Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

« Season’s greetingsMainDoing things right »


516 words on ,

I think I quite liked the idea of getting an iMate USB to ADB adaptor ever since I got my first Powerbook. Not because I missed my own ADB keyboard but because my dad still had an unused Extended II keyboard sitting around. As I considered this to be more of a toy, I didn’t want to start a big spending spree for it and as I could easily get hold of used iMac and then ‘Pro’ USB keyboards over the years, I never really bothered.

Unfortunately neither of those keyboards are great. I find their touch a bit too soft and they certainly won’t be the instrument you need to keep the neighbours awake just by typing. Similarly Apple’s new external MacBook-style keyboards don’t feel particularly good to me. And hence I went looking for an iMate and finally managed to get a used one for an OK price on eBay.

And so far I’m quite happy with it. It’s pseudo-translucent design looks a bit aged today, but it ‘just works’: Plug it into a USB port, plug the ADB keyboard into iMate and you’re done. Even better, the iMate also lets you use an ADB mouse that’s plugged into the keyboard.

MacBook with three keyboards

When first connecting the keyboard – not yet the Extended II but rather the ‘Apple Keyboard’ belonging to the SE – I was pleasantly surprised by OS X. It realised that it couldn’t identify the exact keyboard type (which I guess is quite tricky for old-school devices like this one, particularly when only been seen through whatever magic iMate provides) and the Keyboard Assistant came up. It asked me to press two keys on the keyboard, the one to the right of the left shift key and the one to the left of the right shift key and then deduced the correct keyboard type. I assume that those two may be enough to tell American (with one missing key) from other keyboards and probably narrow down the possible ‘other’ keyboards sufficiently to know which type is being used. The tiny old keyboard I am using is American I think and thus the keys I typed were ‘z’ and ‘/’, On a German keyboard they would have been ‘<’ and ‘-‘. I suppose it was fun/interesting to create a full yet minimal list of keys the user should press in order to identify the keyboard.

Screenshot of Keyboard Assistant asking to press the key to the left of the right shift key.

Actually this keyboard’s feel is rather good and it’s clicketyclick all over which makes me (or at least gives me the impression that I) indulge less in typos. Unfortunately the missing/mis-located key for ‘>’ (when using the American hardware with the German software keyboard layout) is driving me nuts, as is the all-horizontal arrangement of arrow keys that differs from the 3 horizontal one on the Apple Keyboard II. And thus I’m looking forward to getting my dad’s aircraft carrier size Extended II with a German layout soon.

And while I don’t actually use the caps lock key and have it turned off since I started using Mac OS X.4, I obviously enjoy the fact of having a mechanical caps lock key. And a keyboard with a power button (which at least works to bring up the shut down dialogue while the MacBook is running).

September 29, 2007, 1:16

Tagged as ebay, hardware.


Comment by Hauke Fath: User icon

Zum Thema:

http://groups.google.com/group/de.comp.sys.mac.misc/browse_thread/thread/bcf56854547854ee/93b8ad82d30d868c (aah, Usenet…)

Es gab mal eine (deutschsprachige) Seite, die den Einbau eines imate in eine Apple Extended II beschrieb, die finde ich aber gerade nicht.


October 2, 2007, 15:35

Add your comment

« Season's greetingsMainDoing things right »

Comments on




This page

Out & About

pinboard Links


Received data seems to be invalid. The wanted file does probably not exist or the guys at last.fm changed something.