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an obsessive post about mechanical keyboards October 27, 2005

Posted by eatnorthamerica in farcical review bullshit, random bullshit, things that are not quite things we know.

Does anyone remember the old mechanical-type keyboards that used to weigh about as much as a pack of bricks and had a steel plate you could use as bulletproof armour?

I have a couple of these that I’ve managed to destroy in some way or other over the years (I’ve tried putting them in the bath and drying them out for weeks, no good. apparently I should be dishwashing them). I recently went on a quest to seek out my favourite keyboard of all time, the Dell AT101W. It doesn’t have the buckling springs of the IBM Model M, but it has ALPS switches, which I prefer as they give a lighter, faster feel.

I’m glad to see I’m not the only person obsessed with being able to type on a keyboard that doesn’t feel like a sponge.


These guys have even recorded the noise buckling spring and ALPS keyboards make.

I had a look on ebay and found a bunch of hideously dirty keyboards, but I did find a few “NEW” AT101W’s. ebay UK has a sad paucity of any type of mechanical keyboard whatsoever, so I was forced to trawl through ebay US. The keyboard I settled for is like 9 bucks and the shipping is 35 bucks, go figure. It’s about the same price as buying a standard non-budget keyboard over here anyway. I tried to explain my obsession with clicky keyboards to various people, but they all think I’m insane. I used to turn the clicky noise on in ICQ chat so I’d feel more powerful and endowed with superspeed typing capabilities. I can’t really explain it. It’s as though the click justifies the calories I’ve expended into pressing down on this piece of plastic (mind you, since you press lighter thanks to the click that tells you when to stop pressing halfway, it takes less effort than a squishy type membrane keyboard and is purportedly better for your fingers (I concur, mine ache way less when I use one)). I feel progressively exhilarated with every double click, CLICK click clicky clicky, clicky clicky and then I sink into a state of sated bliss. Typing up anything is joy. Words fail me.

I considered one of these das keyboard doohickeys but christ they’re expensive.

Then I learned the Optimus OLED keyboard was going into production. Unfortunately, I also saw the bit about the $200 production cost, and god only knows if it’s mechanical.

This post has spirited me away to ubergeekdom.

This mouseball is disgusting.


And if I touched this keyboard with steel gauntlets they would probably corrode away on contact. Eeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwww. apparently it’s from a net cafe in China.

If you think I’m nuts, look at this page.


and if you can’t read japanese, http://www.dansdata.com/ibmkeyboard.htm tells you loads about mechanical keyboards. YOU WANT ONE YOU KNOW YOU WANT ONE!


On a whim, I bought the SK-8811 (no, I’m not david1991david2004. what kind of wack nick is that?) since I need another keyboard for the one I’ve trashed in London, and it was only 5.74 total in the UK, which is extremely cheapoid. Yes, I know it’s not mechanical, but I was hoping it would have a similar feel to the keyboard I used at work, which is pretty clicky for a rubberdome keyboard.


Hmm. It just arrived. It’s not as clicky as I’ve heard it described, but it’s extremely light and not horrible, I suppose. The annoying thing is that the enter key is like a larger backspace button, which means I hit the # which is above it. Bah. Oh well, it was cheap. It does the job. Interestingly enough, it has two scroll page forward and backward buttons on either side of the up arrow, which I keep hitting because the arrow keys are slightly lower on this keyboard than they normally are. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet – I don’t particularly love it, but I definitely don’t hate it. Feh, if you want a clicky but semi-squishy keyboard, you’d probably like this one.


I can’t believe I’m sitting here reviewing keyboards.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog! WTF! (click click)

click CLICK click CLICK CLICK click CLICK click


and I don’t care about dvorak, damnit! stop it!



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