Keyboard Builders' Digest
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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Editorial

Behind the Scenes of Issue 74

On longer format articles, 40 discount codes, keyboard lexicon update, duplex matrix cultural dissonance, Datalux acquisition, etc.

dovenyi
Published April 18, 2022
Creators! Feel free to tip me off about your keyboard related projects to bring them to 100K readers.

Hey y'all,

Welcome back for another edition of Keyboard Builders' Digest (this time Issue #74), a weekly 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, you can subscribe to the newsletter (free) and donate some bucks to keep this otherwise free and ad-free project alive.

Let's jump right in.

---

First off, thanks to everyone who contacted me with suggestions and submissions last week. I try to answer each inquiry but things really start to get out of hand. If you feel you are ignored, just give me a couple of days or simply send me a reminder. Most likely I'm busily working on another write-up or looking for your message…

No kidding, the other day I spent a considerable amount of time just to find a message I knew I received. The question was though: on what platform? I checked the kbd.news email account, my twitter messages, reddit chat and PMs, discord, etc. Before checking keebtalk, geekhack and deskthority, I eventually found it in my private email inbox… And people keep asking why I'm not on viber/whatsapp/telegram/facebook, etc.

High-effort posts

My observation is that the more time and effort I put into an issue and the more kick-ass I think it is, the less upvotes it generates on r/mk. :D

According to this well-established folk wisdom, this particular issue has to be almost fully ignored on r/mk because I've spent many hours with preparing some of the write-ups.

Jacqueline's Lily notebook keyboard, the PRK firmware or the 1800-ish wooden ortho recquired a lot of correspondence, editing and/or research. And for the LDSA post I had to comb through a whole Discord channel started in January…

I hope some of you appreciate this work.

Weekly rediscovery: keyboard lexicon

Thanks to @hasumikin, who I've exchanged a few PMs with preparing the piece on the PRK firmware, I rediscovered my long forgotten keyboard lexicon.

He asked me to include his PRK, and I realized I can't even remember the last time I updated that side-project. Checking the files it was almost a year ago…

Now I included some keywords like RP2040, some new controllers, keycap profiles, and ofc PRK. ;)

Weekly discovery: duplex matrix ambiguity

Again, while compiling the PRK write-up, I contacted @policium as well, and while chatting it turned out that we use the term "duplex matrix" for two totally different matrices.

This topic seems to be a really good contender for another article – an interesting topic both culturally and technically, but I have to educate myself in this field before I can cover some more sophisticated matrices properly.

As a teaser: did you know a vanilla Pro Micro is capable of handing more than 300 keys? This was something totally new for me as I always thought 81 keys are the limit for a PM (with 18 pins) – or 100 keys by utilizing the LED pins.

But that's apparently not true. With more complex matrices you can control 160+ or 300+ keys with just 18 GPIO pins. More on this later. Stay tuned.

New supporter

Christian Mladenov is a new regular subscriber. Thanks Christian! Recurring donations like this one keep this project alive.

Vendor directory

Welcome Keebz N Cables, a relatively new shop in Perth, Australia – serving keyboard enthusiasts in/from "one of the most isolated cities in the world".

And I'm preparing a new page with all the discount codes here (WIP): https://kbd.news/coupon

At the time of writing this, 40 keyboard shops offer discounts for my readers, and these 5-10% discounts options are now presented on a single page.

(Other than that, from the total 40 cooperations, I get a small commission for your purchases in 6 cases. I just checked it and in the recent year I earned about $13 payouts. :D)

Btw, I'm working on the standardization of the promo codes, but with most vendors this requires a manual update on their part so it's a quite slow process, espcially during the Easter recess.

Regardless, turning all the codes into "KBDNEWS" would make it possible to check this code on any shops without much thinking.

New acquisitions

I won the bid for a NOS Datalux spacesaver keyboard – allegedly one of the worst keyboards of all times! :D That sounds like a must-have in any decent keyboard collection…

Still on its way, but here is a photo from the listing with the strange slope and the inexplicably raised Enter key:

Pic: Datalux

Datalux

And here is Chyrosran's rant/review from 2019:

Mine will be an AZERTY one so even worse for my purposes I guess. :D

Weekly distraction

Spotting a Kaypro II in a Twitter thread by Huxley Dunsany I ended up looking for text adventure games… Like this one: https://writtenrealms.com/. Eventually, although not a text adventure, I rediscovered Maniac Mansion, a game I spent a lot of time with as a child. You can play it here. ---

That's all folks. Feel free to comment in this issue's r/mk thread, and as always: keep learning and building.

Cheers, Tamás

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Published on Mon 18th Apr 2022. Featured in KBD #74.


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