Crazy Keyboards!

Performa

Well-known member
I have a thing for unusual keyboards, and thought a thread detailing some of the oddballs I've picked up and some of the oddities I've seen out on eBay and Craigslist might be kinda fun!



Starting off strong, here in the collection, is the PC Gamer's Ultimate Weapon... or so the joke has been going for a while. The Winnie The Pooh Bear Child Learning Keyboard (sold from 1998-2000-ish) is a plain rubber dome PS/2 keyboard with a weird shape, Pooh Bear "font" keycaps, and Pooh Bear himself with his friends on the board. Unlike other "kids" keyboards, which usually feature more "chunky" keys, a reduced keyset, or waterproofing features- this has none of that. All the Windows keys are present, the keys are exactly the same size as any other "normal" PS/2 keyboard, and there's no effort to spill-proof this keyboard at all. It was nightmarishly filthy when I first got it back in 2019, and even after a lot of work, some of the keys don't work.

All that said, it did come to the first Stevens Point RoboCup show in 2021, and will probably come out again for future events. It's just too strange not to.
 

Performa

Well-known member
Spotted on eBay, the "Bloomberg Terminal Keyboard"



Looks like it incorporates extra keys for special functions, and a fingerprint scanner of some sort under the number pad.
 

Performa

Well-known member
Many thanks to @DeanG for helping us score this one, it's a Bella Pro Series keyboard, designed for video editing professionals. This one is set up for use with Final Cut Pro, which lucky for us, was the editing program my father used extensively on all of his Power Macintosh G4 machines.



The keys all function as shortcut keys within the software, and includes a two-function jog wheel that allow you to move around the file either in small steps, or even frame-by-frame using the center wheel with the finger indents.

It's very cool, but probably not practical for a show. We can definitely get together to play with it if anyone is interested!
 

Performa

Well-known member
Back in 1873, a newspaper editor from Kenosha Wisconsin devised a new keyboard layout, which was then sold to Remington, where it became the global standard in the English speaking world to the modern day. Wikipedia article on it HERE. Rumor has it that you can (allegedly) type faster on the pre-Qwerty alphabetical keyboard, and this rumor has led quite a few contemporary startups to try and strike it rich selling alphabetical keyboards. This is one of them!





This is the Fast Finger Model 2 (no idea what happened to the model 1) "hunt and peck" keyboard, with a copyright date of 2008. Fast Finger, a small Philadelphia-based startup, appears to have sold this and a few other generic keyboards and other computer accessories until about 2012 when all mention of them disappears as far as my research can tell. It's not clear whether they went bankrupt, were bought out, or just closed up shop and disappeared. All the same, they made enough of these to last a while, as new old stock (like this one) can be had online for $20 or less from a variety of online stores as of this writing.

It's a rather "plain" (and extremely lightweight) keyboard, bordering on "cheap" or even "flimsy" in some spots- I'd imagine the little "feet" it uses to stand up on would break off quite easily, and the little silver function keys on the very top row feel as though they could easily become stuck under the shell of the keyboard with how much they wiggle. I wouldn't want to use this everyday for that reason alone- but the real star is of course, the crazy keyboard layout.



I suppose if you'd never taken a typing class before, typing on this might be marginally easier than a "regular" keyboard, but learning on this would place you at a significant disadvantage when interacting with almost every other keyboard out there- including on smartphones, terminals, and more. Additionally, it features cell phone style abbreviations on the function keys: ASAP, CYA, LOL... which is all the more puzzling- I've never seen a keyboard with that sort of functionality before. Just plain weird!
 

Performa

Well-known member
Speaking of the Fast Finger again, it would be awful to try and play most pc games on that. We may have to put that to the test at one of our next shows!
 

Performa

Well-known member
There are a couple large print keyboards at Rapids Goodwill. Expecting them to hit the 99 cent aisle..
Nice! I see them hit the northside Goodwill every now and again, but they usually disappear pretty quick, even for their higher asking prices. Interesting that it's different in Rapids.
 
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