Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Clicky keyboard forevah!

A couple of months ago, I had this conversation with one of my buddies at work about keyboards. I told him I used to have an old IBM keyboard at one of my previous jobs, that I had loved it and that I missed it :'(

The next day or so, he brought me an ancient IBM model M keyboard he had lying around. It's a wonderful piece of mechanics (yes, mechanics, not - or hardly - electronics). According a Wikipedia article about the Model M, this one is approximately between 15 and 18 years old.

Between the time this keyboard was made, I have gone through at least 2 Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro's, a Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro OEM, a wireless piece of Microsoft keyboard junk, some Logitech PoS and another, slightly bent, Microsoft keyboard. Strangely, as much as I am a Linux fanatic lover, I kinda like Microsoft's hardware. Maybe they should specialize in that and leave making operating systems to the adults. ;-) But even though I liked some of the above keyboards (especially the Natural Keyboard Pro's), they all pretty much died under the heavy usage I submitted them to.

This IBM wonder here is way, *way* older and still functions brilliantly. The only downside is the noise it makes when used, but that's of course also part of it's high cool-factor.

Anyway, the Model M my buddy gave me was old. Dirty and old. So I have been looking for an opportunity to clean it and last Sunday, it finally arrived.

First, I started popping off all of the letter caps. I still couldn't quite get underneath the keys though, so I just took them all off, revealing 15 to 18 years of dust and, well, let's just leave it at 'dust, etc.' ;-) The spacebar seems to have had a thing metal wire attached to it, with some sort of metal clamp. I'm not sure what the wire was supposed to do. The wire disappears into the keyboard. I don't exactly know where it goes. If someone knows what the wire is for, please leave a comment. I broke the wire when I took off the spacebar >:)

Next, armed with a kitchen rag and some nice chemical kitchen cleaner, I viciously attacked the dirt on the keyboard, but not before having dealt the first blow using the almighty vacuum cleaner. This left my keyboard in a fairly clean state.

After I popped off all of the letter caps from the plasic feet they're attached to, I just dropped all of them in the sink and drowned them with hot water and Dreft. Dreft always delivers :-) When I fished them out, they were mostly clean, so I just left them to dry on an old towel in the study.

If you are still reading at this point: get a life. A guy is telling you the most boring story ever about how he cleaned this keyboard. Sheesh... :P

A good 20 minutes of puzzling later, I had myself a pretty, clean, working and noisy IBM model M keyboard. I love it. I'm typing this post on it now (the main reason I'm writing this is to check all the keys and whether it feels right. It does, btw).

Jeroen, thanks man. Nothing beats the Model M!

1 comment:

Essad K. said...

Well, you should blame Linux for abusing your keyboards. If you'd just used Windows, you'd only have to replace CTRL-V and C often, and maybe your mouse once in a while ;)