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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Editorial

Quick weekly BTS #2023/27

Quick news with Al Di Meola. New era, new emotions. Compaq in the mailbox. Logical layout design feat. Mario. Shops & discounts.

dovenyi
Published July 7, 2023
Creators! Feel free to tip me off about your keyboard related projects to bring them to 100K readers.

Hey y'all,

Not enough posts for a proper issue, but multiple perverted readers have indicated that they, for some peculiar reason, love these editorials, so I'll try to keep these coming.

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Welcome back for a quick weekly recap and behind-the-scenes write-up. If you are new to kbd.news, 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.

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While folks are heading for their holiday destinations, and we are boiling the planet and ourselves, global temperatures hitting records every single day, Mediterranean Sundance feels appropriate for this week's listening:

It would be also fun, at least to a certain degree, to watch how owners of various social media platforms keep driving their sites into the ground – if it wouldn't mean keyboard news are drying up as a consequence. Until things get back to normal, I have to ditch the weekly-fortnightly "issues" format and post whenever I have something to say.

That said, keeping up with the usual pace is impossible without your assistance and contribution. It takes much more time to even find something newsworthy, not to mention writing original content or a post based on a short tweet. (Thanks for every heads-up!) Having a full-time job, this is pretty unsustainable. The other option? Doing this blog as my fulltime occupation, but even to consider that would require at least 2-3x the amount of regular donations I currently get. (Thanks a lot for all the support!) All this at a time without news? Not too realistic.

So instead of a usual issue, here are some cool links I thought you'd like, from all over the Internet, without distilling each of them into a dedicated post:

Quick links

Pic:

Pic:

  • Cool but bizarrely looking tenting by @andychiu.
  • Rudebox fighting game controller by @rudeism.
  • Inspiration: Striker 80 "pre-rotated" design.
  • MCM/70 resurrected by Michael. I've posted about this mouth-watering Canadian vintage beauty earlier here.
  • Participants of the Crap Games Contest have been competing in writing the crappest Spectrum game possible ever since 1996, presenting us with timeless gems like Sim City: The Text Adventure, Blind Flight Simulator or Whack a Nun II. This year's host is Jamie Bradbury who lost the previous contest by submitting the less crap game. (Exactly, the worst game wins, and the creator of the less crap one gets to host the next event as a punishment.) Rich Pelley sums up the story for The Guardian.

It’s fun to cook up the stupidest possible idea and enjoy the misery of whoever has to review the damn thing – Jbizzel.

Keyboard shops closing

As the PSA on r/mk points out, some keyboard shops may have financial difficulties after the inflated demand of the lockdown and WFH periods is proving to be unsustainable. The announcement highlights the situation of Mechs & Co., but it's not a unique case.

Apparently, as Vadym's pretty long list of the unavailable shops in the vendor database suggests, the problem is more serious than a couple of individual cases.

It’s no secret that us as well as other vendors have hit cash flow issues due to the state of the hobby, the market changing and other factors – M&C_Mike.

So be careful when jumping in yet another GB. And feel free to report shops I should mark as closed/closing/sus in the database.

Reddit, fediverse, whatever

It's been almost a month since the reddit blackout. What about alternative platforms and new communities?

I've read an excellent article from the pen of Bloonface who points out why the #TwitterMigration/RedditMigration failed (Reddit comes up quite late in the article, but all the major points apply): people don't care about decentralisation, it's not a selling point for 99% of the users, while it's a big pain in the butt and – at least in the current development stage of these platforms, apps and communities – ruins the whole user experience.

The people who accept these trade-offs are not normal, and they’re in charge – Bloonface.

This quote is intentionally provocative, read the full article for context.

I'm not sure if the staggered reopening of r/mk today (July 7) will make any difference.

Keyboard emotions

Philipp asked ChatGPT to invent new emotions, and most of them apply to the keyboard hobby. (Sure, some of these are simply new names for known emotions, some of them already having names, although more obscure.)

Lostalgia and quirksolation kick in all the time when I try to figure out a code done or matrix soldered many years ago. Or when I sit in a darkened room, binge-scrolling e.g. ebay for vintage keyboards – like I did this week. (While restructuring and cleaning up the file system behind kbd.news, I rediscovered some old notes of mine, one of them with a list of interesting or simply beautiful keyboard and typewriter models I thought I NEED in my collection…)

Neurothirst? I'm working on the logical layout design series, being cautiously optinervous, so that's a familiar state of mind too. It will be quite a read, about 30+ articles, so I hope you will feel epicgrief at the end.

Many more weird feelings in John Koenig's pre-AI book: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

In the mailbox

A rather uncommon Compaq keyboard appeared on one of my go-to classified sites with an integrated trackball and a 1800-ish layout.

Pic: Compaq 11800

Compaq 11800

Probably vintage MX Browns are awaiting me, but the price was really ridiculous, so I had to buy it. (Ridiculously low, to make it clear. Almost all prices are ridiculous nowadays, but not in this sense unfortunately.)

Something like this. Ebay is full of them, but it cost me only about $8. In fact, I paid $15 because the seller listed a pretty rare Márquez-book too, so I ended up with an order pleasing not only my senses but also my mind.

Other than that, two vendors contacted me and promised to ship some products for review. I'm not sure if these are already on their way, quite often I never hear of people again after they make such offers. Even big names disappear sometimes – I should really sum up my experiences with the last giveaway (November last year) – I know of at least three undelivered prizes, and it seems the vendors failing to deliver ghosted me and the winners for good. (Sorry "winners".) Well, let's hope the best this time with the new offers.

Logical layout design

Slowly but surely I'm getting there. Last time I told you if reddit won't be back for some time, I'm quite confident that I'll be able to publish my logical layout design scripts and articles.

Well, the first pieces are just around the corner, starting with a teaser, a detailed TOC of the "course", and a dozen of half-baked write-ups. I wanted to publish the teaser today, along with this post, but give me a few days yet. I'd like to make it interactive, so I have to test a few things.

Thinking about my first experiences with regards of "proper" typing, I found the cutting-edge, advanced, scientific piece of software of the time guiding me through my first steps back in the 90s:

Pic: Mario Teaches Typing, 1992

Mario Teaches Typing, 1992

To spare you some googling: this way.

Vendor database

New shops and updates to the database of keyboard vendors this week:

  • ClackX offered you a 5eur discount (KBDNEWS). Thanks Doctorboy!
  • Lots of shops marked as closed (Thanks Vadym).

Meetup database

New entries and updates to the database of keyboard meetups:

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.

Donors

If you'd like and can afford to help, here is the donation form.

Developments

New developments:

  • File structure changes and major cleanup
  • Vendor database maintenance
  • Layout design scripts and posts.

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That's all for today. Thanks for checking by. As always: Keep learning and building!

Until next time, Tamás

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Published on Fri 7th Jul 2023. Featured in KBD #126.


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