Behind the scenes #141
Giveaway and advent calendar update, quick news, in the mailbox, meetups, vendor updates.
Published October 27, 2023
Let's start with some important PSA stuff:
- Head to this mini poll first. The September top switch compilation was very popular, I may incorporate these results into the next one.
- And I'm going to host another MK advent calendar this year. Confirmations of invited authors are trickling in. Get back to me with a working title if you'd like to contribute an article too. Here are the guidelines for authors.
- And there's another anniversary giveaway in the making. (WIP, not open yet.) Looking for sponsors.
Today's listening? Of all the Wasted Years interpretations, this is what I can't get out of my head these days – by Ian Zumback:
(And in case you are too young or simply prefer higher volume, more power, and more gain, here is the original one from 1986 – contemporary of my new industrial Model M 😉.)
Welcome back for another weekly recap and behind-the-scenes write-up.
If you're joining us for the first time, welcome first of all. This weekly recap and behind-the-scenes write-up is about all the cool and fun stuff going on in the DIY keyboard scene these days. 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.
I'm so sorry if you had to wait days for me to reply – even worse if you are still waiting. ;) We had a long weekend here with a public holiday and I also started to organize those two dreaded side-projects behind the scenes. Feel free to nudge me if you think I missed something important.
Reading for the weekend
It seems this week was all about the renaissance of Foostan's timeless Corne:
- Boardsource launched Unicorne, a Corne ecosystem with cases, PCB and a new tenting system.
- Released by FrictioN, this Corne Xiao is a modified, wireless version of the original.
- Hai Nguyen of ergomech.store shared his Corne Chocoflan, a low-pro Corne variant optimized for wireless use.
- Kooziecup published multiple high-profile cases for the Lily58 and, yes, for the Corne!
- And even Foostan himself came up with an improvement: mid-mount/low-pro TRRS connector:
- This is my review of the Bancouver40, this cool little pre-built ortho keyboard in a premium CNC aluminum case – designed by Sporewoh and sold by Chosfox – on the occasion of the announcement of minipeg48, its 4x12 colleague, and kowgary16, their numpad companion. Here is the very first exclusive non-render photo of them (shot at night so it can make it to this issue):
- Span is a split with trackpoint support by Idan of holykeebs – following in the footsteps of the GergoPlex.
- Patrick Ryan shared his Yurigs80, a 84-key keyboard with Pi Pico and encoder.
- The Japanese media was full of reports on the new HHKB Studio board (press release) – trackpoint, gesture pads, three low-pro thumb keys for mouse control:
- …and a custom linear MX switch with an interesting part 🤔:
- Tip: Joe Scotto printed and shared some keycaps.
- More info on the Iris CE. Check out Danny's blog post with a lot of details.
- Just pics: a noname magnetic split by lux_via and the Kassiopea 46 by Any_interaction – without much info:
- Finally, the authoritative Hyper7 resurrected by Mechboards. GB starting at this very moment! In addition, Ben was kind enough to offer one of these beasts for the giveaway (details below).
After 2 years, we're bringing back this behemoth of a keyboard. The worlds only 173% keyboard – mechboards.co.uk
Giveaway and Advent Calendar
Oops… I did it again. And all at once, which is sheer madness. It will be a lot of work, but chills are running up and down my spine already while reading all the feedback. I sent out my spam email for 500+ vendors yesterday and we had some good conversations. Thanks for all the support.
For those who are not familiar with the beauties of sending an email to hundreds of contacts: about 10-15% of the recipients seem to have auto-reply set up. I had to dig myself through dozens of replies to find out if they are general messages or conceal some important info – many of them being in Chinese or Japanese, this is often not as easy of a task as some might think. 🤣
Here are the most agile sponsors who came back to me in less than 24 hours:
Capsule Deluxe, Chosfox, Custom Keyboard Co., Cyboard, FalbaTech, Goblintechkeys, Green Door Geeks, KEEBD, Kemove, Keyboard.io, Keycapsss, KEYGEM, Krome Keycaps, Little Keyboards, Mechboards, Mintlodica, Turtlekeebs, Upgrade Keyboards, ZSA Technology Labs.
The application form to enter the giveaway is not live yet. I will update the giveaway page in the upcoming days and open the form later. Nevertheless, feel free to check out the prize pool in its current state.
And there will be a lot of great articles in this year's MK advent calendar as well. Don't forget: if you personally have a good idea for a post, don't wait for my invitation. Consider yourself invited and feel free to contact me!
If you missed it last time, there are some new donation options. Some of you hate PayPal and think it's a big barrier. That's why I added Stripe, Ko-fi, Buy Me a Coffee and Patreon. You find all the links on the donation page.
- Thanks Felicitas, you are the first member on Patreon. 🥰 (At least in this new era. Kaleid1990 started there originally two and a half years ago and she is still an active donor! – but via PayPal now.) Plus we have an anonymous donor too. Thank you all!
- And as always, many thanks to everyone who helped this project thus far, especially to regular donors. Without you, this project wouldn't turn 3 in a few weeks.
In the mailbox
I bought some cheap and moderately interesting retro keyboards, four of them on the way,
but nothing in the mailbox this week. These parcels keep showing up in the last minute before publishing the actual issue and sending out the newsletter…
It is probably the 1986 industrial IBM Model M I'm the most excited about. Bought for just a few bucks, about 2 minutes after the listing went public. I was at the right place at the right time. Well, and of course I knew what I was looking at, which is very important when people have apparently no clue what they are selling. 🤫
- MK Meetup - Lisboa 2023, Oct 28, Lisboa, Portugal.
- 8th Berlin Meetup of 2023, Oct 30, Berlin, Germany.
- WirelessCar Keyboard Meetup, Nov 9, Göteborg, Sweden. (Thanks Andreas!)
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 shops and updates to the database of keyboard vendors this week:
- 8BitDo – more of a specialist of controllers, but with a cool retro keyboard in the line-up.
- geekboards.de – brick-and-mortar showroom in Berlin.
- Wirekeebs removed (thanks Darklord!)
- Lots of updates, cleanup, some logos added – spamming all the vendors once a year (begging for prizes for the giveaway) is a good way to identify expired domains, abandoned emails, etc.
- Preparations for the giveaway and advent calendar, creating landing pages, contacting potential sponsors, cleaning up the vendor database based on emails bouncing back, etc., took whole days from my life. 😐
There is so much more I could tell you about – IBM, Intergraph with toggle Caps and Alt keys, 8BitDo (maybe next week), breaking into the Videoton (one step closer to the arcane RAFI switch) – but this editorial is too long already. Instead, here is a honest still-life with the mess on the "storage" half of my office desk (the "working" half is an even bigger mess):
Still with me?
How many DIY buffs does it take to change a light bulb? One, but it takes two weeks and four trips to the hardware store.
That's all for today. Thanks for checking by. As always: Keep learning and building!
Until next time,
Published on Fri 27th Oct 2023. Featured in KBD #141.