how handy is that?) This  
problem goes away with an M (or any other external keyboard); you can  
set it up as you wish - and use it with your next five or ten  
computers - without relearning key layout.
3. Unicomp does not mention this on their website, but you can get  
"Mac" keys (Command and Option) for $10. You must order by phone and  
ask for them.
4. Change the default Windows layout to Mac layout in the Keyboard  
system preferences (swap the Windows key and the Alt key to Option  
and Command). With Snow Leopard you can do this per keyboard - very  
handy if you have the M connected to a laptop and use the M in the  
office and the laptop's keyboard on the road. BTW the name for the M  
in the Keyboard system preference is "Endura" - very  appropriate.
5. For the record: I got the Customizer 104/105, USB, Buckling Spring  
(of course!), US English, Pearl White model. Doing it today, I might  
be tempted to get black with metallic grey (would probably match the  
current Mini better).

If you don't go the M route, consider adding some sound to the  
keyboard you get. I use Keyclick from Sustainable Softworks on my  
laptop. I find it helps me type faster. Obviously it is not needed  
with an M. One advantage it has over the M: you can adjust the volume.

Let us know if you have more keyboard questions.

Paul Looney

On Oct 22, 2010, at 7:35 AM, Mike Kerner wrote:

> Well, the possibility of being able to use RR...ERR LC to develop  
> iOS apps
> caused me to buy a Mac Mini, my first desktop in a while.  For the  
> first
> time in a long time I'm looking for a keyboard.
>
> Since I spend a lot of my day banging on keys, I'm looking for  
> something
> that doesn't feel like 5h!7, and will put up with the abuse.
>
> I WANT to like the Apple-branded keyboards, but my first impression  
> is that
> I don't like the chicklets on the wireless version, and I think I  
> want a
> full 105 key keyboard.
>
> I've been to Best Buy but I haven't found one that feels good under my
> fingers.
>
> Suggestions?
>
> -- 
> On the first day, God created the heavens and the Earth
> On the second day, God created the oceans.
> On the third day, God put the animals on hold for a few hours,
>    and did a little diving.
> And God said, "This is good."
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