Saturday, March 16, 2013

Keyboards and their nibs

Typing became important for me when I went to graduate school in the early 90s.  After months of pouring over PCMagazine reviews, I decided on the Northgate over a Gateway or Dell.  The 386SX computer computer came with an OmniKey/ULTRA keyboard.  To be honest, I was more focused on Windows 3.0 and the mouse than the keyboard which I never did fully appreciate.  Unlike college where you could typicallly pay $1 a page for typing, you were on your own at graduate school so I had to become a better and faster typer.  This keyboard helped as I forced myself to touch type.  Sadly I sold it when when my PC was no longer able to take my AT to PS2 adapter plug.  I figured after that, my keyboard was another victim of designed obsolescence.  What a big mistake that was!  Ah well, it is gone and I refuse to replace it.


One could argue this post is not "Absolute Analog". But hey, I have not plugged in the keyboard yet, so it IS still 100% analog! Don't be so quick to judge :) I am just using it as a spring board to explore a small aid used in the art of touch typing.

One small factoid I have been trying to unearth, is when did we first begin to see the nibs on the F and J keys?  I trust everyone knows they are there to help the touch typist quickly find "home" with their index fingers.  Although I may have unwittingly experienced them on DEC/VT220 keyboards at my first job, I only first remember them on my OmniKey as seen above.

I find nibs to be very helpful and miss them on manual typewriters.  Monk.org suggested a patent by June Botich as seen here.  But, that is not the same thing and is too late given the above c. 1990 keyboard which clearly has nibs well before 2003.  We're talking a 12 year gap here so I think we are talking apples and oranges.  My quest continues.



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