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Re: [midatlanticretro] FW: [TYPEWRITERS] bad keyboards....

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  • Mason Taube
    My understanding based on folklore -- The PET s chiclet keyboard was designed the way it was so Commodore could use (surplus?) calculator parts to construct
    Message 1 of 14 , Jan 11, 2008
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      My understanding based on folklore --

      The PET's chiclet keyboard was designed the way it was so Commodore could use (surplus?) calculator parts to construct it. It was upgraded in the -B and -N since either people were annoyed by it or they ran out of calculator parts.

      The Atari 400 keyboard was designed primarily to be spill proof as kids were its target market.

      I think the vic-20's keyboard was worse than the 64's (which i thought was actually pretty ok). The Apple and Atari 800 had good keyboards. If I had to pick one I think apple had the best of the garden variety 8-bit keyboards. I also agree with the articles #1 choice for worst keyboard, the PCjr.

      I only have one of the bad keyboards in my collection: several of the Atari 400s.  When people were talking about getting
      an Atari, I advised them to spend the extra cash on the 800 because the 400 keyboard was just awful.  Most made the
      wrong purchase, but would upgrade to an 800 within a few months.  Maybe it was a good engineering/ marketing move
      by Atari???

      .



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    • John Allain
      Our SW porting lab at IBM had all different keyboards for the DG, Dec, HP, SGI, Sun, and IBM workstations. The standout oddest would have to be the Sun.
      Message 2 of 14 , Jan 11, 2008
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        Our SW porting lab at IBM had all different keyboards for the DG, Dec, HP,
        SGI, Sun, and IBM workstations. The standout oddest would have to be the
        Sun.

        Oddest config ever for me was the Calma dual-screen CAD workstation.
        The text half of the CRT was just a standard Hazeltine terminal with the
        circuit board made flush with the CRT by turning it around backwards. So
        the system had a second hidden keyboard sticking out the back if you took
        the cover off.

        John A.

        Coolest new keyboard
        Optimus OLED animated color graphic keycaps.
        http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/input/88ee
      • Bryan Pope
        ... They are whining about the *placement* of certain keys! :-/ And pretty much the same reasons for the other keyboards that were not chiclet-ish or
        Message 3 of 14 , Jan 11, 2008
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          B. Degnan wrote:
          >>>
          >>> http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,139100-page,1-c,keyboards/article.html
          >
          > I think that this article is kind of dumb, they basically picked
          > computers that they could find pictures of from 1979-1983 and then
          > made up a story around it. That is the era when many keyboards in the
          > small/home computer market were like that. They obviously were
          > popular then. They might as well have just saved space and wrote a
          > single paragraph: "Early 80's computer manufacturers, in their
          > effort to build ever smaller and inexpensive home computers, were
          > forced to squeeze a small keyboard into their systems. Consumers were
          > willing to sacrifice keyboard ergonomics for portability. By 1984
          > these types of computers became less popular as true laptops and the
          > IBM PC/clones took their place in the home computer market.
          >
          > I don't disagree that some of these keyboards were hard to use, but
          > it's the context that's missing.
          >
          > Lastly, I understand the "blue" 2001 PET, but the later PET 2001-N
          > keyboard is fine, and should not be included... what's wrong with that
          > one?
          They are whining about the *placement* of certain keys! :-/ And pretty
          much the same reasons for the other keyboards that were not chiclet-ish
          or membrane.

          Cheers,

          Bryan

          >
          > The Coco keyboards were actually easy to use...try one! Not all of
          > the listed keyboards were hard to use even though they were compact.
          > The engineers pulled off some usable systems despite the confines of
          > space. The PC JR had a "regular" keyboard, at least mine did unlike
          > what's described in the article.
          >
          > I don't like the Sinclair 1000 keyboard. This is the worst of the group.
          >
          > Bill gets off soap box
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
          >
          > No virus found in this incoming message.
          > Checked by AVG Free Edition.
          > Version: 7.5.516 / Virus Database: 269.19.1/1219 - Release Date: 1/11/2008 10:19 AM
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        • Jim Scheef
          Hello all and Happy New Year, I just read thru this thread and found a few things interesting. Jim is sight-impaired so I can see [pun] why keyboards would be
          Message 4 of 14 , Jan 13, 2008
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            Hello all and Happy New Year,

            I just read thru this thread and found a few things interesting. Jim is sight-impaired so I can see [pun] why keyboards would be very important to him. Our first response is to attack the messenger (the article, not Jim). The article is what it is - an attempt by a "popular press" outlet to make their magazine more interesting to typical PC users. Its not historical. I find it interested that they can't find any bad keyboards today. I hate Dell and IBM/Lenovo keyboards because of the tiny PgUp, PgDn, Home and End keys - the vary same thing they criticized in the C64. Of course Dell and Lenovo are current advertisers...

            Mason was the first to look at the article from the standpoint of a collector or computer history buff. I think a VCF exhibit of examples of bad keyboards would be a winner, especially if it covered the history of these bad keyboards - cost, surplus parts (like the screen in the Osborn 1) or other factors. A membrane keyboard *is* kid proof. Today the OLPC laptop has a sealed keyboard for the same reason. The PCjr chicklet keyboard is a great collectible today because so few (relatively speaking) were produced and sold. They sell for what I consider exorbitant prices but no PCjr collection is complete without one.

            Jim


            ----- Original Message ----
            From: John Allain <allain@...>
            To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Friday, January 11, 2008 3:05:23 PM
            Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Re: FW: [TYPEWRITERS] bad keyboards....

            Our SW porting lab at IBM had all different keyboards for the DG, Dec, HP,
            SGI, Sun, and IBM workstations.  The standout oddest would have to be the
            Sun.

            Oddest config ever for me was the Calma dual-screen CAD workstation.
            The text half of the CRT was just a standard Hazeltine terminal with the
            circuit board made flush with the CRT by turning it around backwards.   So
            the system had a second hidden keyboard sticking out the back if you took
            the cover off.

            John A.

            Coolest new keyboard
            Optimus OLED animated color graphic keycaps.
            http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/input/88ee



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          • Evan
            I strongly do NOT agree on two points. First, it s pretty dumb to say that advertising has anything to do with a fluffy thing like bad keyboards ... Second,
            Message 5 of 14 , Jan 13, 2008
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              I strongly do NOT agree on two points. First, it's pretty dumb to say that advertising has anything to do with a fluffy thing like 'bad keyboards' ... Second, a whole VCF exhibit about them? Sounds boring. (Although an exhibit of "Bizarre I/O of Yesteryear" would be interesting if the exhibitor were creative.)

              -----Original Message-----

              From: Jim Scheef <jscheef@...>
              Subj: Re: [midatlanticretro] Re: FW: [TYPEWRITERS] bad keyboards....
              Date: Sun Jan 13, 2008 10:52 am
              Size: 5K
              To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com

              Hello all and Happy New Year,

              I just read thru this thread and found a few things interesting. Jim is sight-impaired so I can see [pun] why keyboards would be very important to him. Our first response is to attack the messenger (the article, not Jim). The article is what it is - an attempt by a "popular press" outlet to make their magazine more interesting to typical PC users. Its not historical. I find it interested that they can't find any bad keyboards today. I hate Dell and IBM/Lenovo keyboards because of the tiny PgUp, PgDn, Home and End keys - the vary same thing they criticized in the C64. Of course Dell and Lenovo are current advertisers...

              Mason was the first to look at the article from the standpoint of a collector or computer history buff. I think a VCF exhibit of examples of bad keyboards would be a winner, especially if it covered the history of these bad keyboards - cost, surplus parts (like the screen in the Osborn 1) or other factors. A membrane keyboard *is* kid proof. Today the OLPC laptop has a sealed keyboard for the same reason. The PCjr chicklet keyboard is a great collectible today because so few (relatively speaking) were produced and sold. They sell for what I consider exorbitant prices but no PCjr collection is complete without one.

              Jim


              ----- Original Message ----
              From: John Allain <allain@...>
              To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Friday, January 11, 2008 3:05:23 PM
              Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Re: FW: [TYPEWRITERS] bad keyboards....

              Our SW porting lab at IBM had all different keyboards for the DG, Dec, HP,
              SGI, Sun, and IBM workstations. The standout oddest would have to be the
              Sun.

              Oddest config ever for me was the Calma dual-screen CAD workstation.
              The text half of the CRT was just a standard Hazeltine terminal with the
              circuit board made flush with the CRT by turning it around backwards. So
              the system had a second hidden keyboard sticking out the back if you took
              the cover off.

              John A.

              Coolest new keyboard
              Optimus OLED animated color graphic keycaps.
              http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/input/88ee



              Yahoo! Groups Links
            • Dan Roganti
              Evan, I believe I sensed some anxiety in your recent replies :) Could it be that Eli Manning has to confront the notorious Tony Romo in the playoffs today ?
              Message 6 of 14 , Jan 13, 2008
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                Evan,

                I believe I sensed some anxiety in your recent replies :)
                Could it be that Eli Manning has to confront the notorious Tony Romo in the playoffs today ?
                I'm rooting for the NY Giants too (my hometown)

                =Dan
                just kidding


                Evan wrote:
                I strongly do NOT agree on two points.  First, it's pretty dumb to say that advertising has anything to do with a fluffy thing like 'bad keyboards' ... Second, a whole VCF exhibit about them?  Sounds boring.  (Although an exhibit of "Bizarre I/O of Yesteryear" would be interesting if the exhibitor were creative.)
                
                  
              • Evan
                I m not worried. :) ... From: Dan Roganti Subj: Re: [midatlanticretro] Re: FW: [TYPEWRITERS] bad keyboards.... Date: Sun Jan 13,
                Message 7 of 14 , Jan 13, 2008
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                  I'm not worried. :)

                  -----Original Message-----

                  From: Dan Roganti <ragooman@...>
                  Subj: Re: [midatlanticretro] Re: FW: [TYPEWRITERS] bad keyboards....
                  Date: Sun Jan 13, 2008 11:17 am
                  Size: 2K
                  To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com


                  Evan,

                  I believe I sensed some anxiety in your recent replies :)
                  Could it be that Eli Manning has to confront the notorious Tony Romo in the playoffs today ?
                  I'm rooting for the NY Giants too (my hometown)

                  =Dan
                  just kidding


                  Evan wrote: I strongly do NOT agree on two points. First, it's pretty dumb to say that advertising has anything to do with a fluffy thing like 'bad keyboards' ... Second, a whole VCF exhibit about them? Sounds boring. (Although an exhibit of "Bizarre I/O of Yesteryear" would be interesting if the exhibitor were creative.)
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