Once upon a time, I received the gift of my first very own PC from doting parents. Whilst this was long after getting my first computer (the first was an amazing Acorn A3000, fondly called "The Beast") I still remember the PC's specs well: a Pentium III 450 (on a riser card!), Voodoo Banshee, 128 MB of blazing SDRAM and a 10 GB hard drive. ("I'll never fill all this disk space...")
However, the best thing about that computer: the humble keyboard. After using one ages before getting my own, I knew immediately it was an awesome peripheral. The Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite (model A11-00337, M/N E06402COMB) is just about everything a hardcore computer-er-y person would ever want: incredibly ergonomic; devoid of a zillion pointless 'hotkey' and Function buttons; a lovely muted yet definitive keypress response, a wrist rest angled 'just right'... and even made in Mexico. Â¡OlÃ©!
This little keyboard is a resilient little bugger and it's still trucking. Just some of its previous adventures:
- Half a dozen LAN parties
- Half a dozen housemoves
- Years of frustrated / angry / drunk / careless / overzealous users... (Well, user)
- An entire pint of orange juice (poured into it by yours truly, by accident)
- Countless knocks, drops and bumps, some from considerable height
- Several kilos of toast
- Evidently, several pounds of hair, or two tribbles (we'll get to that)
Add to that the fact that it's both PS/2 (USB with included adapter) AND off-white plastic (mine's beige from age!), all being told it should have died a long time ago. HOWEVER, it just refuses to go! It's amazing and I think I may actually have real feelings of love and concern for this keyboard. Or I might be drunk again. Who can tell.
The only thing it's missing are its little rubber feet from the underside of the front, easily solved with a little bit of (vintage) bluetack. I think you can even reorder those parts from Microsoft.
ANYWAY! I began to wonder, 'what's inside my favourite keyboard of all time? Perhaps it would work like a boxfresh unit if I took it apart and hosed out the rubbish?' (because when you can hear crumbs rattling round inside, it's time to get the desk-vac). Soon, nothing else was to be done except take it apart. And take it apart I did...