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USB NeXT Keyboard With an Arduino Micro

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the clickity-clack-hack dept.

Hardware Hacking 115

coop0030 writes "Ladyada and pt had an old NeXT keyboard with a strong desire to get it running on a modern computer. These keyboards are durable, super clicky, and very satisfying to use! However, they are very old designs, specifically made for NeXT hardware: pre PS/2 and definitely pre-USB. That means you can't just plug the keyboard into a PS/2 port (even though it looks similar). There is no existing adapters for sale, and no code out there for getting these working, so we spent a few days and with a little research we got it working perfectly using an Arduino Micro as the go between."

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waste (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42228709)

congratulations on devoting your time & money on doing something useless, thanks for sharing!

Re:waste (2)

xQuarkDS9x (646166) | about 2 years ago | (#42228721)

Honestly I feel it's not a waste. A lot of the older keyboards in the 80's were made to be a hell of a lot more durable then the flimsy plastic crap you buy now. I fondly remember my *old* IBM keyboard from the mid 80's that was very heavy but man oh man did it sound beautiful with the clicking noises it made and it felt great to type with it.

Re:waste (0)

Bomazi (1875554) | about 2 years ago | (#42228783)

Who cares if modern stuff is not durable. I can buy 10 modern keyboards for the price of one of these dinosaurs.

Re:waste (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42228955)

If you like cheap keyboards just fine, then by all means, do that. Some prefer the older ones, and that's ok too.

It certainly doesn't hurt anyone to make those options available and it's not like they claim to have cured cancer... it's just a project.

Re:waste (2)

negRo_slim (636783) | about 2 years ago | (#42228981)

If you like cheap keyboards just fine, then by all means, do that. Some prefer the older ones, and that's ok too.

I tend to live at my PC and over the years it just became so tedious keeping a good keyboard clean and working well. Now I just get whatever is cheapest at Walmart, maybe once or twice a year. Not the most Earth friendly option I know but I really, really hate grimy keyboards.

Re:waste (1)

gagol (583737) | about 2 years ago | (#42230349)

Not eating at the computer and washing hands helps keeping your keyboard clean.

Re:waste (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#42232611)

It is also possible to learn to eat in a way that does not smear the keyboard.

Re:waste (3, Interesting)

nukenerd (172703) | about 2 years ago | (#42232225)

If you like cheap keyboards just fine, then by all means, do that. Some prefer the older ones, and that's ok too.

I tend to live at my PC and over the years it just became so tedious keeping a good keyboard clean and working well. Now I just get whatever is cheapest

A quality keyboard (quality anything IMHO) can be dismantled with real screws, cleaned and re-assembled and ends up like new. I use a 20 year old IBM AT keyboard that I clean about once every 2-3 years (I don't eat over it either). It is superb to use and worth the hour spent. Most modern keyboards are utter rubbish, and I have thrown quite a few away (like you get with new PCs) after trying a few keystrokes. What a waste of resources. It is like the difference between riding a quality bike and a riding cheap Chinese-made commuter hack, no matter how new and clean that hack is. If you are happy with the hack then I am happy for you.

Re:waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42229115)

Some prefer the older ones, and that's ok too.

I assume that they're not Windows users. It would be annoying not having the Windows key. Same with Mac, but a Mac user wouldn't be caught dead using one of those, so I assume this was for a Windows or *nix user.

Re:waste (1)

Tehrasha (624164) | about 2 years ago | (#42229451)

I find the Windows key annoying, even in Windows. Model M forever!
Not going to modify my NeXT keyboards... they are still connected to their lovely black hardware.

Re:waste (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#42229725)

Windows 8 will cure you of that!

Re:waste (2)

Tehrasha (624164) | about 2 years ago | (#42230993)

From what I have seen, Windows 8 might cure me of Windows.

Re:waste (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#42233481)

It's a pain in the ass, but it has good bones. I'm sure Windows 9 will address the multiple personality disorder somewhat. I'm hoping that Windows tablets don't fall flat in the marketplace so that we have some competition, but I have to admit that they aren't that compelling so it might all just go away.

Re:waste (2)

elfprince13 (1521333) | about 2 years ago | (#42229891)

Any Mac user worth the name should be proud to have NeXT hardware.

Re:waste (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | about 2 years ago | (#42229509)

I miss the space where the damn windows key is now. as well as the click clack of a good old keyboard...

Re:waste (3)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 years ago | (#42229151)

You, Sir, have the "consumer" mentality. Wasteful frivolity is the order of the day. Corporate chiefs and demons dance in glee, to see that you are so thoroughly indoctrinated. Go, Sir, and buy a dozen more useless trashy pieces of shit, so that corporate profits may increase.

Re:waste (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42230533)

Wait, so doing the math and choosing the cheaper option that gets you what you need is being a consumer whore? Spending money on quality you don't need doesn't sound like it helps you and in the end only puts money in the pockets of corporate chiefs.

Quite a few people get by just fine with membrane keyboards. Nothing wrong with people who prefer more spring based keys, but for the rest of us, why spend money on something we don't need or want? If I can get a keyboard at a small fraction of the cost and it lasts a couple years, but not the several years a better one would, that still comes out cheaper in the long run, without factoring the time it can take to clean them (I spent enough years trying to keep a model M working and clean, just wasn't worth the time for me in the end)..

Re:waste (-1, Troll)

RocketRabbit (830691) | about 2 years ago | (#42231895)

That you had to respond as AC is an indication that you know your position is not reasonable, asshole.

Re:waste (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42232671)

You didn't explain how spending money on something not needed or wanted amounts to consumer indoctrination. An AC questions a post essentially saying, "Spend, spend, spend," so as to not let corporations profit and to not contribute to frivolous waste, and the best you come up with is implying attaching a pseudonymous name to the idea would make it seem more reasonable?

(I guess we need to be vigilant for anonymous Big Keyboard shills trying to fatten corporate profits by not buying stuff if they don't need it...)

Re:waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42234077)

Might want to go get some meds, your aspberger's is acting up again.

Re:waste (4, Interesting)

locopuyo (1433631) | about 2 years ago | (#42229561)

If you expand your search of keyboards beyond Wal-Mart you can find plenty of modern keyboards that don't suck. There are hundreds of models of mechanical keyboards to choose from. The most popular mechanical switch brand is Cherry MX. I prefer Cherry MX red switches and have a Corsair K90 keyboard that has a lot of modern features such as back-lit keys, media keys, and a volume scroll wheel, and 26 key rollover. Cherry MX red switches only require 45 g of force so they require a lot less effort to press and I can type faster and with less errors because I don't miss keys.

Re:waste (3, Informative)

FatRichie (1456467) | about 2 years ago | (#42231843)

When I saw this was a thread about old keyboards, I was hoping I'd find someone recommending some newer quality keyboards.

I can add that I found the ABS Model M1 keyboard to be a great alternative to the very expensive boards (lists for $69.99, but I picked mine up on clearance for $40 a few years ago). I don't need any of the added "modern" functionality of media keys or backlight, but I did want a keyboard that had a solid, "springy" resistance, and a definite clicking sound when I used it. I just can't get by on the basic factory keyboards that come with computers out of the box. Those keyboards have the feel, and only slightly more effectiveness than typing into a bowl of pudding.

Granted, this ABS hardware has never had the solid response I got from my old IBM keyboards, and someday I'm sure dropping over $100 on a nice keyboard won't hurt my wallet or my spending conscience so bad. But in the meantime, this ABS board was a decent, cheap alternative.

Re:waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42230045)

A lot of the older keyboards in the 80's were made to be a hell of a lot more durable then the flimsy plastic crap you buy now.

Oh hell yeah. A Model M keyboard wouldn't be destroyed even if you threw it into Mount Doom.

Re:waste (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 2 years ago | (#42230071)

Honestly I feel it's not a waste. A lot of the older keyboards in the 80's were made to be a hell of a lot more durable then the flimsy plastic crap you buy now. I fondly remember my *old* IBM keyboard from the mid 80's that was very heavy but man oh man did it sound beautiful with the clicking noises it made and it felt great to type with it.

Remember? This post is being typed on one. This M just keeps going with the odd cleaning of parts in the dishwasher to make it look new again.

I think you are dead on with the plastic crap keyboards - the ones at the office simply aren;t as good. A pity all those great PC, XT and PS2 era keyboards ended up in the bin. The M2 is a great keyboard as well - but not as heavy so it is good on a desk.

This is a cool project for that reason. I think an arduino conversion of a M to USB would be great as I found the adapters don't work that well.

Re:waste (2)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 2 years ago | (#42230111)

I'm typing this on another M (mine was made on 9/25/91). I remember seeing a Model M for sale awhile ago on Ebay that had built-in USB. The last owner replaced the plug and whoever it was did a really good job on it--the plug was a bit longer than most but aside from that it looked like it was originally built that way.

Re:waste (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 2 years ago | (#42230823)

I'm typing this on another M (mine was made on 9/25/91). I remember seeing a Model M for sale awhile ago on Ebay that had built-in USB. The last owner replaced the plug and whoever it was did a really good job on it--the plug was a bit longer than most but aside from that it looked like it was originally built that way.

That sounds like a great mod, great score!!! My M is only about a year older and looking at the connector I see what you mean - a usb port would fit in there nicely.

Re:waste (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#42233927)

Me too.

You can get brand new ones from pckeyboard.com

Re:waste (1)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 2 years ago | (#42235047)

Nope, this one wasn't a Unicomp. It was an original IBM but it had a plug just like the ones on that site.

Re:waste (1)

Keith Henson (1588543) | about 2 years ago | (#42235395)

The model M I am typing on is a Unicomp built 3/31/99, got it direct from Unicomp less than a year ago after my former model M finally died. It's directly plugged in, but there are PS2 to USB adapters that work fine. My wife has one and she types 120 wpm.

Re:waste (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#42232509)

There's a few hassles with the USB keyboard driver standard that get in the way with multiple keypresses. That's the main problem with the adapters.

Not all IBM stuff was made as solidly (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#42232495)

It's not consistently like that - an IBM serial terminal I've got at work has a case that's so poorly designed that the entire case and a visable portion of the main board (yes, you can see it behind the serial socket) flexes alarmingly when you just plug in a serial cable. Meanwhile the model M keyboard that pugs into the front of it is just about bombproof and seems to weigh almost as much as the terminal (which has a CRT in it). If a keyboard was as much "filmy plastic crap" as that terminal it wouldn't survive shipping. Each time it's used, which is rarely, I'm worried the thing will break. The keyboard doesn't have a compatible controller for anything other than that terminal but it's not worth adapting. It isn't difficult to get a PS/2 model M (like the one I'm creating noise pollution with now), and there's almost identical things available new.

Re:waste (5, Insightful)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#42228787)

congratulations on devoting your time & money on doing something useless, thanks for sharing!

They're using a keyboard they like, where previously they could not. And in the abstract, they found a problem and solved it... which is reason enough for a hobby project.

Now go away, troll.

Re:waste (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42229417)

I'm all for hobby projects, yet, this isn't solving a problem. They had an old piece of hardware and decided it would be cool to make it work, that's fine. Cool points for Arduino & NeXT, yet ultimately advances nothing.

Re:waste (4, Insightful)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | about 2 years ago | (#42229469)

Like John Lennon once said, time you enjoy wasting isn't wasted.

Re:waste (1, Troll)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#42229741)

I thought all of his philosophy was discredited when they tore down the wall and started pulling down his statues?

Re:waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42232033)

John Lennon != Vladimir Lenin

Re:waste (1)

nukenerd (172703) | about 2 years ago | (#42232253)

John Lennon != Vladimir Lenin

or John Lennon != Jimmy Saville, but he was a POS anyway.

Not a waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42232085)

If there's one thing I'd like to see hobbyists doing it's this. There's obviously too much waste in the world. If a culture could be built up of people seeking out modders to build computers and other devices using older parts and go betweens, I' be on for that. I think it's great.

Re:waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42229903)

Huh? does every hobby progject must solve some problem?

Re:waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42231765)

They're using a keyboard they like, where previously they could not.

I have a story like that, back when I admitted to owning an iPaq 3950 PDA. The problem was the swiveling UDRL button on it was terrible for playing SEGA/SNES games - walking diagonally was nearly impossible and on-screen keypads were awkward. So, I hacked the keymap of an HP micro keyboard driver, and built a full fledged PS/2 keyboard adapter. The HP driver magically kept power supplied to the cradle connector, which I used for powering the keyboard. I generated the +/-12V (more like 8V) from a charge pump driven by signal lines. It was simple enough that no microcontroller was necessary.

It worked reliably, but the HP driver hurt performance, and it was just too bulky to be practical if there wasn't an empty desk nearby. It only took a week to build, so it was worth doing, but in retrospect all I really needed was a game pad.

About a year later, I bought a decent MSI netbook computer and shelved the iPaq forever. It has been better in every measurable way, and the only mod I've needed to do is improved cooling for the northbridge (it had no heatsink).

Re:waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42231101)

Are you talking about your own post, or the article? It's hard to tell, since both are equally useless and a waste of time and money.

I'm just going to assume you meant your post. Less logical disconnects that way.

Depends on the ADB/non-ADB Bus (1)

sinator (7980) | about 2 years ago | (#42228723)

For ADB NeXTs (i.e., Turbo 33/color workstations) - wouldn't an ADB to USB adaptor work?

Re:Depends on the ADB/non-ADB Bus (3, Interesting)

DarkVader (121278) | about 2 years ago | (#42229453)

Yep.

I've got a NeXT ADB keyboard, and a Griffin iMate. Works just fine.

This thing doesn't look like it's ADB, though.

Re:Depends on the ADB/non-ADB Bus (1)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | about 2 years ago | (#42231887)

Submitter screwed up the summary, article says pre-ADB and pre-USB and non-PS/2.

Proprietary keyboard port? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42228727)

I wonder why they didn't make it on their own. Customers love that shit!

Das Keyboard (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42228731)

Just buy a Das Keyboard. I have 3. I'll never type on anything else

ADB (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42228747)

Couldn't you just use an ADB to USB adapter? Guess that would be less amusing than reverse engineering the standard.

Re:ADB (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#42228795)

Sometimes, she documents a reverse engineer for legal reasons. She reverse engineered the Apple 'heartbeat' led sleep mode, not because its hard, but because then she can use it without Apple being able to raise a stink about it.

Re:ADB (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42228841)

ADB has its innards extremely well documented by apple in the IIGS Hardware reference (page 121)

http://www.scribd.com/doc/39044132/Apple-IIgs-Hardware-Reference [scribd.com]

It never changed, and ADB was used by other companies such as NeXT, Sun and a few others, this is simply a case of doing a bunch of work cause they didnt know what to google for

Re:ADB (1)

damnbunni (1215350) | about 2 years ago | (#42229799)

Except that Apple Desktop Bus documentation won't be of much, if any, use decoding the NeXT keyboard bus.

Since they're not related in the least.

Re:ADB (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42230469)

yea totally not related, besides almost all the machines used it

Re:ADB (1)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | about 2 years ago | (#42231893)

Submitter screwed up the summary, article says pre-ADB and pre-USB and non-PS/2. So not related.

Re:ADB (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42234935)

oh well, if the article says (nevermind ADB predates next by 2 years, and the first 2 models of next computers use ADB, laday ada has it covered)

Re:ADB (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#42231777)

Kinda sad that a company would raise a stink over something so trivial, then again Apple being control freaks isn't exactly a new development here.

That said I can understand why they'd want to save the keyboard, those old clacky keyboard were really built like tanks and work great. I keep telling myself next load of clacky keyboards that come through the shop I'm gonna put aside a couple for spares in case anything happens to my old clacky boards I have at home and at the shop but every time my friends find out I have got my hands on some more clacky boards they end up talking me into selling them. My last spare, a great IBM classic complete with the old 5 pin to PS/2 adapter my oldest carted off, he was at the shop and just loved the feel of my clacky and when he found out I had a spare in the back that was it, that sweet old IBM was headed out the door.

So anybody that don't get why they would go to all the trouble really needs to try a clacky, the feel of those keyboards is just wonderful and the things just last and last.

Re:ADB (5, Informative)

Misagon (1135) | about 2 years ago | (#42229213)

Not all NeXT keyboards talked ADB, but rather some proprietary NeXT protocol.

The commercial USB-to-ADB adapters, such as the Belkin iMate are not that easy to come by.
The best option might just be to use a small microcontroller board and load it up with custom firmware.

Most keyboard hackers use the Teensy [pjrc.com] instead of an Arduino, but the boards have more similarities than differences.
You can find open source ADB adapter firmware made for the Teensy over on the Geekhack.org [geekhack.org] forum. It was made by a guy with the handle "Hasu".

So it seems there's hope... (3, Interesting)

rnturn (11092) | about 2 years ago | (#42228753)

... that I may, someday, be able to find a use for that old 3-button DEC hockey puck mouse I have down in the basement. Cool.

Re:So it seems there's hope... (1)

Longjmp (632577) | about 2 years ago | (#42228865)

Geez, do you really, I mean really, want to go through the process of cleaning the wheels inside again?
Over and over? ;)

Re:So it seems there's hope... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42229293)

You don't know what a puck is.

Not hard.... (1)

hazeii (5702) | about 2 years ago | (#42228825)

If a Next keyboard is the same as an AT PC keyboard, this is a trivial hack; you can do it with a PC LPT port (it's a single bit TTL signal that just needs a bit of waggling).

Much harder now there are no simple I/O ports on a PC.

Re:Not hard.... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42228899)

its not like an AT keyboard, its ADB which is a sinlge wire bit cell timed serial protocol that allows daisy chaining of devices, but thanks for playing

Re:Not hard.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42228983)

It's a single wire not "sinlge wire", but thanks for playing.

Re:Not hard.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42229927)

The only way to win is not to play.

Modern keyboard are like typing on liver. (3, Informative)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about 2 years ago | (#42228853)

I love the "old" clicky keyboards. They feel much better on the fingers and the tactile freedback is wonderful. You can still buy them from UNICOMP who bought out the IBM keyboard factory upgraded with USB: http://pckeyboard.com/page/category/UKBD [pckeyboard.com]

You can also pick them up on 2nd hand on eBay from these resellers: http://www.clickykeyboards.com/ [clickykeyboards.com]

When I buy a laptop they're all equal EXCEPT FOR THE KEYBOARDS. Some are better than others, but none compare to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_M_keyboard [wikipedia.org] Know people who type whole novels on their iPhone, but is it really the best way to do it?

Re:Modern keyboard are like typing on liver. (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42228959)

I agree, as I type from my 92 model M... On to laptops, I was surprised that the dell work gave me actually has a almost acceptable keyboard, ok sure its still like sticking your fingers into dough, but they actually have a decent travel and a nice solid base to thunk down on... unlike most laptops where its like typing on rubber attached to a thin plank of balsa wood only being held on its ends bouncing around

Re:Modern keyboard are like typing on liver. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42229077)

Dell is hit and miss -- not always bad. The D610 was an engineering classic and I'm going to miss the bloody thing when it finally fails. (Yup, seven years now.) Not what you'd expect to ever say about a Dell.

Re:Modern keyboard are like typing on liver. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42229195)

I would use a loud-ass keyboard in the office if I was a fan of getting it jammed rectally by coworkers who had enough.

No, actually, I still wouldn't use a shitty, old keyboard.

Re:Modern keyboard are like typing on liver. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42230147)

The Model M has a steel plate in the bottom so in a worst case scenario you could use it as a blunt weapon. Wipe the blood off and it would still work great!

Re:Modern keyboard are like typing on liver. (1)

antdude (79039) | about 2 years ago | (#42230379)

Me too, but my colleagues and others hate when I type s loudly like a machine gun -- http://aqfl.net/node/5825 [aqfl.net] ... :(

Re:Modern keyboard are like typing on liver. (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | about 2 years ago | (#42232065)

When I buy a laptop they're all equal EXCEPT FOR THE KEYBOARDS. Some are better than others, but none compare to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_M_keyboard [wikipedia.org]

Do you really want a portable computer, where the keyboard alone weighs about two kg and is five cm thick?

Re:Modern keyboard are like typing on liver. (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#42232533)

That would actually be cool - but yes, I'd rather see somebody else carry it around and then tell them how cool it is.

Re:Modern keyboard are like typing on liver. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42235559)

Know people who type whole novels on their iPhone, but is it really the best way to do it?

Touchscreen keyboards are great. You think your Model M has good tactile feedbsck? It's nothing compared to how you can "feel" your thumbs fouching the glass on a touchscreen.

I can type very fast on a iOS, and I can touchtype reliably with autocorrect disabled now - and I haven't had nearly as much practice as on an actual keyboard.

But two thumbs will never be as fast as ten fingers, and a horizontal touchscreen keyboard is tiring, you have to keep your fingers suspended in mid air. I still prefer my cherry mx red keyboard.

Dear Apple, Bring back the NeXT Keyboard (1)

tyrione (134248) | about 2 years ago | (#42228947)

Working on these at NeXT was an absolute pleasure. The key response allowed for longer sustained typing and fewer mistakes. I miss this keyboard as it sat at the right ergonomic angle.

Cripple keyboards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42229337)

Every keyboard and mouse produced by Apple after His return sucked.
I still use a Macally ikey, which is just like the ADB extended keyboard.

When things lasted (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42228967)

Back in the 90s, a company called Northgate Computer Systems, based out of Minnesota, ranked right up there in terms of marketshare, etc as Dell, HP, etc. They had several government contracts which were exceptionally lucrative. They also made keyboards that everyone at the time lusted for because they were super-reliable, very comfortable to use, and quiet despite the snappiness of the keys. You simply couldn't find a better keyboard. Everything was looking great for them, until senior management made a series of horrible and totally avoidable blunders and within a year the company tanked. The one thing to survive the company's demise was their patents on keyboards -- bought out by a company called Avant Stellar (if memory serves). They charge a fortune for their keyboards, and they aren't as reliable as those old ones are.

I can understand why these guys decided to hack together a microcontroller assembly to get it working on modern hardware: human interface equipment back in that day and age was built to last forever. It could even survive contact with 5 year olds, as my keyboard frequently crashed onto concrete floors, was pissed on by animals, and crushed by falling monitors (remember: Back in the day, a 19" monitor weighed a good 50 pounds). Things that would kill today's keyboards dead, it simply brushed off as a non-event.

I wish things were built like that today, rather than this planned obsolesence bullsh*t. There's some things in this industry that just don't change: The power cord, the mouse, the keyboard, and the cases. Build those things to last guys. Really.

Re:When things lasted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42229059)

Just 3D print new stuff to suit. 3D printing is the bonanza of the future. About your sig, I'm not sure what it's supposed to mean. I would change it to, "In the beginning, there was everything. Then it changed.". Except for there not being a beginning, it's more accurate.

Re:When things lasted (0)

arkane1234 (457605) | about 2 years ago | (#42229339)

There not being a beginning is about as believable as some guy making everything suddenly.

Re:When things lasted (-1, Offtopic)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#42229467)

But there was no beginning. Either there was a big bang, in which time did not exist "prior to" that event, time was created by the event... or the event we consider to be the big bang was the end of the contraction cycle of the universe and it's return to expansion... in which case, again, there was no beginning.

Then we have your statement about intelligent design isn't believable. Well, the universe is rather uninterested in what you believe, so I doubt that's relevant in regard to the universes creation. Science and God are not mutually exclusive beliefs, although those that believe in one and not the other often use them to inappropriately discount the existence of the other.

Re:When things lasted (0)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 2 years ago | (#42230775)

But there was no beginning. Either there was a big bang, in which time did not exist "prior to" that event, time was created by the event... or the event we consider to be the big bang was the end of the contraction cycle of the universe and it's return to expansion... in which case, again, there was no beginning.

Both of those are excellent examples of something beginning. You're either discussing the beginning of time or the beginning of this cycle of the universe. It's almost impossible to come up with a better use of the noun "beginning."

Re:When things lasted (1)

spagthorpe (111133) | about 2 years ago | (#42229993)

I'm actually glad people didn't stop with the old one button Macintosh mouse, or those first Microsoft two button pieces of crap, with the rubber ball that needed regular cleaning and a cord that was frequently in the way. The current optical mice, even in planned obsolescence form are lightyears better in my opinion.

I'd almost say the same with cases. The old metal shells case covers, with hard to access drive bays, no front panel access, and poor ventilation are also dinosaurs that I'm glad have become extinct. The current case I've had for the last five years is the best I've ever had, and while it's possible the power supply might give it up at some point, I'll drop in a new one. The case I imagine will last for the next decade at least, assuming I'm still able to purchase hobbyist level components by then.

I do prefer to buy things that last, but really, the frequent upgrades that have been forced upon us in some ways have been a blessing.

Re:When things lasted (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42230357)

I do prefer to buy things that last, but really, the frequent upgrades that have been forced upon us in some ways have been a blessing.

If something is truly better, people will buy that instead, and the things that aren't as good will eventually go extinct. There's no need to force customers to upgrade, and in most cases this fails miserably with poor results for all involved. Remember when Microsoft tried to force people and corporations to upgrade to Vista from XP? It was such a horrible cluster-fuck that at one point they were offering free downgrades to XP with the purchase of a Vista license! They had to extend their support agreement for XP because almost all of their big contracts with the Fortune 100 companies told them: "If you try to force this on us, we will fucking bury you in so much litigation and negative press Microsoft will become synonymous with failure." Vista was dropped like a hot potato and Windows 7 was rushed out the door -- without all of the forced upgrades and licensing bullshit that caused Vista to implode on the launch pad. Net result? It's only taken two years, but businesses are switching over now. Microsoft hasn't learned its lesson though -- they just pushed Windows 8 out the door with the same kind of licensing and restrictions that Vista had. Anyone heard of a business migrating to Windows 8? Nope. I'm not aware of a single Fortune 500 company that has plans to upgrade to it. Ever.

Forced obsolesence might get you a few dollars in the short term, but your customers will have no loyalty.

Re:When things lasted (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#42232541)

I'd almost say the same with cases. The old metal shells case covers, with hard to access drive bays, no front panel access, and poor ventilation are also dinosaurs that I'm glad have become extinct.

The sharp edges on those dinosaur cases seemed to demand a blood sacrifice every time I worked inside one of those cases.

Re:When things lasted (1)

v1 (525388) | about 2 years ago | (#42233571)

The sharp edges on those dinosaur cases seemed to demand a blood sacrifice every time I worked inside one of those cases.

I made my sacrifice last Friday on one of those lovely stamped steel EMI covers on the top of a laptop's motherboard, manufactured circa 2000. And it wasn't even unscrewed from the computer!

Still have a bit o duct tape on the left thumb to hold the gash closed. Amazing how clean and deep of a cut raw stamped steel can saw into your flesh!

Re:When things lasted (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 2 years ago | (#42230799)

I'd thought about picking up one of those Stellars, but I despise L-shaped Enter keys and the design compromises associated: either shrink down the Backspace key or move the backslash/pipe key. Well, that and the fact that I'd need an adapter to make it USB.

Re:When things lasted (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42231993)

Those keyboards are overpriced shit. They bought the one thing that was worth anything off of the Northgate brand, doubled the price, and never invested in the brand after; No advertising, no redesign, they just bought it and murdered it. These days nobody even knows that good keyboards ever existed; they think the "jello touch" Microsoft split-keyboards are the best the industry has to offer. And now all the rage is "touch" displays because Apple's doing it. Well, good for them... but it's 30 year old tech, and the only place it's found a home in business has been point of sale terminals and package delivery, where light data entry is required and the data being entered doesn't vary much.

Don't listen to the pundits saying "Touch is the fuuuuture!" -- yeah. whatever. I heard that same line back in 1987. It was the same back then with "3D displays". There's more than a few failed attempts filling up landfills already. Google "VR goggles" sometime... -_- There are some interface devices that just fit with our mode of living, and a lot more that don't. Touch screen will only ever be niche, and anyone will tell you a keyboard with solid tactile feedback can help you type 20-50% faster. It doesn't have to be noisy, either.

Re:When things lasted (1)

Eil (82413) | about 2 years ago | (#42230905)

I wish things were built like that today, rather than this planned obsolesence bullsh*t.

You can get a good quality keyboard that will last you many years, but you have to pay good money for it. As in, at least $100.

Computer manufacturers bundle cheap keyboards with their computers because computers themselves are cheap too. Makes no business sense to ship a good keyboard with a computer that's going to be obsolete in three years. (And I'm sure the manufacturers know well that users will eventually crave that new-keyboard smell.)

Back when they made good keyboards, a middle-of-the-road system cost between $4000-$6000 in today's dollars. It made sense to ship something that reeked of durability when your entire business model hinged not on mass marketing, but computer rag reviews and word-of-mouth.

Re:When things lasted (1)

Eil (82413) | about 2 years ago | (#42230925)

Ugh, fucking missing </blockquote> tag

Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42229001)

Wasn't 3D printing supposed to let us print our own electronics at home? What's this cable and soldering nonsense?

Re:Um... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#42234513)

I guess 3D printing could soon be used to print some of the plastic parts of a keyboard.

Okay, now the big question.. (1)

damnbunni (1215350) | about 2 years ago | (#42229827)

... how much has the price of NeXT non-ADB keyboards jumped on eBay since this was posted?

... and anyone got one they want to let go cheap? I miss my black hardware keyboard.

Re:Okay, now the big question.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42231057)

Call Rob Blessin at Black Hole

Old keyboards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42229909)

I have my nice pair of Model M 1986 & 1989 and a couple extras that have given up parts to the pair.

I look for them in thrift stores, where I found my second one; I've also seen some of the Northgates also.

The thing I like best, besides the springy keys and the responsiveness is the shaded keys; I really hate that modern keyboards are monotone. I like the grey on function keys, Enter, Shift & etc,

Nitpick: (1)

Zaphod-AVA (471116) | about 2 years ago | (#42230227)

The PS/2 connector predates NeXT computers by a year, according to Wikipedia.

Re:Nitpick: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42230427)

Not only that, but the signaling protocol dates back to the introduction of the PC AT in 1984. The only part introduced with the PS/2 is the use of mini-DIN instead of the larger DIN connector.

dom

SHIT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42230629)

Logitech Illuminated Keyboard (1)

csumpi (2258986) | about 2 years ago | (#42230853)

I used to love the old fashioned keyboards. My favorite was some PS/2 IBM model that I still have in the attic somewhere. When PS/2 ports started disappearing, instead of reaching for the soldering iron, I looked for a USB keyboard.

After much trial and error I discovered the Logitech Illuminated Keyboard [logitech.com] . It is the best keyboard ever made. Less fatigue, awesome key action, silent and it's backlit. It's not cheap, but you get what you pay for.

Old Keyobards don't have a useless Windows Key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42232041)

Until the key action finally began to wear out, I used a couple of old Wang keyboards that I found in a dumpster. They had awesome klicky action, tons of macro buttons, a great layout -- and they weighed a ton! Plus the best part was no annoying Windows key to accidentally hit all the time.

I've tried a couple of newer clickly models - A Das Keyboard and now a Razer Blackwidow, but they still don't have quite the same feel -- and they have the annoying windows key.

NeXT next keyboard bus vs ADB NeXT keyboard (1)

klui (457783) | about 2 years ago | (#42232203)

The original NeXT keyboard was a bit clicky but not as clicky as an IBM Model-M. The ADB NeXT keyboards though were squishy, not clicky. Layout ergonomically they were a bit better but they felt much worse. I much prefer the IBM M15: http://www.clickykeyboards.com/index.cfm/fa/categories.main/parentcat/12675 [clickykeyboards.com]

The best keyboards these days (1)

Brian Kendig (1959) | about 2 years ago | (#42233383)

I am a keyboard snob. The keyboard is the part of the computer with which I interact the most, so I hate the mushy feel of membrane keyboards that are based on the same technology as VCR remotes.

If you want to be a keyboard snob too (in a good way), then start by going to wasdkeyboards.com and buying their sampler kit ("http://www.wasdkeyboards.com/index.php/products/sampler-kit-1.html"). For $8, you get eleven keycaps in different colors, four Cherry MX switches (blue, brown, black, red), and fifteen dampeners in three types. This is a cheap way to understand the difference between the four kinds of Cherry MX switches and decide which you prefer. You can then buy a custom-made keyboard from wasdkeyboards.com, choosing the switch, keycap color, and text for each individual key if you want.

I don't use my numeric keypad much, so I opted for a tenkeyless keyboard. wasdkeyboards.com doesn't yet offer these (current estimate is March), so I got it from "http://elitekeyboards.com".

If you want an old-fashioned IBM Model M clacky keyboard, you can get it from "http://www.pckeyboard.com".

New clicky keyboard for Mac (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42233701)

For quite a while I've been using the Matias Tactile Pro 3 (or thereabouts) keyboard. It has a Mac layout (similar to the older Apple keyboards) and uses microswitches for a clicky good time. And it's quite a bit more compact than the IBM PS/2 keyboard although it boasts more keys (including, of course, the Command and Option keys etc.). It's not the cheapest keyboard in town but if you like clicky and use Macs than it's probably the way to go.

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