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.
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.
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.