[vcf-midatlantic] OT: Modern keyboard question

Thomas Fuchs thomas at slash7.com
Wed Nov 21 09:40:35 EST 2018

I suggest you try out a Topre Realforce keyboard. These have very light actuation force (45g) and have a soft bottoming out and are great to not get fatigue while typing. They also vary actuation force by location on the keyboard, so your weaker fingers (pinkie etc) will have less work pressing the keys.

There’s a variant with RGB backlighting which also uses Cherry MX compatible switches, which means that you can easily get aftermarket keycaps of all shapes and sizes and colors you’d ever want.


I’ve recently gone down the mechanical keyboard rabbit hole, and I’ve tested a lot of them, please feel free to AMA.


> On Nov 21, 2018, at 9:32 AM, corey cohen via vcf-midatlantic <vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:
> I couldn’t agree more.  You have to try the keyboard out.  While you think squishy key caps will help with fatigue it’s actually the actuation of the switch that causes the issue.  This is why there are so many choices in switches for cherry.  You need to find the one that matches your typing style with the least fatigue and then make compromises on things like sound level and travel.    A good keyboard is not cheap and can cost more than an entire chrome book laptop.
> Some people just get old IBM PC keyboards and use an adapter since they were a good compromise and really good for touch typing.
> Personally I’m a sadist and would rather use a PCjr chicklet keyboard, but then again we all know I’m a couple of “sandwiches short of a picnic”.  
> Cheers,
> Corey
> corey cohen
> uǝɥoɔ ʎǝɹoɔ
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Nov 21, 2018, at 1:49 AM, Jeff Salzman via vcf-midatlantic <vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:
>> Find a Microcenter store. Play around with all the sample keyboards they
>> have in their keyboard aisle until you find one that feels like you want a
>> keyboard to feel.
>> On Nov 21, 2018 3:12 AM, "Dave McGuire via vcf-midatlantic" <
>> vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:
>> I would add to this the suggestion of getting a key switch "tester".
>> This is essentially a collection of different types of key switches, not
>> connected to anything, on some sort of a mounting board. (usually not a
>> PCB)  This will allow you to evaluate each one, as they're very
>> different, to see which one you like best.  Then you can go find a
>> keyboard built with that type of key mechanism.  This is a pretty common
>> thing, they're all over Amazon.
>> I live on my keyboard, and I'm a big fan of Cherry MX Blue key
>> switches.  These are loud as hell, but I work in a private lab so
>> there's nobody to disturb with noise.  I can *fly* on this keyboard,
>> with much less hand fatigue than I'd gotten from my previous keyboards.
>> I have never been a PC person; I grew up on workstation-class
>> hardware.  When you're using a VAXstation, you used a DEC LK201 or LK401
>> keyboard.  Nothing else would work on those systems.  Likewise when I
>> moved to Sun systems, starting with the Sun "Type 2" keyboard on a Sun2
>> (not SPARC-2) system.  Again, nothing else was compatible.  It's a good
>> thing that these were, with very rare exceptions, very good keyboards.
>> But the point is, all my life I never really had the notion of
>> "choosing" a keyboard, like PC users have.  I got what the vendor
>> provided, because nothing else would work with those systems.
>> Now with an i7 on my desk (now that these crappy PeeCee processors are
>> almost as fast as a decade-old SPARC!) it suddenly occurred to me that I
>> do in fact have a wide range of options, when for the past couple of
>> years I had just bounced back and forth between a Sun Type7 keyboard and
>> an Apple aluminum keyboard, both USB, and both excellent.  I went with
>> the Cherry MX Blue, TKL (ten-key-less, just a main keyboard and a cursor
>> pad), with nice thick heavy key caps.  Unlabeled key caps, because I
>> know damn well where the keys are after 40+ years at a keyboard.
>> The specific keyboard I chose (but with different keycaps) is a HyperX
>> Alloy FPS Pro, purchased via Amazon.  It's built like a tank; the
>> keycaps are seated in a thick, heavy metal plate.  This is marketed
>> toward the game crowd, but that's essentially irrelevant.  I do not play
>> games.  Heavy software/hardware development is a very similar use
>> case...albeit with less shouting, grunting, and unemployment.
>> Choice of keyboard is very personal and very important.  It can truly
>> make the difference between hating sitting at a machine and loving it.
>> Do yourself a favor, take the time to evaluate what's out there and pick
>> the one that works best for your usage patterns.  You won't get out of
>> it for less than $100, but that keyboard will likely last most of the
>> rest of your life.
>> Sorry for the long-windedness; this is a big subject.
>>              -Dave
>>> On 11/21/18 1:08 AM, Mark Whittington via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
>>> Generally a decent quality mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches
>> will
>>> cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $100.  You can go a lot higher, and
>>> occasionally you'll find something a bit lower.  There are a number of
>>> variants of the Cherry MX switches with different characteristics (tactile
>>> response, audible click, etc).  Here's a primer on the various types:
>> https://www.keyboardco.com/blog/index.php/2012/12/an-introduction-to-cherry-mx-mechanical-switches/
>>> Since you're looking at silicone keycaps, you probably want a non-click
>>> switch like the Cherry MX Brown.  Something like this perhaps:
>>> https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823126445
>>> You're not likely to find a keyboard with those keycaps preinstalled, so
>>> figure out what type of key switch you'd like and then find a keyboard
>> with
>>> those keys.  Any of the Cherry MX "colors" should work with those keycaps.
>>> Massdrop doesn't seem to be running that drop right now, but as usual
>>> there's a seller on aliexpress that can sell you some.
>> https://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-Arrival-104-Silicone-Keycaps-Blank-Keycaps-OEM-Height-For-Wired-USB-Cherry-MX-Switches-Mechanical/32794525459.html
>>> Let me know if you have other questions.
>>> On Tue, Nov 20, 2018 at 11:50 PM Evan Koblentz via vcf-midatlantic <
>>> vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:
>>>>>> I'm thinking about getting a new keyboard for my modern PC.
>>>>>> I want to use squishy keycaps such as these:
>>>>>> https://www.massdrop.com/buy/silica-gel-keycap-set
>>>>>> It says they're Cherry MX compatible.
>>>>>> Does that mean they only work with official Cherry-branded keyboards?
>> Or
>>>>>> is there some other search term to use (etc.) for keyboards that are
>>>>>> Cherry-compatible?
>>>>> It suggests that those keycaps will fit on Cherry MX key switches.
>>>> But how do I know what keyboards have such switches?
>> -- 
>> Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
>> New Kensington, PA

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