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KlingonKeyboard.jpg
mock promotion image by Cherry

KlingonKeyboard Close-up.jpg
Real Keyboard

Klingon keyboard

In 2007, the UK keyboard company "Cherry Keyboards" introduced a keyboard with Klingon keys, that is, using pIqaD letters.(1) Internet journalism discovered the keyboard only two years later, in January 2009. (2) (3)

Analysis of the letters

A close examination of the promotion image shows up that the letters are using a wrong mapping, so from that point of view, it was not worth buying. This mock image, which was made for promotion only, is based on a German keyboard: it contains Umlauts and Z is not where it's located on an English keybaord. The producer's website confirms that this is a mock image. (4)

A photo of the real product displays correctly used letters, using the Code2000 font.

Explanation by the Producers

Michael Roney, Jr. made contact with Cherry and received this following response: (5)

Hi,

With reference to your mail sent through the 'Cherrykeyboardsrus' website.

I'm certainly interested to see where this has all gone wrong with the layout. We researched the internet before producing this keyboard and from what we could see, this was the layout used for pIqaD, so I'm not sure where it's all fallen down...

Unfortunately, the keyboard hasn't been particularly popular and was originally announced simply as a marketing exercise, but after we received a few enquiries for them, we decided to go ahead and make them. Because of the manufacturing processes we use, it's not possible to make small quantities and we had to order 65 pcs to bring them over to fulfil orders for just a handful - because of this, it's therefore doubtful that we'll manufacture these again - unless we receive a large order for them that is!

I hope this is useful. If you have any further questions and can give us an indication as to where the errors are in the layout, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Robin Bithrey,
Technical Support Engineer - Keyboards.

Michael Roney then replied to that message, explaining the correct mapping for pIqaD (See main article MOVED TO... fonts for details). In response to that, he received the photo of a new keyboard shown above, accompanied with the following letter:

Hi,

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you - it's been a little hectic in here following a recent trade-show and I'm ploughing through e-mails as we speak.

Thanks very much for the explanation and further info on the Klingon language. We're stuck a little at the moment with making any changes to the layout of the product, simply because of some legal issues we're checking into. This also prevents us from publicising the product any further unfortunately and we've been approached by a UK sci-fi magazine to place an advert that we can't take them up on. During the time that this PR was released again on the Internet and through the UK newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, we've seen increased activity on Klingon related websites, we've been featured on at least two local radio stations (one here, one further to the north of England) and were even contacted by a radio station in Canada for an interview. Also, a German magazine/website has asked to feature images and a short review - a positive hive of activity surrounding nothing more sinister than a marketing idea. However, all this may be in vain, as after taking some advice from our legal department in Germany, there may be some copyright issues with the owners of the Star Trek brand and the last thing we want to do is upset anyone!! We're therefore contacting them to find out our position with this product - bearing in mind that there is no mention on the keyboard or the packaging of either Star Trek or Klingon - simply a changed part number from our perspective from what is one of our 'standard' keyboard lines. The product has been manufactured for the last 14-15 years and we've made some 30 million of them in different language options. As this product is made in Germany, we have a certain flexibility for smaller production runs - to get this product made, we needed to order just 65 pcs.

Ultimately, it is possible to amend any layout. We have the 'bill of materials' set up at the factory for production, so all we would need to do is inform them of the changes required and they'd be able to adjust the laser program accordingly. This is a big advantage for us with this range of keyboards - each product is made completely blank and then passed through the laser printer to literally burn the image of the letters onto the keycap. With other ranges (and products from other manufacturers), the printing process is far less flexible and more time-consuming. However, as explained, until the legalities are sorted out, we can't do a thing...

The Klingon alphabet was taken from the font available for download from the KLI site - one I simply came across whilst searching and had no prior knowledge of. Whether it is perfectly correct or not, we actually have no idea, as all I did was install the font, hit each key and relay this information to the factory, who mocked up a quick sample, which we amended slightly and then asked them to press the big button.... Attached, you'll find a couple of images, which aren't brilliant, but do show the 'completed' keyboard - even through there are no Klingon numbers or punctuation on this early version. The image shown on the 'cherrykeyboardsrus.co.uk' website are simple, mock images. The keyboard shown in their picture, is our 'Stream' model and not available in Klingon (sorry - minimum order quantity for this model in language variants is some 1000pcs!). I believe that this image was either mocked by them, or it could have been by our PR company, but it's certainly not an image of the finished product.

Regarding the 'in stock' comment, it is actually quite true. Currently, we have 40pcs in stock here at Cherry UK, with a handful available at a couple of our distributors. We are selling these on our ebay shop and have been for the last couple of months or so......slow as they may be to sell, they do sell! Two of our distributors had enquiries for the keyboards following the press 'frenzy', one of which sold a small quantity to one of the UK's largest retailers, PC World (otherwise known in the business world as PCWBD or Equanet) who must have had orders - they don't order unless their customers do!

I hope this explains our position a little further and that the images show what we've actually done in a real product, instead of the mock one you've seen previously. I also hope that the layout is a little more correct!! Once the legalities are sorted, then it may be that if there are further orders from our customers, we can commission a change to the key printing, but alas, if no orders appear, then unfortunately, the Klingon keyboard will be confined to that great cloaking device in the sky.....

Regards,

Robin.
www.cherry.co.uk

Technical details

The keyboard looks just like the keyboard you use every day, except the English letters are replaced with Klingon characters. (6)

It is a standard 105 key with a PS/2 connection (7)

The keyboard pictured is a mock up, the actual keyboard was based on the G83-6105 model.(8)

See also

References

1 , 4 , 8 : Archive of "www.cherrykeyboardsrus.co.uk/Klingon+Language-Details.htm", saved 24 August 2007, Retrieved at archive 10 November 2016

2 : Klingon Language Keyboard on trektoday

3 : http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2009/01/13/today-is-a-good-day.html, by Joel Johnson at 6:44 am Tue, Jan 13, 2009

5 : Klingon Keyboard #tlh #kli Michael Roney's blog, posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2009

6 : Finally, I can type in Klingon, by Shawn Farner - Jan 13, 2009

7 : Klingon Keyboard on "The awesomer", , retrieved 10 November 2016

External links

Category: Appearance    Latest edit: 11 Nov 2016, by KlingonTeacher    Created: 10 Nov 2016 by KlingonTeacher



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