Author Topic: Another "hello" from Scotland  (Read 347 times)

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Offline an_achronism

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Another "hello" from Scotland
« on: Fri, 14 May 2021, 20:17:38 »
I'm a 90s kid who kinda wishes they'd been around earlier to see the development of things like Unix and the original IBM PC. That's basically the TL;DR and it more or less explains the username.

I have a lifelong history with tech, which has frequently included pulling things apart and putting them back together again, often with some tweaks here and there. I've mostly done my tinkering in the console gaming world, but I've also been gaming on PCs since the late 90s and was pulling computers apart and putting them back together again almost as soon as I was using them at all (basically just fancy Lego, innit?) so when my workhorse mechanical keyboard started crapping out, I did two things:

1. Used it as an excuse to buy a better one
2. Fixed it so it doesn't just go to landfill

Since then, I've kind of gotten a bit carried away and ended up with a small collection of 10-ish "new" (mostly vintage) keyboards in the space of a little over a month. I now have no money, but lots of keyboards, which bring me much happiness. So it's fine. I'm fine. Everything is fine. Don't look at the bank balance, it's all fine.


So it turns out I'm so far very much a buckling springs kinda guy. I have more than one Model M (I'm typing this on a 2021 Unicomp New Model M, though it isn't necessarily my favourite) plus multiple Model Fs on the way, such was my enthusiasm for that switch after using it for the first time after coming off the back of a Cherry MX switch design that had been unsatisfactory for years but didn't strictly need replaced because it was at least functional (until it wasn't). I've also got a pretty good sense that I'll like clicky Alps switches, though I've only actually tried the tactile ones and Acer clones. Modern switches I've tried and liked include Kaihua/Kailh BOX Navy (though they're maybe a bit excessive in actuation force), 65 g and 78 g Zealios V2 (which I felt needed lubrication to feel decent), and Holy Pandas, and I'm keen to have a fiddle with BOX Pink and BOX Noble Yellow because I'm on the hunt for replacement switches to put into my now-repaired old board so that it's a little less loathesome to use if I do switch to it for any reason (the thing I did to fix it was remove a fixed cable that was beginning to get flakey and rewire the connection to a USB port on the back to increase its portability... now it has a detachable cable).

Some simple wee projects to get me started off with the tinkering include:

  • Bolt-modding a 1990 IBM UK Model M (p/n 1391406) that was so filthy I had to totally disassemble it and deep-clean everything including the rubber mat under the barrel plate (honestly, just foul); incidentally, if you happen to have a UK Model M from September 1990 and want to sell it, let me know
  • Converting a Macintosh Plus keyboard (M0110A) from ADB to USB so I can actually use it (hasn't arrived yet so not sure what switches this one's got in it)
  • Converting an Apple Extended Keyboard II from ADB to USB (fairly pleasant, somewhat tactile damped cream Alps)
  • Making some IBM converters for original PC (and XT) and AT keyboards so I can build my Model F collection and actually use 'em rather than them sitting around looking pretty

Most of these, you'll notice, are only "simple" because others have already done most of the hard work, particularly people like Soarer and hasu. Much respect. However, I am keen to start playing around with my own controllers and stuff like that. I'm not really a developer, though I've done wee bits of Python here and there (which won't really help much with this) and a whole bunch of working backwards from hex code to manipulate stuff like codecs and computer games to do cool stuff. We'll see how it all goes.

And aye, I'm Scottish. I currently live not that far from where IBM used to make its Model M keyboards in the UK. If only they still made them there so I wouldn't have to deal with shipping stuff from Lexington, eh?