Questions tagged [keyboards]

For questions about the maintenance, usage, or history of retro keyboards.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How ZX Spectrum avoided key ghosting

Was ZX spectrum better at handling than later PCs-keyboards without having diodes in its key matrix? I encountered this comment on ycombinator but I fail to understand it. Couldn't be Speccy method ...
9
votes
2answers
694 views

Was there an input device capable of entering all Algol 60 symbols with correct appearance?

This question was inspired by recent discussion on early keyboards and character sets, and mention in passing about how the COBOL designers were concerned about not using "non-existent" ...
33
votes
4answers
8k views

Why do keyboards have an asterisk?

While we're all accustomed to using * as the multiplication symbol (not to mention other esoteric meanings in programming) it is of course not actually the everyday standard symbol for multiplication. ...
16
votes
2answers
4k views

Why is there only one PS/2 port on my computer?

I have an old computer from around 1995. It's from a computer brand that I've never heard of called Samanna Compu-Solutions. I am unsure of the model. The problem is, I only have one PS/2 port to work ...
3
votes
3answers
257 views

When and Which (PC) Keyboards Introduced Browser and/or Multimedia Keys to Windows

Background: Multimedia/Internet keys are additional function keys on PC keyboards that either invoke specific applications like browser, e-mail, media player, etc. or invoked certain function for ...
8
votes
6answers
7k views

Why do keyboards with a NumPad repeat the numbers?

This question is related to this one. I realise not all keyboards have the NumPad, but why do those who do have a NumPad have two sets of keys for numbers ( the numbers above the letters and below the ...
17
votes
8answers
4k views

Were there any parallel port keyboards?

I was reading this QA ( Why is the clock frequency of the PS/2 keyboard protocol so high? ) and read in the replies that a high frequency was chosen (at least in-part) to reduce the latency between a ...
120
votes
5answers
14k views

Why is the keyboard and cellphone / telephone numbers in a different order?

Cellphone / Telephone have the seven bottom-left and the one top-left. While the keyboard has the seven top-left and the one bottom-left How did this come to be? Is there an interesting computing ...
33
votes
4answers
8k views

Why is the clock frequency of the PS/2 keyboard protocol so high?

The PS/2 keyboard protocol allows the keyboard to generate a clock rate between 10 kHz and 16.7 kHz. At 11 bits per scancode, 10 kHz is a massive 909 scancodes per second. World-record holder Barbara ...
4
votes
1answer
486 views

Z80 PIO Keyboard

I am working on designing a Z80 computer and I would like to use a PS/2 Keyboard for input. I would like to use a PIO to communicate with it, but I am having trouble finding any documentation online ...
1
vote
1answer
61 views

Part number / model for IBM PC 350 keyboard

what was the part number or model of the original keyboard shipped with IBM PC 350? Trying to restore the full set.
3
votes
1answer
60 views

What is _KBSE (Keyboard Sense) signal in CDTV and what is it used for

I just managed to unmod CDTV keyboard (swapped wires for CD32) with community's help, but the original wire was gone, so I'm left without _KBSE signal connected. It seems the system doesn't mind. What ...
3
votes
1answer
129 views

How to unmod CDTV keyboard

I have a CDTV keyboard that someone modded to work with CD32. There are no bridges or extra components on the board, however pinout was changed at the board - wire connector and I'm not sure how to ...
3
votes
2answers
105 views

Which Commodore CDTV models came with keyboard with grey caps

I've noticed on the Big Book of Amiga Hardware site, that CDTV keyboard came in 2 versions, one with black caps, one with grey ones. Which one came first and with which model of CDTV?
0
votes
1answer
63 views

keyboard not operating electronica-bk-0100-01

I own a Electronica-bk-0100-01. I have only got around to connecting it up. Before that I opened up the system, checked for bad tracks, obvious issue etc. I also checked the end to end of the ...
0
votes
0answers
26 views

Keyboard binding/macro file format for Avant Stellar keyboard

I have a backup of a keymapping/macro configuration from an old Avant Stellar keyboard that was used with some legacy accounting software. The backup is a small .KBD file that I believe contains some ...
3
votes
2answers
146 views

How do I navigate the boot menu in later model Spectrum emulators?

35 years ago I had an original 48K Sinclair ZX Spectrum. I never had any of the Plus or 128K models and practically never even touched one as I moved onto the Amiga quite early. I'm now playing with ...
5
votes
1answer
218 views

Trying to use IBM model F (5 pin DIN) with modern Windows PC

I have a vintage IBM Model F which I just bought from eBay, that I am trying to connect to my new Windows Pc. I ordered a DIN to Ps/2 converter from Newegg, because I my pc has a combined ps/2 port, ...
0
votes
1answer
91 views

Keys on Omnikey Inverted T Ultra

On my Inverted T ultra keyboard, the SF9 key and the number pad asterisk (*) keys perform the same function; the num pad equal (=) key and the F7 keys are similarly tied together. I don't know if this ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

Keys on Omnikey Inverted T Ultra Keyboard [duplicate]

Omnikey Keyboard I have an omnikey inverted T Ultra keyboard. The SF9 key and the number pad asterisk keys perform the same function. The num pad equal key and the F7 keys are similarly tied together. ...
56
votes
2answers
5k views

Why was the return key symbol ⏎ drawn differently from the motion of a CR-LF?

In the operating system (DOS) of IBM PCs, newlines were represented by a carriage return (CR) character, followed by a line feed (LF) character. The motion of a printer or teletype receiving such a ...
27
votes
4answers
8k views

Why are the homing bumps on D and K on Apple keyboards?

Some Apple keyboards, such as the Apple //e, some early Macintosh models, and the venerable Apple Extended Keyboard have the homing bumps on the D and K keys instead of the standard F and J keys that ...
26
votes
3answers
2k views

What do the '80/40' and 'keyboard' buttons on my Apple IIc do?

Above the keyboard of my Apple IIc there are two buttons that say "80/40" and "Keyboard". On my machine, they both kinda feel broken. When I press them, they recede into the case and remain there for ...
7
votes
2answers
534 views

Why did the Sinclair QL keyboard lack a Delete key?

It seems like an odd key to omit, given how frequently used it is and given that both the Spectrum + and 128 have one, which acts like backspace does on a modern PC. They could have swapped it for two ...
3
votes
1answer
375 views

How I can install Windows 98SE in Hyper-V, but can't run it after

Create the Gen 1 machine with less than 512MiB Ram (above requires you to put MaxFileCache=524288 and MaxPhysPage=40000 in the system.ini later). Add either a virtual or physical IDE drive (physical ...
1
vote
1answer
274 views

How to make old keyboard more responsive

Have an old (HP Omnibook from 1993+) keyboard that feels too sluggish. It takes a little bit too much effort to press the buttons. There is no difference between individual buttons. This particular ...
3
votes
2answers
414 views

Did the BBC ask for any unusual key colors on the BBC Micro?

Perhaps the most visually distinctive feature of the BBC Micro is the row of red function keys on the keyboard. I don't know who came up with that. I could swear I read somewhere that the BBC asked ...
12
votes
2answers
751 views

Did the Oric-1 improve on the Spectrum's keyboard?

So I've been whiling away some of a quiet Saturday night reading up on an early eighties computer called the Oric-1, which seems to be a curious little machine that has been largely unsung; moderately ...
9
votes
1answer
424 views

How do I clean/refurbish an Apple IIc Keyboard?

My Apple IIc is what appears to be the first US model: A2S4000 with version 255 ROMs. The keyboard PCB is marked 820 0108 03 ©1983, and the keyswitches are the "cross" type as seen below, without any ...
1
vote
2answers
166 views

ASCII ASA X3.4-1963 and Finite State Machines?

I'm reviewing the historical original ASCII standard. There are many control characters. Does anyone know the history of them and where finite state machines that made use of them may be documented? ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

On what Apple II and II+ keyboards can the ']' character be generated?

It had long been my impression that while brackets [ and ] could be displayed by the Apple II, the standard Apple II keyboard was not capable of generating them. Some time ago I noticed that on this ...
3
votes
1answer
300 views

What were Commodore's keyboard layouts before the VIC-20?

Starting in 1980 the VIC-20 keyboard seems to have become sort of a standard for Commmodore, being re-used on the MAX Machine (in membrane form), C64, C16 and (with additional keys added) the 128. ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Replacing cord for IBM model M keyboard

I bought a model m keyboard for use at work. The keyboard functions fine, but the cord is in bad shape. Functionally, the cord does not cause any shorts, but the plastic is very brittle and large ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does PAUSE key have a long make code and no break code?

On IBM keyboards, scan code sets 1 and 2 have a long make code and lack a break code for the Pause/Break key. Moreover, when Ctrl is pressed, the make code is different, although break code still ...
11
votes
3answers
531 views

Commodore 64 with partly working keyboard (part 2)

I have a C64 that has recently stopped responding to two 'columns' of keys, namely '9,0' 'i,o' 'j,k' and 'n,m' - I've swapped the CIA chips (U1 and U2) to no effect, so I pulled a keyboard from a ...
41
votes
6answers
9k views

How did the SysRq key get onto modern keyboards if it's rarely used?

Was the SysRq key ever used on any common operating system? Google tells me it wasn't. But then how did it end up on so many keyboards?
6
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I use my adapted PS2 keyboard & mouse on a windows 10 computer?

I want to use my old PS/2 mouse & keyboard with my Dell Latitude, which has no PS/2 ports. I am fully aware that the easiest way to do this would to use an active PS/2 to USB converter, like this ...
69
votes
5answers
12k views

Why wasn't ASCII designed with a contiguous alphanumeric character order?

Anyone who has dealt with strings at a low level (e.g., writing a parser in C), knows that doing so tends to involve frequent checks of—either manually, or through isalpha(), isalnum(), etc—whether a ...
7
votes
2answers
201 views

What combinations of modifier keys can you detect on an Apple II?

Apple II computers other than the IIgs (which uses ADB) have a hardwired keyboard combined with the paddle/joystick ports for input. What combinations of modifier keys can you detect? I know that the ...
2
votes
3answers
391 views

What are some notable historic keyboard designs with unusual colours? [closed]

I remember that many older computer or terminal keyboards were quite colorful, and apart from grey and white, often featured some orange, red, green or blue keys. I have seen some in computing centers ...
0
votes
1answer
228 views

What was the first keyboard to have browser forward/back keys?

I know they have been around for a long time, for example this 2003 commit has support for them. What was the first...?
34
votes
2answers
3k views

Why did the C64 have ← and ↑ as dedicated keys?

I've always wondered why the Commmodore 64 had discrete keys dedicated for the ← and ↑ symbols. If I remember correctly, they weren't used in BASIC at all, and were not very useful for drawing, ...
42
votes
3answers
3k views

Why are the symbols on the number keys of PC & Mac keyboards different to ASCII keyboards?

On a US-layout PC keyboard, the symbols above the number keys are as follows: Whereas the keyboard on an Apple II is different: Note, for example, the '(' and ')' symbols are now above 8 and 9, and '...
28
votes
3answers
6k views

Why separate cursor keys?

The original IBM PC keyboard didn't have separate cursor keys; the numeric keypad doubled as such. It wasn't long, however, until a new keyboard was introduced that did have separate cursor keys (so ...
5
votes
4answers
643 views

What is the basic logic behind the setting or ordering of keys in a keyboard?

I am a computer science student. I mostly work with computers and I am really wondering about the layout of keys in a keyboard. It is comfortable and easy. My question is this: what is the basic ...
15
votes
4answers
6k views

How can I connect a modern USB keyboard to a system requiring PS/2?

I have a DEC VT525 terminal base (recently repaired) that requires a PS/2 keyboard. The Digital OEM keyboard was a LK 411, with a PS/2 plug. There was also a PC-style keyboard available. I could get ...
6
votes
1answer
326 views

Use of E,S,D and X for cursor movement

The standard cursor movement keys on the TI-99/4, /4A and apparently /8 were Function + E (for up), S (for left), D (for right), and X (for down). These keys were also often used (without needing the ...
2
votes
2answers
416 views

Cost of a chiclet keyboard

Early personal computer keyboards could be membrane (Atari 400, ZX80, ZX81), chiclet (PET 2001, ZX Spectrum, Oric, IBM PC Jr) or mechanical/full-travel (later PET, Apple II, TRS-80, Vic-20, and most ...
8
votes
1answer
804 views

Who established the original F1 desktop BIOS key and why did laptops use a different key?

It seems early on IBM, MS, and DOS clones established a standard of holding the F1 key down during boot to access the BIOS setup. Yes there were a few much less common combinations that used the DEL (...
9
votes
2answers
964 views

What were the selling points of the Atari 800 over the 400?

Apparently when the two Atari 8-bit machines were released, the 400 outsold the 800 2 to 1, which is unsurprising considering they were priced at approximately $500 and $1000 respectively. Indeed, ...