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The Mighty Model M

March 21, 2009

Allow me to wax nostalgic for a moment about the best computer keyboard I’ve ever used – the venerable IBM Model M, a classic so wonderful it has its own extensive Wikipedia article (and yes, this is what the folks who contribute to Wikipedia think is notable; in this case, though, I happen to agree).

The Model M was built to last, and with its patented, spring-loaded action that lets me know with a little positive click every time I’ve really pressed a key, I can type faster and more accurately on a Model M than on any other keyboard EVAR, even if I did have to get a powered PS/2-to-USB adapter to make it work with today’s USB-only PCs.

I did eventually kill one, after about a decade. I use its successor at work to this day – another five years of pretty much nonstop typing. And, if that one ever does break, I have another stashed away, just in case – seems they’re becoming hard to get, in these decadent days.

I would not necessarily recommend the Model M to everyone. It is noisy, no doubt about it, and I don’t think using one would help you with your RSI (although I’ve been using one for about fifteen years of pretty much nonstop typing, for what that’s worth)…

And hey, while I’m on the subject of HID (Human Interface Devices) in general, how about a hack that lets you use the Wii remote (or something like it) for the mouse, instead? Stand back from the screen about six feet and swing the thing like a bat to move the cursor around, and have a big rollout keyboard on the floor, that you could dance around on (like Dance Dance Revolution but with more pressure points). It’d be… whole-body computing!


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    March 22, 2009 11:04 am

    I sat next to a couple of guys who did half-body computing; at regular intervals, they’d pick up the entire keyboard and, bouncing their butt in the chair, SLAM the keyboard down on the desk and then slug the monitor, all accompanied by a steady stream of profanity.

    The concept of the floor keyboard, now that reminds me of the giant piano keyboard at FAO Schwartz featured years ago in the Tom Hanks movie “Big” (crimony, I’m really old!). I’ve always thought that’s kinda where the whole DDR phenomenon originated, actually. But you’re right! What fun! Can you imagine an entire cube-farm using whole-body computing to get their work done?? Add in a little karaoke, and productivity would skyrocket!…seriously!

    • March 26, 2009 10:22 pm

      Yeah, Big made quite an impression on me, too. And, depending on the size of the keyboard and one’s agility, whole-body computing could be a team effort – especially those chords. Ctrl-Alt-Del would be hard to manage for a single cubicle drone, eh?


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