Death by USB, Delivered by Dana

by David Battino

My G5 tower crashed today, so I thought I'd reboot it from the Disk Warrior CD and clean out the demons. But first I had to get sneaky.

Holding down the mouse button so the CD tray would open on reboot, I hit the Mac's power button. I heard the glorious startup sound, then...nothing. So I powered off again, slid the CD drive cover down with my finger, and poked a straightened paper clip in the tiny hole under the drive to open it. (It sounds ridiculous just reading this back.)

Plopping in the CD, I started up again while holding down the C key so the Mac would boot from the CD drive. And...nothing. Hmm. Had I damaged the drive by forcing it open?


Kevin S.
2007-02-20 21:52:23
The propeller icon? I never knew that's what it is called. Thanks.
Pat Allan
2007-02-20 21:58:00
The keyboard I purchased recently when I got my MB Pro is the Macally iKey Slim, which I find works nicely enough (to the point where I bought another one to use at work).

I don't like the feel of Apple's Keyboards, nor am I a fan of big bulky keyboards with 20 special keys. This is compact and has a decent feel (not as nice as my old iBook G3, mind you).

Josh Peters
2007-02-20 22:04:15
The Mattias OSX Keyboard is quite good. I'm not generally a fan of the softer touch keyboards (I'm a fan of the IBM M keyboard) but I appreciate having easy on-key identifiers of the various extended characters (such as ümläüts ^__^).

It's got a nice price and an extra control key if you need it.

John S
2007-02-20 22:17:29
I have a Mattias Tactile Pro keyboard and it is amazingly good. Mattias shows it as no longer available, but is releasing the Tactile Pro 2 in April--it appears to use the same mechanical keyswitches that make the original a joy to use.
David Battino
2007-02-21 00:11:54
@Kevin: Many people describe the icon as a propeller, but there are richer interpretations as well, from cloverleaf to St. John's Arms to puppy foot.
Thomas Armagost
2007-02-21 03:49:58
Maybe you should keep the AlphaSmart Dana plugged into your G5 until April. ;-)

The SMK-88 Compact Mac Keyboard from DS International has mechanical keyswitches. Unfortunately, it has no numeric keypad.

Anyway, thanks for telling me about the AlphaSmart Dana.

I purchased a Nokia n800 Linux Internet Tablet in January. Sadly, I don't think that the n800 can use the AlphaSmart Dana as an external keyboard.

However, both devices use SD (or MM) cards, so some interaction is certainly possible. If there are any other ways that these two devices can be used together, please tell me.

2007-02-21 03:58:26
I'm partial to the Happy Hacking keyboard. It comes in white or black, has two USB 1.1 ports built in, and no annoying numeric pad. I have a couple that have been running for years - I haven't seen a need to splurge for the more expensive professional model.
Richard Reeves
2007-02-21 06:04:14
Happy Hacking keyboard looks good but where do I buy one? I do not like the annoying numeric pad either. The apple one is too long and causes my shoulder to be sore sometimes.
2007-02-21 06:58:40
i HATE white keyboards :( they don't match my blackbook and 24" black screen... does anyone make black keyboards for the mac?!?!
2007-02-21 08:25:59
Hmmm... You might want to double check your DiskWarrior version for compatibility with your current system. My version 3.X doesn't work on my G5 iMac (though I never bothered to unplug the keyboard), but works with my 12" G4 PB. I recently upgraded DiskWarrior to version 4 so I could emergency boot my G5.
David Battino
2007-02-21 08:58:12
@Kenny: I saw a few black keyboards for the Mac while poking around Amazon last night. They do look nice.
David Battino
2007-02-21 09:04:15
@umijin: I have Disk Warrior 3, but it works fine with my G5. The reason I couldn’t boot from the CD was that the Mac keyboard wasn’t transmitting the “C” I was holding down. Unfortunately, it appears that the Dana keyboard isn’t recognized early enough in the boot cycle to send the C either. Thus I’m shopping for a new keyboard.
2007-02-21 10:00:47
Unlike a lot of other posters here, I'm a fan of keyboards with programmable keys. I have a Macally iMediaKey that I've been happily using for years. The case design is a bit outdated, but it still works great.
Gordon Meyer
2007-02-21 12:53:29
I'm a big fan of the Dana, thanks for reminding me of its super-hero ability in this regard.

I like my Matais Tactile Pro a bunch, too. It's noisy, but feels great.

2007-02-21 15:21:39
I thought it was a cloverleaf. :-)
2007-02-21 15:44:49
Don't bash me, I really like the MSFT Natural ergonomic 4000. It is a split keyboard with the back of it tilting down. does wonders for feeling no pain in my wrists, and has some great features taboot...
2007-02-21 19:51:19

Here's another vote for Macally. I bought the Macally iceKey, which seems better-built and has a nicer feel (as you would expect, since it costs twice as much as the iKey slim).

I am really surprised you don't have a half-dozen old keyboards in your closet -- doesn't everyone?

David Battino
2007-02-21 21:49:53
@RMac: Thanks for the tip. I do have two spare keyboards, but they’re both ADB format!
Thomas Armagost
2007-02-22 03:24:16
Have you considered the Griffin iMate ADB to USB adaptor? It could do until April.
David Battino
2007-02-22 04:56:12
@Thomas: Interesting idea, but I could buy a whole new keyboard (or several) for the cost of that adapter. I'm currently leaning toward the Macally IceKey Black.
2007-02-24 18:13:27
Glad I could help!

(another Dana, referred here by a friend :)

2007-02-24 19:36:56
I love my Kensington Slim Type for Mac keyboard . . . great little silver top buttons for iTune station changes, volume, mute, and CD tray open as well as a sleep/shutdown button. Great key action like a laptop that gives my arthritic fingers a break from wretched typos! Better than the Mac keyboards in feel and functionality. Check it out! Larry Ray