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I go through keyboards ...

Displaying poll results.
Every few weeks, for one reason or another.
195 votes / 0%
Typically more than once a year.
  403 votes / 1%
About once a year.
  1266 votes / 5%
Every few years, typically.
  6829 votes / 29%
Very rarely -- 5 or more years between.
  13577 votes / 57%
Whenever I wear out the glass on the screen
  979 votes / 4%
I never use keyboards.
  288 votes / 1%
23537 total votes.
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  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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I go through keyboards ...

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  • Model M (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 10, 2012 @10:59AM (#41288541)

    My keyboard shares my birthday ('87, a young'n as it happens) , and ever since we met a decade ago, we've never been apart.

    • by jmorris42 (1458) *

      Can I get an AMEN!

      I have a pair of em. Thinkpads also tend to have darned good keyboards even after the Lenovo takeover.

      If ya spring for the good stuff it lasts. And face it, keyboards aren't something that you need to change out every year or two when you buy a faster machine. Keyboards endure. Old keyboards even have a full size spacebar instead of those almost useless Microsoft mandated keys.

      • I got RSI problems from using a Thinkpad - the keyboard layout encouraged doing ergonomically bad combinations of keys a lot.

        I've tried a range of more and less ergonomic keyboards as well as small-format keyboards that can be left in equipment racks. Fancy ergonomic keyboards seems to be less tolerant of having random junk fall on them or getting dropped on the floor, compared to basic cheap keyboards.

        I'm currently using a Crayola kids' keyboard for my main work typing. Bright green, with big green, oran

        • by arth1 (260657)

          I got RSI problems from using a Thinkpad - the keyboard layout encouraged doing ergonomically bad combinations of keys a lot.

          I had problems with a thinkpad keyboard too, mostly because I have long hard fingernails on my right hand. The edge-to-edge low-travel keys just don't work.

          Chicklet keys work better, but good old long-travel keys with good sized distance between the cap tops work the best.

          The Cherry keyboard (with cherry white switches) I use at work is great - almost as good as the SGI-branded clacky IBM keyboard I used before, except for the CTRL key being in the wrong place on the Cherry.

        • by fa2k (881632)

          FYI, the Fn and Ctrl keys can be swapped around in BIOS setup on Thinkpads. Maybe you had a different problem, but that helped a lot for me.

      • Can I get an AMEN!

        Old keyboards even have a full size spacebar instead of those almost useless Microsoft mandated keys.

        AMEN!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lord Lode (1290856)

        > Old keyboards even have a full size spacebar instead of those almost useless Microsoft mandated keys.

        They're not useless! They're the meta keys. Just stick a penguin sticker on them, use them for shortcuts and voila, over 26 convenient new shortcut possibilities!

    • Your lucky,
      My Keyboard from when I was a kid, wouldn't have worked on most modern PC.
      My First Computer was a TI-99/4a (The days where is was cool to embed the keyboard into the computer.)
      Then I got an Amstrad CPC/512k which had F1-F10 and a connector that wouldn't connect to anything but an Amstrad CPC
      Then I finally got a 486 with a keyboard that lasted 3 years. Then I had a replacement keyboard that lasted an other 4 years. That went into my Pentium 200. Mid way I got some Logitech keyboard track-pad,

      • by TWX (665546)
        There were a lot of crappy keyboards unfortunately.

        I've used a GW2K programmable "Anykey" keyboard for many years, and it's starting to wear out too. On top of that it's PS/2, so that'll eventually become a problem. I've had a couple of others, but the action doesn't feel any better than the one I'm using. Additionally it seems to have a simultaneous keystroke problem that makes a few driving games difficult, as sometimes keystrokes aren't transmitted.

        At work I use a Sun Type-6 USB keyboard, but be
      • by Atzanteol (99067)

        Your lucky,
        My Keyboard from when I was a kid, wouldn't have worked on most modern PC.
        My First Computer was a TI-99/4a (The days where is was cool to embed the keyboard into the computer.)
        Then I got an Amstrad CPC/512k which had F1-F10 and a connector that wouldn't connect to anything but an Amstrad CPC
        Then I finally got a 486 with a keyboard that lasted 3 years. Then I had a replacement keyboard that lasted an other 4 years. That went into my Pentium 200. Mid way I got some Logitech keyboard track-pad, that still works as far as I know. Then I got my Sun Ultra 10 that came with a Sun Keyboard. After that a Powerbook, its keyboard lasted as long as the laptop, The same with the MacBook Pro. and my Current Lenovo Thinkpad keyboard is working fine.

        It seemed that keyboards made from 1993-1996 were kinda crappy.

        His lucky what?

    • Shit, you beat me to it. A Model M never needs replacing.
      • I have had my model M for about 10 years.
        I toss it in the dishwasher about once a year just to keep it clean. I expect it to last at least another ten years.
        • I have no less than 4 M's with keys shorted, all because my wife spilled tea (with cream and sugar) in them (*curses). When it happens to one of my 3 remaining operational ones - I'll have to "bolt mod" one of the 4. You can't get to the shorted membranes nondestructively, and the dishwasher doesn't seem to get the job done. On the upside, It'll be an opportunity to frankenstein one with electronics from a Logitech Wii wireless keyboard, that I acquired for the purpose. She'll have to let me use the time,

    • Nice. I've been using these myself since I started in IT 17 years ago. Although I don't use one exclusively anymore in favor of an Apple keyboard, I still prefer the M or it's current incarnation with USB and "extra" keys.

    • Remember to practice safe keyboarding [alibaba.com].
    • Re:Model M (Score:4, Insightful)

      by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Monday September 10, 2012 @04:10PM (#41293083)
      i kinda miss clicky keys, but on the other hand i also hate clicky keys. one of the universe's great conundrums....
      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        I used to love them but then I got a Thinkpad and realized just how good a membrane keyboard can be. Although not quite as nice as IBM's the Microsoft keyboards are not bad. You get a positive response with each key and good spring back, but it is also quiet and low impact.

    • by Stargoat (658863)

      The IBM Model M is the best keyboard for typing and fighting! It's heavy weight and tactile feed back make it a pleasure for writing a length document, bashing in the skull of your foe, or tossing out a quick e-mail.

    • by antdude (79039)

      If you love your keyboard so much, why don't you marry it? ;)

    • by hansbrix (1732368)
      Mine's dated 1984 :-) I'm very confident my neighbors can hear it when I'm going full steam.
      • by mikael_j (106439)

        There weren't any Model M keyboards manufactured in 1984. There should be a date of manufacture printed separately (the 1984 is most likely the copyright notice).

        Mine is from 1986 and I got it for free in the mid-90's when an acquaintance was going to throw it out...

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      I have a 1992 IBM Model M, that was the last keyboard I bought

    • by Confused (34234)

      Same here. An old IBM MF2 keyboard dating back to 1988 is still in use. And in case it breaks, there's a spare in the cupboard. Those keyboards were built like a tank to last - and about as heavy. I think meanwhile the keyboard weighs more than the computer it's attached to.

  • by astroengine (1577233) on Monday September 10, 2012 @10:59AM (#41288543) Homepage
    When "A" wears away, it's time for a new keyboard, typically.
    • real keyboards were "double shot moulded", and there was no way a letter could wear off the key.

    • by EzInKy (115248)

      Why, did it move or something? When I took touch typing in the 70s there were very few machines that had readible keys on them.

  • In order to keep my keyboard in top operating condition, I clean out the grody food crumbs, mold, and alien life forms and pr0n by products at least once every ten years.

    Keeps a keyboard working good as it did in the 80's.
  • by SoupGuru (723634) on Monday September 10, 2012 @11:26AM (#41288943)

    You'd think a keyboard would be at the top of the list of things you'd want to spend decent money to make sure you got a quality product that would last.

    • by SoupGuru (723634) on Monday September 10, 2012 @11:28AM (#41288965)

      I did not think through my "less than" in the previous title. Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

    • Why Bother?
      A top quality keyboard would last you 20 year. And cost $200. ($10.00 a year)
      A cheap keyboard will will last you 5 years and cost $20 ($4.00 a year)

    • by msobkow (48369)

      Unfortunately the newer Microsoft Natural keyboards aren't nearly as well built as the originals. My first one lasted over 10 years. The second one lasted two years. If this one doesn't last at least five, I'm switching to Logitech in hopes that their keyboards are as durable as their mice.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by arth1 (260657)

        If this one doesn't last at least five, I'm switching to Logitech in hopes that their keyboards are as durable as their mice.

        They are not. Logitech makes consumerist products. 1-2 years max.

        Try Cherry. And if you want something more ergonomic than the Microsoft Unnatural keyboards, Maltron makes much better ones. Sure, you'll pay a premium, but if you type faster and more accurate with less fatigue and pain, and the keyboard lasts for a decade, paying more is the smart choice.

        • I'm using a Logitech Optical Marble. Had it for ten years. Never used a regular mouse in the time I've had it. Best £27 I ever spent.

        • Best keyboard since my Model M's, and has a usb port.

          Of course if you want N-key rollover, you have to use the PS/2 port; but it doesn't matter if you're not gaming.

          (USB is limited to six simultaneous keys, FWIW.)

        • by dywolf (2673597)

          long time fan of the MS natural keyboards. I made the switch years ago, on the my computer. found even then (~age 17) my wrists were hurting a bit. I switched to the first MS Natural, never gone back to a normal keyboard except at work (no choice).

          used that first natural for >8 years. currently on a natural 4000 i think, had it for a bit, nearly 4 years so far. was another in between there, but it shorted out due to an upset cat pissing on it. other than that, i find the MS keyboards to be very god quali

          • by dywolf (2673597)

            checked em out. maltron is one of the crazy ergo manufacturers. the simple angled split key design is all i need right now.

        • by Confused (34234)

          They are not. Logitech makes consumerist products. 1-2 years max.

          Not true. My Logitech C7 serial-mouse still works like a charm. True, the plastic is meanwhile a little yellowish, but other than this in fine working condition.

          • by arth1 (260657)

            Oh, they were good a decade or so ago, but IME their products have become less and less quality over time.
            I remember fondly my Trackman Voyager from 1998, which was a quality product. The M510 mouse I use right now has started to squeak and the glued-on rubber has started to peel off. It's all of 3 months old.

            • Oh, they were good a decade or so ago, but IME their products have become less and less quality over time.

              Of course. It's a long term bait and switch tactic. Build it well at first to gain a reputation, then taper off the quality to increase the profits. Do you think a Big Mac of today would even compare to a Big Mac of the 1970s?

    • by harrkev (623093)

      True, but sometimes you just HAVE to upgrade to wireless. Once you go wireless, you never go back. A wireless keyboard is something that you are more likely to replace, just because wireless technology and battery life keeps on improving.

      On another topic, I generally like Logitech stuff, but lately they have some wireless keyboards with a horrible abomination: they changed the page up/down, home/end and insert/delete cluster to this tall monstrosity. You can see it on the K350 and MK320. Why did they do

      • I'd be ok with a wireless keyboard at home, but I'd probably have to keep it plugged into USB to stay charged anyway, so it's not much of a win. At work, back when I was in an office with a bunch of other people, wireless keyboards would have had to be easy to set up so they'd only sync with the right machine; now that I work in an Underground Laboratory there are too many machines, and most of them don't need keyboards for months on end, so it's a lot easier to just plug in USB.

        All of that's for Real Comp

        • by harrkev (623093)

          A cow-orker of mine wanted a keyboard without the number pad -- quite hard to find one that does not have shrunken key or chicklet keys... I remember that there used to be a "happy hacking" keyboard, but those are somewhat more expensive than my bosses wanted to pay.

      • True, but sometimes you just HAVE to upgrade to wireless. Once you go wireless, you never go back. A wireless keyboard is something that you are more likely to replace, just because wireless technology and battery life keeps on improving.

        On another topic, I generally like Logitech stuff, but lately they have some wireless keyboards with a horrible abomination: they changed the page up/down, home/end and insert/delete cluster to this tall monstrosity. You can see it on the K350 and MK320. Why did they do this??? To shave about 1 cm off of the width. Hardly worth it for such critical keys...

        I could see using a wireless at home; however, I'd heavily advise using a wired keyboard for work - and at home for certain tasks - for the simple matter of security. The exception being having one for use in a media/conference room where you're not really going to do much other than presenting.

      • by dywolf (2673597)

        MX550 wireless keybaord from logitech is fantastic. i use it on my HTPC. battery life is great in this application. up to 8 months now on the original set of 4 AA's (or is it AAA's?). its not widely available, i had to get it in a combo deal with a logitech mouse, but the mouse is also good deal. overall, very very happy.

    • by s.petry (762400)

      Which is fine until you keep water handy near your keyboard (my drink of choice). Is it carelessness? Maybe, but maybe once a year I swap out keyboards. Hell it's not like I'm buying a craftsman screwdriver, it's a keyboard. And if the screwdriver was used as often as my keyboard, I'd be lucky to not have to replace that annually as well.

      Does it bother me? Not really since I do well with cheapo keyboards. Oh, and waterproof keyboards don't work very well, I have tried.

  • I've personally owned three keyboards. The first I disassembled myself when I was in my nascent "take it apart, put it back together and see if it still works" phase (it didn't work, that time).

    The second I still use on my "shitbox" machine - it's an old, shitty PS/2 one with those annoying "Office" buttons. But it still works, as long as you remember to turn off the "Office" keys before using the F keys.

    The third is a cheap USB one I bought so I could use the Mac Pro I got for free. Turns out they don't ma

  • by dejanc (1528235) on Monday September 10, 2012 @12:27PM (#41289859)
    A couple of years ago I decided to buy a Unicomp Model M replica. It's a mechanical keyboard with loud click noise. I enjoyed it immensely for about a month - and then I developed tinnitus.

    Now, strangely enough, I'm using a wireless keyboard that came bundled with an iMac. It has got no numeric pad, no home / end / delete buttons and it has tiny arrow keys. It annoyed me for a very long time, but over time I got used to it. In a way, it's just like "Happy Hacking Keyboard" and it improved my VIM speed dramatically. It feels great, but I do sometimes miss the numeric pad, so I may buy a wired mac keyboard which is full in size but has similar feel to it.
    • I had female colleagues who hate my loud typings even though it is not a real Model M keyboard, but a generic PC keyboards! My male college friend told me that I typed like a machine gun sometimes. I have an old related poll and comments in my http://aqfl.net/node/5825 [aqfl.net] ... ;)

      • by fatphil (181876)
        In a job a decade or so back, one of the guys gave people Native American style nicknames. I was "Types with Stabs".

        At home now, my g/f will occasionally ask "teaching or flaming?", as she can hear my typing change in volume when I get excited.
  • I am still rockin the old school IBM model M - its loud!!
  • by oGMo (379)

    I've used a Datahand [datahand.com] keyboard for about a decade now. Sadly they seem to have various business issues... I'm not even sure they're in business anymore. But I don't know any alternative for a keyboard with very low key pressure and very short finger movement, both of which are the only things I've found which mitigate my RSI.

    Since I'm on my second in about that much time, after the first got a bit wonky, I guess I'm about 5-8 years per keyboard. If/when this gives out, I have no idea what I'll do ... try

    • I've used a Datahand [datahand.com]

      Datahand... I think Tasha Yar used that in an early TNG episode.

    • Dude. that thing is friggin' awesome. Once I read the FAQ on their site and figured out how the thing works I completely understand where you're coming from - pretty damn intuitive interface, once you pass the learning curve.

      Since I'm on my second in about that much time, after the first got a bit wonky, I guess I'm about 5-8 years per keyboard. If/when this gives out, I have no idea what I'll do ...

      I found this article from 2009 [micro-isv.asia] - according to the comments they were still in business, albeit at a new location, as of the end of 2011; their website (the one you linked to) also seems somewhat current... might try shooting them an email, worst that could happen is they don't respond.

    • I did E-mail DataHand, and they eventually responded saying they still hadn't settled on a new manufacturer (apparently their previous manufacturer no longer supports the tooling they were using; new tooling sounds expensive).

      So I recently acquired a DataHand II Personal off eBay, and after a few days I'm just back up to 40-ish WPM @ 95+% accuracy for prose (I type ~90 WPM accurately on a regular keyboard). So I'm happy with my initial progress, but bracing myself for many months of practice until I can sta

  • I think I've had 4 keyboards in the last ten years. I started with a Dell "Quietkey" (it isn't) that I think is late 90s, then I switched to the keyboard that came with my new PC, went through it in under a year, got through a couple more cheap ones and now I'm back with the (not-so-)Quietkey. I'll change that when it breaks.

    I'm curious now, and having to resist the temptation to take it apart to find something with a date code.

  • Apple ADB Extended Keyboard. Codenamed Nimitz, because it was built like an aircraft carrier (and cost about as much). Still usable thanks to an ADB-to-USB converter.

    • by Macgrrl (762836)

      I used to love those keyboards, solid as a rock. Nice action. Easy to clean. I possibly still have one kicking around somewhere.

    • by Misagon (1135)

      Check out: http://www.matias.ca/tactilepro3/ [matias.ca]
      They are a bit more rattly than the originals, but Matias will come out with revision 4 soon which is supposed to have improved key switches. Their old supplier stopped making them, so they developed their own ...
      Yes, mechanical, clicky or tactile/dampened just like AEK and AEKII.

  • I've only had 3 keyboards, one for each desktop I've owned. Well 4, if you include the additional laptop.

    But if this is for work also, then every time I've changed jobs, second PC's and when I receive really outdated crap that the company is just trying to use up. If I include all that then the number is in the 30's. augh.

  • I have used IBM Model M's (and the new USB equivalent) and those bad boys usually last ten years or more. My oldest was Fifteen years old when I retired it due to not having any PS2 machines any more.

  • by Bonker (243350)

    My cats have great skill at destroying keyboards. Whether it's lodging just the right amount of fur under the right Shift key, standing in just the right spot to crack the PCB under the membrane, or nudging the cup I'm drinking out of until it spills right onto the all-important WASD keys, they manage it about once every 6-7 months.

    I'd love to get one of those mechanical switch jobbies for the nice tactile clickie feel, since I'm a fast touch-typist, but I can't help but think that they'd be even more cat-p

  • Mine is 20 years old now and looks good enough for another 20.

  • I used the same Dell QuietKey keyboard on all my PCs from 1996 until I stopped using Windows* (a span of about 10 years), and I still have the same G4-era Apple Pro keyboards (black, so I can't see how dirty the key caps must be**) from about 10 years ago for my Macs. Both feature keys with a slight dish shape, a good amount of travel (straight--none of the slight rocking feel common on 'chicklet' keyboards), and quiet operation. (Went to college with a 'clicky' keyboard on my used 286, back when that was t

  • My keyboard came with my 386DX40 machine back in 1992.

    It still works just fine. I even tend to prefer playing most FPS games with heavy keyboard controls and still haven't worn out a single key.

    It looks terribly disgusting. I'm convinced if I cleaned it the thing would die..

  • Up to now it's been "every few years" but I don't think my new Leopold with the Cherry MX Brown switches will ever wear out.
  • by darpo (5213) on Monday September 10, 2012 @06:36PM (#41294441) Homepage
    I'm on my second Saitek keyboard. I would still be on the first one, but I spilled soda on it. They're great -- rubber base for minimal slippage; LED lights for night time gaming if you wish; solid key response, not mushy; slim and very few bullshit media buttons. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823175012 [newegg.com]
  • My first one lasted me 10 years of daily use. Finally the space bar broke on it. While it has a lifetime warranty, I figured I got my use out of it and ordered another one (not easy to find PS2 keyboards these days - or even motherboards that support them - but they don't make a USB version that's even close).

    That second one lasted me about a month before my cat somehow managed to get his claws stuck under a couple of keys and ripped them right off. Not sure if they aren't made to the same quality standa

  • This is purely coincidental, but I seem to change keyboards whenever a new Windows logo comes out. My previous keyboard had a somewhat old-school Windows logo (likely one of the first iteration of keyboards with the Windows key), my current keyboard has a more iconic, regular Windows logo and I imagine once this breaks, my next keyboard will have the flat, squarish non-flag Windows logo on it.

  • I've had a xpire slim multimedia keyboard [s3.pji.nu] for five years now, and I hope it will last forever, because I've never seen another keyboard with the circular volume control (top right in image).

    Does anyone know of a possible replacement, just in case?

  • How is '5 Years or more' "very rare"? I know we live in a society that likes to waste things, but even by those standards, that's a little steep, no?

    Anyway, my last KB was the current Apple wireless, and that was 3 or 4 years ago. I like the ease ot typing it has. I've also replaced my mouse with the awesome Apple trackpad. I currentl only switch to mouse for image editing.
    Just like with ever other KB I clean it regularly, every quarter or a year at least.

    Another KB I used for the better part of 10 years an

  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @09:33AM (#41299559)

    Every spring and fall, Ubuntu's support for my wireless keyboard gets broken, apparently in a Canonical conspiracy to get me to buy a new keyboard. If one version recognizes it as a USB keyboard, the next will decide it's a Bluetooth device. I'm eager to see what new way they'll find come October.

    That reminds me, I need to dig out my wired keyboard for this Fall's "Hardware Definition File Hackathon: Quantal Edition".

  • by camperdave (969942) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @09:34AM (#41299561) Journal
    I replace keyboards when I replace the computer. My third machine had a 5pin DIN connector (the first two machines were ATARIs (800XL, and 1040ST)). My next machine had one of the 6pin mini DINs. My current machine is using a USB keyboard.

    I have never replaced a keyboard due to wearing out or breakage. The only time I have replaced a keyboard for reasons other than technological obsolescence, was when I had bought a keyboard with a few extra keys on it for power management. They had rearranged the keys and the printscreen key wound up being where the insert key should be. I got fed up cancelling printscreen requests, so I replaced the keyboard. Right now, I am using a Dell multimedia keyboard [dell.com] with a volume control knob.

Programmers do it bit by bit.

 



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