Author Topic: IBM Model M via PS/2 to USB, no Windows/Command Key  (Read 1014 times)

Offline TheGrandPubaa

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IBM Model M via PS/2 to USB, no Windows/Command Key
« on: November 10, 2018, 07:49:12 PM »
I lucked out and found a working IBM Model M keyboard at a thrift store that I would like to use with my Mac Mini running OS 9, but it's from 1984 and lacks the Windows key that typically maps to the Command key on a Macintosh. Googling this particular issue has proven tricky given the generic nature of the keywords, so I apologize if the answers I seek were easy to find and otherwise obvious.

I'm using a PS/2 mouse and keyboard to USB adapter I picked up from Amazon that seems to work fine on my PC and my Mac Mini - I can pull up the link to the actual product if necessary. Plugged into it are the aforementioned IBM Model M and a Logitech Marble Mouse two-button trackball. My basic goal was to find some kind of software that would allow me to remap the (missing) Command key to another key on my keyboard(maybe an unused Function key) through software. I've tried to use Key Swapper, which crashes instantly when I try to load it, and QuicKey, which in some cases causes Finder to force quit and in others seems to hardlock my system during startup(after the desktop appears but before the Finder windows can display) but in all cases ends up freezing my system. In the case of QuicKey, i've tried creating a new base Mac OS 9 set of extensions and enabling just QuicKey aside from the base extensions, but this hasn't changed the freezing results.

Are there any other applications/control panels I could try to remap one of my existing keys to take the place of the Command key?

Offline TheGrandPubaa

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Re: IBM Model M via PS/2 to USB, no Windows/Command Key
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2018, 10:09:52 PM »
Just a slight followup. OS X Tiger has a built in function for swapping around the various modifiers keys, so I was at least able to swap option(alt in this case) for the missing command key. I'm going to mess around with an early version of Karabiner to see about possibly taking advantage of some of my otherwise useless function keys so that I can have option as well as command, but this works reasonably well for my Tiger SD card install. I'm still looking for any possible solutions for Mac OS 9, though.

Offline macStuff

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Re: IBM Model M via PS/2 to USB, no Windows/Command Key
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2018, 04:05:20 AM »
honestly...
i would say use that keyboard for a windows machine and get a real mac keyboard.from a performa or something off ebay to scratch that itch
sell it on ebay and buy a mac keyboard along wit ADB to USB adapter (Griffin Imate)
or just find yourself an old AT form factor 486 or early pentium.
i just built a pentium 75 from parts that were given to me! 1996

Offline TheGrandPubaa

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Re: IBM Model M via PS/2 to USB, no Windows/Command Key
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2018, 08:13:17 AM »
Thanks for the advice! I would love to find a similarly priced mechanical Apple keyboard with a similarly priced USB adapter, but ADB to USB is an expensive proposition, and the keyboard itself typically also goes for around 50 dollars per my last search on eBay. I picked up this IBM Model M for 3 dollars, and the PS/2 to USB adapter only cost around 8 dollars, so as you can see, it's way cheaper. But you can rest assured that if I can find an inexpensive Apple mechanical keyboard with the appropriate adapters and it makes sense for me to buy it at the time, I will surely use it.

Offline GaryN

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Re: IBM Model M via PS/2 to USB, no Windows/Command Key
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2018, 03:59:49 PM »
Where do you live? In the San Francisco area Craigslist yields listings for all manner of Apple keyboards - wired and wireless for as little as $20.
Maybe a little networking and or saving up a few bucks is your best plan. It is illogical (yuk yuk) to configure such a Rube Goldberg setup on the most-used and critical peripheral component. Do whatever it takes… Get an Apple keyboard.

Offline TheGrandPubaa

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Re: IBM Model M via PS/2 to USB, no Windows/Command Key
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2018, 10:01:17 PM »
Where do you live? In the San Francisco area Craigslist yields listings for all manner of Apple keyboards - wired and wireless for as little as $20.
Maybe a little networking and or saving up a few bucks is your best plan. It is illogical (yuk yuk) to configure such a Rube Goldberg setup on the most-used and critical peripheral component. Do whatever it takes… Get an Apple keyboard.

Hi there, thanks for your advice and observations. I do not live in the Bay area or anywhere close to something that you could remotely consider to be a Macintosh-heavy area, sadly. I do envy the prices you are seeing there and, yeah, if I saw mechanical Apple keyboards for 20 dollars, I probably would jump on one or two with very little hesitation. Seeing as how I have a keyboard that essentially set the standard for what makes a good, comfortable, reliable, and tactile keyboard in my Model M, I think the pressure to get an official Apple-branded input device is diminished considerably.

I'll be honest. I don't really see the problem with cobbling together - as you say - a "Rube Goldberg setup" if, in the end, it works and I am having fun with it. This particular Mac Mini G4 is the one I overclocked to 1.5GHZ and installed an external SD card slot to take the place of the internal hard drive; and I have to say, it has been quite convenient for me to boot into different OS's and instances simply by swapping the card out. I am also enjoying the tactile nature of my Model M - it just feels so wonderful to use, and it makes me snicker to think of Steve Jobs rolling over in his grave at the unauthorized modifications taking place here.