Almost five years ago, I wrote about my favourite keyboards. Alas, things have changed somewhat: most of the links in my original post are broken, and Apple has stopped making the old transparent black-keyed Pro Keyboard and now produces some interesting but very different super-thin models instead (in between, the company made a tolerable but ho-hum white keyboard that also acted as an excellent crumb tray).
This week, John Gruber and Dan Benjamin wax rhapsodic on their podcast about the ancient Apple Extended Keyboard II, pictured. I have three, as well as two Apple Keyboards (not the Keyboard II) that use the same keys, several miscellaneous USB keyboards, a decent basic PC PS/2 keyboard, and a treasured IBM 101. The 101 is currently hooked up to my eMac with a PS/2-USB adapter, with keys remapped with the Mac's System Preferences.
The Extended Keyboard II and the IBM 101 are the twin holy grails of keyboard nerds. Unfortunately, my EKIIs have been sitting in a cupboard for years because I never got around to buying an adapter to make their Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) connectors work with newer USB Macs. But now Gruber and Benjamin may have inspired me to track one down.
I spent many a year pounding my fingers on an Extended II, in university and as a freelance technical writer. The IBM 101 is a very different beast, also built like a tank but with a more metallic, punchy feel, and an audible note to its astoundingly loud typing sound. As yet no one has been able to replicate what's good about these devices, so if you're a serious computer typist, you'll need to track down a vintage one.
And no, you can't have mine.