Time Travel Adventure Today…from a Computer Keyboard???

Today I discovered mechanical computer keyboards.  Or maybe I should say that I “rediscovered” them.

The best part is the sound.  Just as music can bring back memories in an instant, this thing’s high decibel clickity-clack transported me back to Fall 1989…to the computer lab in Grote Hall at The University of TN at Chattanooga — where I pounded for hours among my fellow freshman Computer Science majors on these enormous steel beige computer keyboards attached to very intimidating IBM green screens.  Long before the “PC” had anything to do with computing.

I had been looking for a replacement keyboard for some time now because mine is forever getting the CONTROL key stuck and causing all manner of trouble.  Undoubtedly, it is from my disgusting habit of eating all manner of food while I work.  Anyway, when I went online to shop, I did as I often do and selected to sort prices from HIGH to LOW — it’s this twisted thing I do to remind myself that I’m only barely middle class.

61Xsajt0QgL._SL1000_

Razer “BlackWidow” Gaming Keyboard

Anyway, these amazing keyboards have somehow escaped me before now.  Here’s how they differ:

“Modern” Keyboards

      • Most modern keyboards consist of a printed “membrane” looking something like a flexible circuit board with little bubbles where each key will touch.  
      • Modern keys themselves have little protrusions downward toward the membrane — connecting the electrical leads on the top and the bottom when the bubble is squished and creating a signal indicating that the key was pressed.  The keys themselves have no electronic value; you could pop them off and type with a toothpick, if you wanted.  That’s why a lot of modern keyboards can actually be washed on the top rack of the dishwasher!
      • Modern keyboards get confused when too much of the membrane gets squished.  This upsets gamers who are trying to send complicated key combinations in rapid succession.

“Mechanical” Keyboards

    • Mechanical keyboards harken back to the days of the mainframe, when it was still expensive and hard to imprint electrical pathways onto membranes.  Everything was about mechanical switches.
    • Each key is an actual electrical circuit — a mechanical switch just like a lightswitch…only with springs to push them back up after you let go.
    • Unlike the squishy membrane, the number of simultaneous keystrokes is limited only by the wiring of the keyboard itself — making gamers excited to no end.
    • Because of the additional “parts”, the keyboards tend to weigh much more than the moderm versions.  Think cast iron baking dish.  Seriously.

Anyway, I’m beyond excited that my new Razer BlackWidow keyboard arrived today.  It seriously looks and feels like it should be part of the command center of the Death Star.  It weighs about 10 pounds or more.  

As I prefaced this, I must say that the best part is the sound.  Just as music can bring back memories in an instant, this thing’s high decibel clickity-clack transported me back to Fall 1989…to the computer lab in Grote Hall at The University of TN at Chattanooga — where I pounded for hours among my fellow freshmen Computer Science majors on these enormous steel beige computer keyboards attached to very intimidating IBM green screens.  Long before the “PC” had anything to do with computing. NICE.