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Quick weekly BTS #2023/30

Quick news, meetups, shops & discounts, whatever. I'm on holiday btw.

dovenyi
Published July 28, 2023
Creators! Feel free to tip me off about your keyboard related projects to bring them to 100K readers.

Hey y'all,

PSA: Response times may be longer than usual, I'm on holiday. Feel free to approach the tall and skinny guy wearing KBD.NEWS t-shirt in Austria, mostly in and around Vienna. Regardless, keep sending me interesting keyboard projects if you think they merit their share of the limelight.

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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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For your ears

Speaking of "limelight", this word has haunted me this whole week, let's summon Rush from 1981. (This would have fit last week's VC-20 much better, but anyway.) I can't get enough of Neil Peart's drumming:

Drop article

So my article on splits went online on drop.com. It's for the average Drop user so probably too basic for kbd.news readers and too in-depth for total beginners. Anyway, check it out if you haven't done it yet. And feel free to comments and press an upvote if you like it or want to see similar articles there from the more freakish depths of the hobby.

Big thanks to HoffmanMyster and Jyri for the opportunity.

Pic:

To say the truth, I had a pretty hard time naming specific split models in that post so before you stone or crucify me for leaving out a lot of popular boards, let me tell you how I decided on what to mention and what not from the many hundred split keyboards: I ended up listing examples based on their occurrence on r/ergomk.

Yep, I wrote this piece back before the Reddit protest. To follow a semi-scientific methodology, I scrolled through a couple of weeks worth of posts and diligently took notes about keyboards mentioned on ergomk. The examples in the article are the winners with the most mentions, so please don't take it too personal, it's probably as objective as it gets.

Reading for the weekend

  • The SpUnLy58, FelixKeeb and Stront MX are all open-source boards and were featured in separate posts. Great projects, check them out!
  • Joe Scotto, after all the handwired keyboards, is back with his first PCB. The PCB version of the Scotto34 is not open source but is a cute little ortho monoblock anyway.
  • Another Scotto-derivative is the PK-S by Protieusz – a modified ScottoFly with Azoteq trackpad.
  • Taro Hayashi's authoritative Killer Whale is making its rounds in the Japanese community. Daihuku has a video about it, and there are many builds out there already. An interview is in the making.

Pic: Killer Whale by Taro Hayashi

Killer Whale by Taro Hayashi

  • Planeta is a new monoblock split by Ergohaven. 3D printed case with universal tenting, plus built-in piezo speaker. Video demo this way. On its way, I'm eager to lay my hands on it and write a thorough review.
  • removed I was asked to postpone this announcement. Let's get back to this next week(?). If you've seen it right after posting, I hope you feel yourself very special now. ;)
  • The GMK twisted stem issue has been confirmed by the manufacturer.
  • Will r/ergomk be back soon? It seems likely.
  • Your keyboard can run Doom now. Graham Sanderson's code modified by Brostafarian.
  • I'm not into artisans myself but have always loved classy wood&resin stuff: Keycap cases by Breakwooden.
  • A gorgeous tented Corne case kit in various colors by Kriscables. So clean!
  • Spotting: a 1975 IBM 5100 Portable posted by FidoMix_Felicia. That extremely tactile red switch lived on in many later models, I have one put aside for future projects in my box of electronic junk.
  • IBM keyboard identification chart by Admiral Shark. Actually, this is really great. I have a single IBM keyboard due to geographical and historical reasons, but I managed to identify it at the very first glance, even on the chart posted on Twitter. And here is the chart for desktop. [correction: I have two IBMs, a model F (bought accidentally) and a cool black Model M-e POS.]
  • Finally, a pretty unique wooden cyberdeck by Yungblude.

Donations

From my keyboard registry (part 2) to the war in Ukraine

So last time I wrote about compiling a list of my boards. My intuition was wrong. It turned out I have only about 70 keyboards, but many of these aren't really noteworthy. Anyway, I told you that I may move them from the attic (half of the collection resides there) to my cellar because of the war in Ukraine. How come?

It came to me again when I talked to a friend last week. Some of you may remember that I live about 100km from the Ukrainian border. The Western border, so nothing near the front line fortunately. As you may know, only women and kids are allowed to leave the country, at least officially and via border crossings. However, this friend, living in a settlement right at the border, told me men keep fleeing too. Many youngsters, afraid of conscription, can't take the border crossing so they have to swim across a river. While women come with cars and belongings, men barely have anything arriving on this side of the river, so local people help them out with used cloths. Btw, my kids have Ukrainian classmates now. But that's just for context, this is still not the reason for a move.

But I also happen to live close to a military base. It's one block away. We barely noticed any military presence before last February, but since then military choppers fly over us all the time. They take off from a base less than 500m away, and they literally just fly by a few meters above our chimney. And one of these helicopters, the exact same model, crashed into the ground a few weeks ago while being on a training mission. So the next day, after hearing the news, we talked with the kids about what to do if a helicopter crashes into our house. Crazy times. Anyway, I told them we should be safe on the ground floor, and then they asked me: "But what about your keyboards in the attic?" Good point. My cellar is full of the remnants of my previous hobby though, so this will take some time.

In the mailbox

A Planeta is on its way from Ergohaven, thanks for the offer Evgeny.

Pic:

Other than that, I've been practically on holiday for the majority of this week, so I didn't want to buy anything until I'm back home. (However, I'm really curious about how much that very early C64 in the VIC-20 style breadbin case will change hands for. I was eyeing with it for a few days but it's already way beyond my budget.)

Meetup database

Upcoming meetups, new entries and updates to the database of keyboard meetups.

This weekend:

New addition:

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.

Vendor database

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

  • It was reported that the Eloquent Clicks coupon doesn't work. Woob made some changes to the site but the coupon is back now. Thanks! (However, the discount is 3% instead of the previous 5%.)
  • Mechs & Co. was flagged already but I marked it as closed now (PSA on r/mk).
  • Some more shops removed or marked as reported or sus (e.g. Alpherior Keys, loob.no, Oh, keycaps!). Partly still based on Vadym's list of abandoned shops, partly new ones. :(

Developments

New developments:

  • Played a lot with my layout optimization tools, worked on the UI, but not much progress to be honest.
  • LLD stats, scripts, example corpora
  • Vendor database maintenance

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Still here, lost soul? Let's punish you with a dad joke:

"There was a devastating fire in my shoe shop. So many lost soles."

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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 28th Jul 2023. Featured in KBD #129.


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