PSA: In lieu of a new issue
Reddit meltdown and its effects on kbd.news. Send me your projects. New shops, discounts, meetups, etc.
Published June 17, 2023
The reddit blackout is both dauting and liberating. I'm working on various keyboard-related things, but coming up with original content takes much more time than processing your exemplarly crafted reddit posts or github repos.
Send me your projects!
So feel free to ping me and send me a link to your cool keyboard project what you'd usually share on e.g. r/ergomk. I already received some mails and tip-offs so the blog will be back on track soon.
Since I heavily rely (relied?) on Reddit to collect most of the news and keep track of open-source projects, all the relevant subs going dark on June 12th made my work quite impossible, at least the way it was's been done for nearly three years. Many valuable reddit subs are gone, and even my bookmarks disappeared.
While I didn't even know of the third-party apps and tools used by mods this fight is for, I absolutely understand the rage, so in absence of r/mk, r/ergomk and others subs, feel free to contact me directly with your project or ping me with any interesting url with the usual keyboard stuff you think would fit kbd.news.
If the recent happenings have taught me anything, it's that I have to diversify my sources. Unfortunately, I can't turn a single photo shared on Twitter, IG, whatever platform into a proper post. Reddit was the right thing for this kind of aggregation imo. Adapting to the new realities is in progress but it takes some time, so don't be shy and feel free to reach out to me anytime.
Drop article about splits – written on a LEGO Adam :)
So Drop asked me if I'd write an article for their blog, and I accepted the challenge. It's a real honor to be able to follow in the footsteps of community members and industry players like ThereminGoat, GMK_Andy and The_Manic_Geek.
The article will be a short introduction to split and ergo boards, nothing serious. Apparently, the target audience over on Drop is not the DIY-minded creator but a much more general keyboard enthusiast who's never touched or seen a split before.
The cover image choice made me a headache though, because I don't think I had a split collection decent enough to represent the scene. In fact, I designed my first split for myself so I've never felt the urge to buy any other split. Despite all of this, it turned out I have about a dozen split models. Some of my original monoblock prototypes, two Microsoft ergo keyboards belonging to my vintage collection (Gen1 MS Natural from 1994), then I received the K:02 from Ergohaven, a Glove80 from MoErgo, the TWS from Keebmonkey, and also won a few times in Don's podcast when I had the opportunity to choose anything from Keebio, among others an Iris and a Levinson.
So to shot a photo for the cover I decided to haul all my splits into a heap, and because of this protracted photo shoot took ages, and I managed to break some solder joints of my handwired daily driver during the process, I ended up with typing on a KBDCraft Adam for a few days.
And actually, I loved it. Sure, living in Central Europe and using all those funky accented characters, the 60% ANSI layout was a pain in the butt, but the Adam is Vial compatible so creating a SpaceFN layer with my usual number and navigation part went like a dream, which left only the horizontal staggering as a major drawback for someone who's spent his last five years on a columnar split. I really have to write a review of this Adam kit. I already teased the idea of integrating it into my kids' Harry Potter castle but wasn't in the mood thus far. Nevertheless, BoyU is kind enough to send me all the updates, his newest numpad
is on the way as well has just arrived, so I might dig up some LEGO in the near future.
In the mailbox
After reading my invitation on twitter, Robin from Chosfox offered me some of his products to review. In addition, I purchased a mysterious vintage behemoth of a keyboard yesterday – my first such acquisition for months I guess. On its way. And the Addams arrived:
As already told, BoyU keeps sending me his cool LEGO-compatible keyboard models, this time the Addams, a versatile gasket-mounted and hotswappable brick numpad with all the necessary parts plus a cute red coiled cable and an extra Minecraft figure. Which means the content of the box is even better than it was last time.
Pre-lubed switches in a cool sealed jar, pre-lubed JWK stabilizers, poron gaskets, double-shot keycaps.
More photos on imgur.
The booklet is still not entirely perfect, it has some funny sentences, but you can absolutely rely on it this time, and this particular build is very straightforward anyways.
It's good to see that someone with a good idea and business skills can not only come up with a whole ecosystem of boards but also with a long-term concept: e.g. the Addams numpad offers multiple layouts and can be combined with the original 60% Adams and also the wrist rests in many ways – It's not just a companion but add-on ("Add-ams").
(As usual: use the KBDNEWS discount code for 5% off.)
Logical layout design
I dug up my long-forgotten logical layout optimization project. It's a suit of scripts and various in-browser tools to process and analyze large chunks of texts, to evaluate layouts, and optimize your custom layout tailored to your typing habits. It took me a whole day to figure out what (and how) exactly I did years ago. After this forensic phase I managed to finish a brand new script with the goal to visualize the differences in typing difficulty, comparing two layouts.
If reddit won't be back for some time, I'm quite confident that I'll be able to publish these scripts along with a series of posts about logical layout design, my original field of interest before I even heard of mechanical keyboards.
I have to work on the UX, bring all the settings and options to the gui from obscure config files and directly edited js variables, include some popular physical layouts, languages, fixing bugs, optimizing speed... So coming soon. ;)
New shops and updates to the database of keyboard vendors this week:
- I don't usually feature artisan makers but made an exception this time. Vadym from Vkeycaps contacted me from Odesa, Ukraine, and offered you a 10% discount (KBDNEWS). Support him if you can.
- HellCaps and Studio Greenfield removed, the sites were unavailable as Vadym pointed out. Thanks!
New entries and updates to the database of keyboard meetups:
- Madison MK Meetup 2023 (Jul 22) added (thanks Vianney!).
- The next ClackyCon (Den Haag, NL, Sep 30) has been announced (thanks Yoran!)
- キー部 5% (Tokyo, Jul 15) added, however it's already sold out.
- And there was the ATO meetup in Kuala Lumpur (May 20), DonKyu (thanks!) reported this while I was on holiday which I totally forgot to mention in the last issue. Check out the post-event gallery for some pics.
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.
- No new donors this time. Many thanks to the regular supporters who keep this project going.
Maintaining this site takes much more energy and time than my fulltime job does. I mean it. (According to last year's Reddit Recap stats that was 100 hours per month on Reddit only.) If you'd like and can afford to help, here is the donation form.
Thanks and cheers, Tamás
Published on Sat 17th Jun 2023. Featured in KBD #125.