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View Full Version : Anyone else notice that Pro Keyboard USB extention cable is proprietary?


ZildjianKX
Apr 18, 2004, 12:26 AM
I needed a USB male to female extension cable, and so I figured I'd use the USB Pro keyboard extention cable that came with my G5. I tried to plug in a USB device and it wouldn't fit... I took a look at it and I had no idea that for some ungodly reason Apple made the cable proprietary, just like they do everything else of theirs... so you can't use it as a USB extention cable, but only as a Pro Keyboard extension cable. So with a pair a pliers, a file, and a piece of scotch tape, you can mod it so it will work with anything. I figured this might be useful to somebody out there, or if anyone else was curious if that would work.

Horrortaxi
Apr 18, 2004, 12:52 AM
Is it strange that a hardware maker would make propriatary hardware?

I hadn't noticed before, but you're right--there's a raised bit and a groove on the male end that you don't normally see.

melchior
Apr 18, 2004, 01:25 AM
Is it strange that a hardware maker would make propriatary hardware?



It is when when that hardware they are producing is a universal standard.

rainman::|:|
Apr 18, 2004, 01:51 AM
with minor wiggling, this can be overcome, in my experience. probably not great for the USB cable, but who cares. It does annoy me tho. Still, i'm not surprised, it's intended only for the pro keyboard, maybe it's unwise to use it for things like cameras or drives... i know some peripherals advise against the use of extension cords.

paul

Bear
Apr 18, 2004, 06:55 AM
It is odd, since the keyboard does allow other USB devices to be plugged into it. So the Apple USB Keyboard extension cable has to conform to USB1.1 standards.

Maybe the special connector allows it to stay attached better?

Horrortaxi
Apr 18, 2004, 11:49 AM
It is when when that hardware they are producing is a universal standard.
I don't know if I'd call it sneaky on their part, but it's a little unexpected. How do they refer to that cable though? Is it a USB extension, or is it an Apple Pro Keyboard extension? If it's the latter then it isn't a universal standard.

ZildjianKX
Apr 18, 2004, 12:37 PM
I don't know if I'd call it sneaky on their part, but it's a little unexpected. How do they refer to that cable though? Is it a USB extension, or is it an Apple Pro Keyboard extension? If it's the latter then it isn't a universal standard.

Well, the pro keyboard is a USB keyboard, and the cable does have a USB symbol on it... which does standard for Universal Serial Bus... but it is referred to as a Pro Keyboard Extension Cable I believe in the manual. It's just super lame that they crippled a perfectly good USB cable. You can't even use it on the Pro Mouse if you want to hook it up directly to the tower if you don't like plugging it into the pro keyboard. Lame.

janey
Apr 18, 2004, 06:55 PM
you guys are talking about the extension cable for the pro keyboard?!
Because I love mine and it works with all of my USB devices...

Rower_CPU
Apr 18, 2004, 11:57 PM
you guys are talking about the extension cable for the pro keyboard?!
Because I love mine and it works with all of my USB devices...

Same here. It's a tight fit compared to most USB cables, but I've seen no indication that they've artificially "handicapped" them.

...Apple made the cable proprietary, just like they do everything else of theirs...

You realize there is nothing to substantiate this comment, don't you? Rather than list all the things that Apple puts out that embrace open standards, I'll list the one proprietary technology of theirs that comes to mind right now: ADC monitor connection. That's it.

JamesDPS
Apr 19, 2004, 12:38 AM
Rower and übergeek, you get your Macs very recently? Usually, the USB extension has a little notch on the inside to prevent connection to "normal" USB devices -- the plug going into it has to have a matching notch (unless you force it as PaulWhannel suggests). It's nothing to do with whether or not extensions are supported by other devices -- you can get regular USB extension cables for anything -- it does just seem like a way of "crippling" the Pro Keyboard extension, and I've wondered for ages why they did that... apparently no one knows for sure so far (I'll check back later)?

Rower_CPU
Apr 19, 2004, 01:00 AM
Rower and übergeek, you get your Macs very recently? Usually, the USB extension has a little notch on the inside to prevent connection to "normal" USB devices -- the plug going into it has to have a matching notch (unless you force it as PaulWhannel suggests). It's nothing to do with whether or not extensions are supported by other devices -- you can get regular USB extension cables for anything -- it does just seem like a way of "crippling" the Pro Keyboard extension, and I've wondered for ages why they did that... apparently no one knows for sure so far (I'll check back later)?

I have extension cables from PowerMac G3/4s at work and they seem to work fine. Maybe the latest ones with the new Pro keyboard design ship with different ones?

janey
Apr 19, 2004, 01:40 AM
Rower and übergeek, you get your Macs very recently? Usually, the USB extension has a little notch on the inside to prevent connection to "normal" USB devices -- the plug going into it has to have a matching notch (unless you force it as PaulWhannel suggests). It's nothing to do with whether or not extensions are supported by other devices -- you can get regular USB extension cables for anything -- it does just seem like a way of "crippling" the Pro Keyboard extension, and I've wondered for ages why they did that... apparently no one knows for sure so far (I'll check back later)?
are you talking about the little notch on the bottom? because mine does, and it still works with all of my USB devices.

ZildjianKX
Apr 19, 2004, 09:12 PM
You realize there is nothing to substantiate this comment, don't you? Rather than list all the things that Apple puts out that embrace open standards, I'll list the one proprietary technology of theirs that comes to mind right now: ADC monitor connection. That's it.

Ummm... Macs are proprietary by nature... almost every bit of a mac's hardware is proprietary (including ADC as you stated). Not to mention FairPlay, et cetera. Certainly Apple has gotten better in recent years (no longer proprietary ethernet cards, memory), but there isn't much to substantiate a counter-argument.

ZildjianKX
Apr 19, 2004, 09:13 PM
are you talking about the little notch on the bottom? because mine does, and it still works with all of my USB devices.

Yes, the extension cable with the notch that sticks up on the inside of the female USB port. No standard male USB cable can fit into it.

Rower_CPU
Apr 19, 2004, 09:41 PM
Ummm... Macs are proprietary by nature... almost every bit of a mac's hardware is proprietary (including ADC as you stated). Not to mention FairPlay, et cetera. Certainly Apple has gotten better in recent years (no longer proprietary ethernet cards, memory), but there isn't much to substantiate a counter-argument.

*sigh*

OK, let's list the parts to see what "proprietary" parts they are using.

CPU - PowerPC, developed by Apple, Motorola and IBM; used in a wide variety of hardware (GameCube, Xbox2[rumored], integrated controllers, server chips, etc.) - Verdict: no more proprietary than AMD/Intel CPUs

Motherboard/chipset - Support PowerPC chips, and based around industry standard technology such as:
- USB
- Firewire
- PCI, PCI-X
- AGP
- IDE, S-ATA
- DDR
- ad nauseum...
Verdict: Apple has designed their own system controllers, so you could say this one chip is "proprietary" but the rest of the system uses industry standard technology.

RAM, Hard disk (internal/external), Video card, Audio card, Optical drive, Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor - see connections listed in Motherboard. Verdict: Hardware for PCs is completely interchangeable with hardware on Macs, device ROM and drivers are the only differences.

Wireless - Airport and Bluetooth. Verdict: Apple has pioneered 802.11 and Bluetooth wireless technology, both being open standards.

-------------------------------

So, in summary: WTF are you talking about? Either you've got non-x86 confused with proprietary, or you haven't looked at Mac hardware in about 10 years.

janey
Apr 19, 2004, 11:23 PM
Yes, the extension cable with the notch that sticks up on the inside of the female USB port. No standard male USB cable can fit into it.
Okay here are pictures. About 100kb each.
Plugging in another extension cable: http://www.applegoddess.org/files/Miscellaneous/macrumors/DSCN4826.JPG

The actual thing...is that a notch or not? http://www.applegoddess.org/files/Miscellaneous/macrumors/DSCN4828.JPG

OMG I PLUGGED IN MY APPLE PRO MOUSE!!!: http://www.applegoddess.org/files/Miscellaneous/macrumors/DSCN4829.JPG

Please...i find that it works, and works well...but i do understand what some people are saying. *sigh*

Mac_Max
Apr 19, 2004, 11:29 PM
I can confirm it has a notch as well. It works with my Kensington Mouse in a Box Optical. I also recall it working with my Memorex Key Drive.

ZildjianKX
Apr 20, 2004, 01:43 AM
*sigh*

OK, let's list the parts to see what "proprietary" parts they are using.

CPU - PowerPC, developed by Apple, Motorola and IBM; used in a wide variety of hardware (GameCube, Xbox2[rumored], integrated controllers, server chips, etc.) - Verdict: no more proprietary than AMD/Intel CPUs

Motherboard/chipset - Support PowerPC chips, and based around industry standard technology such as:
- USB
- Firewire
- PCI, PCI-X
- AGP
- IDE, S-ATA
- DDR
- ad nauseum...
Verdict: Apple has designed their own system controllers, so you could say this one chip is "proprietary" but the rest of the system uses industry standard technology.

RAM, Hard disk (internal/external), Video card, Audio card, Optical drive, Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor - see connections listed in Motherboard. Verdict: Hardware for PCs is completely interchangeable with hardware on Macs, device ROM and drivers are the only differences.

Wireless - Airport and Bluetooth. Verdict: Apple has pioneered 802.11 and Bluetooth wireless technology, both being open standards.

-------------------------------

So, in summary: WTF are you talking about? Either you've got non-x86 confused with proprietary, or you haven't looked at Mac hardware in about 10 years.

*sigh* You don't have to be so condensendting, I can't believe you're a mod and talk to other members like this.

You're taking a civil conversation and being quite rude about it.

If you had read my post, I wasn't only referring to how Apple's hardware is proprietary. You know they do make a pretty good OS too, and not to mention have that whole incredible thing called the iTunes music store. I exagerated when I said every bit of Apple's hardware is proprietary. Yes, all external hardware is non-proprietary (duh!). As I stated in my above posting if you would have read it, Apple has gotten much better in the last few years with using non-proprietary RAM and other commonly used components.

From a developer standpoint, many consider the mac platform to be quite proprietary due to Mac OS X only running on hardware that Apple wants it to. In the Mac OS 9/X EULA, you -cannot- run Mac OS on any machine other than an -Apple branded- one. Additionally there are rumors that Apple refused to share its Fairplay DRM for the -open- AAC format to allow other music stores (real) to work with the iPod.

As hardware goes, at least there is no longer a MACOS ROM as a part of the motherboard and a prevention of other operating systems from running. With new macs, the only proprietary thing besides the OS is their logic boards.

MoparShaha
Apr 20, 2004, 01:53 AM
I was very dissapointed when I saw this crippled USB extension cable when I first opened my Power Mac box. There is no reason Apple needs to have done this. It's almost malicious of them.

Rower_CPU
Apr 20, 2004, 07:45 PM
*sigh* You don't have to be so condensendting, I can't believe you're a mod and talk to other members like this.

You're taking a civil conversation and being quite rude about it.

If you had read my post, I wasn't only referring to how Apple's hardware is proprietary. You know they do make a pretty good OS too, and not to mention have that whole incredible thing called the iTunes music store. I exagerated when I said every bit of Apple's hardware is proprietary. Yes, all external hardware is non-proprietary (duh!). As I stated in my above posting if you would have read it, Apple has gotten much better in the last few years with using non-proprietary RAM and other commonly used components.

From a developer standpoint, many consider the mac platform to be quite proprietary due to Mac OS X only running on hardware that Apple wants it to. In the Mac OS 9/X EULA, you -cannot- run Mac OS on any machine other than an -Apple branded- one. Additionally there are rumors that Apple refused to share its Fairplay DRM for the -open- AAC format to allow other music stores (real) to work with the iPod.

As hardware goes, at least there is no longer a MACOS ROM as a part of the motherboard and a prevention of other operating systems from running. With new macs, the only proprietary thing besides the OS is their logic boards.

You're mistaking impatience with arrogance/condescension. I'm sorry you took it that way. No rudeness was intended, though I see how I could have come across gruffly. IMO, your unqualified "there isn't much to substantiate a counter-argument" comment was a troll - and to imply that I haven't read your posts and am therefore not getting your point is ridiculous.

As a mod, I constantly see broad, sweeping and generally incorrect statements that need correction. Your comment ("Apple made the cable proprietary, just like they do everything else of theirs") is one such false generalization.

Your initial post and follow-up ("Macs are proprietary by nature... almost every bit of a mac's hardware is proprietary") were in regards to hardware, hence my focus on Apple's hardware efforts. Your offhand acknowledgment of ethernet cards and memory was a copout and failed to address the widespread integration of open architecture in Apple's products.

Yes, FairPlay is a proprietary DRM. Guess what? So is Microsoft's. It's a moot point. But if you want to investigate software, here's a quick list:

Airport - 802.11
Rendezvous - zeroconf
Quicktime - standard formats (MPEG4, AAC, etc.)
Safari - built on KHTML
OS X - FreeBSD
and the list goes on...

As far as I'm concerned, Apple is in the forefront of pushing the adoption of open standards compared to the rest of the industry. Anyway, at least you've admitted that your initial statements were exaggerations - but you could have said that two posts ago and saved us both the trouble.

janey
Apr 20, 2004, 09:12 PM
I was very dissapointed when I saw this crippled USB extension cable when I first opened my Power Mac box. There is no reason Apple needs to have done this. It's almost malicious of them.
/me curses

come on, apple describes it as a USB keyboard extension cable, but its essentially a USB extension cable. just cuz apple "crippled" it doesnt mean it doesnt work with other standard USB devices.
Grrr.
Nobody's answering my questions.
I dont think the mac platform is proprietary.
and if drm stuff like fairplay was not proprietary urm everyone would be in big big trouble. Online music stores sales would plummet, the RIAA would be more ****ed up, etc.

Mr Ed
Apr 20, 2004, 10:01 PM
You're mistaking impatience with arrogance/condescension. I'm sorry you took it that way. No rudeness was intended, though I see how I could have come across gruffly. IMO, your unqualified "there isn't much to substantiate a counter-argument" comment was a troll - and to imply that I haven't read your posts and am therefore not getting your point is ridiculous.

As a mod, I constantly see broad, sweeping and generally incorrect statements that need correction. Your comment ("Apple made the cable proprietary, just like they do everything else of theirs") is one such false generalization.

Your initial post and follow-up ("Macs are proprietary by nature... almost every bit of a mac's hardware is proprietary") were in regards to hardware, hence my focus on Apple's hardware efforts. Your offhand acknowledgment of ethernet cards and memory was a copout and failed to address the widespread integration of open architecture in Apple's products.

Yes, FairPlay is a proprietary DRM. Guess what? So is Microsoft's. It's a moot point. But if you want to investigate software, here's a quick list:

Airport - 802.11
Rendezvous - zeroconf
Quicktime - standard formats (MPEG4, AAC, etc.)
Safari - built on KHTML
OS X - FreeBSD
and the list goes on...

As far as I'm concerned, Apple is in the forefront of pushing the adoption of open standards compared to the rest of the industry. Anyway, at least you've admitted that your initial statements were exaggerations - but you could have said that two posts ago and saved us both the trouble.

Wow, you just totally skipped over all of their important and good points, just to brag that you're right.

Just because someone says anything at all "anti-apple," everyone is so quick to label them a troll when in fact they may be right or have some good points.

The point regarding the fairplay DRM is hardly moot. The iPod is a closed device to anything other than the iTunes music store for legal music. This may not be a big deal to you, but being the #1 MP3 player and refusing to share your proprietary standard is. Speaking of proprietary, let's not forget the proprietary firewire port on the new iPods.

All of your points regarding 802.11 and zeroconf are really streaching it... that's like saying because iChat uses UDP Apple is on the forefront of open standards. You definately have no case calling OS X a non-proprietary OS... just because something is based on BSD doesn't make it BSD.

Consider for the moment, the example set by Apple. True their Operating System is a proprietary fork of BSD and the MACH kernel, and not Linux, but consider the untold ramifications of their example purely from their position as a POSIX compliant *nix-like Operating System. I highly doubt that in the beginning Apple anticipated the wellspring of open-source and 'free' applications that have since flooded the Macintosh platform thanks to Apple's OS X. The head CEOs may have expected a few universities to port their favorite *nix utilities here and there, may even have anticipated that a few oddball *BSD loyalists would port over a few text editors or some disk utilities; certainly they likely imagined any such port to be command line only. The current reality today with the Macintosh being able to run just about any *BSD\'Linux' applications you could name (and most of these as GUI applications that run seamlessly blended into the background with Apple's native applications) would likely have floored them had they known.

Granted, Apple's Macintoshes are running these applications in a *nix-like operating system, so it should not be so surprising that these programs run on OS X, which is POSIX compliant. Granted this operating system is a proprietary fork of *BSD and the MACH kernel and as such Apple is free to drop and even lock out POSIX compliance should they wish. Granted even that this is all running on Apple's own proprietary hardware running its exclusive version of the Power PC processor in an undocumented chipset.(Efforts of reverse engineers managing to make booting Linux on these chipsets possible notwithstanding, they are considered undocumented by Apple itself.) Accepting also the fact that Apple is primarily a hardware company and that these desktop computers are running a proprietary Desktop Environment--
http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=5612

In another point, tell me why exactly it took Apple so long to use USB 2.0? Could it be because of a little thing called firewire?

In case you don't recall, Apple orignally charged $2 per port per device for licensing fees... and hence didn't adopt USB 2.0 in macs so their own standard would succeed.
www.macnn.com/feature.php?id=59

You both have some good points, but please don't be blinded that you're the only person with a valid opinion.

Counterfit
Apr 20, 2004, 10:05 PM
/me curses

come on, apple describes it as a USB keyboard extension cable, but its essentially a USB extension cable. just cuz apple "crippled" it doesnt mean it doesnt work with other standard USB devices.
Grrr.
Nobody's answering my questions.
I dont think the mac platform is proprietary.
and if drm stuff like fairplay was not proprietary urm everyone would be in big big trouble. Online music stores sales would plummet, the RIAA would be more ****ed up, etc. Do you think you could get a shot of the male plug on the keyboard? If it doesn't have a spot for the notch, this whole discussion becomes rather pointless...

JamesDPS
Apr 20, 2004, 10:12 PM
/me curses

come on, apple describes it as a USB keyboard extension cable, but its essentially a USB extension cable. just cuz apple "crippled" it doesnt mean it doesnt work with other standard USB devices.
Grrr.
Nobody's answering my questions.
I dont think the mac platform is proprietary.
and if drm stuff like fairplay was not proprietary urm everyone would be in big big trouble. Online music stores sales would plummet, the RIAA would be more ****ed up, etc.

Hiya... yeah the notch (depicted very well in your second picture posted above) actually DOES prevent plugging "standard" USB devices (which have a completely flat side where that notch is on certain Apple devices) into the extension cable, hence why people are calling it "proprietary", although it's basically just a way of only letting certain products plug into the cable. I don't know which third-party products you have that support the "notched" USB plug, but my digi cam (canon) doesn't, my Attaché USB storage device doesn't, my Roland MIDI interface doesn't, and I'm sure there are a few more. None of these devices can plug into the Apple USB Keyboard extension cable.

EDIT, JUST REALIZED: I think the picture you posted is actually a different kind of extension than what I'm talking about -- it looks like it would accept any standard USB plug -- I think the extension I have at home that doesn't accept third-party USB is different (there is less space between the notch/ridge on the inside of the female connector and the core/contact thingy inside, I think)... I'll get back on this later -- at work right now :)

cubist
Apr 20, 2004, 10:35 PM
The cable definitely has a ridge inside, and the keyboard plug definitely has a slot to go around the ridge. The manual refers to it as a "keyboard extension cable". Its plug end has a USB symbol, but the socket end does not.

My guess is that this cable is not shielded for USB 2.0 use, so they did this to prevent people from using it as a USB 2.0 extension cable and having trouble. (I'm not sure that extension cables are allowed in the USB 2.0 spec, FTM.)

Counterfit
Apr 20, 2004, 10:44 PM
Wow, you just totally skipped over all of their important and good points, just to brag that you're right. Then why don't you enlighten us and explain them eh?

You definately have no case calling OS X a non-proprietary OS... just because something is based on BSD doesn't make it BSD.

http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=5612Of course, you both fail to mention that just about everything underneath the GUI (and no iApps and such) is open-source, through Apple (http://developer.apple.com/darwin/)

janey
Apr 20, 2004, 11:07 PM
/me sighs
could one of you at least try forcing it in?

Rower_CPU
Apr 20, 2004, 11:26 PM
Wow, you just totally skipped over all of their important and good points, just to brag that you're right.

Just because someone says anything at all "anti-apple," everyone is so quick to label them a troll when in fact they may be right or have some good points.

The point regarding the fairplay DRM is hardly moot. The iPod is a closed device to anything other than the iTunes music store for legal music. This may not be a big deal to you, but being the #1 MP3 player and refusing to share your proprietary standard is. Speaking of proprietary, let's not forget the proprietary firewire port on the new iPods.

All of your points regarding 802.11 and zeroconf are really streaching it... that's like saying because iChat uses UDP Apple is on the forefront of open standards. You definately have no case calling OS X a non-proprietary OS... just because something is based on BSD doesn't make it BSD.

http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=5612

In another point, tell me why exactly it took Apple so long to use USB 2.0? Could it be because of a little thing called firewire?

In case you don't recall, Apple orignally charged $2 per port per device for licensing fees... and hence didn't adopt USB 2.0 in macs so their own standard would succeed.
www.macnn.com/feature.php?id=59

You both have some good points, but please don't be blinded that you're the only person with a valid opinion.

I addressed their points, and then moved on to what should have been the conclusion of the argument - my time is precious and I didn't care to pore over every iota of what was stated since the conclusion was at hand.

There is nothing inherently negative about the term in question, and I never argued it from the standpoint of pro/anti-Apple. I was addressing the over-generalization. Nice try painting me as a zealot.

The DRM argument is moot since there is no "standard" DRM available.

Apple's use of the BSD requires them to open their changes to the core back to the community. Try again.

This is not an issue of opinion but one of fact - remove the log from thine own eye...

ZildjianKX
Apr 20, 2004, 11:27 PM
/me sighs
could one of you at least try forcing it in?

I've tried forcing it, it wouldn't work on my MS Natural Keyboard Pro. Hence my modification.

Your welcome everyone for trying it out. Man, my simple tutorial turned into a horrible topic of people getting pissed off. I thought mac people are suppose to be nice :)

Mr Ed
Apr 20, 2004, 11:34 PM
I addressed their points, and then moved on to what should have been the conclusion of the argument - my time is precious and I didn't care to pore over every iota of what was stated since the conclusion was at hand.

There is nothing inherently negative about the term in question, and I never argued it from the standpoint of pro/anti-Apple. I was addressing the over-generalization. Nice try painting me as a zealot.

The DRM argument is moot since there is no "standard" DRM available.

Apple's use of the BSD requires them to open their changes to the core back to the community. Try again.

This is not an issue of opinion but one of fact - remove the log from thine own eye...

Someone wake up on the wrong side of the bed today?

I argued points that are equally as valid as yours, including reputable sources. You completely ignore my point of view and toss it aside without giving it further thought. That sir, does make you a zealot. I shouldn't have expected more from a mod on a mac board. Mac people are suppose to have open minds, not closed minds.

ZildjianKX
Apr 20, 2004, 11:36 PM
Umm... let's just close the topic.

Rower_CPU
Apr 20, 2004, 11:42 PM
Someone wake up on the wrong side of the bed today?

I argued points that are equally as valid as yours, including reputable sources. You completely ignore my point of view and toss it aside without giving it further thought. That sir, does make you a zealot. I shouldn't have expected more from a mod on a mac board. Mac people are suppose to have open minds, not closed minds.

What you don't seem to grasp is this very simple concept:

An absolute statement was made: Everything Apple makes is proprietary.

All it takes to disprove an absolute statement is one piece of evidence to the contrary. I provided evidence to the contrary in spades.

End of discussion. Nice try tag teaming me (funny that you guys share an IP or two in your records). :rolleyes: