For the record, I own a Jok3r 60% keyboard with Cherry MX Red switches.
Eurogamer's Will Judd flirts with heresy: "Are mechanical keyboards really good for gaming?"
When it comes to PC gaming peripherals, stats and specs drive purchases. Gaming monitors became popular because they offered lower latency or higher refresh rates, while gaming mice boasted higher sensitivities and improved tracking accuracy. Yet this quantitative trend doesn't seem to apply to one peripheral in particular: mechanical keyboards. No single stat separates mechs from their non-mechanical counterparts, yet mechanical keyboards are routinely recommended over alternatives that cost a fraction of the price. Why is this the case? Are there genuine gaming advantages?
Thankfully, it's just a cunningly-titled top list of models Judd recommends; I have, therefore, titled my linkpost to his listpost with an even more shamelessly clickbaity title.
I do have an opinion, though, that might justify it: it doesn't really matter what mechanical keyboard you get so long as you don't get a cheap one. What's most important is learning which sort of switch suits you best -- linear, tactile, clicky -- and thenceforth completely ignoring the online cult of mechanical keyboards, because you got one to play games, not waste enormous sums of money on custom keycaps and bizarre, barely-functional niche layouts, like I do.
In fact, if you don't even want to think about all that stuff, and simply want to discover a mechanical keyboard that is good for playing games without further ado, allow me to commit fully to the most base and foul heresy and recommend that you just buy whatever Logitech is making right now [Amazon]. Read the rest
Not only is geckopfote's keyboard an amazing work of papercraft, it's one of those bizarre 40%-size ortholinear ones: "Yes, it's a fully functional Planck keyboard, from olkb. And yes, I like the feeling of paper under my fingertips." [via]
Adds geckopfote, when asked if they just covered keys in paper: "No it wasn't that easy. It was a long journey of trial and error. I wanted to make DSA style keycaps and so I did some QCad drawings where I tried to fit the right dimensions. Then, in short, print, spray, cut, fold, clue - ready!"
It being Reddit, someone was soon along to inform the creator that his work was kirigami, not origami. Read the rest
Filco's Minila Air ($130, Amazon) should be my perfect keyboard: mechanical, high-end, sturdily made, with reliable Bluetooth and a cunning compact layout. It's even smaller than tenkeyless, but still comes with a proper set of arrow keys. It does everything I want—and fits in the same bag as an iPad.
Thing is, though, I don't like it.
My big problem is that it's incredibly thick. Even with the supports flattened, the number row tops out almost two inches from the desk surface! You can always add a rest, but that obviates the keyboard's small dimensions and mobility. My hands are like aching angry spiders, rearing up on the wristbones.
Second, the unique layout has productivity in mind, not my plans to prettify it with fabulous keycaps. I just can't find a set that I like and which will fit. The supplied ones are perfectly decent, though.
Finally, most subjectively, the bulky casing also has some asymmetric greebling at the back. It's subtle, and it has its retro geometric charm, but is not my cup of injection-molded tea.
Were it not for the unexpected bulk of the case, I think I'd be satisfied with the Minila Air thanks to its obvious excellence in most other respects. Reliable wireless is especially rare among mechanical keyboards, for some reason, and models that have it tend to be either unnervingly cheap or annoyingly expensive. I'll be trying the Anne Pro ($90, Amazon) next, but I don't think I can live without my arrows.
It's almost impossible to use most modern apps without using a pointing device or sausage, but a new browser out today is focused entirely on surfing the web with keyboard only. Named qutebrowser, it doesn't just provide a full suite of keyboard shortcuts for the user interface, but generates them on the fly for every link on the page.
Read the rest
qutebrowser is a keyboard-focused browser with a minimal GUI. It’s based on Python and PyQt5 and free software, licensed under the GPL. It was inspired by other browsers/addons like dwb and Vimperator/Pentadactyl.
For a while I switched to a tiny ortholinear keyboard, the Planck, but gave up wrestling with both a new layout and the lack of unshifted numbers. But the Preonic, being offered in a month-long group buy at Massdrop, is tempting me with all its extra keys. It's $130 and requires assembly (soldering the switches, but not the board), with some case and keycap options to pick from.
(If you're wondering, these are for people who hate typing fast.) Read the rest
Connected two FML macropads with a micro USB OTG cable. While the fiberglass construction of the FML would be quite sturdy, the USB connectors on the Pro Micro's will probably break off the first time you hit something with it.
Seth Everman (previously) reports on "when you try all the sounds and beats on your synth while only playing Toto's Africa."
"hello my dudes it has been 9 years but i have returned with some more garbage for you to enjoy."
Though the magic is in his brilliant performance (encore!), his weapon of choice is the Yamaha MM8 workstation, whose mid-range characteristics give it the loaf to model all the genres, but also the cheese to make them taste good on YouTube. Read the rest
The Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse set was just twelve dollars and fifty cents!
It's sometimes $16.99 or even a bit more, but that's still pretty damned cheap.
I expected it to be about as bad as the Amazon Basics Keyboard, which is the same price, but wired, and you don't get a mouse. You know those nasty squidgy roll-up rubber portable keyboards? Imagine one of those in a rigid plastic case, and you have the Amazon Basics Keyboard.
This, though, is a perfectly decent full-size rubber-dome keyboard, as good as most of the tat in, say, a Best Buy or Staples. The special keys worked, including a calculator key that actually brings up the system calculator. Fucking witchcraft! Read the rest
Attention mechanical keyboard aficionados! If 40% mechanical keyboards are just too bulky for you, try a 30% one such as the Gherkin, which includes the characters of the alphabet and four arrow keys, which are chorded in various ways to reach capital letters, numbers, function keys and so forth. If 30% mechanical keyboards are just too bulky for you, try a Gherkin with the switches as close together as they will go.
Typing on this is weird. It feels very cramped, it may be different with a different style keycap. I will try a set of cut down DSA keycaps which has more space between the keys. It is much better than the microswitches on the Flanck.
I like the idea of small, just-get-writing mechanical keyboards, but can't get to grips with these minuscule grid-layout ones. Here is the layout I'd like to use, which I call the "Cormac" because you don't get to quote anyone and you sure as hell don't get to ask questions of the place where you stand and see for a brief moment the absolute truth of the cold relentless implacable darkness.
In the ingenious world of consumer electronics, we often have the thought "why didn't anyone think of that?" The Creative Prodikeys instead leads to the thought "why did someone think of that?" A MIDI controller keyboard and a typing keyboard all-in-one, it appears to have enjoyed several generations in the 1990s and 2000s. [via r/MechanicalKeyboards]
Annoyed by reviews of keyboards that describe mechanical switches the way men in bow ties describe wine, HaaTa spent fabulous amounts of money constructing a custom gauge that generates meticulously accurate graphs of the pressure profile of keypresses.
I take keyboards way too seriously. However, unlike most of you, I’m an engineer. This means I need facts, data, and real evidence before I can form an opinion. And this lack of actual information has always bothered me when it comes to how the keyboard community at large tends to review switches.
Similar in function to charts of speakers' frequency response, the gauge anchors subjective experience in empirical data that can be verified independently of manufacturers' claims. There are good and bad sides to this sort of thing. On one hand, it burns off technophile mysticism and helps prevents it from being sold on to low-information consumers. On the other hand, the desire to free phenomena from human experience is futile.
I've been into old-fashioned mechanical keyboards lately; Sonder's e-ink model promises to bring the fetish into the 21st century. Each key is both mechanical and a tiny e-Ink display that can change on a per-application basis.
The Sonder Keyboard combines a sleek new design with a built-in rechargeable battery and enhanced key features. With an improved mechanical mechanism beneath each key for increased stability, as well as optimized key travel and a lower profile, the Sonder Keyboard provides a remarkably comfortable and precise typing experience. It pairs automatically with your Mac, so you can get to work right away. And the battery is incredibly long-lasting — it will power your keyboard for about a month or more between charges.
The styling is minimal and Apple-oriented. Sonder's keyboard uses Bluetooth, but comes with USB and a lightning port too. It's $200, which seems reasonable for such a specialized device: compare to Art Lebedev's Optimus Popularis color LED model, still a pricey curiosity at $1500. Read the rest
Redditor ipee9932cd couldn't find a keyboard to their liking, so they built the casing of their dreams—out of cement. The brutal board weighs in at 12 pounds (yes, heavier than an IBM Model M) and "it takes some force to move it."
Being my first concrete cast, I chose not to put any rebar and want to see what happens over time. I know nothing about concrete, just did some research and went for it so we'll see what happens. It's not moving off my desk, even if I try, and when I do move it I never hold it from one edge. I was thinking about trying basalt rebar or glass fibers for the next cast...
the full gallery has 5 glorious shots of this brutal contraption, and there's an accompanying how-to gallery to show each step of the way. (Not shown is dismantling a keyboard and installing the important bits, but I guess if you're that far into custom keyboards it won't be a problem for you.) [via r/MechanicalKeyboards]