Xah Keyboard Blog 2018-09

writing about keyboard

started to trickle into actually amassing and writing about Keyboard History ⌨.

Keyboard History ⌨

Added tens of photos in past month, and started to get a sense of keyboard evolution since 1960s. Keyboard history is a black whole. Well actually, not really. Math is, a hole.

Actually, working on keyboard makes me feel bad. It's petty. A petty thing. Writing comp lang tutorials is bad enough. A dismal petty fak complexity mostly of social causes due to programer idts faks. Dear god, when am i gonna be a real mathematian? God: neva!

Panasonic FS-A1 MSX 83b67-s320x195
MSX, 1983
Commodore 64 cee37-s405x154
Commodore 64, 1982

IBM PC Keyboards

history of alt key


The history of the Alt key is a mystery to me still. I bet Marcin Wichary [ https://twitter.com/mwichary ] knew the answer.

recently i learned Meta key first appeared on the SAIL keyboard. (hope am correct) I'm not certain the date of SAIL, but must be between 1963 and 1974. SAIL keyboard also has a key labeled ALT. The SAIL became Knight Keyboard and became Space Cadget and other lisp machine keyboards. But in later ones, some of them has Alt Mode instead of Alt. Some also have Alt Lock. But some don't have any type of Alt key, example: PN 364000, PN 365407, and Xerox 1109.

it'd be nice if someone can tell us the history.

Also, the Alt on SAIL keyboard is the earliest Alt key i've seen.

The first other apart from lisp line that has Alt i found is: IBM PC model 5150 Keyboard, 1981

now i think the entire modifier business started on lisp machine keyboards, except Shift and Control. The meta alt or super hyper evolved into Mac's Cmd and Option. Alt Graph key may also be evolved from the Alt on lisp machines. The Window key of Microsoft may be inspired from Mac, and Microsoft invented the Menu key (but may be inspired or copy from some Xerox stuff.) Also, keep in mind that the way Alt works in Windows is not the typical modifier. When pressed by itself, it invokes menu, as a leader key of a key sequence. When pressed with other, it call commands, and can also insert chars similar to Alt Graph key. .

todo down the road:

[see Alt Graph Key, Compose Key, Dead Key]

See also: A Curious Look at Emacs's One Thousand Keybindings

IBM Selectric (new page on its own)

Modern Selectric Keycaps

Lisp Machine Keyboards

much update. and the following on their own pages

symbolics keyboard pn364000 mrq3w-s349x179
Symbolics Keyboard PN 364000
Symbolics keyboard PN 365407
cec 1 keyboard china 3e572-s289x217
CEC 1 Keyboard, China (1986)

emacs keyboard history (work in progress)

CTC DataPoint 3300 ab7d4-s286x218
DataPoint 3300, 1969
PLATO IV keyboard 34856-s289x217
PLATO IV keyboard, 1972
Apple iMac keyboard M2452 1999 jxg7P-s250
Apple USB keyboard, 1999. (Bondi Blue iMac)
wooting 1 keyboard b6763-s367x170
Wooting Keyboard

Control Key and Capslock Key Positions in Old Keyboards (major rewrite)

many of the following, i added a keyboard layout diagram, or their user manuals.

Ann Arbor Ambassador 60 terminal 1982 s217x289
Ann Arbor Ambassador 60, 1982
IBM 2741 printing terminal 1ccd8-s289x217
IBM 2741 Printing Terminal
dec vt52 terminal bbd44-s290x216
DEC VT52 Terminal, 1975
terminal ADM 3A
ADM-3A, 1976

Apple Keyboard History

Apple Keyboard History ⌨

updated. and created the following new pages.

Apple IIe w monitor 5b7bd-s217x289
Apple IIe, 1983
Apple IIe Platinum-s277x226
Apple IIe Platinum, 1987

discovered romer g keycaps on amazon

Romer-G Switch

DEC VT100 Terminal (added a keyboard layout diagram)

Keyboard Key Switch Mechanisms (minor updated. Added Romer g liner, logitech RX clicky, and other update)

Logitech G513 keyboard 9349b-s330x190
Logitech G513 Keyboard
Logitech G613 keyboard a2a0d-s355x176
Logitech G613, wireless

now, finally, there's wireless mechanical gaming keyboard.

Touch-Typing in Japan

In Japan, the touch-typing rate even among college students is 15 percent. This rate is much lower than the 85 percent of American college students.

from [Graduate School of Maritime Sciences: Is Typing in Roman Letters the Reason for the Low Proficiency of Japanese Language Typists? By Kobe University. At http://www.kobe-u.ac.jp/en/NEWS/topics/2014_06_13_01.html ]

See also: Japanese Keyboard Layouts

TRON Operating System

tron keyboard df41c-s307x204
home made TRON keyboard

added to TRON Keyboard

periboard trackball keyboard 0ddca-s366x171
PERIBOARD-322 Keyboard with Trackball

Pirixx is a German company. Seems promising. Before, i thought it's a cheap nameless brand.

Logitech TrackMan Vista, 1995

ibm monster keyboard 8ee87-s318x197
Doctor Who Keyboard

Design of Math Symbols Input System (minor update)

Programable Keyboards with Onboard Memory

updated on why programable keyboard

Huawei Laptop Camera Key
diverge tm2 keyboard
Diverge TM2 Keyboard