Vintage Keyboards

A few years ago I had a slight obsession with old keyboards, especially the IBM Model M. I bought one on eBay for around $20. At the time, I was also messing around with Compiz/Beryl for Linux. I found that the missing “Super”/”Windows” keys on the Model M were a downside. So I stopped using it and switched to a newer non-mechanical keyboard.

Again, recently I started wanting more from my keyboard. I didn’t enjoy the typing experience on the rubber dome keyboards. I wanted my Model M. So I hooked it back up and realized that I didn’t need the Windows keys any more. The novelty of Compiz/Beryl had wore off and I just needed something to code on now.

So for the last few weeks I’ve been using the Model M. I should mention that I also messed up the spring in the left shift button when I first bought the Model M. I ordered some replacement key assemblies, and thought I could fix it. While I waiting on the key assemblies to arrive, I bandaged the shift key using the Pause button’s spring. I found the correct way to remove and install the spring itself.

When the spring assemblies arrived I pulled the keyboard apart and gave it a good cleaning. I also tried to get down to the key assemblies. I found that they are difficult to replace. In the process I messed up my left ctrl button. The spring is no longer aligned properly.

I feel I can eventually fix the key, but while I’m working on it I’ll need another keyboard. This led me to look for a replacement for the Model M. I wanted to save money at first so I bought a cheap old vintage Dell at101w on eBay. I got it for $20. I wasn’t sure about it so I also purchased a modern Model M, the Unicomp EnduraPro. The EnduraPro also has a built-in trackpoint.

I received my at101w today. I immediately hooked it up and started testing it out. This is probably the first time I’ve typed on one of these. While I like it, it feels much different than the Model M. Since I’m now used to the Model M, this one feels “muddy” for lack of a better word. It sounds and functions great. It just isn’t the same. I can’t wait to get that EnduroPro Monday. It will actually have the feeling of a Model M. It also has functioning Windows/Super keys. That’s a plus.

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