New Toy

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This is my new toy. It is “old” looking, heavy, and loud. But, it is a pleasure to type on and I love it.

There are three kinds of mechanical keyboards: buckling spring, Alps switches, and  Cherry switches keyboards. Of course you also have keyboards equipped with fake Alps or Cherry switches. That does not mean that they are not good keyboards, just that they are not equipped with the original switches.  You can find tons of information about keyboards here. I thought I was crazy about keyboards, but there are people out there who are even crazier than I am.

So far, my collection of mechanical keyboards is at its infant stage. I’m currently using a Unicomp Customizer 104 (bought new a few weeks ago) which is a buckling spring keyboard based on the old IBM Model M keyboard, I ordered a (new in box) Dell AT101W (Alps switches) from eBay for $10 yesterday. I can’t wait to test it, even if I have to use a USB-to-PS/2 converter. All I have to do now is find myself a keyboard equiped with Cherry switches and I will happy  for a year or two,because…there are various types of Cherry and Alps switches to try.

Here is a video I shot this morning using my MacBook’s webcam. It is not of the highest quality though. I still have to learn to touch type on the numbers row.

Update  25 March 2009

I was finally able to acquire a Cherry keyboard from geminicomputers.com. However, instead of being very happy, I am experiencing what Barry Schwartz calls the paradox of choice. According to Barry Schwartz, too many choices do not make us happy but unhappy. When I’m using the Customizer, I want to use the Cherry, but when I’m using the Cherry, I want to go back to the Customizer. Thankfully, the Dell AT101W stays at the office, otherwise the problem would have been worse.

That being said, I’m still on the look out for other keyboards. I guess it is safe to say that I have keyboard addiction.

11 Responses to New Toy

  1. Shah says:

    You really want to wake up the baby, do you?!😛

    The old keyboards rocked. The sound was pleasant to the ear. I threw them away a few weeks ago.

    Have fun with your toy (she shall steal it in a few months😛 All Toys’R’Hers.) Can you post a video of you typing on youtube? It would be nice to hear the sound.

    Have a good weekend🙂

  2. Eddy Young says:

    You can buy Cherry keyboards directly from them if I’m not mistaken.

    Eddy.

  3. Patrick Ng says:

    @Shah
    The baby is still accustomed to noise. While still in the womb, my wife used to listen to music, and she would respond to certain kind of music. The NICU where she spent the first two weeks of her life was very noisy. In fact, when we brought her home for the first time, she did not seem to like the silent environment. My wife and I had to carry our conversations normally close to her bassinet. We can vacuum her room while she’s sleeping and she will not wake up at all. Who knows, she might even like the sound of the buckling spring keyboard so much that she indeed steals it from me in the future.

    The sound is indeed pleasant to the ear. However, I don’t know if someone working close to me will find it pleasant. If the Dell is not too noisy I may take it to the office. The buckling spring keyboard will defintely annoy my colleagues.

    I will post a video on YouTube later. The quality will not be great because of the lighting, but you’ll get a good idea of the sound.

    @Eddy
    I will have to check again on Cherry’s site. I don’t think you can buy directly from there, at least as far as the American site is concerned. It could be different in Europe. I did find a computer store in Vancouver which sells Cherry keyboards. I just have to decide which Cherry switches I want. That being said, I have to wait a bit. I don’t think Sheron will be thrilled with me spending money on three keyboards when I can use only one at any given time🙂

  4. Patrick Ng says:

    @Shah
    Why did you throw away your old keyboards? There is a fairly good demand for them on eBay.

  5. Shah says:

    Thanks for the video. The sound is fantastic and brings back old memories. Love it! (The baby has super powers, BTW.)

    I threw them away because I was moving. I did not know what to do with them. Hopefully, someone will get them from the landfills. I should have kept them or gave them away (they were huge and bulky keyboards. One of them was AZERTY.)

    What else do you like aside from good ole’ noisy keyboards? Do you have a preference on mouse clicks? The “mice” no longer click the way they used to😦

    Have a good week🙂

  6. Patrick Ng says:

    @Shah
    No problem. I was looking for a way to put a “sound” sample, but the free area of WordPress would not let me update my own audio file. By putting a video on YouTube, I’m able to link it from my blog. They sure are heavy and bulky, but I think that’s what make they special. AZERTY keyboard takes some getting used to. Although, someone who touch types can always used a different keyboard layout.

    I don’t have a preference for mouse clicks, because I try to use the mouse as little as possible. It caused my RSI. I tend to use my pinky and thumb to move it around. I prefer a touchpad. I might save for a Cherry keyboard which has a built-in touchpad. Besides computer peripherals, I fountain pens, and of course good food! Can’t go wrong with good food. My wife and I always get the suprised look whenever we go to an Indian restaurant and start to eat with our fingers.

    You have yourself a good week too.

  7. Shah says:

    To upload sound, use soundlantern dot com

    “get the suprised look whenever we go to an Indian restaurant and start to eat with our fingers.”

    Mauritians rule!🙂

  8. Vicky says:

    All I have to say is…

    SAD!

    LOL – you had me killing myself laughing. This is so you. You have a 1 minute 21 second video of you typing!!! You are so funny!

  9. Patrick Ng says:

    @Shah
    Thanks for the site address.

    Most people in my town don’t know that Indian food is meant to be eaten with fingers. I don’t blame them since there is not many Indian here, unlike Toronto or Montreal. The Indian restaurants around here offer cuttlery. However, for us who grew in Mauritius, we know that Indian food has to be eaten with fingers, and we enjoy it more this way.

    @Vicky
    It does its job. It gets people talking🙂. You are probably the person who has known for a long time how crazy I am about computer keyboards, aren’t you? You got me laughing too. You killing yourself laughing because of this video would have been priceless.

    Putting a video on YouTube 10 minutes. Getting your friend to kill herself watching your video: PRICELESS!. There are some things money can’t buy, for everything else there’s MasterCard, the official card of keyboard weirdos.

  10. Sachin says:

    A Clicky! That’s one of the best keyboards we used to have. Did you know that the most expensive and “hype” keyboard is based on that? Its called Das Keyboard and has the specificity of not having any letters or marks on the keys thus increasing your typing speed.

  11. Patrick Ng says:

    Yes, the Das keyboard is the most “hype” keyboard currently. I did consider buying one, but finally opted for the Customizer. While both are mechanical keyboards, they uses different technologies though. The Customizer uses buckling spring technology, whereas the Das Keyboard uses blue stem Cherry switches. Some people love their Das Keyboards, but some have had some problems with them. Check out geekhack.org, they have tons of information on keyboards🙂

    That being said, I have not given up on owning a keyboard equipped with Cherry switches one day. But for the time being, I have to put that project on hold.

    By the way, all the best for your wedding. Being married is a wonderful feeling.

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