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My keyboard addiction

And so, Here I am, Finally acknowledging an issue from which I both suffer and relish. I possess around 50 keyboards, with majority being vintage, and a few modified for use with modern computers. I do not consider myself a collector, nor do I aspire to be one. There is no apparent reason for me to buy so many of them. I am concerned that I may have compulsive buying disorder, as I only seem to stop shopping when I run out of money.

The Beginning

It all started five years ago, I was working for a start-up as a software developer, and was typing a lot on a day-to-day basis. Up until that point, I had been using some cheap Logitech keyboards. However, during a Hackathon, one day, a colleague introduced me to “Mechanical” keyboards. I remember they had a Filco Majestouch TKL, and even though they didn’t bring it to the Hackathon, they talked about it enthusiastically.

This piqued my curiosity, and the very next day, I ordered the CoolerMaster MasterKeys Pro L to give it a try. I was quite noisy, which I found appealing, However, it turned out that the rest of the office didn’t share my enthusiasm for the noise it made. :)

The next year, I changed jobs and moved to a different city. By then, I had started noticing that the MX blues weren’t very suitable for extended gaming sessions. The audible rattle had started to annoy me and was becoming a distraction for my teammates during those gaming sessions. So, I decided to order another keyboard for my home setup, a CoolerMaster MK730. This time, I opted for MX Browns, even though they were considered one of the controversial Cherry MX switches.

In the following year, I changed jobs once again, and the pandemic began. I grew tired of the rattly MX Blues and the scratchy MX Browns. Consequently, I ordered the Drop Ctrl keyboard with Box White switches. I used that keyboard for six months before I became restless and wanted to explore something new.

Vintage Boards

For the longest time, I had been contemplating getting the IBM Model M keyboard, known as the most revered keyboard ever made. I was eager to understand the hype surrounding it. In my quest for a refurbished Model M, I joined the Deskthority forum, which specializes in vintage keyboards.

Soon enough, I acquired two German IBM M122s and one Model F XT. Unfortunately, the Model F had suffered significant damage during its journey from Florida and was in pieces. Nevertheless, I decided to restore it, and it turned out to be better than the other Model Ms I had bought.

To explore more keyboard options, I started collecting more boards. Soon enough, I had added three more Model Ms, a couple of IBM numpads, a Model F AT, and what was then my holy grail: a Beamspring keyboard (3278/3276).

Later that year, I purchased a variety of Alps boards, whites, salmons, blues, and others. I even participated in a group buy for Space Invader keyboards, buying ten of them. Procuring boards from around the world presented its challenges, including dealing with COVID-inflated shipping costs and high customs duties. However, I did manage to make some friends on Deskthority, where fellow enthusiasts assisted me with storing and shipping the boards.

One of the large keyboard shipments

As of now, I have approximately 50 keyboards stored in my closet, and an additional 20 keyboards are with my proxies in various countries.

Modern Boards

After spending time with the Deskthority community, I began to develop a distaste for modern keyboards. They felt dull, repetitive, and lacked character. The problem with vintage keyboards, though, is that they tend to be larger in size. Personally, I prefer smaller keyboards on my desk. I find it challenging to use large boards for extended periods.

However, I managed to acquire a Model F62 from mechmarket not too long ago. It turned out to be perfect for me, featuring my favorite capacitive buckling spring switches. It quickly became my daily driver, and it’s been a great fit for my desk setup.

The real problem

I do enjoy collecting keyboards and experimenting with different models . The real challenge, however, is that I tend to overspend on acquiring them, which has started to impact my financial stability. It’s quite evident, and the solution seems simple: stop buying more keyboards. But it’s actually harder than it sounds, making it one of the most challenging addictions in my life.

What’s strange is that I find joy in owning keyboards, even if I don’t use them. This is unusual for me because I’ve always been someone who gets rid of things I don’t have a use for.

Engaging in keyboard communities hasn’t helped the situation either. Instead, being part of these communities has fueled my desire to acquire more keyboards, seeking recognition and acknowledgment. Leaving these communities feels difficult now, especially since I’ve made friends there and don’t want to sever those connections.

An interim solution

To sum it up, while collecting keyboards has been fun, it’s also been costly. But now, I have a new project in mind. I own about 25 keyboards that don’t work with today’s computers, so I’m planning to convert them to work with modern ones. It’s not as easy or immediately satisfying as buying new keyboards, but it’s a challenge I’m excited about. Plus, it’s a way for me to keep enjoying my hobby while also making my collection more useful.