I admit it.  I have a favourite keyboard; this may be geeky, but in it I am not alone, not at all.  I have two, in fact, though they are the same; examples of the famous (in certain circles) IBM model M.  I am lucky enough to have rescued two from being skipped, both with PS2 connectors.  F10 is missing from one — it has a second ‘delete’ key there instead.

A couple of Ms, from 1988 and 1993.

A couple of Ms, from 1988 and 1993.

There is no doubt in my mind that I type faster with fewer errors using the M, although the speed is not that important — I can’t think faster than I can type, anyway.  As this post will show…

I think what I get from the model M is the same feeling I get from my  Husqvana chainsaw and my  ancient Ixion hand drill — the sense of a tool well-made, and made to work forever, not just until the warranty period runs out.  A feeling of solidity.  Somebody thought hard about this product, and wanted to do a good job, not just an adequate job or a job ‘good enough given the price’.

I learned to type (insofar as I ever really learned) on a manual portable typewriter (yes, with a ribbon, and without electricity).  I still have a muscle memory that hits the keys, rather than pressing or pushing them.  I had a MacBook and broke the ‘Enter’ key in half, and not out of pique.  Even without the clicky keys of the IBM, people hear me typing two rooms away.  My office-mate once asked me if I was OK.

“Is something the matter?”

“No,”  I said, baffled.  “Why?”

“You’re belting hell out of that computer.”

“Oh, am I?”

I think he was glad when I moved to another room.

Brand new ones can be bought.

The attraction of the M can be summed up as satisfaction.  Hitting the keys is satisfying.  Using a tool that is well-made is satisfying.    Hearing it go click-clack is satisfying.  It is, quite simply, the right tool for the job.  I spend a lot of time in front of a computer.  I sit on an office chair rather than a wooden plank.  I use a nice big monitor rather than an old green CRT.  I don’t see ‘value’ in using a cheap keyboard.

Not sure how to end this post, so I’ll just stop.


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About Darren

I'm a scientist by training, based in Australia.

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