Jump to content

Krazy Keboard Ko-incidence. ;)

Recommended Posts

I plugged in a used Microsoft Natural 4000 keyboard into a USB port to see if it was a good one. Apparently not, no response from most keys and others gave incorrect results, among them Backspace producing that box character with a pointed top.

So I unplugged it and went to do something else... what the frell??? The keyboard plugged into the PS/2 port was acting the same way! And the mouse wheel no longer worked, right click menus were screwed up and it acted like the Ctrl key was stuck on.

On to troubleshooting. Tried removing the keyboard and mouse drivers and rebooting. No change. Tried getting into Safe Mode. Couldn't do that. Tried to use System Restore to go back to yesterday but the Next button wouldn't work.

Something must seriously be fouled up with the keyboard driver... so out comes the big DaRT gun. Hello? What's this? The keyboard misbehaves exactly the same way in that?

So I shut it down, swap in a Gateway keyboard, boot up and all is fine.

Dunno why the Tiger Direct keyboard failed, it was only 16 years old... ;) Been using it since my first PC with Windows 98. Others have come, briefly, then gone as I went back to the TD. (But I still pine for the *perfect* layout that no keyboards have been made with since the advent of the Win Keys.)

Just really odd that it went bonkers at the exact instant I plugged in that fancy pants, cushy wrist rest* MS Natural Keyboard. Now I'll have to try it again, on a different computer.

*I have two that I know work fine, should get some thin glove leather to reupholster the wrist rests. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

it acted like the Ctrl key was stuck on.

So, is it ? Take your keyboard with both hands (PC turned off) and hold it vertically. Tap it gently few times on your desk. Watch all the crums, hair, dust fall down. Then if you can, hold it upside down with one hand and tap all keys with the back of your other hand. Check if any key is behaving differently. Retest.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I want a new, updated version of the KeyPro KF9000. It's a 129 key beast. In addition to the typical 104 keys it has an additional programmable function keys, programmable with the keyboard itself. It also has 8 arrow keys in a square with a Turbo button in the center. But wait, there's more! Additional keys in the number pad and an LCD display to make it a 6-function calculator. There's also a Prog key and another key which is blank and apparently does nothing at all. Connection is via ye olde 5 pin DIN AT plug, connected to a PS/2 adapter. A NiCd battery (charges from keyboard port power) keeps the program settings and calculator memory. The switches are mechanical clicky types, but don't have the quiet little *twang* of the buckling spring type.

The final unique feature is a tilting holder across the top into which cardboard strips fit. On those strips are printed keyboard commands for various programs like Microsogt Word 5.0, Lotus 1-2-3 R3.1, Wordstar 4.0 and dBASE IV. There's also some blank ones. There's up to four commands for each F-key, displayed in black, green, red and blue. The Alt keys are black, Ctrl keys are red and Shift keys are green - thus the blue commands are for the F-keys without a modifier. (So why aren't the F-keys blue?)

I have two of these keyboards, keeping one as a spare lest the one I use on *my* computer - the one nobody else uses, ever, should fail.

It does have a few issues. The calculator can't send the numbers on its display to the computer. While it does have the large Backspace and reverse L Enter keys, the backslash key is occupying the space where the right end of the large right Shift should be. The Prog key is sitting between the right Alt and Ctrl where Backslash ought to be. The blank, no-function key is between the left Crtl and Alt. I wonder if that blank might be a PF shift, that would give it 24 programmable functions. (I've never actually used the programmable keys... I should at least set them up with Photoshop toolbox commands or something.)

To modernize the FK9000 it would firstly need to be USB (but also PS/2 compatible with one of those adapters like). The next improvement would be enabling the calculator to send its display data to the computer. I'd also fix the location of the backslash key by putting it where it's supposed to be, where no keyboard made since the advent of the Windows keys in the mid 90's has had it - back between the right Alt and Ctrl. That would allow the large right Shift to be stretched to its full and proper width. I'd move the PRog key up next to the Esc key - and be sure to have the firmware coded so that merely striking Prog by itself does nothing. For storing the programming of the PF keys it could use an EEPROM or other form of NVRAM that can take a large number of write cycles.

What wouldn't be "modernized"? No Windows keys. In the 18~19 years they've been inflicted on keyboards and preventing the production of my favorite key layout, I have very rarely ever used them. I never wanted them and don't need them. You want winkeys on the nex-gen FK9000? Program a couple of the PF keys to do them.

Now onto dream territory... A dot matrix LCD on the calculator, capable of receiving data from the computer and also used for the local PF key programming. Making every key programmable. A built in USB 3.0 hub. And may as well have a color OLED display above the F-keys instead of using the cardboard strips. Make it hacker friendly! Bring out the key matrix to a port so it can be used with custom built systems or vintage computers. How about interchangeable cables for PS/2, USB, PC/AT and even PC/XT and Macintosh ADB? Adding an LCD beside the PF keys might make it too long, but that would have the possibility of programming multiple command sets and a way to easily switch amongst them. Having the PF keys automatically switch commands to the program with current focus would be extra nice. Switch to Photoshop and they're the toolbox commands, click to Word and they do things like opening and saving files or start a mailmerge - without the user having to manually do the switch. Such functionality wouldn't need the LCD but it would need software support on the computer.

If I knew whom to talk to at a keyboard manufacturer, I'd try doing a Kickstarter campaign - at least to get the basic modernized model into production.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...