Urgent Keyboard Recommendations Solicited!

Hi all,

I think I want to cry. My loyal Macally Icekey keyboard just broke - the “i” key has failed and, removing the key, I have confirmed that it is completely knacked (an ironic key to go seeing as I do like to talk about myself). I bought this keyboard on the recommendation of folk here several years ago and I have loved it - it has been my favourite keyboard to type on. I am therefore temporarily on the flat aluminium atrocity that came with my Mac Pro, and my fingers are already cramping. And much to my distress, I can’t seem to buy a Macally Icekey replacement anywhere here in the UK - goodness knows why.

Therefore, do any of you folk have any recommendations for a great keyboard? This forum is full of people who type all day, so I’m figuring plenty of you will have opinions on this - and if it helps at all, I have skinny pianist’s fingers (although I cannot play the piano). So, y’know, something to fit them.

Or, if anyone knows where I can get a Macally IceKey in the UK, please point me in the right direction.


All the best,

Keith, I’ve been far from my Das Keyboard III Ultimate for months, and I really miss it. Solid, precise, with a great tactile and auditive feedback. I can recommend it.


Don’t know if this is what you are after, but it was the first UK result I could find.

laptopstuff.co.uk/p/Macally_ … yboard.htm

Thanks for the recommendation Paolo. Scylax - unfortunately it’s not in stock; if you search for “IceKey” on the same site, nothing comes up. Fortunately, however, someone just sent me an e-mail with a recommendation for a US company that has the IceKey in stock and ships internationally, so I’ve just ordered a replacement from there. Amazing how much difference a keyboard makes. I will take a look at the Das Keyboard III Ultimate too though.

Thanks again,

Sorry! That’ll teach me to try to research at that time of day (maybe :slight_smile: )

I’m glad you’ve found a supplier though :slight_smile:

Correct me if I’m wrong on this, Paolo, but isn’t the Das Keyboard either buckling spring, or a similar technology? If so, sound may be a factor to consider with it. I love my Model M keyboard, but you can’t really work late with that thing, in the same way you have to set aside a typewriter for the night, unless you live alone.

Hi Ioa,

Yes, the Das uses the noisiest brown Cherry spring machanics. Less noisy than a Model M, it is still noisy as hell. It is particularly funny when you are on Skype, and you are asked from the other side if there is war at your home. Das also makes a “silent model”, but I’m not sure the feeling of the other mechanism is preserved.

As for writing at night: I do it with no complains from the neighbors, but my studio is moderately soundproofed, and there is a bathroom between my fingers and the nearest sleeping room.


For those who like a silky touch with just the right bit of snappy feedback, and silent operation, there is an unconventional, universal keyboard: the AlphaSmart “Neo” and the AlphaSmart “Dana.” Most users agree that these are outstanding touch-typing keyboards. (The Dana is available quite cheaply on eBay as used units.)

They also work splendidly as portable writing keyboards (their intended use). Both connect via USB.

After I got my MacBook, I standardized on its keyboard layout and feel for all my computing. Since I’m not the greatest of typists, that helps my speed and accuracy.

For my iMac I replaced a full-sized Apple USB keyboard with Apple’s compact USB keyboard. (I never used the numeric keypad. Selling the old keyboard, covered most of the cost of a new one.) That saved space and gave me exactly the same key arrangement for desktop and laptop. And for uses to be determined, I also picked up Apple’s nifty little Bluetooth keyboard. It works with my iPhone and I’m hoping the next version of Kindle reader will include BT keyboard support.

Buying them new would be a bit more than my budget would like, but I managed to pick them up on the grey-market for about half-price. The ads said there might be minor cosmetic flaws, so I suspect they came from lots that Apple QC rejected. Both have worked fine and only one had a tiny ding in the aluminum.

The USB keyboard came from Other World Computing and was $23.99 at the time. I forget where the BT keyboard came from, but it was probably Meritline, Megamacs or Surplus Computers, since they send me bargain emails. All occasionally offer good deals on keyboard protectors too. There’s no need to pay $20 for one of those. If you see a good deal, grab it quickly since they tend to sell out fast, particularly the BT keyboard.

I find it does help to be using identical keyboards. particularly for keys that require a reach like Delete and the arrow keys.

Also, whatever route you take, if your budget is tight you may want to watch for a good deal to appear on:


In the case of keyboards, you can search for discounts using “keyboard” as a search term. Sometimes you can come up with major savings.

Since keyboards are up for discussion, and I am in the process of buying a new keyboard, I hope someone is able to comment on experiences with the Realforce 86UB Tenkeyless (Gray/Black) sold at EliteKeyboards. Or any other topre-based keyboard.

A while ago I bought myself a Filco keyboard:
“Majestouch” Filco TenKey-less Black keyboard, tactile silent BROWN Cherry keyswitches, 87-key mini-layout, N-Key rollover, w/USB cable and PS/2 converter
It’s just lovely.

Here’s a photo, attached.

If you really want to get fanatical about keyboards, check this site:


John Tranter

I was googling for an ergonomic keyboard and I bumped into this thing. The explanation why it’s ergonomic (keeping your hands in natural position) sounds plausible. You have to be able to touch-type ofcourse.
website: safetype.com

Wouldn’t that mean you had to support the weight of your forearms while you type instead of having the table take the weight through a wrist rest?

I was taught to touch-type with my arms (and wrists) off of any surface. I believe it’s supposed to be bad ergonomics to anchor your wrists to a surface, though I can’t back this up with anything references. That said, I’ve abandoned the “floating wrists” style of typing long ago. I can’t keep my fingers homed if my arms can waver as they get tired.

I think I’ve said this before, but just looking at that safetype thing gives me anxiety.

Mr Coffee,

Anxiety should not be part of our make up (our make up kit, yes, personality, no). For those of us infatuated with the pursuit of alternate forms of exercise should know that a little bit of activity does wonders to alleviate even the most ardent forms of this stress based state.

So take heart! Find some time to relax. All you need a stout cudgel, a quite place to work, and properly prepared subject.

Have a good time.

@John Trantner:

How quiet are those things? I have a Tactile Pro 2 that’s loud as hell, and hard to use at night (wakes dogs and wives. Well, dog and wife.) I need a night keyboard and the Filco seems to fit the bill.

I’ll have to overcome my aversion to black keyboards though. (Black keyboards and coffee in clear mugs. Hate em.)


I’m seeking help.

I run. A lot. It’s not even running, it’s more like fleeing. Here’s some advice: if you’re trying to rid yourself of anxiety through exercise, don’t listen to Merlin Mann podcasts while you’re doing it. He seems like a swell guy, but gosh.

I thought of you the other day when I decided I wanted an avatar on this site. I spent two hours looking for a picture of a straw man beating a dead horse. More advice: don’t ever google that.


In all seriousness re that keyboard, imagining typing on it actually kind of freaks me out a little. It feels like my brain won’t know how to find my hands.

Mr Coffee,

You may need to seek additional help after that image search.

That keyboard seems like a bad idea. Wouldn’t it be simpler and more reliable to use alternate input? Voice, teenage slave labor, direct neural manipulation? A slightly more realistic option might be that “key pad” that was available for computer assisted performances back in the 90’s (I never used it but I saw it a few times). Basically you had small segments of keys that you could place in available space and assign various values too. You could configure and place a will. You just build what works for you.

For me it really should be nothing but delete keys…

I know what’s bugging me about it now: I can touch type, I do it all day, but that thing makes you touch type, which seems utterly wrong to me. I don’t want to look at my hands when I type, but I want to be able to. By forcing you to do a thing you do naturally, it makes you think about that thing. It’s like when you’re reading and then you think to yourself “I’m reading. I’m translating symbols into words.” It’s like that. Kind of.

Okay, now I can’t type or read. I’m gonna go watch tv.

[size=85]Don’t think about breathing. In. Out. Great.[/size]