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Das Keyboard: Hit Any Key 479

Posted by timothy
from the perfect-for-tech-hipster-tv-shows dept.
Black hardware just can't help looking cool (think TIE fighters, NeXT Cubes, and the hard-to-find black SE/30 case you might have lusted for in 1994), but have you ever wanted an all-black keyboard? Das Keyboard, from Austin-based Metadot, fills the craving for those so afflicted, and by "all-black," I mean something very nearly that: except a small white label ("Das Keyboard") in the upper left corner and labels for the three usual indicator lights -- num lock, caps lock, and scroll lock -- there's nothing but black to see. The keys are unlabeled in any conventional sense, though the index-finger keys of the conventional home row (F and J) are marked with the usual small bumps; theoretically, this should make typing more accurate after a time, just because cheating with one's eyeballs isn't a possibility. It's the aesthetic opposite of the recently announced Optimus keyboard; this is high minimalism applied to the modern keyboard. The truth is, I wanted to like Das Keyboard. It looks cool, and the concept sounds, well, sound. The thing itself left me a bit disappointed, though; I've outlined my reasoning below.

The problem with inviting comparison

Metadot borrowed from the best in the design of their keyboard: dimensionally, it's just about a dead ringer for an IBM Model M. Compared to my 1984 Model M, Das Keyboard's chassis is less than a half-inch shy of the M's longest dimension, and that half inch is shaved off the the outermost edge; key size, curvature and placement are identical to that of the Model M, at least to the limit of the measuring instruments mounted to each side of my nose. (The underside looks quite a bit different, though: A fair amount of Das Keyboard's undercarriage is just empty space, because the plastic underneath follows the curve of the keys themselves, leaving a small wedge of air.) The board's 6-foot USB cable (nice and chunky) exits to the rear through a neat slot straight up from the Caps Lock indicator. However, the dimensions are unfortunately where the resemblance ends, because the great thing about older, mechanical-action keyboards like the Model M is not so much how they look, but how they feel beneath the hand. Instead of the clacking, snapping action of buckling-spring keyboards, manufacturers have mostly moved to cheaper, less-complicated membrane keyboards, some of which feel better than others. My impression on opening the box and giving the black keyboard a lengthy groping was that the Das Keyboard's action is a bit squishy. To be fair, in the current keyboard market, most of the competition feels no better, and many competitors feel worse. Some people prefer the feel of membrane keyboards, though, so don't take my word for it -- taste in keyboards is idiosyncratic at best. As membrane boards go, Das Keyboard is on the good side of average.

About that extreme makeover ...

So what does the all-black color scheme do for one's typing speed? According to the company, by taking away the crutch of key labels, the user is forced to learn better typing skills and concentrate on their computer's screen.

This may be true for some people, and it sounds like a good theory, but in several weeks of use, I never quite swam, and mostly sank. Whenever I'd hit a wrong key (which was often), I found myself either hunting-and-pecking or craning my neck to peek at a conventional keyboard a few feet away for guidance. I'm an untutored typist, but several years of moderately heavy keyboarding mean I'm at least not a newcomer to entering text with a keyboard -- I even rather enjoy it, most days. However, maybe I'm just a slow learner, but I haven't had as much frustration with a keyboard since I played with a Twiddler a few years ago. Maybe I glance at my keys more than I realize on my conventional keyboard, or maybe it's simply that I had a hard time getting used to the feel of the board, but in the end I ended up disappointed with my speed using Das Keyboard. That's not to say that a better typist would feel the same; maybe I'm just not to the threshold of typing skill that Das Keyboard requires.

According to a company representative, the keys on Das Keyboard are divided into several distinct groups, each with their own response. I tried in vain to detect the difference between keys in various groups, and think I faintly detected it, sometimes. But the difference between any two of the keys on this keyboard (harping, I know) seems far less than that between any of Das Keyboard's keys and its equivalent key on a mechanical-action board. An exception is the space bar, which really did take the promised extra effort to press down: this is a welcome change, and I hope other keyboard makers license (or at least copy!) the idea, because I tend to keep my thumbs on the space bar. (I'd like to see a mechanical-switch version of Das Keyboard, which would retain the neat looks but do away with the milquetoast response.)

My muscle memory isn't what it used to be

The upshot, at least to me, is that Das Keyboard has a feel slightly better than the run-of-the-mill keyboards on offer at mass-market retailers, and much cooler looks, but costs a bit more than those differences justify, at least to my wallet. The industrial approach of this keyboard would be a perfect match for a gaming or overclocking system built for clean, industrial looks, and a better deal than most "high tech" sculpture, but I'm unconvinced that it's truly a practical improvement. If I wanted a keyboard with the claimed advantages of an absence of key-cap labels, I think I'd hit local thrift stores until I found a model that felt acceptable to my hands, and pick up can apiece of spray paint and lacquer.
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Das Keyboard: Hit Any Key

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  • Top Ten (Score:5, Funny)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:16PM (#13513115) Homepage Journal
    Top Ten reasons to get Das Keyboard:
    • 10. It looks cool to geeks
    • 9. It looks threatening or confusing to non-geeks
    • 8. Ajustable key-weight can help build up those wimpy pinky muscles
    • 7. Spare parts: Fewer part numbers for keycaps "I need a new any key"
    • 6. Cheetos rings will stand out more clearly
    • 5. You'll actually learn to type better OR
    • 4. 7iu'll hABe a bwttar rxcise fpr t[pod
    • 3. It does have a certain IBM throw-back cachet
    • 2. Greatly discourages others from using your computer.
    • 1. Das Blinken Lights sign will look so much better above it

    Want to do something more practical? Get a Braille keyboard and learn that while typing. It's a skill, right?

    • Re:Top Ten (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nacturation (646836) <nacturation@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:35PM (#13513319) Journal
      And:

       
    • Re:Top Ten (Score:5, Interesting)

      by elliotCarte (703667) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:36PM (#13513330)
      Top 5 reasons not to buy one:

      1. It's much cooler and geekier to make your own like my buddy did [iu.edu].
      2. If you make your own you won't have that white label reading 'Das Keyboard' ruining your otherwise all black beauty.
      3. These are not at all new. They've been around for a long time, so the trendy factor has already worn off.
      4. Real geeks have all black keyboards because the white characters have all worn off from excesive use.
      5. I don't even have a keyboard you insensitive clod.
      • 1. It's much cooler and geekier to make your own like my buddy did.

        I should try this with a real Model M. I seem to remember one in the house from years ago, it's probably up in the attic...

      • Re:Top Ten (Score:5, Insightful)

        by lav-chan (815252) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @06:11PM (#13513600)

        Main reason not to buy one?

        Because it's just a normal $30 keyboard [keytronic.com] you can buy from any computer store. Paint it black yourself if you want to.

        80 fucking dollars, give me a break.

        • Re:Top Ten (Score:4, Informative)

          by poor_boi (548340) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @07:26PM (#13514014)
          Painting a keyboard black sucks:
          1. you have to find some paint that won't rub or flake off.
          2. you have to spraypaint the keys carefully enough to not gum up the functioning of the keys: I'm looking at my "unblank" keytronic keyboard right now and it has less than 1/16" between the keys.
          3. you should find some some black paint whose surface feels nice enough to rest under your fingers for 8 hours a day
          4. my "unblank" keytronic keyboar's key writing is actually both painted and tactile. E.g. the white inscriptions on each key are subtly raised up from the rest of the key. This means that even after you "paint" your keyboard, you may still be able to see the key inscriptions, reducing the 'cool factor'.
          5. it's hard! when you're an uber-geek, you're making bank anyway... the time you spend making your own half-baked chincy "painted black" keyboard will probably pay for the real deal: "Das Keyboard"

          And finally, let me conclude: Keytronic keyboards are not avaible from your neighborhood CrapUSA or Bogus Buy. Those guys sell horrible, cheap keyboards at outrageous markups.

          If you're looking for a quality keyboard, order from Keytronic (or a Das Keyboard if you feel like paying for the 'cool' factor.) Keytronic puts pride, quality, and engineering into their product and it shows. I spent months researching where to buy 'quality keyboards' after being burned by craptastic keyboard after craptastic keyboard from CrapUSA and other like-retailers. The end result of my research pointed me at Keytronic keyboards, and I haven't been disappointed.

          By the way, if you happen to know a manufacturer / retailer of QUALITY keyboards, please reply to this post and let me know, I'm interested in creating a community keyboard review site and could use some first-hand info. =)

          ciao!
          poor

          • Re:Top Ten (Score:5, Informative)

            by austad (22163) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @07:46PM (#13514141) Homepage
            You can dye plastic. RIT actually works on some types of plastic, and some autoparts stores sell dye meant for plastics. I'm sure you can find what you need by searching for it though.

            Just dunk the whole damn thing in a bucket of dye and dry it off under a heat lamp for a couple of days. I've washed keyboards in the dishwasher before and dried them that way, and they still worked just fine.
        • Re:Top Ten (Score:4, Informative)

          by Alcoholist (160427) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @09:47PM (#13514970) Homepage
          Keytronic even sells them in black! Paint over the keys with nailpolish or something.

          As near as I can tell the Das Keyboard is a 3600 series Keytronic keyboard. Just without any printing. Even their diagrams for the "Individually Weighted Keyswitches" look similar:

          Das Keyboard [daskeyboard.com]
          Keytronic [keytronic.com]
        • Re:Top Ten (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Council (514577) <rmunroe.gmail@com> on Thursday September 08, 2005 @10:54PM (#13515334) Homepage
          I got bored one night and sharpied my keyboard black. Turns out the so-called "permanent" ink does in fact rub off after a while. I got a fascinating graph of where I hit keys and letter frequency (I only touch the spacebar in one strange place), but boy was there egg (ink) on my face (fingertips).

          However, I never had a problem knowing where keys were.
    • Plus creating highly secure passwords will be a breeze!
  • by Kelson (129150) * on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:16PM (#13513120) Homepage Journal
    Das Keyboard: For people whose desks are a complete Disaster Area.

    Though I hear it works best on the new Sun "Diver" systems.
  • by ezzzD55J (697465) <slashdot5@scum.org> on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:17PM (#13513125) Homepage
    "Its this wild colour scheme that freaks me, you know.
    When you press one of these black buttons that are labeled
    in black on a black background, a little black light lights
    up black to let you know you've done it!"
  • Wow (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:18PM (#13513135)
    that was the longest thinkgeek advertisement ever.
  • Das Keyboard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bloodgroove (675506) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:18PM (#13513139)
    Wow, 80 bucks for what I can do with 3 dollars worth of spray paint or some solvent to get rid of the letters.
    • by HackNack (853020) <jas@nOspAm.emilswenson.com> on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:24PM (#13513209) Homepage
      Das right!
    • Solvent wouldn't work on a good quality "double shot" keycap where the letter is actually molded through the cap in a different color plastic.

      But yeah ... I have a limited number of dollars in my computer peripheral "upgrade" budget and this thing is definitely gonna get any. I'm more concerned with the feel of the keys and whether it's comfortable to use. Of course, maybe that's just me ... I don't look at my hands while typing. Heck, when I got back from vacation last year one of my coworkers had switc


    • Great! Now all my keys are sticky and have fingerprints on them and my fingers are covered with gunk...Got any other bright ideas?

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Great! Now all my keys are sticky and have fingerprints on them and my fingers are covered with gunk...Got any other bright ideas?

        surfing more family-friendly sites?
  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by John Napkintosh (140126) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:18PM (#13513140) Homepage
    Why in the world does it cost $80?
    • Re:So... (Score:3, Interesting)

      Why in the world does it cost $80?

      The word 'elite' or maybe it costs more than you think not to print characters ;)
      • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

        by Feanturi (99866) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @08:47PM (#13514635)
        maybe it costs more than you think not to print characters ;)

        Actually, there are sweat shops in Malaysia staffed by trained cats that work around the clock applying their sandpaperlike tongues to carefully polish the letters off of standard black keyboards. Cats are very hard to train, you see, so that gets expensive. They also spend most of their lives sleeping, so it takes several days for a particular cat to finish the work on one keyboard. But the craftsmanship is stunning. To help with the training, they spray on a specially formulated catnip mist that is designed to leave no traces on the finished keyboard once it is dry. They use this to entice the cats to lick the keys, and because it's specially formulated that's automatically, like, $30 a unit right there. Then there's all the litter to change, crates of fresh mice brought in daily, and an in-house addiction clinic. Done in America, that could easily pop the per unit price to $150 easily, and that's why it's done in Malaysia, so you get to save a lot of money on all this hard work. So it's a pretty good value, all things considered.
    • It's a contractural thing. They still have to pay the guy who normally would have painted the keys, as well as a supervisor to ensure that the keys don't get painted.

      Either that or they take a regular black keyboard, then pay some folk art person to painstakingly remove the letters and replace them with blank caps.

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

      by boa13 (548222) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:48PM (#13513420) Homepage Journal
      Why in the world does it cost $80?

      Actually it doesn't. It seems like it's just a regular, $21.50 Keytronic E03600QUSUSBB-C keyboard, without any key labels.

      Read the Keytronic description [keytronic.com]

      Do you recognize this diagram? [keytronic.com]
      • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Ingolfke (515826) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @06:36PM (#13513758) Journal
        One wonders if these keyboards are actually defects... being pawned of as ub3r l33t. I'm not even saying their mods, maybe Keytronics screwed up the manufacturing process, sold the keyboards for pennies on the dollar and these guys are selling them for $80 now. Who knows.

        When the company selling you a product tells you the product will help demonstrate your status as l33t or rich or cool or whatever it's probably a safe bet that they're ripping you off.
    • Re:So... (Score:4, Funny)

      by TheGavster (774657) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @06:11PM (#13513594) Homepage
      Slashvertisement isn't cheap. They could have brought it down to $25 if they'd gone for a sidebar, but they needed several mid-page ads^H^Hrticles over the course of several months.
  • Um... Delorean? (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by gTsiros (205624)
    Did i unknowingly and unwillingly enter a time machine or something?

    I need to know, 'cause in... 7 hours i am (was?) supposed to take an exam in... ...

    omfg! what year is it?!?!
  • Oh FFS! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith (2679) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:19PM (#13513158)
    A can of black paint, people!

    In the war between style and substance, you are the losers!

     
  • Again? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Declarent (628681) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:20PM (#13513162)
    I don't want to be a jerk or anything, but this has been up on every site I read, including /. for the last couple of months. I find it hard to believe that an editor has never heard of this before submitting this. This is like posting a story about the invention of the Roomba. I assure you, we know. We read about it on Fark, Gizmodo, Slashdot, and every other techy blog out there months ago, over and over again.
    • That doesn't mean /. shouldn't kill their server one more time!
    • I don't want to be a jerk or anything, but this has been up on every site I read, including /. for the last couple of months. I find it hard to believe that an editor has never heard of this before submitting this. This is like posting a story about the invention of the Roomba. I assure you, we know. We read about it on Fark, Gizmodo, Slashdot, and every other techy blog out there months ago, over and over again.

      This is the first I've heard of it. I don't read Fark, I've never even heard of Gizmodo. Bu

    • I hear Slashdot is going to have a new service. It's news and stuff, but all of the writeups are blank, and all of the links are pre-slashdotted.
  • ALL the keys? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrEldarion (114072) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:20PM (#13513168)
    Okay, I can type (quite well) without looking at the keyboard, but I'll be damned if I can remember which key is "scroll lock", which is "print screen", and which is "pause/break". And where's that pipe again? Accent mark?

    Form over function is never positive.
    • I bet you're pretty good at one handed typing too. :)
    • Re:ALL the keys? (Score:3, Informative)

      by dasunt (249686)

      I had been professionally trained to touch-type in school.

      However, it was MUDs that honed my skills. Speed and accuracy is rewarded in MUDs. Typos can be fatal.

  • i mrsn drtioudly@ my typing had gtrsyrly imptobrd sibce u started ysubg ut!@
  • by Nos. (179609)
    "If you are going to get one; get two: one for you and one for your best friend."
    Because I know my friends would just love it if I secretly replaced their keyboard with one that had no labels on it. Of course they wouldn't be able to email me their problems any more.... hmmm maybe it is a good idea after all.
  • I know I've seen this before somewhere [datadocktorn.nu].
  • by HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:23PM (#13513200)
    Spinal Tapish...
    • Mmmmeh... I'd say it was more Kraftwerk, myself. Imagine the headache you'd have reassembling it if you accidentally dropped it and all they keys fell off!
  • I typically go through a keyboard per year, and by the time I replace it I've usually worn the lettering off most of it. No one makes keyboards w/ the lettering molded into the keys any more, not even IBM.

    For that matter, why not just buy a cheapie keyboard, and put some acetone on a rag and wipe off the lettering?
  • Is there something special with the printed lettering on current keyboards? Why can't people just remove them with some sort of chemical or some sort of dremel attachment?

    I've never tried, but it seems a better solution than buying a $80 keyboard.

  • by Thedeviluno (903528) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:26PM (#13513235) Homepage
    For 80 bux I will gladly gouge out your eyes. Your typing will increase and you may develope super sonic hearing, which you can then use to fight crime vigilante style.
  • The one that buys the all-blank keyboard... Or the one that wears the legends off of a stock keyboard?
  • by SharpFang (651121)
    Small, single-row enter, big backslash above enter, I thought that was the idea for making typing MS-DOS paths easier, and we have left that behind already, but seems they still live in early nineties...
  • by reuteler (819104)
    go w/ the happy hacking keyboard instead .. it's just as bad ass black and wonderfully small (with full sized keys) and has great action. http://www.pfu.fujitsu.com/en/hhkeyboard/images/20 0B.jpg [fujitsu.com] http://shop.store.yahoo.com/pfuca-store/haphackeyl it1.html [yahoo.com]
    • Black IBM Rapidaccess III USB Keyboard rocks my world... slightly narrower form factor makeing the numeric keypad closer, quick launch buttons, and a USB hub. Pair it with a Logitech Marble mouse USB (actually an ambidextrous trackball) under your left hand, and your input devices are centred and require little unnesecary movement.
  • by Malc (1751)
    "in the upper left corner and labels for the three usual indicator lights -- num lock, caps lock, and scroll lock --"

    Why do keyboard manufacturers persist in placing these lights like this? Back in the late 80s I had an Amstrad PC and the lights were on the keys themselves. That's so much more user friendly.

    My MSFT keyboard has them in the middle labelled with a "1" in a box, an "A" in a box, and an arrow pointing down to a horizontal line. Pretty much meaningless and I have to think about them whenever
  • Not hype enough (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sam H (3979) <sam@zoy.org> on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:31PM (#13513285) Homepage
    Get a Happy Hacking Blank Key [fujitsu.com] keyboard instead. It is three times the price but it is a lot smaller, doesn't have that totally useless numeric pad no one uses nowadays, or those retarded so-called Windows keys. It is a lot lighter, too. What is the use of having the best keyboard if you cannot carry it and brag around with it?
    • Re:Not hype enough (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Rude Turnip (49495)
      "doesn't have that totally useless numeric pad no one uses nowadays"

      Oh, boy, do I beg to differ on that point. I mostly do number crunching on spreadsheets all day. My job would be impossible to get done without a numeric keypad.

      That said, my main keyboard is a black, USB Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2. For a numeric keypad, I plug a slim, IBM USB numeric keypad into one of the USB ports on the HHKB. It's the ultimate in ergonomics because I can position the numeric keypad in any position that feels comf
  • When it comes to regular everyday typing, I'm dead on. I can do my letters, period, comma, spacebar and numbers with almost no errors (well, no errors which can't be attributed to my own lack of spelling ability). However, what will screw me up most is when I have to use those characters I rarely ever use like curley brackets, semicolon, apostraphe, and so on (maybe if I were a programmer I'd know those cold, but I'm not). What's even worse is when I drop something on my keyboard which ends up hitting nu
    • "The" keyboard for me is the Maltron [maltron.com]. Flat keyboards are for lusers.
    • The german word for keyboard is "Tastatur"; "die Tastatur". In German, keyboard is feminine, not neuter.
  • by barawn (25691) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:38PM (#13513353) Homepage
    OK, I'm a fast typer. Really fast - I tend to average between 80-100 wpm (I'm juuusst a bit below the highscores on TyperA [typera.tk]).

    I've got a keyboard that's essentially the same. It's a Canadian keyboard layout, which has a QWERTY layout, but all of the auxiliary stuff is labelled wrong (shift-2 is ", for instance). But I've got it on an English layout.

    I can type on it - reasonably well. But sometimes I still have to guess as to where the | key is, or exactly which one is the ]. It hasn't really sped things up.

    I would've preferred leaving labels on for the non-letter characters. Especially considering that not all special character layouts are the same on keyboards - especially laptops (where the heck is the delete key!).
  • by Dogun (7502) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:39PM (#13513358) Homepage
    You can still get buckling-spring keyboards at PCKeyboard.com. Nothing beats the feel of a buckling-spring, I find myself agreeing with the reviewer.

    One of the features of a truly good keyboard is the ability to be serviced by its user without destroying the keyboard - after spilling pizza, coke, and cereal all over it, I expect to be able to take off the keys and mop up the remains of my ill-advised snacking over the keyboard. This feature (ability to perform simple repair/maintenance like this) is commong to buckling-spring keyboards, but I have to ask, is it a possibility on this one? Is this one of those bubble matrix ones, or what?

    Just wish I had more information on Das Keyboard.
  • Maybe it explains a lot about the dupes on /. when the editors can't even remember *the* geek movie well enough to know what colour a TIE fighter is.

    And now we'll have a big flame war about whether Star Wars really is *the* geek movie, or possibly whether I should have _underlined_ the title, or used italics for emphasis. Or possibly even exactly what shade of grey a TIE fighter is. And let's not forget US/Correct^WBritish tiffs about colour and grey.

    What were we discussing again? Hey, check out th

  • Supposedly, this one gives unique feel to each key group, so you should know when you reach with wrong finger to a key that belongs to a different finger. In reality though, they are pretty much indistinguishable, so just take spray or acetone...

    Well, what IMHO would make this a truly 1337 keyboard: Have the letter caps printed in UV color. Then install a blacklight light source (preferably a point one, directed at the keyboard) and be able to type in complete darkness, with only keys glowing dimly :)
  • I have an old (and cheap) keyboard at my parents' place which is really starting to show its age: many of the letters have rubbed off, and the plastic is actually wrinkled in places. My dad actually refuses to use this keyboard because of the lack of letters... on one hand, this is good because it means he won't touch my stuff, but on the other, well... when I just want him to type in a password, it's a pain in the ass. Obviously my crappy old keyboard lacks the geek appeal of Das Keyboard (which I've bee
  • by jaredmauch (633928) <jared@puck.nether.net> on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:52PM (#13513446) Homepage
    So, I have this issue with keyboards these days. It's hard to find one that has the "Return/Enter" key the same size, they like to move the placement of the | and \ keys and everyone jumped on the m$ bandwagon after they released their keyboard and added some extra keys that I don't need/use.

    Then there's these mice, I am quite happy with my Logitech 3 button mouse circa 1995. It works perfectly for me (of course you need to periodically clean them) and doesn't have that stupid scroll device that everyone seems so intent in putting in them these days. That reminds me, I need to go to the local computer recycling place and dig around in their bins to find some good keyboards and mice to stockpile that have a reasonable layout before the entire earth is plagued with these new marvels that annoy me so much.

    I don't expect everyone here to agree with me, i know quite a few people who love their scroll wheels and fancy optical mice. I'm just not one of them.

  • This was already announced on /. months ago!
  • Save your money (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pope (17780) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @05:55PM (#13513472)
    Just take some typing lessons, and you won't be looking at the keys anyway.

    I know the very idea of slashdotters learning something from being taught is wildly foreign, but figure I'd throw it out there anyway. This is a product with no real market outside of a handful of elite idiots whom you'd never want to meet anyway.
  • A kyebraod I cna ues wehn wriitng my slahstod pots!!1! I lvoe it.

    Yuo msut gte noe!
  • Is it just me or are those just like the old, heavy, Quake-god keyboards from the early/mid 90's? Back in the day at college the keyboards they had like this were almost totally blank they were used so heavily, well, aside from the coating of crud around the keys...

    Damien
  • Has anyone noticed that most new keyboards from Microsoft and Logitech have a new the layout? The nsert/delete/home/end/page up/page down keys are rearranged, one of them is missing and another one is twice as big. Why?
  • No, no, and no. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Parity (12797) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @06:16PM (#13513638)
    If you can't touchtype with the number of typing tutor programs available as free or share out there, well, then I guess you've no interest in touchtyping, so -of course- a keyboard without letters is going to suck for you.

    However, a keyboard without letters is going to suck even worse for games. I mean, I touch type in dvorak, so it's not like I use the letters anyway (okay, I could peek for A and M ... but otherwise...)

    When gaming though, I put my keyboard back in qwerty mode, because games don't use the keyboard as a -keyboard-. You can't put both hands on it and touchtype... you've got to keep a hand on the mouse or joystick. The keyboard acts as a control panel of buttons, not as a text entry device. An unlabeled keyboard for games would really and truly suck.

    Well.

    Unless you took advantage of this to put your own labels on the keys, maybe.

  • by davidwr (791652) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @06:20PM (#13513669) Homepage Journal
    I want a keyboard that changes color based on how hard I'm banging the keys. :)

    Black and blue is the color of the day.
  • by TychoCelchuuu (835690) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @06:32PM (#13513741) Journal
    "Black hardware just can't help looking cool (think TIE fighters, NeXT Cubes, and the hard-to-find black SE/30 case you might have lusted for in 1994)"

    TIE Fighters aren't black.

    Sorry. It's Slashdot. I had to say it.

  • by iamlucky13 (795185) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @07:19PM (#13513982)
    "Compared to my 1984 (IBM) Model M" ~orginal submission
    Sophisticated Nerd #1: This keyboard was soldered in 1984. That was a good year for PS/1 input devices, you know.

    Sophisticated Nerd #2: Ah yes, 1984. The vintage is most excellent.

    Nerd 1: Can you believe that some people actually type on (shocked whisper) PS/2 keyboards?

    Nerd 2: That's positively scandalous! Worse yet, I was at my financial institution (banks are for the unwashed masses) yesterday, and the teller was actually typing on a Logitech USB keyboard. Every time he hit the Windows key, I wanted to lecture him on real keyboards and the proper volume of key clack, but it would have been completely lost on the brute.

    Nerd 1: It's completely ridiculous. There should be laws against such mindless use mundane computer components.

    Or did nobody else think it was odd how the author compared it to a 20 year old design as if it were a car or a fine wine?
    • I would probably kill someone for a Model M. Granted, nobody I knew. It'd have to be some poor decrepid third world street urchin. But I'd do it.

      You cannot comprehend the satisfaction of the tactile feedback those keyboards delivered. For people like me - that is, people who type so damned fast all you hear is the rustling of keys - the assured click and forceful return of a keystroke on those old units is like music.

      I'm a GenXer, too, so this isn't just crank nostalgia. I was still wetting the bed when the
    • Apt comparison... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Otto (17870)
      Or did nobody else think it was odd how the author compared it to a 20 year old design as if it were a car or a fine wine?

      Dude, this is *slashdot*. Everybody here over 25 years old understands exactly what he's talking about with regard to the 1984 Model M's.

      But your comparison is indeed apt. It's exactly like a car or a fine wine... only for nerds.

      For people who sit in front of a computer 12+ hours a day, keyboards matter.
  • by cheros (223479) on Friday September 09, 2005 @02:15AM (#13516514)
    I mean, it's not exactly the first time that this keyboard is mentioned and it's not exactly rocket science either - any idiot armed with a can of black spraypaint can get the same effect on a decent keyboard.

    Any any manufacturer saving money on screenprinting the keys can do this too - I guess the real innovation is to pass these savings in production costs on the customers as a premium price. No, wait, MS has been doing that for years.

    Now, the Art. Lebedev keyboard really IS innovation, and guess what? It won't be terribly difficult to give that all black keys either. Just as pointless as "Das Keyboard" (yeah, saved money on branding as well) but at least it has some real innovation - and decent design.

    Frankly, I can't wait to see the latter one go into production.

Contemptuous lights flashed flashed across the computer's console. -- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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