Image Map Image Map
Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Why were there PET business AND graphics keyboards?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    147

    Default Why were there PET business AND graphics keyboards?

    I don't understand why Commodore complicated things by making some PETs that had graphics keyboard and some that had business keyboards. I'm not including the original chiclet keyboard. I'm talking about the two different full-stroke keyboard used on the PET/CBM line. In some instances the same model of PET/CBM was manufactured with both types of keyboards, as far as I can gather.

    Sure, I can understand why they took the PETSCII silk-screened symbols off the key-fronts to make the keyboard LOOK clean to sell to business markets. I also understand why business models might want to boot by default into lower case mode (as opposed to upper case/PETSCII mode) because businesses would prefer this for word processing. BUT why did Commodore not just keep the physical layout and electronics of the graphics keyboard, and simply remove the PETSCII symbols, re-silk screen the top key row so they have numbers on them (and update the on board logic so that these keys actually generate numbers)?

    Why make a whole different keyboard layout that required a different case mould, different electronics (or at least on board logic) to read, and a different keyboard layout that required the user to re-learn where many of the important keys were? There are also electrical (or at least motherboard logic) changes in the way the keyboard is read/scanned by the PET, which means some software (games, mostly) are incompatible (no response from the keyboard unless the program is modified). Again, I would think this last change would also mean added expense for Commodore.

    Here are the keys that have been changed in the business keyboard:

    - cursor keys are in different positions (and frankly, kind of awkward).
    - INST/DEL key has been moved from the standard position.
    - RUN/STOP key is now right above the RETURN key which results in accidental breaking of the program if your finger slips while entering data
    - CLR/HOME key is now at the bottom right
    - the arithmatic operator keys are removed from the number pad
    - there is now a number row at the top of the keyboard (that is good).
    - they removed the graphics silk screening from the key fronts (find - this is only cosmetic)
    - an ESCape key has been added (good).

    There is probably a good reason I don't understand.

    Here are some pics and information on the different keyboards:
    http://www.6502.org/users/andre/petindex/keyboards.html
    Last edited by Ral-Clan; July 2nd, 2018 at 04:40 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Freedom City
    Posts
    5,708
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    The only one that I think I can answer with certainty is graphic symbols one: From the dawn of personal computers until the late 1990s, any computer that looked like it was suitable for games (graphics capability meant games until the mid 80s) was not to be taken seriously and certainly wouldn't be suitable for "business".

    As for the other changes, they were probably designed by someone who didn't have real user experience. Maybe they thought it made it look more like the picture of a competing machine in a magazine.

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KC9UDX View Post
    The only one that I think I can answer with certainty is graphic symbols one: From the dawn of personal computers until the late 1990s, any computer that looked like it was suitable for games (graphics capability meant games until the mid 80s) was not to be taken seriously and certainly wouldn't be suitable for "business".
    I was working in a computer store around 1980, selling to both business and personal customers. The business people were weird to deal with, often times having strange definitions of what a "business" computer could do. We needed to have two identical machines in two different parts of the store, with all the machines in one section having only monochrome displays (business) and the other group with color (personal). I was showing a potential "business" customer a spreadsheet with colored cells (red being negative, etc) and he scoffed "anything with color is only good for games." Fine, we went to another part of the store, did the same exact demo with a green screen and he bought that system. I wonder if he's still using monochrome on his PC clone running Windows today...

    So I think UDX's suggestion is very likely.

    Bob
    K2UT

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •