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Old 04-24-2009, 09:43 AM   #1
ktinkel
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Default New keyboard

I have been looking for a new keyboard for my iMac for months, without much success. But it got urgent this week when the Command key began to stick. And it has lots of yucky crumbs and junk in the transparent frame that I cannot figure out how to clean.

Earlier I looked at the clickety-clack Das Keyboard (in this thread). It had nonstandard Mac buttons and I am too old to learn new tricks. Fortunately, they have an excellent return policy, so back it went.

The Edge from Logitech caught my eye — it replaces the numerical keypad with a scroll thingy, which seemed logical (I rarely use the numbers there) until I remembered my aversion to scrolling that way, and the page up/down keys were cramped. And there was no regular delete key (required a two-key press) and I do a lot of deleting. And it costs more than $100. And requires special Logitech software to work, and I have never had much luck with their software. So, cute as it was, not for me.

Finally, I web-searched for keyboard + mac and found the new Apple ultra-thin aluminum keyboard. The more I saw, the more I liked, so I ordered one (USB — I am about fed up with battery battles, and the keyboard, once attached, just sits there); it arrived yesterday.

It has the smallest surface area I have ever seen on a keyboard, with just enough room for well-sized and decently spaced keys plus a narrow rim. The keys appear to have silk-screened labels; have to see if the labels wear off with use. Right now they are lovely.

Might not suit Function-key addicts — it arrives with many of the keys assigned to particular functions. (They can be customized with Keyboard or Keyboard Shortcuts prefs, however.) I do not have strong opinions either way so will see if I care.

At first I kept hitting the Caps Lock inadvertently — the gap is the same as between other keys, which may not be such a good idea. (I had a little problem with that on the original iMac keyboard as well, with a wider gap.) But I haven’t been having that problem today, so perhaps I have adapted.

It has a marvelous touch, and a tiny clickety-clack sound — enough to give me a feeling of satisfaction but not enough to be really noisy. Extremely low profile — I wondered if I would need an extra prop in back to give it more tilt, but it seems fine (24 hours later; I could change my mind about that).

All this for $50. Newer keyboards from Apple omit the numerical-keypad, btw. Or offer them only by special order.

   
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Old 04-24-2009, 09:46 AM   #2
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I have a couple of those for use with my Mac Minis. Superb minimalist design.

   
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:51 PM   #3
Gerry Kowarsky
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Originally Posted by ktinkel View Post
Newer keyboards from Apple omit the numerical-keypad, btw. Or offer them only by special order.
My iMac came with one of the smaller aluminum keyboards, which has the same layout as a laptop keyboard. As you said, I would have had to special order to get one of the larger ones. I like the feel more than I expected to, and I miss the Home-End-Page-Up-Page-Down quartet and Forward Delete more than the numeric keypad. I have to hold down the Fn key along with the arrows and Delete to get the missing keys. What I do like is not having to reach so far for the mouse and being able to hit the Delete key without letting go of the mouse. So far, I haven't been tempted to switch to one of my leftover PC keyboards.
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Old 04-25-2009, 08:02 AM   #4
Cristen Gillespie
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KT: But it got urgent this week when the Command key began to stick. And it has lots of yucky crumbs and junk in the transparent frame that I cannot figure out how to clean.
Taking out the keys doesn't get it clean enough for you?

   
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Old 04-25-2009, 11:57 AM   #5
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Taking out the keys doesn't get it clean enough for you?
It might fix the sticking key but I have never found a way to get the yucky stuff out of the aquarium-like bottom of the thing. A narrow-mouthed vacuum doesn’t get all of it. Holding the thing upside-down and abusing it doesn’t either.

I have read of people putting them in the dishwasher, and I might try that some time (I now have three of the ugly ones and could risk it on one of them).

   
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Old 04-26-2009, 07:31 AM   #6
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KT: I have read of people putting them in the dishwasher, and I might try that some time (I now have three of the ugly ones and could risk it on one of them).
That's what I've been told you can do. I've managed to kill the keyboards before needing to test the dishwasher method. This current one isn't dirty underneath the white plastic layer yet, so I've only taken off the keys to clean it.

   
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Old 04-26-2009, 08:32 AM   #7
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That's what I've been told you can do. I've managed to kill the keyboards before needing to test the dishwasher method. This current one isn't dirty underneath the white plastic layer yet, so I've only taken off the keys to clean it.
If I do it, I shall report on the results.

   
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:10 PM   #8
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I have read of people putting them in the dishwasher, and I might try that some time (I now have three of the ugly ones and could risk it on one of them).
I did try that once, after I spilled red wine all over my original iMac keyboard. I actually think it might have worked, had I done it immediately; the keyboard went from dead to functioning - sort of - typing gibberish, as if all the keys' connections were crossed up.

I use the older version of the all-white Apple Bluetooth keyboard with my Macbook Pro, when it's on my desk - most of the time. I searched around, and paid as much as for the newer version, to get the numeric keypad.

A lot of people seem to like Unicomp's keyboards with "buckling spring" technology, reproducing the feel (and sound) of the IBM Model M keyboard, and supposedly of the Selectric typewriter. I'd like to try one; I loved Selectric typewriters and Composers, long, long ago. They're about $70.

-Eric
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Old 05-09-2009, 08:41 AM   #9
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I have tried several non-Apple keyboards over the years, and ended up giving up. I am used to the Apple layout, especially the way it accommodates the Command key, and it is just easier. And I love my new thin-thin aluminum keyboard especially.

   
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Old 05-09-2009, 09:51 AM   #10
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All this stress over keyboards has made me really thankful that I bought this original MacAlly iKey board back in 1999 (note the date on the review). In 10 years of pounding and general abuse, it's never given me a lick of trouble--the lettering on the keys is still clear, it's got a good, firm, clickety-clack feel, and a genuine Mac layout (but it also works perfectly on my Windows laptop). Too bad they don't make them anymore. If I ever saw another good used one for sale I'd buy it in a heartbeat. It's not the prettiest keyboard: it has a colourless, translucent shell (made to match the original iMac scheme) that's reminiscent of something squishy you'd find under a rock--where you can vaguely see the guts inside--and dark grey keys, but I love it.

I do a lot of single-handed numeric input, so I've GOTTA have a keypad.

   
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