Happy Hacking Keyboard

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The Happy Hacking Keyboard is a small computer keyboard produced by PFU Limited of Japan, co-developed with Japanese computer pioneer Eiiti Wada.[1] Its reduction of keys from the common 104 keys layout down to 60 keys in the professional series is the basis for its smaller size while retaining full key size. It returns the control key to its original position as on the early 84 key PC AT and XT layouts. The current models[2] in production are the Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2,[3] Professional JP,[4] both either dark or light colors, Type-S silenced variants and blank key caps variants, and the Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2 with an additional Macintosh specific variant and a blank variant for each.

A white Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 with 60 blank keys.
Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2 with 68 labeled keys.

Common features[edit]

Some of the Happy Hacking Keyboard design tenets, as dictated by Wada, include a minimal 60 key design, no cursor or function keys, and standard keyboard pitch, all optimized for use in UNIX environments.[5]

Happy Hacking Keyboards lack a numeric keypad, and keys outside the typewriter key area are mainly accessible through the Fn key. The keys are arranged in a layout resembling the Sun Type 3 keyboard. Specifically:

  • The control key is found where most keyboards place the caps lock. This is the only control key on the keyboard.
  • The esc key is located to the left of the 1 key; the tilde key normally found there is at the right end of the same row.
  • The delete key is located directly above the enter key; the key normally found there is the second rightmost key on the row above it. Furthermore, this is an actual delete key, not a historically named backspace. Backspace is accessible through Fn+Delete.
  • The meta keys are located between the space bar and the alt keys.

On the far side of the keyboard there are DIP switches. These may be used to[6]

  • Turn the delete key into a backspace. Fn+Delete remains backspace, and Fn + top-right key remains delete.
  • Swap the alt and meta keys.
  • Enable/disable downstream USB ports on USB models.

Its size fits quite exactly half the size of a DIN A4 paper.

Social status[edit]

Apart from being a status symbol, in part due to price and minimal design, the keyboard is one of the few currently produced with both the left centered control key position and mechanical switches.[7] An anniversary edition now discontinued has the distinction of, at the time, being the most expensive keyboard available. Costing about US$5000 with Japanese VAT, the anniversary edition was hand lacquered with 10 coats of Urushi, a traditional toxic tree sap lacquer, and given a sprinkling of gold dust.[8]

Features by model[edit]

Model Name Model # Color Switch Type Interface Blank Keycaps Introduced EOL Other Features
Happy Hacking Keyboard PD-KB02 White Membrane PS/2, Sun, ADB No Dec 20, 1996 Dec 10, 2006[9] Buzzer (Sun), Power supply switch (Sun/Mac)
PD-KB02N
Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite PD-KB100W White PS/2 Jun 7, 1999[10] Unknown Was also available in black and white non-labeled versions[11]
Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2 PD-KB200W/P White Mar 15, 2001[12] Dec 19, 2008 Arrow keys, 2-port USB hub. Available in Japanese and English layouts.
PD-KB200B/P Black
PD-KB200W/U White USB
PD-KB200B/U Black
PD-KB210W/U White
PD-KB210B/U Black
PD-KB220W/U White
PD-KB220B/U Black
PD-KB220MKW White Mac version, has command and option keys in addition to the other Lite 2 features.[13]
PD-KB200MKB Black
PD-KB200MA White
PD-KB220MA White
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional PD-KB300 White Capacitive[14] Apr 24, 2003 Dec 10, 2006[9]
PD-KB300B Charcoal Gray
PD-KB300NL White Yes
PD-KB300BN Charcoal Gray
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 PD-KB400W White No Mar 24, 2006[15] 2-port USB hub
PD-KB400B Charcoal Gray
PD-KB400WN White Yes
PD-KB400BN Charcoal Gray
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional JP PD-KB420W White No Nov 10, 2008 HHKB Professional 2 with Japanese layout and arrow keys
PD-KB420B Charcoal Gray
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional HG[16] PD-KB500W White No Oct 12, 2006 Special 10-year anniversary models[17]
PD-KB500B Black
PD-KB500WN White Yes
PD-KB500BN Black
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional HG JAPAN[18] PD-KB500J Wajima-style lacquer
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 Type-S PD-KB400WS White No June 29, 2011 with Silencing[19]
PD-KB400WNS White Yes
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional JP Type-S PD-KB420WS White No

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Internet Initiative Japan, Inc list of researchers
  2. ^ Happy Hacking Keyboard (Japanese manufacturer's site)
  3. ^ HHKB Professional2 (Japanese site)
  4. ^ HHKB Professional JP (Japanese site)
  5. ^ Wada bio at Information Processing Society of Japan's museum
  6. ^ DIP switch functions
  7. ^ The Verge denotes Happy Hacking Keyboard as a status symbol
  8. ^ The anniversary edition of the Happy Hacking Keyboard is "the most expensive keyboard in history"
  9. ^ a b Happy Hacking Keyboard Specifications
  10. ^ "PFU America releases "Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite" for all PC/Linux users and power users". Archived from the original on 2000-01-23. 
  11. ^ "Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite". Archived from the original on 2001-10-24. 
  12. ^ "PFU America Releases "Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2"". AllBusiness. 2001-03-15. 
  13. ^ "Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2 for Mac touts Apple Key, demotes Caps Lock". Engadget. 2007-01-26. 
  14. ^ HHKB/Features/High quality keys
  15. ^ "Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2". AkibaLive. 2006-03-26. 
  16. ^ "HHKB Professional HG Specs". 
  17. ^ "The 3300 euros keyboard for PC". Akihabaranews. 2006-10-12. 
  18. ^ "HHKB Professional HG JAPAN Specs". 
  19. ^ "HHKB Professional 2 and JP Type-S press release". 

External links[edit]