December 27th, 2004, 05:32
Its pretty late, if youre lazy read the last paragraph. Otherwise, prepare for a mountain dew inspired rant about a keyboard

The Breakdown:
Recently, the ps2 port on my main workstation died meaning my beloved IBM Model M was no longer functional. I considered the option of getting a usb->ps2 converter, but deceided to get a new keyboard. Having heard good things about the Happy Hacker series of keyboards, I deceided to go for it. After ordering one from and waiting one short week for delivery, I had a brand new black Happy Hacker Lite 2 USB.

First Impressions:
This thing is small. Really small. To give you a rough idea, its the height of a cd, and the width of about 2 and a third cd's. Im a crazy college student who uses cd's as units of measurement. The next thing one notices is the layout of the keys. There are serveral switches in the back with which one can do things like toggle between the primary function of the delete key vs the backspace key. After observing this attention to detail, I went to work at testing out the new configuration.

Differences. is what this guy looks like,
Most of the differences are easily seeable, and not really that big of a deal. The biggest change is obviously the control key in the place of caps lock. A note about my previous set up: I use ion, and I had rebound my caps lock key to be the modifier key for ion. My Model M did not have the equivalent of a windows key, so now with a windows key I now have a mod for ion. Hence, my biggest thing getting used to was the moved control key. Let it be know that I use keystrokes obessivly. I find most programs use control + a key to do keystrokes, and with easier access to the control key this is making things like new tabs in firefox a lot easier. Hence, this is a Good Thing(t). One last very nice feature is the ability to use the fn + arrow keys as page up/down, home, and end.

Coming from the metalic springs of the Model M, the keyboard felt spongy, however in comparison to most of keyboards I use it feels quite crisp and nice. I got used to the feel of the keyboard rather quickly, and have since gotten quite used to it.

I didnt fall in love with the keyboard, but it is certainlly a soild, good keyboard. I think my typing speed has improved, and I certinaly like the reagrangment of the keys. Even if you dont buy the HHL2 I would suggest that you rebind caps lock to control for a couple of days, just to see how much you enjoy it. The only thing Im not used to is the moving of the "\" and "~" keys, they still give me a bit of trouble, but I imagine in time they'll work themselves out. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them.

December 27th, 2004, 09:23
The biggest change is obviously the control key in the place of caps lock.

Ahh, a true Unix keyboard.... Its always hard spending time on a sparc kb, then moving back to intel where everything is backwards like that =)

December 27th, 2004, 10:56
Ahh, a true Unix keyboard....
Hey! You're right you know. It sort-of looks like somebody hacked away the monitor from an old ADM-31 (Lear Siegler) and the keyboard is all that's left. I must have been really annoyed to have to relearn the control key position when IBM PC keyboards came along. But they are ubiquitous now. Even the two Mac keyboards I have here duplicate the familiar "104 key" layout. I don't think I'd want to relearn a "new" control key layout yet again!

December 27th, 2004, 11:17
Excellent review, molotov! I'm impressed. Might need to get one and learn some new habits. Looks like it would fit well in my laptop bag, too. (I hate laptop keyboards: wrong placement, wrong size, wrong angle, etc.)

December 27th, 2004, 17:46
Appreciate the review, molotov. I've now got a HHKBL on order :smile:

I think this was my favorite line of the review:
Im a crazy college student who uses cd's as units of measurement.

That's classic. I can see you/someone lining up cd's and saying "That's about right" haha!

December 27th, 2004, 20:33
Glad to hear. Shoot me a PM or post a follow up telling me/us what you think of it. Second opinions are always good. Give it a bit, took me a couple hours to get used to. Also, if you ordered from Linux Central, they take like a week and a half to ship it. Buggers.

January 10th, 2005, 03:07
The placement of the control key was different at first, but I now find it more natural. I'm still getting used to "~`" as well as "|". The construction of the keyboard is pretty solid, which is important for me because I've been carrying it around in the backpack and probably not treating it with the most care as possible (I'm stress testing it :P). Also, I really like that the usb cable from the keyboard isn't too short. It's probably a 6 foot cable. There are 2 usb uplink ports on the keyboard as well. I purchased an inexpensive optical mouse to use with it. I'm now on the carpet with the keyboard and mouse (carpets are good mouse pads for optical).
I can carry the hhkbl2, laptop, mouse, etc in the backpack with no problems.

here's 2 more pictures that I took...

January 10th, 2005, 07:48
Speaking of small keyboards, I'd like to have one of these ( :icon_smil