Which mechanical keyboard should i buy?

Oh it's a judgement zone alright. Just a self-judgement one.

Speaking of self-judgment, I caved on the Mistel Barocco with Clear switches for work. Good news is that I seem to be finally hitting my keyboard saturation point, just before I reached getting a Topre Realforce. The Leopold FC660C got me spoiled with being able to move certain keys around, so I remapped the Caps Lock key to Ctrl (befoul this locale no more!), and I set up a few quick macros to get a feel for it. Actually very neat! No more finger acrobatics for Ctrl-Alt-Delete, there's no Delete key on a 61-key, so I mapped that sequence to Fn+Ctrl, works like a charm. I need to decide how to best make use of the layers, since it's 100+ macros per layer (individual keys and Fn+key). Just have to figure out what I type enough to justify it that I couldn't just make an alias in bash.

I should also probably liquidate some of my other keyboards/electronics to recoup the investment. Maybe someone at work will buy them, it's a techy office... *shrug*

Question for folks: I've been dealing with a squeaky key on my new keyboard. It's a 3.25u, like the right Shift key, uses a Cherry stabilizer (those dummy posts on either side of the switch which attach to a stabilizer bar). Pressing on the left side of the key makes a squeak, especially if I push the key forwards or backwards (I know this is like saying to the doctor "it hurts when I do this" but bear with me). I think the switch and dummy posts are plate mounted, but the stabilizer bar is underneath the plate (I can see the PCB).

Google seemed to give me some ideas about where the squeak might be coming from and how to deal with it. They usually attribute it to the metal-plastic contact points of the stabilizer. I got some white lithium grease, but the spots suggested to apply it were hard to access because of the plate. I put it on where I could, everywhere that seemed to make sense, and I've all but eliminated the noise, but every so often I swear I still get some friction and a little squeak. Since I can make it squeak a little by pushing the key forwards or backwards, I think it's probably plastic-on-plastic, the dummy switch rubbing against the bracket, but I can't seem to get the grease into the gap, not sure what instrument I would need (been using paper clips to apply the grease in all the fiddly areas, probably not the best but at least I can just throw them in the trash afterwards). Not sure if anyone else has experienced something like this, any advice to keep me from tearing down the keyboard to slather the whole stabilizer in grease would be appreciated.

Thin_J wrote:

I did the same a while back too actually, just opted to not embarrass myself in the moment by admitting I now have yet another keyboard.

Still using a magicforce 68 key on my server PC, just now with the much better looking, sounding, and feeling G Pro on the gaming system.

Any reason why you picked up the G Pro versus the G910? Just a space and/or hand rest preference?

Edgar_Newt wrote:

Any reason why you picked up the G Pro versus the G910?

Because numpad are stupid.


And thus Edgar inadvertently sparks Numpad War Four.

I will crawl back into my hole.

War. War never changes.

I just hate using vi keys in roguelikes. If I'm playing Crawl or Nethack, I want proper diagonals, dammit.

edit: also useful in Civ games.

Malor wrote:

I just hate using vi keys in roguelikes. If I'm playing Crawl or Nethack, I want proper diagonals, dammit.

vi. keys. are. the. proper. diagonals. for. roguelikes. ever. since. rogue. arghl! bargl!

vi. keys. are. the. proper. diagonals.

So, in other words, the only proper diagonal movement is none? Because I don't think vim has diagonals.

Malor wrote:
vi. keys. are. the. proper. diagonals.

So, in other words, the only proper diagonal movement is none? Because I don't think vim has diagonals.

Well not in the editor but roguelikes add it in their vi key layouts.

y, u, b, and n.

You can remember it as

Y U Buyin' Numpads?

It's trivial to rebind those keys in real vim to diagonal movement if you want.

Get an ortholinear keyboard and then you can have both proper diagonals and be tenkey-less.

Or I could just buy keyboards with numpads. I don't use them that often, but they're the ideal solution when I do.

Using vi keys, but using them wrong, strikes me as a bad idea. Y, at least, is an important editing character already, and I wouldn't want to mess up my muscle memory.

Numpads are the best. But I also spent years inputting numbers on a retail POS, so I got pretty fast with them. My last work keyboard didn't have a numpad, and it felt super slow and clunky trying to enter more than single digits.

I went a little nuts and bought a new set of keycaps back in February. GMK Plum from Massdrop. But now the Whitefox was announced on kickstarter so I'm all conflicted. I should have saved those Vegas winnings instead of buying keycaps!

_ignore that_

I already have two sets and am considering Tai Hao Miami's.
__broken__ == "__me__"

My buttons must be the correct color for me to enjoy pushing them, darn it!

This person is selling reproductions of IBM's Model F

Background: the model F is probably the best keyboard IBM ever made. They cost about the equivalent of $600 each during their production run. The later Model Ms, which are generally regarded as superb keyboards with extreme reliability, were actually substantially cost-reduced, not made as well as the Fs.

Downsides: USB only, no PS/2. No full-size option, either; all the variants are heavily compressed so that you don't have a full numpad, even on the 'big' one. Those two things are enough to put me off, but I know quite a lot of you like the compact layouts, so if you want an 8KRO (USB's maximum) device with buckling springs, this would be the keyboard to buy.

This is a preorder setup; it'll be months before the keyboard actually shows up. They're being custom-made in China. $325 each, with some extras you can buy.

Malor wrote:

No full-size option, either; all the variants are heavily compressed so that you don't have a full numpad, even on the 'big' one.

See, IBM knew.


Begin Numpad War Five!

The original Model F had numpads, it's this new one that doesn't.

See, the repro guy knows.

Well, he agrees with you, but he's not going to be selling me any keyboards.

Quick question:

I have absolutely terrible carpal tunnel and I was wondering if any of you found mechanical keyboards more ergonomic. I have a razer blade that i use which has a membrane keyboard that I absolutely love because it has just the right amount of resistance that i can push it down easily but still push my fingers up so I don't have to strain my hand both ways. I looked at some ergonomic keyboards but most of them are really weird and expensive.


There's a few options you can consider:

Kinesis makes a keyboard called the Advantage which is super-ergonomic (and super bulky). Uses Cherry MX Browns or Reds (Reds are the "low force" model). They make another keyboard called the Freestyle which can be positioned more freely but uses membrane keys instead of mechanical switches (which may be more in line with what you want?).

Matias has the "Ergo Pro" line which is like the Kinesis Freestyle in terms of design, but uses Matias' own mechanical switches, "quiet click" and linear (the "low force" model). I've seen complaints on it about layout and keys "chattering", but it's something else to consider.

I personally like the Mistel Barocco MD600. It's a split, compact mechanical keyboard, and it comes in a lot of Cherry MX switch flavors (likely you want Red or Silver). The compact form factor is a little weird to get used to, but it's programmable (like the Vortex Pok3r only split down the middle). It isn't as flexible as the other two though, just has feet on the back for pitch, if you wanted tenting you'd have to prop it up with books or something.

Sorry if these are the "weird and expensive" ones you looked up before, but I've been on the ergonomic kick recently too and I settled on a Barocco with Clear switches for my desk at work. It definitely is more comfortable having your arms closer to natural spacing as opposed to being bunched up over the typical keyboard layout.

yeah it certainly sounds interesting, I guess I'll have to wait until I'm completely out of school to be able to afford those though.

I have a bit of carpal tunnel in my right wrist so I've always had to go for a more ergonomic keyboard.

Although it is not mechanically switched the MS Natural 4000 is a brilliant keyboard if you have wrist problems. I used one for years and it really did wonders for my wrist. Its a really great keyboard

Sadly there are no manufacturers making mechanically switched keyboards in that form factor any more. These days I use an ergodox, these are split layout, mechanically switched and have an ortholinear key layout. These are also incredibly comfortable keyboards to type on.

You can buy them pre-built:
or in kit form:

As I understand it, the thing that fundamentally causes carpal tunnel is when the muscles aren't doing enough work, and the tendons are taking too much of the load, inflaming them. Eventually, this can do a great deal of damage.

One common approach is to go to 'soft strike' keyboards, where there's less work to be done. But there's an alternate approach that can work as well: going to a *hard* strike keyboard like the old Model M.

Why? Because it will strengthen your muscles. It's like using one of those squeezy things, but all the time. Gradually, the pain will diminish and ultimately disappear.

However! This is an acutely dangerous process if you're already substantially sore. You can screw yourself up very quickly. Dosing yourself up with anti-inflammatories (like ibuprofen) can really help, but this sort of thing should be done under a doctor's supervision. If you're very careful, and work your way very gradually into using the hard-strike keyboard, you might be able to make this work without medical supervision, but, dear Lord, tread with extreme caution. You can cripple yourself for life.

What I typically find is that I need about six weeks on a Model M about once every 18 months to two years. Then my wrists get happy again, and all's well for a long time. But I start using it when I'm only just starting to get a little sore, when I'm not far into the inflammation process.

Just be aware that the old IBM keyboard is really loud. Louder even than the audible click cherry keys. If you're in an open work setting, it might bug people.

A good friend of mine was once sent home by his boss for bringing his model m keyboard in to work