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Ultimate programming keyboards?

As a coder I happen to type a fair amount :) The problem I've run into is that after about 10 months, the keyboard dies. Even very very nice custom ergonomic $90 ones. What kind of keyboards have you guys been using that don't wear out after a paltry few months of normal use? That don't cost hundreds of dollars?

Mike Swieton
Friday, January 25, 2002


bruce rogers
Saturday, January 26, 2002

I've been using a Microsoft ergo keyboard for a couple of years yet and it hasn't died yet. Granted, the label for the "C" key, among others, is no longer there but that's not much of a problem.

Saturday, January 26, 2002

I'm using some "Orange" keyboard at both work and home and it's doing truly great for more then a year now.

Evgeny Goldin
Saturday, January 26, 2002

I only use IBM AT or PS/2 keyboards, even going so far as to taking my own keyboard in to work and using that.  After awhile you get used to the clacking and I've yet to wear one out in the six years since I've exclusively switched to them.

More importantly, the most I've paid for one is $10, and that for a black PS/2 with eraser mouse (between the G and H keys---it works for me since I use the keyboard mostly).  Most of the time I get them for less than $5 a pop at the yearly HAM fest (even though I have a stack of IBM keyboards, I _always_ buy them).

So far, they're the best keyboards I've found.

Sean Conner
Saturday, January 26, 2002

My personal favorite is the Northgate Omnikey. For those of us old enough to remember, Northgate was a computer vendor whose keyboards were so sought after that they ended up selling them separately. Unfortunately, they've been out of business for quite a few years now.

The keyboards were very solidly constructed, with a dip-switch that allowed you to tailor all sorts of stuff, like a dvorak configuration as well as sticky-keys.

Ahh...the good old days...

James Wann
Saturday, January 26, 2002

What do you think about Microsoft Natural keyboards? I quite like them.

Also once I tried mice with a scrolling wheel I can't go back.

Matthew Lock
Sunday, January 27, 2002

I love my Microsoft Natural keyboard. It's an original model, not the el-cheapo "Elite" model. When they stopped making the original model, I was scared to lose my favorite keyboard. So when I quit my job (at the time), I took my work-issued keyboard with me.  ;-)

I used to love my mouse wheel, too. Unfortunately, the finger motion aggravates my wrist pain, so I must disable the wheel in the Windows Control Panel. Otherwise, I am too tempted to use it.  <:-(

Sunday, January 27, 2002

Does anyone have a recommendation for a keyboard with the softness of a Mac keyboard?  I've always loved the feel of them, but I'm a wintel user at home and work, and I've never found anything comparable.  My trips to Best Buy and Circuit City involve an obscene fondling of everything on display, and I'm always disappointed.

Justin Johnson
Sunday, January 27, 2002

I have a Kinesis contoured model, and it survived very well so far (1.5 years). Takes a while to get used to, but is very good for the wrists and has improved my typing speed quite a bit...

Petru Paler
Monday, January 28, 2002

I'd pay $100 for a new USB Northgate Omnikey Ultra, if such a thing existed. I have no idea what happened to my first one; I guarantee you it didn't break.

For those who never saw one, they were rather larger than modern keyboards, as they had function keys both on the left (XT style) and across the top (AT style). They weighed about 6 pounds, and felt like they were milled from a solid block of steel. The key action was beyond crisp - it felt like typing on an IBM Selectric II, where there was a solenoid or something slamming the fontball into the roller with every keystroke. Very fast, very positive action.

I miss that thing.

Jeff Paulsen
Monday, January 28, 2002

For all of you missing your Northgate OmniKey (or OmniKey Ultra), this remake has gotten a lot of good press (one writeup said the mfr had contacted the OmniKey patentholder):

A.Nonnie Mouse
Monday, January 28, 2002

NEC APC-H4100E, with an AT-style plug.

I've used it for 10 years now, moving from machine to machine. The key labels are still pristine...

I've taken it completely apart and cleaned it, reassembled it and it just keeps on going.

Colin Nicholls
Monday, January 28, 2002

Gateway had a kind of Omnikey for a while which I used but its gone the way of all flesh (and ABS) now.

So I'm stuck with an MS Natural Keyboard Pro now.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, January 29, 2002

it's your hands, dude.  spending hundreds of dollars to avoid serious
problems with them is worth it.  i use a kinesis, and the dvorak
keyboard layout.  it works well.


alex coventry
Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Actually its the mouse that gives me greater problems, as I was trained in typing (and shorthand), I can type for hours without it worrying me.

So I have an Artpad that I use as well as the mouse.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, January 31, 2002

Hello, I recently received a Northgate Omnikey 101P keyboard.

I am very happy with it since it came 'mint' in the box (sealed).

However I later read that the 101 (P's) can be buggy and troublesome.  Is this true? Am I in for down the road hassles with this keyboard?

It looks, sounds, works and feels great.

It did not come with a manual so I have no reference to use to program it.  (When you remove the Omnikey logo plate there are no dip switches to set)

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Tony Wheat

Tony Wheat
Saturday, December 28, 2002

I recently dug out my old (1990's) Omnikey Ultra to use with a PC. I originally purchased it for my Amiga 2000 which is now dead and buried.

I know it is supposed to work for either machine, but I can not locate the user's manual and fear I'll do damage to the PC if i just plug it in.

Can anyone provide information to use the keyboard with a PC. Knowing how to set the dip switches would probably be invaluable.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
Rick Buxton

Rick Buxton
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Scans of the manual for Omnikey ULTRA DIP switch settings
are located here:

Hope it helps!!

Christopher Caldwell
Saturday, October 25, 2003

Apple Pro USB keyboard :)

Angel Todorov
Sunday, October 26, 2003

Does anyone have updated links to information on the OmniKey Ultra keyboards?  Both links listed above are D.O.A.

Glen McFarland
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

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