Interview with the Clicky Keyboards guy


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If you’re interested but want something cheaper, the guys at Unicomp took over IBMs Model M stuff when IBM got tired of it.


Truly, his honor shall be great among the heroes of Valhalla, for there is no finer keyboard than the Model M. IBM has fallen into apostasy and cheap plastic crap; but we remember.

(sent from my Model M)


I think of @codinghorror as the clicky keyboard guy. Good kit.


I heard good things about keyboards based on Cherry brand switches.

I fondly remember when such ones were normal. Good, solid keyboards, with a large circuitboard populated with individual, soldered-on clicky switches. And such keyboards were very affordable, and pretty standard. And they could be repaired; when a switch at e.g. “E” became marginal, you could swap it with e.g. F12 where it spend its remaining life in relative peace.

Then the Age of Silkscreened Conductive Patterns on Crappy Plastic Foil descended upon us and brought endless woe and tribulations.

Beware; not all clicky keyboards are real switches based. Sometimes the clicks are due to a metal spring, but the keyboard switching matrix itself is realized by said crappy foil. I’m not sure if it is the IBM one too but check it to be sure.


I’m not going to prosletyze here, but look at @codinghorror’s other projects.


Sometimes they’re better than mechanical switches. The space cadet uses Hall-effect switches.


Vintage gear always produces the sweetest tones.


The Hall sensors are the very best - most durable, not wearing out at all, the entire board can be sealed to be waterproof, contamination with sticky fluids can be then washed out of the mechanics easily.

Alas, they are also the most expensive. :frowning:
…I wonder how much would a SMD Hall sensor with digital output cost in 100±piece amount… (According to Mouser, can be as low as 0.15 euro per piece at 3000 pieces, 0.25 at 100 pcs. This one, specifically.) Quite expensive for the amount needed, especially given the amount of additional mechanics needed, but may be well worth it.

The individual discrete switches are what I’d consider the best price/performance ratio for common office conditions as of now.



Even you hit a home run on occasion.


You can also rearrange the keys on these - makes for a fun prank!


I have one at home and it’s of course WAY better than the free ones you get with a PC or whatever.
Not as good as the old NMB clicky that I had at home in the 90’s, though…
If I had one at work someone would likely kill me as I beat on the keys hard and type really fast all the time.
I’ll forget to mute on a call at times and people will say - “who is that typing??”
The standard issue ones last me about a year, tops…


I wish someone would reintroduce the Northgate Omnikey. It had one feature that’s basically nonexistent these days: function keys on the left. As a programmer I’m always hitting function keys, often in combination with something else. That’s much easier with the function keys on the left. (And the ability to swap ctrl & caps lock makes it even better.)


Why am I focusing on the back-hand of that compliment?



My ancient keyboard has a mechanical switch that enables/disables caps lock. Farewell, accicaps!

…back then I couldn’t just remap the keys, it was the age of DOS and I was inexperienced…


Another satisfied M user here. My keyboard from this guy had a couple vintage stickers left on some of the keycaps from some ancient program entry (they add character!)

The Cherry Blues just aren’t the same – except maybe in volume) – but the feeling just isn’t right.

I still lust over the M keyboards with the trackball built in even though they might as well have been valued by Lebdev, they’re so damn pricy.


Buckling spring is much, much louder than any Cherry switch. Clicky does not do it justice, more like typing by firing handguns at letters.


This is my keyboard. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

Cherry brown switches but still satisfyingly clicky.

@codinghorror - Finally, your guys are offering the [CODE keyboard][2] in ISO format. Took too damn long for me though!