I'm Admiral Shark (aka, sharktastica), some research student from a country full of sheep and castles who owns too many IBM keyboards to count and helps run the r/ModelM subreddit and Discord. Most probably know me already, but I'd thought I'd explain some of the things I work/worked on!
Admiral Shark's Keyboards (https://sharktastica.co.uk) is my passion project for the keyboard hobby. A sort of centralised resource base and 'lists aggregator' for keyboards of any company that makes/made keyboards for IBM, were a former division of IBM, or purchased IBM's IP and continues producing their former or derivative designs. Namely, this includes IBM itself, Lexmark, Unicomp, Lenovo and Toshiba TEC branded keyboards. Whilst resources for many of these keyboards exist, nothing really satisfied my love of nuance and discovery when I first got involved in the hobby. So, I decided to fill that void in August 2019.
What's the aim? Simply, it's to present the majesty of these keyboards and to help anyone craving information. Despite all the effort it takes, I love helping people and I hope there's something for everyone to learn on my site! The most popular and noteworthy attractions include:
- Keyboard Part Number Database: what my website is known for. It's one of the largest public repositories of IBM and company part numbers on the internet, currently sitting at 2400+ keyboards from 1949 to 2021 indexed. Presently, the focus is Model F, Model M and ThinkPad keyboards, but as of late last year, Model B and card punch keyboard part numbers are entering the database in numbers.
- Shark's Wiki: the latest feature of my website introduced in the summer of last year. The focus is strictly on IBM and family keyboards with a special emphasis on platforming my own original research and evidence as well. The wiki is in its infancy, but I'm working on many new pages privately that will be made public when complete and facts verified. Like Nexthority's wiki, my original text and images are licensed under CC BY-NC-SA.
- Comparison & classifications of 122-key Model M keyboards: one of the most practical/useful pages on the site. A comparison of the major variations in 122-key Model Ms, something especially useful for identification purposes. The variations are categorised into a ''type system that's distinct to a 'generation system'. Generations group and describe production quality differences such as the keyboard assembly's backplate thickness, whereas these types group and describe feature compliment irrespective to production quality changes. Some types would have been produced across different generations.
- TrackPoint, pointing stick, and UltraNav keyboards: one of the largest requests I had was to make a page about all known discrete IBM and co pointing stick keyboards. So I did! Also included is a brief comparison of the different pointing device technologies. I also recently added a symbols system to visually highlight major features of each keyboards.
- Revealed: IBM Model M3 & M6 laptop buckling sleeves keyboards: my largest and largest article highlighting IBM's (and partner companies') use of high-quality Model M family buckling sleeves keyboards in their early portables. Basically, the "last stand" before even IBM gave in to scissor-switch keyboards.
- Keyboard Icons Gallery: I used to partake in geekhack's pixel art for forum signatures requests thread, and eventually, I decided to go completely overboard and make pixel art of most IBM keyboards. These are my current and up to date batch, including some Alps/Alps-clones keyboards like vintage Apple. After some requests, I also went a step further in this endeavour by developing a highly configurable wallpaper generator that uses these icons.
And, there's much more! I've got some exciting content planned on the horizon, so I hope you stick around in the name of keyboard excellence!