Behind the Scenes of Issue 115
Update on the status of the newsletter, deinfluencing, new shops, 100+ discounts reached, K:02, Philips investigation, meetups, etc.
Published March 10, 2023
Welcome back for another edition of Keyboard Builders' Digest (this time Issue #115), a
weekly temporarily fortnightly roundup of this DIY keyboard focused newsletter and blog from Tamas Dovenyi – that's me. If you are new to this, you can read how this started out and what this is all about nowadays. If you like what you see, subscribe to the newsletter (free) and donate some bucks to keep this otherwise free and ad-free project alive.
Ask and it shall be given. I got a good offer from Buttondown (thanks Justin!) which is reasonable and nothing near MailChimp's $500-840 annual fee I had to pay. So I'll probably move all the MailChimp subscribers to Buttondown.
However, not now, so today's newsletter will be sent only to the Buttondown subscribers.
I know, there would be at least two cheaper alternatives I'm aware of (thanks for the idea, Caleb!), but I like the Markdown-support of Buttondown. And my calculations suggest that there would be only about $40-50 difference (per year) between BD and a popular self-hosted alternative, which would require a lot of hacking and tweaking on my side. Anyway, this latter may be the long-term solution, but for now I'll stay with BD.
On another note, there are 155 unconfirmed newsletter subscribers right now. The emails seem real, legit and valid, no typos whatsoever, so some of you simply may have missed the confirmation email, probably still sitting in your spam folder. Just saying.
Weekly deinfluencing chunk of wisdom
The latest trend, polluting r/mk, successor of monkeytype screenshots of just a few years ago: Mystery switches. Facepalm. Are you serious, people? You don't even know what you get, but it's cheap. I don't get it.
New shops and updates to the database of keyboard vendors:
- Pulling Keys (Detroit) added, and Heather was kind enough to offer you a 10% discount (code: KBDNEWS).
- Cables Hero added (France), and Pierre offered you a 5% discount.
- Mechi Cables added (Canada).
- Gamer Gift (NL).
- New Idobao discount! 5% off with the KBDNEWS code. (For first buyers and smaller purchases the NEWIDOBAO code with a fix $10 off may work better.)
100 discount codes
Cables Hero's 5% off was the 100th coupon (in a close fight with IDOBAO). Yeah, it's quite incredible, but there are now 100 shops offering various discounts if you use the KBDNEWS coupon code.
It's crazy, that's about every fifth store I know of. More than 20% of all the vendors in the database.
I can't really recall how all this started out. Many stores who'd like to be included in the database nowadays contact me with the coupon code already set up. In all other cases I make them aware of this option and this apparently is paying off on the long run. I even helped some shops to set up such a function in their store engine. ;)
What has ABBA & Billy Joel got to do with keyboards?
Well, these past days I've been listening to The Visitors, the eighth studio album of the legendary Swedish pop group ABBA, and now I can't get this freaking tune out of my head:
I usually prefer something much heavier with distorted guitars, double bass drum pedals, odd timings etc. So why ABBA this time? The answer is in this article on my elusive Philips keyboard.
This was quite an adventure, read the whole story while listening to ABBA. ;)
And now it seems I can contribute a photo to Marcin Wichary's upcoming book, Shift Happens. There are so many weird keycaps on this keyboard, but Marcin liked the pretty unique Return key the best.
Yeah, and thanks for identifying the mysterious ETB key:
Any idea what "ETB" may stand for on this enormous keycap? The keyboard was part of a Philips PMDS II aka PM 4422 I guess, so 40 yeas ago it was used to program, develop, test microcontrollers. Summoning @mwichary :) pic.twitter.com/46JNvbQiaV— kbd.news (@KbdNews) March 9, 2023
Big thanks to Evgeny for sending me one of their K:02s. I tried to stress test it for more than a week to be able to provide an honest review.
Btw, I had a really good time with this split. As I write it in the K:02 review, it took me some days to reproduce my pretty unique logical layout and also to get used to the pinky stagger, but in the end I was very pleased with this nice prebuilt.
Lots of meetups in the recent two weeks. I know, the new fortnightly pace of my issues makes it pretty hard to keep people informed on upcoming ones. I'll try to get back to weekly issues.
- New entries: A meetup in München // March 24 (Thanks Fabian!)
- And the NC Mech Meetup in Greensboro on May 6.
- Recently added but already over: Upstate SC Mechanical Keyboard Meetup (March 4) and a meetup in Seoul (Feb 26).
- Iowa meetup (March 4) page updated with a bunch of galleries.
- And ofc the Ten-Key Vol.4 in Tokyo on March 4. According to Daihuku, this big event attracted a lot of attention: the 250 spots were filled in less than a single day. As usual, he kept his camera at hand:
Other than these, I'll have to come up with a solution for recurring events like the monthly meetings in Orlando, Berlin or the Tiny Little Tech Shop meetups in Jacksonville. Keep them in mind if you live close to these places.
As always, this meetup database is both a calendar and an archive so feel free to send me upcoming events or even ones from the recent past to make this collection as comprehensive as possible.
- New donors: Kurt Plubell (aka kurplop, who made the Planet 6 back in 2016), Richard Dawe, Stove24. Thanks everyone!
- And two new recurring donors: Thanks James McCleese and Benjamin Bell!
As I write it in my year-end summary, maintaining this site takes a lot of energy and time. (According to the Reddit Recap stats that's 100 hours per month on Reddit only.) If you'd like and can afford to help, here is the donation form.
And many thanks to everyone who supported this project in any of its development stages.
- I had a chat with MoErgo's Stephen on various topics, one of them was the difficulty of getting "real" visitor stats. As a side note, he suggested a collection of the most popular articles on kbd.news so people can find the most interesting/trending posts at a given time. I tried to address both issues/tasks, and well, a quick and dirty "trending posts" page is already live. I'm playing with caching and improving performance. And will refine the UX, but other than that, the eminent readers who got to this point of this week's editorial can try it out. ;)
- Updates to handling sold out events in the meetup database
That's all for today. Thanks for checking by.
Published on Fri 10th Mar 2023. Featured in KBD #115.