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612 comments

The sad truth about cmdrtaco (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21982536)

Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda is a 29-year old white male with a stocky build and a goatee. He responded to my ad to be interviewed for this article wearing only leather pants, leather boots and a leather vest. I could see that both of his nipples were pierced with large-gauge silver rings.

Questioner: I hope you won't be offended if I ask you to prove to me that you're a nullo. Just so that my readers will know that this isn't a fake.

CmdrTaco: Sure, no problem. (stands and unbuckles pants and drops them to his ankles, revealing a smooth, shaven crotch with only a thin scar to show where his genitals once were).

Q: Thank you. That's a remarkable sight.

(laughs and pulls pants back up). Most people think so.

Q: What made you decide to become a nullo?

(pauses). Well, it really wasn't entirely my decision.

Q: Excuse me?

The idea wasn't mine. It was my lover's idea.

Q: Please explain what you mean.

Okay, it's a long story. You have to understand my relationship with Hemos before you'll know what happened.

Q: We have plenty of time. Please go on.

Both of us were into the leather lifestyle when we met through a personal ad. Hemos's ad was very specific: he was looking for someone to completely dominate and modify to his pleasure. In other word, a slave.

The ad intrigued me. I had been in a number of B&D scenes and also some S&M, but I found them unsatisfying because they were all temporary. After the fun was over, everybody went on with life as usual.

I was looking for a complete life change. I wanted to meet someone who would be part of my life forever. Someone who would control me and change me at his whim.

Q: In other words, you're a true masochist.

Oh yes, no doubt about that. I've always been totally passive in my sexual relationships.

Anyway, we met and there was instant chemistry. Hemos is about my age and is a complete loser. Our personalities meshed totally. He's very dominant.

I went back to his place after drinks and had the best sex of my life. That's when I knew I was going to be with Hemos for a long, long time.

Q: What sort of things did you two do?

It was very heavy right away. He restrained me and whipped me for quite awhile. He put clamps on my nipples and a ball gag in my mouth. And he hung a ball bag on my sack with some very heavy weights. That bag really bounced around when Hemos fucked me from behind.

Q: Ouch.

(laughs) Yeah, no kidding. At first I didn't think I could take the pain, but Hemos worked me through it and after awhile I was flying. I was sorry when it was over.

Hemos enjoyed it as much as I did. Afterwards he talked about what kind of a commitment I'd have to make if I wanted to stay with him.

Q: What did he say exactly?

Well, besides agreeing to be his slave in every way, I'd have to be ready to be modified. To have my body modified.

Q: Did he explain what he meant by that?

Not specifically, but I got the general idea. I guessed that something like castration might be part of it.

Q: How did that make you feel?

(laughs) I think it would make any guy a little hesitant.

Q: But it didn't stop you from agreeing to Hemos's terms?

No it didn't. I was totally hooked on this man. I knew that I was willing to pay any price to be with him.

Anyway, a few days later I moved in with Hemos. He gave me the rules right away: I'd have to be naked at all times while we were indoors, except for a leather dog collar that I could never take off. I had to keep my balls shaved. And I had to wear a butt plug except when I needed to take a shit or when we were having sex.

I had to sleep on the floor next to his bed. I ate all my food on the floor, too.

The next day he took me to a piercing parlor where he had my nipples done, and a Prince Albert put into the head of my cock.

Q: Heavy stuff.

Yeah, and it got heavier. He used me as a toilet, pissing in my mouth. I had to lick his asshole clean after he took a shit, too. It was all part of a process to break down any sense of individuality I had. After awhile, I wouldn't hesitate to do anything he asked.

Q: Did the sex get rougher?

Oh God, yeah. He started fisting me every time we had sex. But he really started concentrating on my cock and balls, working them over for hours at a time.

He put pins into the head of my cock and into my sack. He attached clothespins up and down my cock and around my sack. The pain was pretty bad. He had to gag me to keep me from screaming.

Q: When did the idea of nullification come up?

Well, it wasn't nullification at first. He started talking about how I needed to make a greater commitment to him, to do something to show that I was dedicated to him for life.

When I asked him what he meant, he said that he wanted to take my balls.

Q: How did you respond?

Not very well at first. I told him that I liked being a man and didn't want to become a eunuch. But he kept at me, and wore me down. He reminded me that I agreed to be modified according to his wishes, and this is what he wanted for me. Anything less would show that I wasn't really committed to the relationship. And besides, I was a total bottom and didn't really need my balls.

It took about a week before I agreed to be castrated. But I wasn't happy about it, believe me.

Q: How did he castrate you?

Hemos had a friend, Zonk, who was into the eunuch scene. One night he came over with his bag of toys, and Hemos told me that this was it. I was gonna lose my nuts then and there.

Q: Did you think of resisting?

I did for a minute, but deep down I knew there was no way. I just didn't want to lose Hemos. I'd rather lose my balls.

Zonk restrained me on the living room floor while Hemos videotaped us. He used an elastrator to put a band around my sack.

Q: That must have really hurt.

Hell yeah. It's liked getting kicked in the balls over and over again. I screamed for him to cut the band off, but he just kept on going, putting more bands on me. I had four bands around my sack when he finished.

I was rolling around on the floor screaming, while Hemos just videotaped me. Eventually, my sack got numb and the pain subsided. I looked between my legs and could see my sack was a dark purple. I knew my balls were dying inside.

Hemos and his friend left the room and turned out the light. I lay there for hours, crying because I was turning into a eunuch and there wasn't anything I could do about it.

Q: What happened then?

Eventually I fell asleep from exhaustion. Then the light switched on and I could see Hemos's friend kneeling between my legs, touching my sack. I heard him tell Hemos that my balls were dead.

Q: How did Hemos react?

Very pleased. He bent down and felt around my sack. He said that it felt cold.

Zonk told me that I needed to keep the bands on. He said that eventually my balls and sack would dry up and fall off. I just nodded. What else could I do at that point?

Q: Did it happen just like Zonk said?

Yeah, a week or so later my package just fell off. Hemos put it in a jar of alcohol to preserve it. It's on the table next to his bed.

Q: How did things go after that?

Hemos was really loving to me. He kept saying how proud he was of me, how grateful that I had made the commitment to him. He even let me sleep in his bed.

Q: What about the sex?

We waited awhile after my castration, and then took it easy until I was completely healed. At first I was able to get hard, but as the weeks went by my erections began to disappear.

That pleased Hemos. He liked fucking me and feeling my limp cock. It made his dominance over me even greater.

Q: When did he start talking about making you a nullo?

A couple of months after he took my nuts. Our sex had gotten to be just as rough as before the castration. He really got off on torturing my cock. Then he started saying stuff like, "Why do you even need this anymore?"

That freaked me out. I always thought that he might someday take my balls, but I never imagined that he'd go all the way. I told him that I wanted to keep my dick.

Q: How did he react to that?

At first he didn't say much. But he kept pushing. Hemos said I would look so nice being smooth between my legs. He said my dick was small and never got hard anymore, so what was the point of having it.

But I still resisted. I wanted to keep my cock. I felt like I wouldn't be a man anymore without it.

Q: So how did he get you to agree?

He didn't. He took it against my will.

Q: How did that happen?

We were having sex in the basement, and I was tied up and bent over this wooden bench as he fucked me. Then I heard the doorbell ring. Hemos answered it, and he brought this guy into the room.

At first I couldn't see anything because of the way I was tied. But then I felt these hands lift me up and put me on my back. And I could see it was Zonk, the guy who took my nuts.

Q: How did you react?

I started screaming and crying, but the guy just gagged me. The two of them dragged me to the other side of the room where they tied me spread eagled on the floor.

Zonk snaked a catheter up my dick, and gave me a shot to numb my crotch. I was grateful for that, at least. I remember how bad it hurt to lose my balls.

Q: What was Hemos doing at this time?

He was kneeling next to me talking quietly. He said I'd be happy that they were doing this. That it would make our relationship better. That kind of calmed me down. I thought, "Well, maybe it won't be so bad."

Q: How long did the penectomy take?

It took awhile. Some of the penis is inside the body, so he had to dig inside to get all of it. There was a lot of stitching up and stuff. He put my cock in the same jar with my balls. You can even see the Prince Albert sticking out of the head.

Then they made me a new pisshole. It's between my asshole and where my sack used to be. So now I have to squat to piss.

Q: What has life been like since you were nullified?

After I got over the surgery and my anger, things got better. When I healed up, I began to like my smooth look. Hemos brought friends over and they all admired it, saying how pretty I looked. It made me feel good that Hemos was proud of me.

Q: Do you have any sexual feeling anymore?

Yes, my prostate still responds when Hemos fucks me or uses the buttplug. And my nipples are quite sensitive. If Hemos plays with them while fucking me, I have a kind of orgasm. It's hard to describe, but it's definitely an orgasm.

Sometimes Hemos says he's gonna have my prostate and nipples removed, but he's just kidding around. He's happy with what he's done to me.

Q: So are you glad Hemos had you nullified?

Well, I wouldn't say I'm glad. If I could, I'd like to have my cock and balls back. But I know that I'm a nullo forever. So I'm making the best of it.

Hemos and I are very happy. I know that he'll take care of me and we'll be together always. I guess losing my manhood was worth it to make that happen for us.

Re:The sad truth about cmdrtaco (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21983010)

Wow... I mean, different strokes for different folks, but that's fucked up...

Well... (4, Informative)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982542)

Kabz found the 10 Worst PC Keyboards of all time which leads off with the Commadore 64 and take a trip through PCjr country. Might trigger some nostalgia, or some sort of flashback wrist strain.

I don't know about the Commadore, but I loved the Commodore 64 despite its own keyboard; though on that computer the keyboard took quite the back-seat, in terms of irritation, to the tape deck...

Though he may be on to something, since, as I sit here typing this, I'm consciously flexing my wrists ever few seconds...

My first computer was there (1)

Stonent1 (594886) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982570)

The TRS-80 MC-10. Basically a Color Computer Lite. It was nearly impossible to type on using the standard way of typing.

Re:Well... (3, Interesting)

Chordonblue (585047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982626)

I dunno, given that the real competitors to the C=64 was the Atari 400 and the T.I. 99/4, I think it wasn't so bad.

Believe me, having owned the Atari 400 (my first computer), at that time; I would've given my right arm for a keyboard that good!

Also, at what point does price enter into this? C=64 was around $199 at the time the PC came out at, oh 7 or 8 times the price...

Re:Well... (5, Funny)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 6 years ago | (#21983062)

Believe me, having owned the Atari 400 (my first computer), at that time; I would've given my right arm for a keyboard that good!
I don't know...losing an arm would balance out a better keyboard in my opinion.

Re:Well... (3, Interesting)

sprag (38460) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982630)

Despite its height, the C64 keyboard wasn't that bad. Sure, typing on it gave me much more finger strength than I really needed (and the nickname "the claw" when typing on softer keyboards), but the extra symbols on the keys weren't confusing and the oddly placed keys (inst/del & clr/home) were much less irritating than some of the PC keyboards I've used with a skinny vertical return key or the NeXT which put the pipe/backslash over on the freaking keypad.

Re:Well... (5, Funny)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982824)

typing on it gave me much more finger strength than I really needed (and the nickname "the claw" when typing on softer keyboards)

Now come on...that isn't really how you got the nickname.
Be honest.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982754)

Never had a problem with the VIC-20 keyboard, which was the same as the C64 one. It was well spaced, comfortable to type on, and the keys were generally in the right positions. The two inch height may have annoyed some people, but over-all it was a good design. I thought the article was bizarre for that.

I'm glad they pilloried the habit of many 1980s home computer manufacturers of integrating a dangerous key with all the others. One of the bizarrest examples I can think of is the BBC Micro's. This had a reset key (called Break, IIRC), on the main keyboard itself and it was very easy to hit by accident. Acorn, who designed it, recognized the problem and put in a little screw you could use to lock the key so it wouldn't press.

This is the kind of hack that usability gurus get very excited by. Why not just move the key? Would it seriously have cost more to put a switch at the back of the computer, or to change it from a key to some other form of button, than it did to do the "screw" hack? And what were they thinking anyway? "Hmmm. People generally divide into two groups: those who want to lose their work regularly by accident, and those who never want to reset their computers. We should cater for these two groups by allowing them to customize their Reset button."

The worst of it was that, minus the Break button, the BBC keyboard was excellent.

Oh, and while we're on the subject, why do we still make CAPS LOCK a large, easily pressed by accident, key? And why do Windows and most GNU/Linux system treat it as an "Invert Case" lock rather than "Caps Lock"? The former is almost entirely useless, if you type at speed you're likely to instinctively hit the Shift button every time you start a word that would normally be capitalized, so once depressed (deliberately, that is), typing with caps-lock engaged requires thinking about.

Can we just start making keyboards without caps lock? It'd be easier. Or, hey, maybe we could put a little screw in it...

Re:Well... (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982852)

I don't know, sometimes you need all caps for a while, and caps lock is nice. I've also seen things (especially with enzyme/protein names in biology) or chemical compositions (various, but especially chemistry). where you have something mostly-capped, with some lowercase in it for fun. The "invert caps" is at least nice for scientific writing.

However, that still means it's useless/annoying for 99% of the world.

Re:Well... (3, Funny)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21983016)

Its really good if your about 14 and are really insecure on a forum. :)

Mind you I believe most people when flaming hold down shift as opposed to using caps lock.
Might be a intelligence thing....

Re:Well... (1)

ScottyLad (44798) | more than 6 years ago | (#21983060)

The key was pretty important on the BBC micro if you wanted to boot from floppy disk + or from Econet.

Re:Well... (1)

sjaguar (763407) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982778)

The C-64 was my first computer, so I did not notice any issues with the keyboard. It is a pain, however, when I use a C-64 emulator with a modern keyboard. I aways have problems typing LOAD "*", 8, 1 as the quote mark is in a difference place.

I hear you on the tape deck though. There was one game that I had that I really enjoyed. You had to work your way from room to room. It was half puzzle, half arcade. Unfortunately, I can no longer remember the name (any help out there?). Anyway, the game had at least a 1/2 hour load time, if it loaded the first time. Sometimes I would spend hours getting it to run. Man, those were the days.

Re:Well... (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982994)

The fact that the C64 keyboard wasn't fully QWERTY bugged me. I had been required to take a typing class in highschool before being able to take the computer class, only to have to relearn the keyboard. What did this ultimately mean? I did not use a normal typewriter for the next 10 years.

Apparently... (3, Insightful)

slyn (1111419) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982558)

Apparently PC manufacturers have figured out the keyboard, given that the newest keyboard on this list is the #1 ranked IBM PCjr debuting in 1984.

Re:Apparently... (3, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982650)

Apparently PC manufacturers have figured out the keyboard, given that the newest keyboard on this list is the #1 ranked IBM PCjr debuting in 1984.

What I find odd is that Apple's newest keyboard is just a modern rehash of the IBM PCjr chicklet design, and yet nobody I've talked to has made big complaints about it. Honestly, the thing is worse than a rollup USB pocket keyboard, worse than those little laser-on-the-table keyboards, worse than typing through one of those plastic grease-shield membranes on a cash register, and yet, because it's done by Apple, it's gotten a free ticket to reinvent the chicklet without an uproar.

Re:Apparently... (3, Informative)

word munger (550251) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982728)

What I find odd is that Apple's newest keyboard is just a modern rehash of the IBM PCjr chicklet design, and yet nobody I've talked to has made big complaints about it. Honestly, the thing is worse than a rollup USB pocket keyboard, worse than those little laser-on-the-table keyboards, worse than typing through one of those plastic grease-shield membranes on a cash register, and yet, because it's done by Apple, it's gotten a free ticket to reinvent the chicklet without an uproar.
I'm typing on the new Apple keyboard as we speak. I actually voluntary upgraded to this keyboard from the previous model because I didn't like the feel of that one. It's nothing like the PC Jr chiclet keyboard -- the keys have excellent feel and it's easy to type fast. It would be better if the keys had a least a little bit of depression in the middle like the older iBooks and PowerBooks, but I much prefer this model to the last Apple keyboard.

Re:Apparently... (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21983008)

From what people have told me who have gotten new iMacs in our district, they like the new keyboard better than either their previous iMac keyboards, or even their Dell ones.

It could be though that part of the difference is people are not coming off of using typewriters these days, which is where much of the complaints in old keyboard design came from.

Re:Apparently... (1)

k-zed (92087) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982676)

Indeed.

How about those new style keyboards where the insert key from the middle has been stolen (very bad for vim use), and del is twice as big? What's up with that?

Also, the C64 had an asskick keyboard, especially compared to the other micros of the time. The spectrum rubber sheet toy style had nothing on the C64's real, clicky keys.

Re:Apparently... (1)

leamanc (961376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982862)

Yes, I was assuming the original Bondi Blue iMac keyboard was going to be on this list. Damn near worst keyboard I've ever used. They mention it on the first slide, but somehow it didn't make the list.

Re:Apparently... (1)

jm4 (1137329) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982890)

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the MacBook keyboard. That thing is such an abomination I don't even know where to start. It is the keyboard equivalent of the puck mouse from a few years ago.

Re:Apparently... (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982924)

No they havent.

Given the newest keyboard [apple.com] from Apple shipping with the iMAC line. It looks sexy but it royally sucks to type on.

I also anyone to dare find someone that even mildly likes their laptop's keyboard.

That said, the WORST keyboard ever was on my ATARI 400 computer. Holy crap who in their right mind ever though a membrane keyboard was usable? the atari 800 at least was decent to type on....

Re:Apparently... (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21983006)

Some consensus has been reached (shift, ctrl, space, esc).
Some holy wars last (1-line vs 2-line enter, wandering backslash).
But there are always retards who design stuff without thinking.

Not long ago I worked on a friend's keyboard that filled the room between del-end-pgDn and uparrow with power management keys.
The power key was fully functional and placed just below del. I switched the computer off 4 times before I learned not to use del.

Is it bad?? (5, Funny)

Matt867 (1184557) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982572)

Is it bad that I own 6 out of 10 of these keyboards and am looking for the other 4 to complete my collection?

Re:Is it bad?? (2, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982952)

No, we're geeks, we're open minded. You can be a masochist here without earning weird looks.

Unless of course you enjoy using Windows.

For a more objective view (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21982578)

Why not check out the ContactLog Blog [contactlog.net]?

Re:For a more objective view (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21982614)

Caution: MyMiniCity alert!

New keyboards are bad too (2, Informative)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982588)

The layout of the keyboard on the n810 is not that good either.
Its more geared (as the rest of things are on the device) for a right handed person and theres odd things missing.

(just a bit frustrated, the rest of the device is amazing)

Sinclair, hands down. (1)

qwertphobia (825473) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982602)

I always though the original Color Computer was pretty bad (4k of memory, so you couldn't type much anyhow) until I tried a Sinclair. But at least it kept out the liquids.

Re:Sinclair, hands down. (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982670)

I agree. The "rubber keyboard" on the UK Sinclair spectrum was really bad. You could get an expansion RAM that made it even worse because the slightest movement of the machine would break the connection to the unit and freeze the machine.

Re:Sinclair, hands down. (1)

laejoh (648921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982780)

Not many people seem to remember that for example PRINT only took up one byte in the computer memory so that even a 1K ZX81 could execute quite 'BIG' programs. Ok, typing them in was quite an adventure initially!

Re:Sinclair, hands down. (1)

sprag (38460) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982876)

I spilled kool-aid on my original 4k coco (upgraded to 64K with extended color basic!) but a little formula 409 fixed it right up :)

Power Key next to Enter Key (4, Interesting)

nuxx (10153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982612)

There is also this keyboard (image) [nuxx.net] which I came across in a CompUSA sale area for $4.99 or so.

It's big feature was that it had an extra three keys for Power, Sleep, and Wake. The problem is that these were right above the inverted-T, with Power being right next to Enter.

Re:Power Key next to Enter Key (1)

robot_love (1089921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982756)

Surely that image has been edited in some way. The keys in question look far too large, and then there's the dotted red lines around them with a line leading off image. I think you may be confused. Or we need a better picture!

the keyboard is real (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21982908)

The image is piss poor and has been edited (the 3 extra keys were the same size as all the others), but it IS real. My parents had one. I ended up prying the extra keys up with a screwdriver and covering the holes with duct tape less than a week after they got it. It was a nightmare.

They have the unerring ability to buy the worst keyboards imaginable. I remember they bought some super-duper multimedia/internet/gaming keyboard with about a dozen extra buttons they could never possibly need to use...the sucker came with a ten meg "driver" and hundreds of megs of terrible "trial" software. They hated it, but used it for almost two years.

They replaced it with a "travel" sized keyboard with miniscule keys and no space between the different key blocks and they were forever making typos and hitting insert or delete when they went to use the arrow pad or hit backspace. I ended up prying up the entire insert / delete / home / end / pgup / pgdn block of keys AND all the F keys in the top row.

And then they bought a Microsoft Natural keyboard. That was the only time they actually threw away a keyboard that still worked. All the others were worked to death. They used this one for maybe a month--tops.

I buy their keyboards for them now...

Re:Power Key next to Enter Key (1)

Kifoth (980005) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982976)

Nope. I once ended up with a keyboard like that in my office. They're horribly, horribly real.

Re:Power Key next to Enter Key (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 6 years ago | (#21983012)

I had a keyboard not terribly different from this one. It had those same 3 keys, but in a row above insert, home & pgup (which shifted all of them down so end was right next to the up-arrow).

There was a second key that you needed to press to actually activate them (like the Fn key on most laptops), so you couldn't accidentally sleep/shut down your PC.

I didn't want to buy this keyboard, but it was cheap and my keyboard was broken. The cat managed to walk on the board and press the appropriate combo to power off my PC about 30 seconds after I unwrapped & plugged it in.

Re:Power Key next to Enter Key (1)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21983116)

A while ago I bought a keyboard with the same layout in a mad dash for one with the old AT-style plug. After shutting down my system for the 4th or 5th time just by reaching for (and missing) the Enter key, I popped off all three of those ridiculous keys and didn't have a problem afterwards.

Whoever designed that keyboard must have had the same streak of masochism as those who get enjoyment out of putting pinholes in condoms.

How about the best (2, Insightful)

codepunk (167897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982616)

I got about 10 of these old IBM 10 lb keyboards in reserve that sound
like a jack hammer while typing on them...

Best keyboard ever made!

Re:How about the best (1)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982812)

I still don't understand why the IBM Model M is considered the best ever. I've owned two and I would only say it is the toughest keyboard ever.

Pros:
* It's near unbreakable
* The keys are labeled and colored very well

Cons:
* It's way too big and takes up too much room on the desk
* The distracting clicking noise is even worse with a room full of them clicking away
* The keys are too high and require too much effort to press (probably done to appease the typewriter diehards in the 1980s)
* Print Screen / Scroll Lock / Pause are relics of the 1980s.

Add in the fact that modern keyboards half the size of the Model M are able to fit in useful keys such as volume control, mute buttons and such, the Model M may have been the best keyboard up to the 1990s but its glory days are past.

Re:How about the best (5, Funny)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982832)

I still use IBM keyboards at work and home due to their durability. True story -- IBM used to market the keyboards to banks (like the one I work at) as a productivity enhancer...the loud audible 'click click click' has been proven in usability studies to improve data entry by 3-5% since its another feedback response (audible) to a potential error. When I mistype on an IBM keyboard, I *know* I've mistyped.

I also like the fact that I can bludgeon someone to death with it, if worse comes to worst.

Re:How about the best (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982858)

The article ends with exactly that. At the end of the PCjr writeup:
"Strangely enough, IBM also introduced the 101-key "Model M" keyboard--considered by many people to be the best keyboard ever--in 1984."

Full text of article (4, Informative)

duguk (589689) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982628)

10. Commodore 64 (1982) [pcworld.com]
The Commodore 64 sits on a mile-high pedestal in the adolescent memories of millions of people, but its keyboard design--shared by Commodore's earlier VIC-20--was incredibly clumsy. One glance at it reveals three major flaws. It was visually confusing, with too many symbols printed on each key. The computer's anti-ergonomic 2-inch height made it extremely hard on the wrists of untrained typists. And the keyboard's layout leaves much to be desired, with numerous examples of poor key placement. For example, the Home/Clear key sat directly to the left of Delete (Backspace), resulting in users' making repeated accidental hits and sending the cursor back up to the top of the screen. In addition, the layout was peppered with an unusually large number of nonstandard keys such as Run/Stop and Restore. Luckily, most C64 owners remained oblivious to these problems: More often than not, they used the C64 for playing games with joysticks, saving the heavy computing work for dad's IBM PC.

9. Timex Sinclair 2068 (1983) [pcworld.com]
In the process of "improving" the wildly successful Sinclair ZX Spectrum for the United States market, Timex ruined the line with a bastardized version known as the Timex Sinclair 2068. But the 2068 shared one significant feature with its progenitor that it should have left behind: an atrocious keyboard. It's no exaggeration to say that using the 2068's keyboard without training was like trying to type while drunk and blindfolded. Some of the keys controlled as many as six different functions. Just to rub it all in, the unit had no Backspace key, a fault of many other early home computers. Did the designers assume that typists would never make mistakes? I bet the masterminds behind the 2068's keyboard backspaced over this part of their design history long ago.

8. Commodore PET 2001-32-N (1978) [pcworld.com]
Critics hailed the revised, full-stroke keyboard of the updated Commodore PET (model 2001-32-N) as a huge improvement over Commodore's first PET keyboard. But Commodore still got a few layout points terribly wrong. For one thing, the design repeated the old "Run/Stop key placed directly to the left of the Return key" trick. For another, it went with the ever-popular "lack of Backspace" maneuver; to perform something resembling a Backspace, you had to hold Shift and the left/right cursor key above the numeric keypad. And since the creators of this keyboard included a numeric keypad in the design, they cleverly omitted numbers from the primary keyboard area altogether--if you pressed keys that would conjure up numbers on any other remotely semistandard QWERTY keyboard, you'd get symbols instead. And hey, has anyone seen the period key? Oh, it's over there on the numeric keypad.

7. Texas Instruments TI-99/4 (1979) [pcworld.com]
With the release of the TI-99/4 in 1979, integrated-circuit pioneer TI took its first shaky steps into the home computer market with a $1150 package that included a special monitor and a calculator-like Chiclet keyboard. Like the original Apple II, the 99/4 did not support lowercase letters. Because of this limitation, the Shift key served as a function modifier, with the functions typically marked on a plastic overlay. The most frustrating of these key combinations was Shift-Q, which would quit a program or reset the computer, much to the chagrin of users who lost a day's work while erroneously trying to capitalize the letter Q. The 99/4's layout problems extended beyond the Q conundrum: The Enter key sat where a Right Shift key would normally reside on a standard layout. Also, the keyboard had a space key instead of a spacebar, and it was located in an odd position. The design had no dedicated Backspace key, either. At least TI learned from its mistakes and released the TI-99/4a, which came with a full-stroke keyboard.

6. Tandy TRS-80 Micro Color Computer MC-10 (1983) [pcworld.com]
Tandy must have been jealous of the Spartan Timex Sinclair 1000's success when it released the MC-10 in 1983, whose design smacked of needless minimalism. For almost every task, a bigger computer (such as the TRS-80 Color Computer) would have done the job much better, for a marginally higher cost. As with the Color Computer, the MC-10's keys felt surprisingly responsive for a Chiclet keyboard (albeit a half-size one). Unfortunately, many keys controlled four different functions, including BASIC shortcuts (a la Sinclair computers). As far as layout went, the MC-10 suffered badly from three major design mistakes: The Break key was where the Backspace key should have been, there was no Backspace key, and no Left Shift key existed--instead, a Control key sat in its place, and a single Shift key mirrored that position on the opposite side of the keyboard. But hey, at least users got a spacebar this time.

5. Atari 400 (1979) [pcworld.com]
Atari's first low-end personal computer sported 8KB of RAM and a flat, sealed "membrane" keyboard--a design often touted as a rugged, spill-resistant alternative to the traditional full-stroke keyboard back in the early 1980s. The truth is that the one-piece membrane keyboard was vastly less expensive to manufacture. Aside from slightly raised borders around each key, the Atari 400's keys lay completely flat, devoid of tactile response; users could not physically tell if they successfully pushed one. Atari compensated for this by making the computer generate a click from an internal speaker every time users depressed a key. The Atari 400's keyboard benefits from a relatively standard key layout, but the dangerous Break key (one of the keys you'd presumably need the least) sat directly to the right of the oft-used Backspace key. Woe to the student who typed a term paper on this beast.

4. Timex Sinclair 1000 (1982) [pcworld.com]
The Timex Sinclair 1000 broke new ground as the first personal computer in the United States to retail for under $100. You didn't get much: a black-and-white display, no sound, 2KB of RAM, and a tiny keyboard that was cramped and completely flat. Due to the keyboard's diminutive size, Sinclair developed a scheme of assigning multiple BASIC keyword commands for each key, so users would have to press only one key (such as P for "PRINT") instead of typing out the entire command. Using the keyboard to type something that wasn't a BASIC command, however, turned out to be an exercise in frustration. Only masochists had any fun attempting word processing on the Timex Sinclair 1000.

3. Mattel Aquarius (1983) [pcworld.com]
Joke. That, in a word, was the Aquarius computing experience. Toy kingpin Mattel's home PC had a gummy keyboard with an abysmal, bouncy feel. And any time a keyboard includes a tiny space key instead of a full-size spacebar--and places it where a Shift key might go--you know its designers were asleep at the wheel. But Mattel went further, including a cleverly placed Reset key that users could accidentally strike while programming, wiping out hours of work. Add to that the dubious positioning of the Return key, and you have one of the worst keyboards ever--on one of the worst computers ever.

2. Commodore PET 2001 (1977) [pcworld.com]
Computing pioneer Commodore just about invented the crappy keyboard. Everything started with the PET 2001 in 1977, one of the first fully assembled personal computers. For reasons lost to history, Commodore built a horrifyingly terrible keyboard into the original PET, one that looked like something you'd find on a toy calculator. The cramped, unreliable, Chiclet-type keys had no tactile feedback and sat over membrane key switches that wore out quickly, so you couldn't easily tell whether you had pressed a key. It sported a pseudo-QWERTY layout with the keys lined up in perfect rows--instead of offset and staggered, as on a traditional keyboard. And Commodore certainly amused PET users with the always-hilarious "tiny space key instead of a spacebar" routine. Even at launch, people scrambled to replace the PET's built-in atrocity with third-party keyboards, for which there was soon a thriving market. Commodore quickly learned from its mistake and included a full-stroke keyboard in the upgraded PET. While something of an improvement, that keyboard continued Commodore tradition by being bad in different ways.

1. IBM PCjr (1984) [pcworld.com]
The first keyboard that shipped with the IBM PCjr remains the most infamous one of all time--it's one of the few cases where a keyboard contributed directly to a PC's failure in the marketplace. One of the first wireless models on the market, it required a steady supply of batteries and didn't work if users took advantage of its wireless nature in any comfortable fashion, such as placing the keyboard on their lap. IBM cut corners by creating a Chiclet keyboard with hard plastic keys that had nothing printed on them (instead, letters, numbers, and symbols were printed in a tiny, low-contrast font directly above each key). The press quickly declared the PCjr DOA, and the machine would be discontinued within a year. Strangely enough, IBM also introduced the 101-key "Model M" keyboard--considered by many people to be the best keyboard ever--in 1984.

Backspace (5, Funny)

baeksu (715271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982656)

So there really was keyboards without a backspace...And I always thought it was just a bad dream, like the one with the strange man, pickup van, and false promises of candy...

It's a good thing no one patented the backspace, though. Wait a minute, I think I just came up with a business plan!

TI99/4a (2, Interesting)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982658)

The TI99/4a did have real keys on their keyboard but they kept the absolutely dreadful layout. The worst part IMHO was that it was the first computer I ever owned so I got used to it. Oh the horror! It took years to break the bad habits I picked up there.

C64 mostly OK. (2, Informative)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982672)

Okay, they get some credit for including the Atari 400 keyboard. That thing was useless.

I take issue with the complaint about the C64 keyboard. The only serious problem with the C64 keyboard was its integration with the computer so that every bang of a key sent a nice little shockwave into the electronics. The extra symbols were on the edge of the key and printed in a different color. It took about 5 minutes before the operator learned to ignore them. They were, however, extremely helpful to the software developers that wanted to use those symbols. I also don't recall having any trouble missing the backspace key and hitting clear/home. I can see how I might if I had previously been used to a long backspace key, but I wasn't previously used to one.

Re:C64 mostly OK. (1)

fixer007 (851350) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982710)

I still use my old 64 from time to time. I find the worst thing about it these days is that the keys are slightly closer together than the PC keyboards of today. I am contantly mis-typing commands!
I had no problems with the keyboard back in the day though...

Loved C-64, Hated The Pet and Trash-80 (1)

blcamp (211756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982678)


The original Pet: Worst. Keyboard. EVER.

The keys weren't even laptop-style "chicklet" keys... they were basically like the old number-tiles off the 4x4 sliding numbers puzzle. Remember those?

I didn't have a real problem with the C-64 keyboard... I was quite accustomed to it. The TRS-80, though... I couldn't stand it. But I'm not sure if that's entirely the fault of the keyboard.

Now get off my lawn.

Re:Loved C-64, Hated The Pet and Trash-80 (1)

oliderid (710055) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982738)

I didn't have a real problem with the C-64 keyboard

Me neither. I don't understand why they mentionned it. I got still my old commode 64 and it still works...I couldn't say the same for my first PS/2 Keyboard or my previous Laptop keyboard.

I spent hour learning to code with it and ever more hours smashing keys while playing.
Commodore was rock solid...Exactly what you need for nervous/uncareful kids.

Re:Loved C-64, Hated The Pet and Trash-80 (1)

kabz (770151) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982746)

The keys weren't even laptop-style "chicklet" keys... they were basically like the old number-tiles off the 4x4 sliding numbers puzzle. Remember those?
Extra points for getting an old one and sliding the keys into a Dvorak layout. That really would be the worst. keyboard. ever.

What about the early Sinclairs? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21982686)

Surely the ZX series must top the list with their rubbery, totally overloaded keyboards!

Loved my C64 warts and all.

What, no ZX81? (1, Informative)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982696)


How could they miss out the ZX-81 - a flat, plastic, touch-sensitive membrane with almost no tactile feedback... it was like typing wearing gauntlets

It was only slightly improved with the spectrum keyboard which was like typing on a the back of a slightly tacky, warty toad...

 

Re:What, no ZX81? (3, Informative)

JenniP (824070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982808)

The ZX81 was there, it just went by its American name the Timex Sinclair 1000. I was a bit surprised not to see a Spectrum though, I used to hate those rubber keys.

Re:What, no ZX81? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21982822)

ZX81 is included, as the US version (4. Timex Sinclair 1000 (1982)).
Slight differences (memory amount), but basically the same machine.

PCJr (1)

pl1ght (836951) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982700)

I started my life on computers with a PCJr that my dad brought home. I loved that thing dearly. And its wireless keyboard. Many hours gaming on Kings Quests, Space Quests, zork, hitchhikers guide text games, GWBasic cartridges. 16 colors. it was a grand machine.

Re:PCJr (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982782)

Me too. Don't forget the 4-voice sound. But we didn't have the bad keyboard - we had the replacement.

We played a lot of "Mouser" and "River Raid" via cartridges on that thing, and we used it to connect to CompuServe via a 1200 baud Hayes Smartmodem with nice blinkenlights (I still have the modem, I think).

Back in the day.... (1)

hengdi (1202709) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982714)

And I remember the C64 keyboard being *good* for the time. They have the Sinclair 2068 keyboard, which if it was anything like the Spectrum 48k (for us Europeans) was pretty bad, although that was a step up from the rubber nightmare of the Spectrum 16k, which can be seen at http://s206301103.websitehome.co.uk/sinclair/picts/spectrum.jpg/ [websitehome.co.uk] But even worse were the ZX80/ZX81 keyboards - http://www.vintagecomputer.net/sinclair/sinclair_zx81.jpg/ [vintagecomputer.net]. Not only were they small, awkward to use and with about 6 functions to each key, to much pressure on them would make the (obligatory) 16k RAM expansion wobble, thus giving you a user friendly hard reset. Moving up the C64 seemed like a dream in '83 or thereabouts.

Re:Back in the day.... (1)

SirMeliot (864836) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982804)

would make the (obligatory) 16k RAM expansion wobble, thus giving you a user friendly hard reset.

Possibly this advice arrives a little late, but remove the casing from the RAM pack. That way it just dangles from the expansion port without touching the surface the ZX81 is sitting on. Pretty much cures RAM pack wobble.

Re:Back in the day.... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21983052)

although that was a step up from the rubber nightmare of the Spectrum 16k

Didn't they release a 48k version of the original spectrum with the rubber keyboard long before the Spectrum+?

What's worse... (1)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982722)

I ponder, what is worse? That these are so memorable that they have made their own top 10, or that I've owned, worked on, or had to repair every single entry on the list at one time or another?

Incidentally, I first began programming at the age of 5 with the 7th on that list, the TI99/4

My first program looked like this:

10 REM
20 PRINT "HELLO"
30 GOTO 20

Took my grandparents close to half of an hour to figure out that they needed to reboot it.

Re:What's worse... (2, Funny)

Atti K. (1169503) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982978)

And how much fun it was to type those REMs, PRINTs, and GOTOs with a single keystroke! Wow, no typos!

Then, when PCs came along, I was actually looking at the keyboard and asking: "So you actually have to type all of those commands? That sucks!"

"Windows Key" anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21982732)

Where is the first "windows key" keyboard in the list?

Reasons why the "windows keys" suck:
  1. The windows keys have the wrong position and function. They are keys which result in an action, not modifiers. Put them elsewhere, but not beneath the CTRL and ALT keys for crying out loud!
  2. The key steals valuable space from the spacebar (no pun intended).
I still use a keyboard without one. I've gone so far and bought a number of defective keyboards of the same brand (at the time they were still common) to have replacement parts until the end of me.

Re:"Windows Key" anyone? (2, Informative)

Michael Wardle (50363) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982856)

I've discovered a use for the Windows key.

I don't have multimedia keys, so I mapped Win+Left = previous track, Win+Right = next track, Win+Up = volume up, Win+Ins = Play/Pause, etc. I also have Win+F = Firefox, Win+T = Thunderbird, etc.

In this way, they do act as global modifiers rather than a separate key.

Re:"Windows Key" anyone? (1)

Atti K. (1169503) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982880)

The Windows keys are also modifiers: Win+E, Win+R... BTW, pressing (and releasing) the Alt key alone also results in an action (at least on windows), namely it selects the menu bar of the foreground app. Ok, maybe that's not as bad as pressing the Win key accidentally while playing your favorite FPS :)

Re:"Windows Key" anyone? (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982896)

The windows keys have the wrong position and function. They are keys which result in an action, not modifiers.

On Windows, they are both modifers and action keys. On GNU/Linux they are most often configured as modifiers.

Re:"Windows Key" anyone? (1)

SpinyManiac (542071) | more than 6 years ago | (#21983004)

The windows key is a modifier as well as an action key. It modifies E to open Windows Explorer, for instance. Not saying it's a good idea though.

Does anyone, even the most diehard Microsoft fanboy (are there any?) use the right windows key or the context menu key next to it?

Re:"Windows Key" anyone? (3, Interesting)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#21983118)

The key steals valuable space from the spacebar (no pun intended).

OTOH, I really like an unintended consequence of the Windows key. I've got a MS "Natural Multimedia" keyboard where the Windows key shoves the left Alt key over to where it's comfortably positioned directly under my left thumb. Since the vim editor ships without any Alt combos premapped, all of them are free for me to customize for may favorite commands and macros. I get easy access to a couple of dozen of my most frequently used commands while barely moving any fingers. (Most importantly, I mapped Alt+F to replace the infamous ESC mode switch.)

The truly stupid thing about this keyboard is Microsoft's brain-dead idea for the "F-Lock" key, which replaces all the function keys with bogus new fixed function keycodes like "Open" and "Send". The keyboard comes up by default with the function keys disabled, and there's no way to switch the mode via software; you have to physically press the F-lock button to switch modes. I had to find and install a special script to make Linux reinterpret the stupid new keycodes as regular function keys.

non-standard layouts (1)

Michael Wardle (50363) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982744)

A lot of cheap keyboards such as the Labtec standard keyboard (http://www.labtec.com/index.cfm/gear/details/EUR/EN,crid=28,contentid=631 [labtec.com]) use a non-standard layout where the Enter key is two rows high and the backslash key is in the top row, even in the US layout.

Why would anybody do that?

And don't get me started on the F-Lock key!

Re:non-standard layouts (1)

KozmoStevnNaut (630146) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982826)

Here in Denmark (and most other european countries) the tall return key and backspace on the top row is the prevailing standard.

Also, we have to press shift-7 to get a /, which makes typing *nix paths slightly less enjoyable.

Re:non-standard layouts (1)

ciggieposeur (715798) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982834)

The double-row enter key was a pretty standard PC keyboard style circa 1988 when I got my first XT. I think it might have been in response to the Apple IIe [computercloset.org] keyboard. At that time, Apple II's were still in serious competition with PCs for the home market.

Timex Sinclair 1000 (0, Redundant)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982766)

Having owned one, I would have put the Timex Sinclair 1000 [wikipedia.org] on the list somewhere. They mention a Timex (the 2068) but the Sinclair 1000 was so bad because it was nothing but a budget membrane keyboard about 1/3 the size of a normal keyboard. There was no reasonable way to actually type other than hunt-n-peck and even then the keys were really finicky. Even magazines at the time complained about how bad the keyboard was.

Re:Timex Sinclair 1000 (1)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982814)

Having owned one, I would have put the Timex Sinclair 1000 on the list somewhere.


Hmmm. Somehow I overlooked the Sinclair 1000 being on the list. As I said before, it richly deserves to be there. Horrible, horrible machine.

Re:Timex Sinclair 1000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21982892)

You are an idiot. It is already on the list.

Re:Timex Sinclair 1000 (1)

sjaskow (143707) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982990)

It's there, it's number 4 [pcworld.com]. And having written code on most of these, it wasn't too bad once you got used to it.

Re:Timex Sinclair 1000 (1)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#21983130)

It's there, it's number 4. And having written code on most of these, it wasn't too bad once you got used to it.


I noticed right after I posted. Maybe you were ok with working on the 1000 and if so my hat is off to you. Personally I couldn't take it, especially since I had access to real computers at the time. The machine was so slow and awkward I'd rather stand in line at the DMV than actually try to do anything productive on it. Most entertaining thing I ever did with it was play a game of Frogger and even that was not much fun on that particular machine.

MC-10 (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982768)

Ahhh, the TRS-80 MC-10. I had one of those growing up. Yeah, that keyboard was definitely among the worst out there. It was even too small for my little 10-year-old hands...

Oh my god (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21982786)

Oh my god, am I getting old. I have at one time or another used most of them at least once.

Funny this just came up (3, Interesting)

dsginter (104154) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982818)

Just before I hit slashdot to find this article, I was *literally* just looking at the keyboard of my new Lenovo Thinkpad and thinking that keyboards don't hold up like they used to. The surfaces of the keys, in just a short while, have worn appreciably. The pessimist in me thinks that manufacturers are reducing durability of keyboard so as to keep that "new laptop smell" appeal.

But then I thought, "what if these things have the same lead problem as the Chinese toys?"

I'm quite certain that even the most well-designed lead-laden keyboard would be worse than the worst-design on this list.

Has anyone tested keyboards for lead yet?

Re:Funny this just came up (1)

Gybrwe666 (1007849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982984)

Why would you eat the keys?

Of course, if they could somehow get some good drugs into them, that might be an incentive. Maybe just form an alliance with "No-Doz"...you could pop off that extra "Windows" key for late night coding...

BIll

You can add the Kaypro 10 keyboard to that list (1)

grikdog (697841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982830)

The Kaypro 10 was a luggable CP/M 2.2 machine cased in a steel box and painted dark green. I loved it. But the keyboard, which doubled as a snapon lid, had a harsh forward edge that was too easy to put your wrists on. Ok, I had no real reason to own a Kaypro, but you could play Adventure on it — which I did for hours at a time. It was my own damn fault, then: The ring and pinky fingers on both hands went completely numb, except for the blaze of fiery pain in my wrists. To this day, I cannot touch my left pinky with my left thumb — my left hand spasms and trembles like Michael J. Fox.

To be fair, my brother wrote a Ph.D. dissertion (using WordStar) on that monster, and he didn't destroy his carpal tunnels. Lucky stiff.

Any flat key-less "keyboard." (1)

writermike (57327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982838)

The only one of those I've had the displeasure of using is the Atari 400 keyboard. Wow. What a monstrosity. It sure looked all FUTURY, though. In fact, I imagine any of those keyboard that were designed to be flat with little-to-no tactile feedback are going to be winners (loser?) among the category.

There are some modern keyboards that suck, too. Most of them are on UMPCs, cell phones, and the occasional laptop.

Kabz evidently uses one of the top 10 himself. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21982874)

Either that or he/she is illiterate. Commadore? What kind of a bullshit waste of space is this "journal?" Is this Slashdot's way of generating page hits now, just grabbing random garbage out of user journals and slapping it on the front page?

Like the list... Hate the page! (4, Insightful)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982916)

I'm writing my own article on worst navigation by a Web site. This PCWorld page will clearly be number 1 on my list.

Try them first, dude! (1)

phugoid (1176331) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982940)

How can you write an article about bad keyboards without describing how they feel? Only the Mattel Aquarius was described as gummy, abysmal and bouncy...

Sounds to me like the author never actually typed on most of them. It's easy to download a bunch of pics from some PC museum site and speculate about how bad their key layout, etc. was.

I remember the C64 as the most beautiful feeling keyboard of all time. The keys had a great molded shape and quiet, luxurious, damped action. Two inches tall? You're not supposed to type with your wrist on the table, man.

My TRS-80 Colour Computers (II and III) had cheap noisy keys with toy-like spring action. I can confirm the Timex Sinclair had not only an impractical layout, but the worst feel of anything I've ever used. Typing was so difficult that you could enter keywords with just one press ("GOTO"!). Somehow that didn't make it any better.

I'm a Mac fan but...... (2, Insightful)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982946)

Shouldn't they have gotten an honorable mention or a life time achievement award? Yes all the ones on the list are worse but the point is even Mac users complain about typing on Mac keyboards. They're okay for software use and basic data entry but have you ever tried typing for hours on one? Tired sore fingers. PC keyboards in general have a nice snap and you can tell when you've hit a key. Mac keyboards are always too small and cramped. I hated the previous one which was stiff, thick feeling and far too small so it was easy to hit two keys at once, I have big hands. Ironically I like the new design better but I still go back to my PCs for real typing and I even hate e-mailing on the Mac. Stunning hardware in general but their keyboards and mice suck. I use an after market mouse on mine but I couldn't find an after market keyboard that worked. They also tend to be frail. The Mighty Mouse I got with my last Mac died in a week that's why I got the after market wireless, works great. Also the previous keyboard design I found died every time I used dust off on one. I killed the first one and thought it had to be a coincidence or a freak piece of dust getting in the wrong place. Nope. Second keyboard I got after a while I tried dust off and it stopped working. I got it working again after a few hours. Needless to say I never used dust off on it again.

Completely disagree re Commodore 64... (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982960)

...or, in my case, the VIC-20, virtually identical.

The nonstandard layout criticism shouldn't apply, because in those days there were no standards for video terminal keyboards or computer keyboards.

The knock on keyboard height is legitimate but overstated. It was about the same height as other video terminal keyboards in its day. The Europeans instituted ergonomic regulations that resulted in very slim, low-height keyboards we're familiar with, but they didn't really start to take hold until, say, 1980 or so.

At the time, I regularly used numerous computer terminals at work, including most major brands: DEC's VT100, the $5000 built-like-a-tank-no-corners-cut HP2648A, the LSI ADM3A, and many others; and I spent a lot of keying time on the Apple ][.

The HP2648A happened to be the one that made my hands hurt, because (for some reason) the keys featured a combination of a fairly large travel distance and a fairly stiff spring.

The VIC-20 and Commodore 64 had a very nice feel to them and were very easy on the hands, apart from keyboard height.

Keyboard height in itself was not a problem if you held you hands correctly (which I did) or used a wrist rest.

spacebeer (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21982998)

7. Texas Instruments TI-99/4 (1979)
[snip] The Enter key sat where a Right Shift key would normally reside on a standard layout. Also, the keyboard had a space key instead of a spacebar
Either I don't know the difference between a spacebar and a space key, or whoever wrote this article is blind. Or is that wide thing at the bottom a wrist rest?

What is it with those "The best/worst 10.." lists? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21983030)

Am I the only one who's just waiting to see the "10 worst 10 worst lists of all times"?

Those lists are, at best, subjective. Ok, maybe not as subjective as the "10 best games" or the "10 most important inventions", but what the hell are those lists about?

I know, one may argue "if you don't care, ignore it". Ok. But it's not just /., and it's not just the net, one of our networks has a more or less periodic "the 10 best/worst/whatever..." show. I honestly wonder who watches that. It's not like there is any objective 10 best/worst of anything. Be it music, movies or celebrities blunders.

So what is that about? Telling me what the best/worst 10 of whatever are? If you don't mind, I'll make up my own mind about that.

... and the ZX80? (4, Interesting)

Anoraknid the Sartor (9334) | more than 6 years ago | (#21983084)

The ZX81 was there - in the guise of the Timex 1000, but its predecessor, the ZX80 wasn't.

I remember when I sold my Sinclair ZX80 and bought the Sinclair ZX81 - and marvelled at the relative comfort of its keyboard. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinclair_ZX80 [wikipedia.org] Compared to the ZX80, the Commodore keyboard was a joy.

In fact every machine Sinclair made had a slightly dodgy keyboard - the QL was a pain to word-process on and the Cambridge Z88 was - effective, and quiet, but took some getting used to.

The worst keyboards _I_ ever used... (3, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#21983142)

...I'm afraid I don't recall the brands, but several makers of video terminals used layouts that inserted an extra key in the bottom row, thus placing the CTRL key one key-width farther left than usual. Of course that required relearning--whenever I used one of those keyboard, for the first half-hour or so I'd keep hitting the extra key when I meant to hit CTRL, but that wasn't the problem.

The problem was that every CTRL combination required you to stretch your pinky that much further from the rest of your fingers than usual.

And one of them was at a company that used emacs as their standard text editor.

That was the only time in my life that using a computer made my hands, or rather my left hand, hurt so badly that I was on the verge of seeing a doctor. I trained myself to type all CTRL combinations using two hands, and the problem gradually subsided.
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