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IBM is still making ThinkPad keyboards (mthompson.org)
233 points by cblop 572 days ago | hide | past | web | 154 comments | favorite



There is a special place in hell reserved for the designer who swapped the function and control key placement on that keyboard. Thankfully you can change it in the bios.


You say swapped, I say its the correct placement. I use control much more frequently than fn, and its easier to reach it with my pinky on the thinkpad keyboard.


Me too, that's why I have Control and Caps-Lock swapped.


Caps lock master race, reporting in. It's amazing how well-suited Caps lock is to act as the Ctrl key. Go through the pain of remapping for a day, feel great using your new, anatomic Ctrl for the rest of your life.

Seriously, do it now. In two days, you'll thank me.


Inspired by the Search key in ChromeOS, I've been mapping Caps-A to "Quick Open File…" and Caps-S to "Command Palette…" in Sublime for years. It's wickedly convenient.


As a heavy emacs user, this was one of the best things I ever did. I used to think the term "emacs pinky" was a joke, but it is really not.

And anyway, I cannot remember needing CapsLock even a single time, but I do remember hitting it by accident many times, so I do not really miss it.


It's a start, but I'm much happier having moved it to under my thumb.


A variation: Caps-Lock swapped with Backspace. This has worked well for me.


That'd be rubout on a Symbolics keyboard isn't it?


Aye :)


My favorite: map caps-lock to left mouse click.


I agree with you that it's easier to reach, but it's harder to find the ctrl key by feel. That being said, I haven't swapped the keys in my bios, and I've gotten used to this layout...


Don't use your pinky, use the meat of your hand to press the control key.


That way I also press Shift, Fn and the Windows key, while holing my hand in a very unergonomic position.


This is how I also use the control key, using the bone in my hand right where the pinky attaches to the hand. When ctrl is in the very corner, it's easy to press. When it's to the right of the fn (like on the apple keyboard I am currently using), it is significantly harder.


How is that physically possible?

I had a temporary job transcribing videotaped meetings to text and I used ctrl a lot for controlling the video. That fn placement almost killed my left hand, would have been perfectly fine if they were switched but that alone greatly limited my freedom of movement as I really wanted to borrow a sane keyboard wherever I went.

edit: I guess it must depend on the size of the keyboard. On the x-series it was unforgivable.


swap ALT and CTRL, then map CAPS to ALT. Then you can hit "CTRL" with your left thumb.


I tried pressing Alt with my left thumb, and it felt like playing Twister using my hand.

Hats off to your dutiful fingers.


Long live the Capslock-as-control-key master race. :)


emacs user! another to be expunged.

all hail <esc> as caps lock!

    for on that day,
        all shall be in normal mode,
      on the day of text
        one will `export EDITOR=/usr/bin/vim`
-- from the book of vim 2:12


The best way to deal with Caps Lock is to make it a Control Key when used as a modifier (held down when another key is pressed), but Escape when typed by itself. There's a program for GNU/Linux called xscape that does exactly that.


That sounds great! I am trying it right now...

FYI it's here: https://github.com/alols/xcape


You should be able to do that with only XKB, but Xorg XKB seems somewhat buggy and the documentation is scattered, so you'd have a bit of work ahead of you.


I use vim and have caps lock bound to control. I use Ctrl-[ to switch to normal mode and ctrl is so much more useful outside of just vim.


I remapped jj to esc, for what it's worth, so I don't have to reach for anything. I'm one of the Capslock-as-ctrl people as well, and a vim user.


me too


I have done no remapping but Ctrl-[ is very good for my wrists.


Spacemacs! Spacemacs! Spacemacs!


I'm actually a Vimmer :)


a

Get over yourself! ed(1) is the TRUE text editor.

.

wq


I have both a ThinkPad and a MacBook Pro and MacBooks are also doing it.

I prefer to override Caps Lock to be another Ctrl and I can't remember the last time I felt the need to use the normal left-Ctrl. The best part is that Caps Lock is here to stay because many users like to write ALL CAPS.


The Lenovo X1 Carbon actually did remove caps, instead putting home/end there. I believe it also removed the F keys, instead adding an "adaptive" touch strip. They undid it in the latest version. I wouldn't consider anything safe from the terrible designers at Lenovo.

It is fine that they wanna experiment. I just wish they'd sell a premium option with the old style, good, keyboards.


At least they gave us the physical trackpoint buttons back.


I don't write in ALL CAPS, but I do have to type code where some constant like SERVER_RETRY_TIMEOUT will be in all caps. So I do use my caps lock key a lot.


I don't do this, for some reason. And it makes some sense, because in the case of underscored names on US layout at least, I'm going to be doing shifting inside it anyway, and I'll have to time it right or I'll get uncapitalized letters on either side of the underscores. So I just hold shift the whole way through, switching which hand is shifting if needed.

Maybe I'd use a "shift lock" that's cancelable by holding shift, but since I've recently mapped Caps Lock to Esc and want to keep that, I guess I'd have to make the Esc key into shift lock. Esc is kind of distant, but maybe worth it to avoid RSI typing 10+ character-long sequences holding shift the whole time...


Isn't there a to caps functionality for a lot of ides and editors?


And in shells. Alt-u uppercases the word following the cursor with vanilla bash+readline everywhere I've tried. So the sequence would be to type "server_retry_timeout", Ctrl-a to jump to beginning of line, Alt-u-u-u to uppercase the next three words.


Ummmm... yeah, I think I stick to using caps lock.


:)

Unless you work in a corp that locks down BIOS.

:(

Also note the size and placement of the delete key. It just seems a little bit bigger and easier to reach. And I'm sure this is due to corporate use of email, where pressing delete quickly speeds up the day no end.


I was confused as to why you found that unusual until I realized that this is actually only normal for those who use an Apple keyboard.


The mac has the command-key though, making the ctrl-key less important.


Unfortunately, you can't switch them in every bios. I just ditched my SL510, but had to suffer with it for years. I tried everything to fix it, but to no avail. If I recall, it's not even a key that keyboard binding/remapping programs recognize, so I couldn't even remap it with 3rd party software. Ruined an otherwise perfect laptop keyboard.


it is a weird layout, but once you get used to it it is really really efficient. I used a thinkpad for about 5-7 years and would bang out a ton of code on that thing. particularly a big fan of the arrow key placement.


If you can change it in the BIOS, then there's no problem, right?


Whats a bios?


OMIGAWSH THANK YOU

I picked up an X220 as my first thinkpad a couple weeks ago and this has been driving me more than a little batty.


> Thankfully you can change it in the bios.

Unlike on Macbooks and the Apple Wireless Keyboard. Grump.

Yes, you can use Karabiner[1] to swap the keys, but it's not at a low enough level that it works everywhere. Still, it's good enough for most use.

[1] https://pqrs.org/osx/karabiner/


What do you mean, not on a low enough level? I'm an avid user and donator of Karabiner, and I'm interested to know what you couldn't map?


The "ThinkPad USB Keyboard with TrackPoint" is the updated version of the OP's keyboard, with nice improvements such as the "big delete key" and slightly more modern build quality. Sold from ~2009 to ~2013.

https://support.lenovo.com/us/en/documents/pd005137

I use one of these full time at my desk. All TrackPoint, no mouse or trackpad.

Lenovo is now unfortunately making only the "Compact" keyboard, with the same chiclet keys as new ThinpPads. But the one linked above is still widely available and comes very recommended.


These (both the original author's and this) are the ThinkPad laptop keyboards put in a plastic shell plus a USB driver chip.

This one, the 55Y9003 is the exact same as the T420 keyboard. I have one, it's really nice, although some reinforcement and a Bluetooth version would really be appreciated. Alas it's really hard to take it apart. You can find instructions at https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/Displays-Options-and-Accessorie... and this forum post mentions some success in adding a few metal rods. http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?p=710896&sid=5322c4...


Could you point to where that model is "widely available"? It doesn't seem to be on amazon or newegg, and I'd really like to get another one (or two). It's my favorite keyboard as well.


There seem to usually be a few available at any given time on eBay or Amazon. But yes, getting harder to find unfortunately. And now I have competition...


Yes, there are some used/refurbished on amazon for $200+ (or $300+ new). I don't like it _that_ much :)

But this prompted me to look on amazon again and I found an older revision for $80 and nabbed it. No luck on ebay.


I'm not sure where to buy them separately, but I'm pretty sure they come on the Lenovo T410 and Lenovo X220i laptops.


That's why I like it so much: I've been using thinkpads for years and got used to the feel of the keyboard, and also the trackpoint, so I wanted it when I was at a desktop too. It's really nice to not have to move your hand to the mouse for small motions, although I do still use a mouse for extended things like aimless web browsing.


Hah, I got my old work to get me one, and I have one at home. They're small and light, and the awesome trackpoint means you don't need a mouse. I could never get the wheel emulator (middle click + trackpoint) to work on Windows, but works fine on Linux.

That said, I haven't tried the chicklet version, but I like the resistance of my chiclet T430 keyboard better than the standalone keyboard's.


I have one of these, but I find that the plastic case flexes too much for comfort. (ThinkPad laptops are made of stronger stuff.)

There's an older, less compact version that doesn't flex. But I just wish Apple would offer their bluetooth keyboard with a Trackpoint...


I'd LOVE a detached MacBook keyboard + trackpad for my iMac.


http://www.pckeyboard.com/ Unicomp is still keeping the glory days of the IBM Model M keyboard alive.


Ah, the Model M. Still have mine from 1990, used it for decades, and I would still be using it at home if it were not for the fact that it was so loud it woke up my newborn son sleeping in the other room.

So I got a quieter keyboard (Realforce 87U that I picked up in Japan, very different key feeling but in a good way) and put the Model M in storage.

My son is now 7 years old, loves Minecraft, and wants to learn programming. So we've been spending some quality father-son time on pcpartpicker.com lately, in search of the best computer he can afford. "No need to buy a keyboard," I told him, "I've got exactly what you need."

You never actually own a Model M. You merely look after it for the next generation.


OT, but fun: For programming, run a spigot server with the scriptcraft plugin. Instant JavaScript fun inside minecraft!


Thank you, I will investigate that. The number and variety of Minecraft add-ons is amazing.


if you got a real force to replace a buckling spring you didn't do your homework :)

torpe keys are louder than cherry, mostly because cherry you can use heavier key caps and dampening rubber all around. there are rumors of topre with dampening on the up motion, but even finding regular topre is already difficult enough (also imported mines from Japan, like you)

also, the feeling from tactile cherries are closer the bucking spring


Just because I love buckling springs doesn't mean I don't also enjoy Topre. I'm far from monogamous when it comes to keyboards.

And I most certainly did my homework, which in my case meant walking around in Den-Den Town (Osaka's version of Akihabara) trying keyboards at various stores. In the end, my two favorites were a Fujitsu Libertouch and the Realforce I got.

When you say "Topre keys are louder than cherry", I guess you're excluding the clicky cherries. I have a Filco with blue cherries at work, and it's much louder than my Realforce.


I made up-dampers for my Novatouch out of that really thin plastic-foam packing/wrapping material (0.022"). Craft foam (0.075") and heat shrunk craft foam were too thick.

Now I've just got to get an MSP430 programmer and see if I can fix this braindead no-scancode "FN" key.


If only they'd make a split layout ergo design. One of the only mechanical ergos out there (available today) is the Matias Ergo Pro. And it's got a lot of dumb design decisions. Like dedicated copy/cut etc keys that just send Ctrl-C Ctrl-X etc. Bizarre. Strange placement of Ctrl that still, after months of usage, cause me typos. And a remote Esc that hurts more than normal to reach. Among other silly key placements. All of these for no good reason. A 20 minute revision during design and it'd be a perfect keyboard.

I'd get a Kinesis but they're so huge and 90s looking.

Most promising looking device is the Keyboardio, but that'll be a year or so.


Best bet is to wait for Massdrop to relaunch that ErgoDox kit: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/ergodox?mode=guest_open


If you're not looking forward to doing the soldering yourself, check out the Ergodox EZ campaign (funded but still open): https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ergodox-ez-an-incredible-...


Looks beautiful, but I think I've blown my "keyboard budget" for the next year :)


Looks nice, any idea what the cost was/would be?


Usually in the $250 range, unless you decide to go completely nuts on the keycaps. Then, well, the sky's the limit these days.


Just get two HHKB Pro 2's and put them side by side.


I love what Unicomp is doing. The Model Ms are fantastic keyboards and I have several that I use for programming. They're indestructible and you can maintain and repair them very easily. You can grab keyboards off eBay and swap them out for parts, or source new parts from Unicomp.

I really wish they would offer the full-size in addition to the Compact models. I have big hands and the full-size are much more comfortable for me. Any of the hipster micro-keyboards are obviously right out as well, sadly.

My main work keyboard is a black M13 with the TrackPoint II. The TrackPoint has a very slow cursor speed is not very useful on modern high-res screens. I'd much rather have the new type of TrackPoint that Unicomp offers. It's OK if you turn the pointer speed all the way up, but then you lose resolution and it's hard to use a mouse with that speed.

So far I haven't found a working app that lets you use different pointer speeds for different mice. Some claim to do it but I couldn't make them work. I may bang something out at some point that latches into high-speed mode if you type and drops to low-speed mode after a few seconds without typing or moving the cursor. Or maybe I could do more fine-grained control on Linux.


> you can maintain and repair them very easily

I recently had to send mine (a PC 122 layout unit) back to Unicomp when the left Alt key stuck internally at the pressed position. The pictures of the disassembly of a Model M didn't look too encouraging, so I thought it'd be best to send it back to the factory so someone familiar with the design could repair it. Would you like to point to some resources so I can do it myself the next time it fails?


I have one of those. While they're very much a descendant of the Model M, I'd say their quality control is lacking. The PageDown key on my keyboard is much lighter than all the other keys, it feels really mushy and doesn't have the same tactile feedback that it's supposed to have. All the other keys are fine. I can live with it, but I never saw such an issue with any of the Model M keyboard I've used.

Also, their USB firmware sucks. Sometimes it won't work during bootup (say, if I want to go into the BIOS or pick something from the GRUB menu), and only gets properly initialised when I get into linux or windows. This only happens sometimes. Other keyboards work consistently, and the problem disappears if I plug the unicomp into a KVM switch that actually shows up as its own HID device instead of just switching the USB ports around. I've seen other keyboards with similar problems but for such an expensive keyboard, it's really quite annoying.


I've had the failed to initialize problem with many keyboards, including my Kinesis. If you're using a UEFI bios it could possibly be related to fastboot being on.


I have one, and I found that problems with it not working during bootup were related to its large power draw. It's been working fine for me since I plugged it into a powered usb hub. YMMV.


Thanks, that makes sense. I remember the original model m's were real power hogs, to the point that USB->PS/2 converters rarely worked with them.

Now I wonder if they're just using the original circuit with a tacked on converter... might have to open it up to check.


I used to like the Model M keyboard, before I knew anything. When my wrists started hurting, I discovered the cherry keyboards and that the Model M requires a disgustingly large force to depress the keys. My M's are now rusting in the garage, and I'm using cherry browns pain free. Also I have extra keys with hardware macros, which aren't dependent on some host software to work properly, so I can activate my console switch, etc.


Those are excellent and I used one for years: http://jakeseliger.com/2008/05/07/product-review-unicomp-cus... before switching to a Kinesis Advantage. Though I like the keyfeel of the Model M better, the ergonomics of the Kinesis are better.


Can anyone discuss the ergonomics of the Kinesis? It has MX Brown Cherry switches which are easier on the hands, for example. I've often wonder if its unique shape had proven benefits. Many people have tried using it but have given up. Is it better than an ErgoDox, for instance?

http://ergodox.org


Having admired the Kinesis Advantage from afar for years, I got one from Massdrop. I've used it at work almost exclusively for the last couple of months, having previously used the wireless Apple keyboard (the small one).

Biggest peeve is that I frequently hit the arrow keys on the bottom row by accident. Not being very good at using them on purpose, this completely throws me off for a second or two.

Minor annoyance is that the modifier keys sometimes stick. I don't think they're physically stuck; more like a firmware glitch, so that it's as if Caps Lock is on (mine's remapped to Ctrl), or I get accented characters as if Alt is stuck.

I still have trouble switching between the straight matrix layout of the Kinesis and the staggered layout of traditional keyboards, which I continue to use at home. Nothing major, but definitely some reduced accuracy.

So my experience is decidedly mixed. I'll keep at it until the end of the year at least, but I'm not convinced it's any better ergonomically. In fact, I've had some soreness in my left thumb that may be related to the new keyboard.


I've tried no other ergonomic keyboards but the Kinesis Advantage saved my programming career when a difficult job brought on a bout of RSI. Think it's about 9 years old now and still going strong. Better function keys would be appreciated, though.


I am using Kinesis Advantage for three years. Got one after initial symptoms of 'something is going on with my palm bones' and it is the best ergonomic investment I ever did. It is extremely good keyboard, especially 'LF' version with red cherry switches. My next keyboard will be Kinesis Advantage again, that's how good they are.


Looks similar. Keys are straight up and down which is the same. Biggest difference would the lack of curve and built in no wrist rests.

Oh and it is missing functions keys which means I could never use this.... The kinesis has crappy function keys but at least it has them. Can't program with an IDE without then.


>Oh and it is missing functions keys which means I could never use this....

There are 5 rows of keys on each hand, just like a standard QWERTY keyboard with a function key row, you just have to place them along the bottom row instead of the top. The problem, I guess, is that there's only 10 keys along the bottom row, but you could place F11 and F12 on one of the many extra keys. Keep in mind they're programmable, and you can have different layers and modifiers that just exist in the keyboard itself.


I didn't like the Kinesis Advantage because it put an even bigger load on my poor thumbs. I am using a Kinesis Freestyle w/ the Ascent, vertically. Now that's ergonomical.


The only problem with this keyboard: anyone I use it around absolutely hates the noise. Either my co-workers at work or my girlfriend at home.


When I asked my co-workers, I got the whole range from "it sounds homely and pleasant" (quite a few actually) to one guy that asked to sit as far away as possible.

I actually flossed it and added some padding, so now it's slightly less loud, but I still got one complaint...

But eventually I decided that I can't make everyone happy. So I just rattle away in blissful enjoyment instead.


Oh my god, those Windows keys. This takes me back.


Does no one remember the Butterfly keyboard on the 701? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_ThinkPad_Butterfly_keyboar...


IBM did some creative (and useful!) things with the early Thinkpads. Remember the 755CD/V? You could pull the backlight off the LCD and strap the laptop to an overhead projector.

http://thinkwiki.de/images/0/07/755cdv-overhead.jpg


Awesome, I would never have tought that this is/was an actual product! We tried to do something like this as teenagers with an old (normal) LCD, but some ribbon-cables were in the way. Still, there are people building projectors themselves using that method.


I have one. It's pretty simple in practice, although the LCD fades as it heats up from the projector's light.


Never had the pleasure to own or use one. My best was this : http://mla-s1-p.mlstatic.com/mouse-ibm-ps2-ball-scroll-point...

Fond memories.


I had one once upon a time.... The trackpoint on a mouse was truly great.


I got the IBM keyboard that came with it on the IBM 300GL desktop. It's not a model M but it was pretty nifty anyway.


I saw one at the IBM PC outlet in Morrisville (now closed, it was just outside RTP in NC) and almost bought it. But then realized that it had a 486SX CPU and was woefully underpowered for what I needed. Super cool design.


The think I love the most about these keyboard/trackpad/trackpoint peripherals is the physically distinct mouse buttons.

Do you KNOW how insanely awful current model trackpads are?

Every single manufacturer seems to think it's a good idea to fabricate the trackpad as a solid unit, and have it act as both the left and right buttons, and it is SO horrendously impractical that it pains me to even broach the subject.

Every single fucking laptop I see tries this, and fails. They are all bad.

And yes, I know Apple does it. And you know what? The MacBook trackpad/button unit also sucks. But. They have the capacity to tailor the operating system for a closer behavioral fit. And that's the only thing that separates the Apple product.

Note physically separate mouse buttons on this IBM/Lenovo unit. These buttons are so much more reliable and accurate.

When you press one button, there is little risk of accidentally interacting with the other button, because they are not physically united by the same piece of plastic..


    Looking up the driver info in Linux,
    it appears to be manufactured by Lite-on,
    who do indeed still manufacture Thinkpad
    parts for Lenovo.

    [...]

    So perhaps that's it: IBM is still making
    Thinkpad-style keyboards for its rack-
    mounted servers, possibly only in China.
I'm confused: how does Lite-on == IBM?


Manufactured by Lite-on for IBM, but the arrangement is quite common. For example, Foxconn manufactures all current generation consoles, but we still say "Microsoft makes the Xbox One."


Lite-on also builds the power supply for the 4th gen AppleTV...

https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/igi/JZCBHisKVpM6G1eN.h...


They also used to build the shit out of CD-ROM drives; didn't seem to matter which company sold the drive -- it was almost invariable a Lite-On drive.


Mitsumi still manufactures a large portion of Nintendo's product.


IBM might not have the equipment to produce simple low margin parts like keyboards, so it contracts out to a high volume peripheral manufacturer.


The ThinkPad keyboards were indeed made by different manufacturers. When I needed a replacement for my old ThinkPad, there were 3 different FRUs depending on the source manufacturer (ALPS, NMB and Chicony). They each had a different typing feel (one was too mushy for me, another one had about the right amount of tactile feedback and I never got to try the third one).


Every time he says "makes" about IBM, read "commissions" or "sells", as in they are officially IBM branded.

The same way that you'd say Lenovo sell ThinkPad keyboards even if they are made by Lite-on.


They have the IBM logo on the back. You would expect Thinkpad-style keyboards manufactured in 2014 to have only Lenovo logos.


Glory days, can't not smile when I remember tech decades old. I still have two buckling spring Model M keyboards and they are really made to last. Oh and bought them when they were new and selling, that's how ancient I am. I really wish IBM starts doing complete PC line again.


Unfortunately it won't happen. As an IBMer, I see how quickly IBM sheds anything that is not a top earner, and hardware (especially consumer hardware) will never be a top earner again. The recent partnership with Apple (replacing employee ThinkPads with Macbooks) doesn't look favorably on them making consumer goods anymore either.

If you want IBM approved consumer hardware, it's not even the Thinkpads anymore. Apple makes the modern day IBM hardware.


A Watson in every home!


Apple should stick the magic mouse surface onto keyboard keys. Imagine being able to use a home row key as a tiny trackpad. You could also scroll by swiping down on a key. Never have to move your hands from home row. Come on apple!


As far as I know IBM still sold server up until last year when that department was also sold to Lenovo. So it makes sense that they were still making peripherals for server use, they probably aren't anymore though.


That was the x86 line of servers. IBM still sells Power and Z systems. (I work for IBM Research, but not on any of that.)


I use a standing desk, and hence require a separate keyboard to go with my laptop for proper head & wrist position. I've been searching for a wireless thinkpad keyboard which is a replica of the T series keyboard (with touchpad & dedicated mouse buttons). It seems not many people ask for it and hence they don't make it. I've tried logitech & Microsoft's wireless keyboards, they aren't that much fun to use. Posting it here, in case some keyboard enthusiast has a recommendation I could try.


There's the UltraNav USB Keyboard [1] which is basically a clone of a 2008-era T series keyboard. The trackpad feels a little cramped compared to modern trackpads, and there's no Windows key, but it's still a very nice keyboard. Not wireless, though.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/IBM-UltraNav-Keyboard-Integrated-Point...


Not wireless, and no trackpad, but this is a replica of the best T-Series keyboard and is very good: https://support.lenovo.com/us/en/documents/pd005137


There newer version of this keyboard would then be wireless, but lacks a touchpad. http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/itemdetails/0B47189/460/60AC6A0...


Watch out when shopping for this model. This specific model is tough to find reasonably priced and the current iteration doesn't have a built in USB cord. Instead, it connects via a USB mini-5 that is pretty weak mechanically. I was using mine as a keyboard for my media pc and it broke after two months of fairly normal use.


Why do you want a touchpad as part of your keyboard? Why does it need to be wireless?

A better alternative is to get a mechanical tenkeyless keyboard and a mouse or a 60% keyboard if that's still too big. Learn keyboard shortcuts so you can reduce your reliance on mice.


I use one of these (model's a bit different, but pretty close) every day to write and edit text. I emulate Jef Raskin's Canon Cat navigation model on the trackpad buttons, and it works exceptionally well. If the demand was there, I'd make a commercial version of my text editor to be used with these keyboards. Best thing for writers I've ever used.



It wouldn't surprise me if there were service contracts requiring continued manufacture of the keyboard to insure replacement parts.


Replacement parts are normally made in the same production run as Production parts. You just project the number of replacement/warrenty claims, and build 10% over that.

Cuts the cost of dyes/run times. This is also why replacement parts become next to impossible to find 10-15 years down the line. If they are available they'll become outrageously expensive due to another company purchasing the rights to make spare parts.

Source: Worked as a military contract and sourced engine parts from Level3 Communication.


That's one way to do it. The scale of ThinkPad keyboards may be susceptible to alternative approaches since there's a product line aspect, i.e. many products with interchangeable parts produced over many years.


Engine parts from Level3? Like generators?


Nope transmissions. Level3 purchased a large number of John Deer patients from the 1950's and 60's and produces surplus tank parts.

Well technically its a manufacturing company with their controlling interests owned by Level3. Its very steady predictable revenue. Literally an investor centric board member's wet dream.


Too bad it doesn't have the tricolor IBM logo.


I have had the very same keyboard shown in the article for more than ten years and it still works perfectly, although I was a bit disappointed at the time because it didn't feel quite the ones in the laptops. Lately though, I went all nostalgic and undusted an old IBM 1391405, that clicks like a charm while I am typing this.


>the modern chiclet-key Lenovo equivalents

I kinda like them actually from a tactile point of view.

The trackpads on the Lenovos on the other hand...someone deserves to be shot for that. Same for the person that switched the CTRL and fn keys. Seriously WTF?


there's modern design by a company called Tex that has true mechanical keys plus the center mouse thingy. tex yoda. look it up.

i don't use mine much because they dumbly made it a two buttons mouse only.


Bit unrelated: there are upgrade kits available for Thinkpad laptops - does anyone know if there is a way to replace the motherboard of a 2004-era R40 with something at least a bit faster?


Looking at the Thinkwiki page for the R40 [1] it looks like they come in Celeron, Pentium 4 and Pentium M models. You’d want the 1.7Ghz version of the Pentium M for the best speed I’d think. There’s some talk of changing the motherboard out on an R40 here [2] and there seem to be plenty of motherboards on ebay for cheap.

[1] http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Category:R40 [2] http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=80880


It was kindof a shame when they moved to chiclet keys a few years back. The keystrokes felt much different after that transition, and I can't say it was an improvement.


IBM is still making ThinkPad keyboards...

...and I'm still using one!


Worst part of avoiding further RSI via split keyboard is no more home row fingerable pointer. Now I gotta leave home row to twiddle with mousey thing.


Nothing could be impossibly manufactured at China, e.g. Huaqiangbei Shenzhen. Take it as a friendly reminder from a Chinese. See also the news describing everything could be found at Huaqiangbei (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/gallery/2014/jun/13/hu...)


I have this keyboard. Mine was made in 2008.


I switched to DasKeyboard Ultimate S a few years ago, never looked back to the old IBM ThinkPad keyboards.


no mobile though.

I had the crazy idea of sticking a cubietruck into a ten keyless mechanical keyboard, attaching it to a 10" tft/lcd and adding an adjustable kickstand.

I really do like to have a good keyboard when mobile. :\


This guy went out of his way to buy something with a trackpoint? Surely this is a hoax.


The TrackPoint is God's own pointing device. If He had wanted us to use a mouse, He would have given us a third arm.


Yeah, but the Devil messed with Lenovo's design process when they started trying to ape Apple with their single-piece, absolutely terrible, attempt at a Mac-like touchpad. This makes the trackpoint nearly useless.

Apparently they got back to their senses with the more recent models, though...


Trackpoints are fantastic once you're used to them. Particularly for reading long documents - they had a "scroll mode" button that would let you use the trackpoint to scroll through a document one-handed without moving from the home row. I miss that thing.


You must not be a programmer. Being able to move the mouse and scroll without your hands leaving the home row is genius.


Personally, I use the trackpoint exclusively, up to the point where I have the standalone Lenovo old-style keyboard.


Yep, me too. More productive, and as a bonus I no longer have 'mouse hand' RSI wrist pain. People are missing out.


Back in the late 90s I had a Toshiba Satellite Pro 420 with the green nipple mouse. It was by far better than any touchpad that came along until very recently.

(If anybody knows the actual term other than "nipple mouse" please let me know).


According to https://xkcd.com/243/ it's either TrackPoint(tm) or "clit mouse"



I loved these nipples. Only Apple's trackpad is better than it.


What? Trackpoints are the best. I have a newer T440s with a trackpoint and I use it for everything mouse related.


I know some people that can't use mice without pain. Hence they are trackpoint all the way. I only use the trackpoint on my laptop as well, but I'd rather have my logitech mouse with 'tilt' style wheel.


One of my coworkers has this issue. He brought in a trackball for that reason. Makes sense the trackpoint would be the ideal mouse in a laptop for that reason. No need to move your hands off the home row.




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