I type $&@^$#! but it still won't let me swear
July 5, 2007 7:48 AM   Subscribe

Help me find out what magic spell will get my keyboard to play nicely with my computer again. For several years, I used a Microsoft "Natural" Keyboard with my PC without a problem. But now that I just connected it to my new MacBook it's acting out.

I went through the keyboard set up dialogue boxes without a problem, but then once I started to try to type on the keyboard some strange things started to happen. "Strange" as in none of the keys produce their letter or perform their function on the screen when they are typed. instead:

Hitting "return" gets me this: ]
Hitting "L" gets me this: .lo-
And so on.
And if I type something on the MacBook's own keyboard, I can't switch back- the MS keyboard won't respond unless I go through setup again.

Is there some setting I need to change? Has the keyboard just reached the age of senility? It's supposedly Mac compatible, according to the packaging, but is it making a MS fuss because it now has to play with a Mac?

One possibly important detail: this keyboard has two connections to plug into your computer, a USB connection and a circular one (sorry, I don't know the technical term for it). I don't have a port for the circular one, so I just plugged in the USB. Is this what's making it screwy? I'd like to be sure before I go to the trouble of buying a converter or new port.

Thank you Metafliter keyboard mavens!
posted by foxy_hedgehog to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
you might try using the circular plug - if it's got 6 pins in it and/or is purple (it probably does), it's a PS/2-style keyboard plug, and you can find adapters to change it into USB. the USB part of it may have flaked out, causing the errors. does it work equally not-well on another computer?
posted by mrg at 8:22 AM on July 5, 2007

I do not believe you have a native usb keyboard. You can probably get one that is ergonomic for a decent price on newegg. I have a belkin ergo ps2 keyboard and its fantastic and really solidly built. I like it a lot better than a natural board I had (mainly cause of the stupid access buttons, f-lock and squished arrow/nav keys that bring down M$'s designs)

How long ago was this purchased? Is there a model # on the bottom? Maybe you could get a replacement if it is under warranty and the usb port is the issue. Just don't try to use a ps/2 to usb adapter as that will really be a waste of money.
posted by ijoyner at 10:04 AM on July 5, 2007

Response by poster: thanks mrg- it worked just fine on my PC (when I was using both plugs), but I'm just not clear on whether or not adding the ps2 will straighten things out, since now I'm wondering about what ljoyner said. Ljoyner, what do you mean by a "native" keyboard? Do you mean that this keyboard just isn't well suited for a Mac and will continue to act up?

Just trying to figure out whether to spring for an adapter or just abandon ship and get a new keyboard.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 11:25 AM on July 5, 2007

I think ijoyner means that the keyboard was not originally designed to be used USB and that maybe an ergonomic keyboard that is *only* USB will work.

Here's a Keyboard Woe anecdote. For a while I was using both a PC and a Mac and had a switch to toggle monitor and keyboard from one to the other. I liked my PC keyboard (USB) and was going to use that. I figured it would work as Macs always seem to pick up and use PC stuff, though the reverse is not usually true. (Graphic Designer by trade / PC gamer by night, so had experience on both sides of the aisle).

Well I was wrong on that. Try as I might I couldn't get the PC keyboard to work. Fortunately, however, I didn't need to abandon my plan as Windows XP liked the Mac Extended keyboard just fine. Didn't even need to muck with it. Go figure.
posted by Wink Ricketts at 12:13 PM on July 5, 2007

What you want is a little program called ControllerMate. I used it to get a Logitech MX 5000 Bluetooth Keyboard/Mouse combo working flawlessly on my MBP.

It looks as though they even have presets for your keyboad on this page, so configuration should be a snap.
posted by revmitcz at 2:41 PM on July 5, 2007

Response by poster: Alas, revmitcz, when I tried to download the zip file with those specs it appeared to be for PCs- or so it was labeled.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 8:49 PM on July 5, 2007

do you say that cause it's a .zip file? I downloaded it to check, and after decompression it turned out to be a ".cmate" file : the native format for ControllerMate layouts.

It's an OS X native program, so I don't know why it would have any affect on PCs whatsoever. I just wonder if we're talking about two different things.

Either way, you can also program your own layout (as I did w/the Logitech one originally)
posted by revmitcz at 1:10 PM on July 6, 2007

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