Category Archives: retro

Unicomp Offers New Classic Model M Keyboards of IBM Fame

During my recent annual Christmas vacation, I decided to finally tackle my office room closet. That closet had become stacked pretty much from floor to ceiling over the past 16 or so years with obsolete computer junk.

Most of the stuff was completely out-of-date. Lots of extra stuff that came packaged with long-gone computers. Manuals describing long-dead software procedures. Old USB and even Serial Port peripherals that do not work with modern operating systems. Lots of stuff that slowly lost any value it had as computer technology advanced over the years.

However, mixed in with what turned out to be about 15 large garbage bags of old computer junk, I found a gem that I forgot that I ever had – a classic “Model ‘M’” IBM PS/2 keyboard.

I had sort of forgotten how good classic IBM keyboards were to type on. In the intervening years of newer USB and later wireless keyboards, I began to think that my typing skills somehow weren’t what they once were. I just assumed that my typing skills had taken a sharp nosedive.

The IBM “Model M” is the holy grail of keyboards. Each Model M key uses what is called a “buckling spring” construction that gives every IBM Model M key its distinctive key travel and feel. The sculpted keys of the Model M eliminates the common mistake of hitting two keys at once on modern, style over substance keyboard designs. Modern keyboards often have very little key travel, and a very mushy feel with the keys jammed together. The Model M keyboard offers the best typing experience EVER, bar none.

So, I went on Amazon and bought an inexpensive PS/2 keyboard/mouse to USB “Y” adapter. I plugged the IBM keyboard into one of the USB ports into my Samsung DEX dock that I use with my Galaxy Note 8 smartphone along with a 24 inch curved 1080p Samsung monitor. The combination couldn’t work better. I’m typing this into Word right now using the Model M with my phone plugged into the DEX phone dock which turns the Note 8 into a real desktop experience.

I started researching the IBM Model M keyboards and discovered there is a very active market for them. IBM and later Lexmark (an IBM subsidiary) manufactured various versions of the Model M keyboard from sometime in 1984 until 1996. The employees of the IBM/Lexmark factory bought the patents and the factory equipment and continue to this day to manufacture versions of the Model M keyboard under the company name “Unicomp” using the same “buckling spring” key design. They offer both Mac and Windows versions of their keyboards, along with the original 101 classic IBM keyboard layout. Unicomp keyboards are priced from around $85 dollars to $105 dollars, depending on customizations.

No other keyboard offers the typing accuracy or sheer satisfaction of the original “buckling spring” key design. After finding out that Unicomp still sells new Model M keyboards, I ordered two of them for a couple of my computers.

Crosley Turntables at 2016 CES

C100 Crosley TurntableScott Ertz interviews Jason Menard, marketing manager at Crosley.

Turntables are making a bit of a comeback along with vinyl record albums.

They discuss Crosley’s latest line of turntables. Previously Crosley was known for its suitcase style of turntables. In response to customer requests, Crosley is now moving into more sophisticated direct drive turntables.

The “C” series currently has 4 turntables in the line. Prices range from $179 to $350 online.

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