Author Topic: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!  (Read 9925 times)

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Offline Tempest790

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New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« on: Mon, 03 April 2023, 10:46:59 »
Well, it looks like my prayers have been answered. I saw on YouTube that the new Model F will have a 104 classic and compact layout available. That's in addition to his beamspring keyboards he's working on too. However, I'm all in on that Model F 104 layout. I'll have to save up a bit but will probably pre-order one next month or so.

I am curious about the add-on options. He lists a solenoid and solenoid driver option. I thought that was for the beamspring only?

I'm so glad I waited on getting any more keyboards. I thought I was finally done with keyboard collecting since my Topre is fantastic the way I have it customized.

https://www.modelfkeyboards.com/product/classic-f104-model-f-keyboard/
« Last Edit: Wed, 12 April 2023, 09:24:52 by Tempest790 »

Offline Pretendo

  • Posts: 149
Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 03 April 2023, 21:25:04 »
Wait, WHAT???

I had to double check to make sure that this wasn't an April Fools thing. My one gripe about the new Model F boards was that there wasn't an ANSI layout option, and there it is! Prayers answered indeed!

I already have an F122, but might have to put up for this anyway. If there's not some major flaw with it, a standard layout ANSI Model F is the summit for me in this hobby. I can finally be done.
IBM Model F-122 6110347 -- September 13th, 1984
IBM Model M 1391404 -- April 14th, 1988
Rosewill RK-9000

Offline NixieType

  • Posts: 11
Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 04 April 2023, 00:51:49 »
Didnt even know this is a thing. Gonna need to pick one of these up for the collection.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline Ellipse

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Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 05 April 2023, 13:07:04 »
Project coordinator here - yes this is definitely real!  Here is the project thread:  https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=79141.0

Offline Pretendo

  • Posts: 149
Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 06 April 2023, 17:09:17 »
Thank you so much for piloting this and coming out with a 104 key layout!

The existence of this new option has me very conflicted, because it's my absolute ideal board. I already own a 122 key F though! For six years, it's been the best keyboard ever, and if this standard layout board didn't exist I'd would've happily had it on my desk for the rest of my life. I put the care, love and attention into its restoration and modification, cleaning and disassembling it, de-rusting the base plate, repainting that base plate, and have no doubt that it would work for another forty years with no issue whatsoever...

...but that standard layout "Model M that's really a Model F" is the summit.  It's exactly what I want. The 122 key is 90-95% of what I want. But not exactly.

I'm sitting here making flow charts and pro/con lists to try to justify spending $500 for that little 5% bump. And so help me, I might buy the thing, which is just insane given how great the 122 key F is.

Edit: Ordered it.
« Last Edit: Sat, 08 April 2023, 16:41:56 by Pretendo »
IBM Model F-122 6110347 -- September 13th, 1984
IBM Model M 1391404 -- April 14th, 1988
Rosewill RK-9000

Offline mikekoz

  • Posts: 1
Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 27 April 2023, 10:41:58 »
As an owner of 2 IBM Model M's, I thought this was cool until I saw the price!  :-X:'(

Offline Pretendo

  • Posts: 149
Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 28 April 2023, 11:39:09 »
As an owner of 2 IBM Model M's, I thought this was cool until I saw the price!  :-X:'(

Oh yes, they are pricey for computer keyboards. Justifiably so (they're not easy to throw together after all, and they're low volume productions) but still probably the most expensive keyboard you'd ever buy.

I'd say that unless you type all day every day, you're doing just fine with your Model M's. They give allot of the Model F experience and are fantastic value for money. My only major issue with them is that the weighting makes them fatiguing after typing all day, but that's not an issue if you aren't typing all the time.

If you DO type all day, and you like the feel of the M but find that the weighting gets to be a bit much after typing allot, and you don't feel like dealing with archaic keyboard layouts, converter dongles, spacebar modifications, and maybe a foam restoration... and you can swing it without breaking the bank... that's when these are worth seriously considering.
IBM Model F-122 6110347 -- September 13th, 1984
IBM Model M 1391404 -- April 14th, 1988
Rosewill RK-9000

Offline Rhienfo

  • Posts: 337
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 02 May 2023, 17:45:12 »
This is such a good price, it is pricey but I think that it is worth the price considering that it is alu and it is far more customizable than regular model m, plus reverse engineering model f buckling springs of course.

Semi related but those caps look insanely good for 40-50 bucks

Offline Entropia

  • Posts: 275
Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 11 July 2023, 11:58:04 »
I would buy one but there are two things that always make me abandon the idea:

1st, you pay, but you have no idea when you will receive your keyboard. There's a sort of list where you can buy numbers for stickers on the bottom of your keyboard, paying a lot of extra money to have some kind of priority in the waiting list, but it's all very confusing and vague, or maybe it's my fault not understanding well.

2nd, the customs fees + taxes when importing the keyboard to my country. I've done numbers, and if I order the keyboard, the repair kit and a set of extra keycaps, adding the customs costs, the result is more than 800$, too much in my opinion for a keyboard, no matter if it's the best in the world. Actually, I'm not sure if it would be a better idea to travel to the US, buy the keyboard, and then go back home :)

Offline Ellipse

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Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 11 July 2023, 12:47:04 »
Entropia in recent months there has been an update on the shipping timeline.  For all of the in stock items (beam spring, Model F keyboards and extras), shipping lead times are now 1-4 weeks, so you have a good expectation of when the keyboard goes out.

The remaining keyboards that are in production (round 2 beam spring and Model M style Model F) are expected to go out later this year. 

Offline clay

  • Posts: 8
Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #10 on: Sun, 16 July 2023, 15:20:58 »
Has anyone purchased the ultra compact F104 or FSSK already? I'm contemplating buying one for 3 months already. I just want to make sure that it actually feels good and is built well. 450 usd is no joke and I live far from the US

Offline Ellipse

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Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #11 on: Sun, 16 July 2023, 16:12:28 »
There are many reviews on the new Model F keyboards clay.  The new models are built with the same materials and standards (steel plates, metal case) as the 4,000 F62 and F77 keyboards that have shipped since 2019. 

PC World did a review on the compact F104 here:  https://www.pcworld.com/article/1928356/model-f-ultra-compact-keyboard-review.html

Various reviews are gathered on this page:  https://www.modelfkeyboards.com/press/

Offline Mandan

  • Posts: 23
Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #12 on: Sun, 16 July 2023, 18:59:36 »
Oh yes, they are pricey for computer keyboards.

An 84-key F/AT keyboard cost the the equivalent of $670 2023 dollars.  IBM had a separate SKU if you wanted just the keyboard without the computer.  And IBM amortized that $670 across multiple product lines and hundreds of thousands of sales, saving them a bunch of money compared to small-batch boutique production.

$420+options doesn't seem all that expensive, considering.

Offline clay

  • Posts: 8
Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 17 July 2023, 05:28:57 »
Oh yes, they are pricey for computer keyboards.

An 84-key F/AT keyboard cost the the equivalent of $670 2023 dollars.  IBM had a separate SKU if you wanted just the keyboard without the computer.  And IBM amortized that $670 across multiple product lines and hundreds of thousands of sales, saving them a bunch of money compared to small-batch boutique production.

$420+options doesn't seem all that expensive, considering.

I am so close to sending an order :thumb:

Offline Tempest790

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Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #14 on: Wed, 26 July 2023, 13:48:37 »
I went ahead and ordered my full 104 Model F keyboard. I went with the classic case since it slopes with the keys unlike the compact version. I didn't bother with the solenoid, since I love the Model F's original sound anyway. Looks like a lot of work putting these keyboards together from what I saw in the tutorial videos. I figure this is a long-term investment though.

104 classic Model F keyboard
Standard printed keycaps
Repair kit
LED overlay
1/2 inch dome bumpers
Key cap puller

Total: $492

Supposedly shipping by the end of the year, so we'll see when it comes in. Ouch, it's expensive, but should be the last keyboard I'd buy. I already have my two Topre keyboards for my daily drivers so this will fill my typing only niche.
« Last Edit: Wed, 26 July 2023, 13:58:13 by Tempest790 »

Offline Entropia

  • Posts: 275
Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #15 on: Fri, 28 July 2023, 10:59:27 »
Are you my clone? That's exactly what I thought: the classic model looks perfect because of the natural slope that follow the curvature of the keys. I think I would order the model in industrial gray, so that it doesn't look like a normal Model M. Also, that's what I would order: the keyboard with the standard keys (USA ANSI), the repair kit and the traditional overlay. And to finish, I also have two keyboards with Topre (Leopolds) as my daily drivers (one at home, one at work). Owning a Model F with the Model M layout is like a dream. Moreover, it's so different to Topre!

Offline Rhienfo

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Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #16 on: Fri, 28 July 2023, 22:28:59 »
Are you my clone? That's exactly what I thought: the classic model looks perfect because of the natural slope that follow the curvature of the keys. I think I would order the model in industrial gray, so that it doesn't look like a normal Model M. Also, that's what I would order: the keyboard with the standard keys (USA ANSI), the repair kit and the traditional overlay. And to finish, I also have two keyboards with Topre (Leopolds) as my daily drivers (one at home, one at work). Owning a Model F with the Model M layout is like a dream. Moreover, it's so different to Topre!

The slope on the classic model m's is such a genius design feature. It allows for a lot of customization when it comes to layouts, you can freely swap out the keys in different rows, without it affecting the typing feel of the different profiles  (of course there is touch typing but if you don't it's a godsend)

I remember there was I project I saw recently that did the same to make the dsa keycaps have a curve but I think that project will never happen anymore as there are no updates on it. (Found it, it was called the curve0) I think more projects should implement that.

I'm pretty sure there I've said this on my thread but this is an amazing project, especially for the price for a full alu keyboard like this. I would get it but I do want to get an og F-AT and mod the layout one day (creating full ansi with split backspace including the bottom row by carving parts out of the case) but if I ever do that one day I will definitely buy some caps from the website (even if single caps are pricey)

Offline Tempest790

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Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #17 on: Mon, 21 August 2023, 11:03:06 »
This is the first video review of the Model F 104 keyboard. Looks like he has the compact version in red. Ironically, he doesn't care for the sound that much, but it's music to my ears!


Offline Rhienfo

  • Posts: 337
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  • Why is everything I want here so expensive :(
Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #18 on: Mon, 21 August 2023, 12:00:45 »
This is the first video review of the Model F 104 keyboard. Looks like he has the compact version in red. Ironically, he doesn't care for the sound that much, but it's music to my ears!


I saw that video and honestly it isn't a very good review on it. I would explain why but admiral shark explained it far better than I ever could.





That channel has barely anyone who knows what goes into making a good custom keyboard, let alone vintage stuff, they somehow know less about vintage stuff than I do, cause even I know about stuff like floss mod and the uniform caps of the IBM keycaps. The only purpose of the channel is to shill (which considering they are apart of Linus media group isn't expected)

I would definitely look elsewhere for reviews when they come out.

Offline Ellipse

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Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #19 on: Mon, 21 August 2023, 13:31:08 »
Level1Techs and PC World have also posted about the Ultra Compact FSSK / F104 keyboards:

https://www.pcworld.com/article/1928356/model-f-ultra-compact-keyboard-review.html

Offline sharktastica

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Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #20 on: Mon, 21 August 2023, 17:12:55 »
I saw that video and honestly it isn't a very good review on it. I would explain why but admiral shark explained it far better than I ever could.

It had to be said. The background research for that video appeared to be very lacking.

https://www.pcworld.com/article/1928356/model-f-ultra-compact-keyboard-review.html

...and that PCWorld review clearly reveals not doing due research is the norm...

Quote
The distinction between the Model F and Model M is important, at least to enthusiasts. Though both are buckling spring keyboards, Model F keyboards dont have a membrane but instead rely on metal barrel plates.

They compared membranes (a type of circuit) to barrel plates in their comparison! Let's not forget there are Model Ms - namely the 50-key and Screen Reader Keypad - out there with metal barrel plates anyway! The comparison was bad, and the point was wrong.

Offline bjornebarn

  • Posts: 2
Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #21 on: Thu, 31 August 2023, 09:49:02 »
Just ordered my Ultra compact F104 :o can't wait to get it.

They are listed as "in stock" on the website, but do we have any idea of the general shipping times? Did anyone receive theirs yet?

Offline Ellipse

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Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #22 on: Thu, 31 August 2023, 11:26:58 »
Great!  In stock orders usually go out within several weeks as I move through the backlog.

Offline Entropia

  • Posts: 275
Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #23 on: Wed, 06 September 2023, 09:11:05 »
A question: does this model also comes with a fixed cable like the F77 or is it detachable from the back? Is the stock cable a normal cable or a coiled cable? I would really like to have a black coiled cable like the original Model F.

Offline Ellipse

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Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #24 on: Wed, 06 September 2023, 12:44:10 »
All keyboards have detachable cables as there is a USB-C connector on the controller.  For some models you may want to get a patch cable for easy plugging since you have to open up the board case for all the classic style case models.  For all the compact models you can remove the cable from the controller directly without opening up the case.

Offline Entropia

  • Posts: 275
Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #25 on: Fri, 08 September 2023, 04:28:43 »
I'm about to pull the trigger (Classic Style F104), but I have still not decided if I want it white or industrial grey. White would be more authentic and closer to the old keyboards I remember. However, it would look like a standard Model M, whilest the industrial grey would be more unique. BTW, do these keyboards come with feet or pads for the bottom or do I have to purchase them separatelly? I always liked my old Model M with the feet, so that it's a bit angled towards the user. Since your keyboards do not include the classic flip mechanisms on the Model F, is there any elegant solution for that? Thank you.

EDIT: OK, I've noticed this: https://www.modelfkeyboards.com/product/extra-bumpers/ So I understand that the Classic Style F104 only comes with the flat cork feet. What model from the range your offer would make the keyboard have the same angle of a Model M with the feet up? (Bumper heights (approx.):  cork – 1/16 inch (1.6 mm).  4 square – 1/8 inch (3.2 mm).  cylindrical = 1/4 inch (6.4 mm).  dome (both adhesive and “medium with threads and nut”) = 1/2 inch (12.7 mm).  large with screw and nut = 1 inch (25.4 mm))
« Last Edit: Fri, 08 September 2023, 04:35:09 by Entropia »

Offline Ellipse

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Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #26 on: Fri, 08 September 2023, 13:13:13 »
Off-white/beige is the original IBM style color.  The cork pads are included.

I think it's about a half inch lift so the dome or threaded bumpers would work but many folks just get a variety of bumpers in the first order to avoid extra shipping fees, as their preferences may change in the future.

Offline Entropia

  • Posts: 275
Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #27 on: Sun, 10 September 2023, 10:32:28 »
Sorry to trouble you again, but I have another question (at least this one can be of interest for the rest). I know original Model Fs had a foam inside. I don't know, however, what was the purpose of it? I've head some keyboards use internal foams to reduce the ping, but I don't know if that's the case with Model Fs. I don't know either if your reproduction keyboards come with this foam (there isn't any reference to it, or at least I have not found it, in the description you make in your website. If you didn't include a foam, can I ask why? And does it make any difference in sound or key feel? Thank you.

Offline Ellipse

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Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #28 on: Sun, 10 September 2023, 11:38:08 »
The foam is included and you can order extra foam for both the original and reproduction boards in the shop.  The foam kept the barrels in place to reduce them from moving too much and it also acted as a debris shield to minimize dust entering inside the inner assembly and interfering with capacitive sensing.  The foam may reduce some of the keyboard noise as well.

Offline bjornebarn

  • Posts: 2
Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #29 on: Mon, 18 September 2023, 13:16:12 »
My new keyboard arrived :o All in all, it took two and a half weeks to get it here, to Europe.

https://bjlindst.web.cern.ch/images/keyboard/1.jpg
https://bjlindst.web.cern.ch/images/keyboard/2.jpg

I only used it for a few hours, but so far I am extremely impressed by the quality. Even though I grew up with a Lexmark model M, this really brings me back. I cannot really say if the sound is different or not, I would think there is a bit more reverbation, but not sure. Anyway, the feel, and the sound, it's all amazing.

Originally I was thinking of also buying some colored keycaps to add a bit more detail, but now that I see the keyboard in person, I must say that I really like the standard colors. Perhaps if I find the time I will add a Nixie tube on top of the lock LEDs, might give it a nice retro style.

I opted for the Swedish/Finnish keyboard layout and I actually also received several of the keycaps for a normal US layout, you can see that I e.g. used the wrong keys for 3, 4 and <. This is very nice though, since I now have several spare keycaps. I also like that for the blank "windows" keys, I received both a pair of white and a pair of gray ones, such that I can choose the style I prefer. The space bar is very long, I forgot how long they used to be. Personally I use AltGr a lot, so I will see if I can somehow fit a shorter space bar and move the AltGr key a bit, or if I should retrain my right thumb.

Installing the keycaps was very simple. I simply put the keyboard on the side with the space bar up, as per the instructions, and clicked the keys in. Once I was done, I plugged in the USB and tested all the keys, and all of them are working without a single issue. I received one spare spring+plate, but in my case everything works perfectly, so no need to use it. I would really recommend buying the keycap puller. I did not, since I remembered how easy it was to swap keys on the old keyboard I had. Well, not on this keyboard. The keycaps sit very firmly once clicked in, with almost no rattling or sideways motion (the actual key motion is smooth however). I accidentally put one key wrong () and tried a bit to take it out but I did not dare apply enough force without a proper keycap puller. Now the and will have to sit there as a reminder to buy the extra tools next time :)

There is a slight protruding bump on the case, next to the left shift key:
https://bjlindst.web.cern.ch/images/keyboard/3.jpg

I am not sure if it should be there or not. Personally I do not mind however, it just makes it a bit more unique. Other than that, the finish of the paint, the case, the keys, everything is simply perfect.

Ellipse, thanks a lot for bringing this back to life! It is really an amazing job, and I am already thinking of buying one of the beam springs as well, perhaps for Xmas.





« Last Edit: Mon, 18 September 2023, 13:38:14 by bjornebarn »

Offline Ellipse

  • Posts: 1563
  • Location: New York
    • Brand New Model F Keyboards
Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #30 on: Mon, 18 September 2023, 16:08:18 »
My new keyboard arrived :o All in all, it took two and a half weeks to get it here, to Europe.

https://bjlindst.web.cern.ch/images/keyboard/1.jpg
https://bjlindst.web.cern.ch/images/keyboard/2.jpg

I only used it for a few hours, but so far I am extremely impressed by the quality. Even though I grew up with a Lexmark model M, this really brings me back. I cannot really say if the sound is different or not, I would think there is a bit more reverbation, but not sure. Anyway, the feel, and the sound, it's all amazing.

Originally I was thinking of also buying some colored keycaps to add a bit more detail, but now that I see the keyboard in person, I must say that I really like the standard colors. Perhaps if I find the time I will add a Nixie tube on top of the lock LEDs, might give it a nice retro style.

I opted for the Swedish/Finnish keyboard layout and I actually also received several of the keycaps for a normal US layout, you can see that I e.g. used the wrong keys for 3, 4 and <. This is very nice though, since I now have several spare keycaps. I also like that for the blank "windows" keys, I received both a pair of white and a pair of gray ones, such that I can choose the style I prefer. The space bar is very long, I forgot how long they used to be. Personally I use AltGr a lot, so I will see if I can somehow fit a shorter space bar and move the AltGr key a bit, or if I should retrain my right thumb.

Installing the keycaps was very simple. I simply put the keyboard on the side with the space bar up, as per the instructions, and clicked the keys in. Once I was done, I plugged in the USB and tested all the keys, and all of them are working without a single issue. I received one spare spring+plate, but in my case everything works perfectly, so no need to use it. I would really recommend buying the keycap puller. I did not, since I remembered how easy it was to swap keys on the old keyboard I had. Well, not on this keyboard. The keycaps sit very firmly once clicked in, with almost no rattling or sideways motion (the actual key motion is smooth however). I accidentally put one key wrong () and tried a bit to take it out but I did not dare apply enough force without a proper keycap puller. Now the and will have to sit there as a reminder to buy the extra tools next time :)

There is a slight protruding bump on the case, next to the left shift key:
https://bjlindst.web.cern.ch/images/keyboard/3.jpg

I am not sure if it should be there or not. Personally I do not mind however, it just makes it a bit more unique. Other than that, the finish of the paint, the case, the keys, everything is simply perfect.

Ellipse, thanks a lot for bringing this back to life! It is really an amazing job, and I am already thinking of buying one of the beam springs as well, perhaps for Xmas.

Thanks for sharing your review with photos bjornebarn!  Glad you were able to get everything set up.

Yes I definitely recommend the key puller for everyone.

Unfortunately the compact case F104/FSSK boards have minor but noticeable cosmetic defects that do not affect keyboard operation.  The anodizing process is in my opinion very nice looking but a bit more fragile and prone to defects, so all future boards are going to be powdercoated instead of anodized. 

Offline Budman

  • Posts: 18
  • Location: USA
Re: New Model F with 104 Layout - Yay!
« Reply #31 on: Thu, 21 September 2023, 23:22:53 »
Despite being one of the hardest-to-justify purchases I've ever made, I am excited to be a part of and support this project. I placed my order for just a basic, vintage beige, Classic Style FSSK keyboard!

I wrestled with just getting a new Unicomp Mini for over half of the price to enjoy a BS keyboard but I had a full size Unicomp about 7 years ago and I started to get into TKL or smaller keyboards, so sold it rather quickly after getting it. I am looking forward to having an F as I haven't typed on one of those since I was 11 years old and got an original IBM PC.

I showed my 13yo son what I have coming and he couldn't believe I spent $400 for an "old 1980's keyboard that doesn't even have backlight or media keys," (I explained to him it can have media keys in another layer).  My wife also thought I was crazy but supports my nostalgic purchase...  ;D