Matias Mini Quiet Pro: what's it like to live with?

Thanks for the link: I had a good look through it and it was probably the best intro to working with xkb, which was a complete mystery to me. And still is, to a large extent, but at least I can now do something with it! I managed to spend all day yesterday faffing about with it as it consists of several layers and in classic Unix style, "there's more than one way to skin a cat" (to coin a rather horrid expression as I like cats). Changing the keycodes initially seemed more solid but at the same time I found it was harder to get it to "stick", so in the end I changed the symbols table which took me full circle, at least where xkb is concerned. Some of the in-between bits caused me to variously modify bits of geometry, keycodes and/or symbols, I think due to a still somewhat vague understanding of it all on my part.

What I did learn is that where keycodes assigns one code (e.g. PRSC) to a single key (e.g. 107), symbols can assign the same keysym to multiple keycodes (e.g. Print can be triggered by both PRSC and RWIN). xev is happy with this, but Cinnamon appears to expect a keysym to be bound to a single key and will only use the first one that's defined; though its idea of "first" is unclear, whether by the numeric key value, the first one that appears in geometry or just something entirely arbitrary. So if I want to use RWIN to function as print screen, I have to unassign Print from PRSC by assigning something else. And my original idea of assigning NoSymbol doesn't appear to have the desired effect of easily disabling a key: either because that's not what it's intended to do or because Cinnamon has other ideas. In the end I chose a keysym that I don't use, Help from Sun (and presumably DEC) keyboards which appears to have no function in Cinnamon, and I can assign that to as many keys as I want since it has no purpose: so I've used it to both remove Print from PRSC and to disable the typo-prone LWIN altogether. Ugh, all day to do that, though I did go down numerous blind alleys in the process.

I'm still not entirely happy with it: though it now functions exactly as I would like, what I do not like is having to modify the system files: okay, I could've avoided modifying symbols/gb by creating a stand-along matias file, but the sysadmin in me still doesn't like what is essentially a single-user custom config being in a system directory and I still have to modify two of the rules files so that the applications (e.g. Cinnamon's keyboard settings) can find it. I guess it may be possible to merge the system files with those in any given user's home directory (obviously just for that user) and I know it is possible to do either that or to override them using the command-line, but whether it's possible to get Cinnamon and the like to do it without major system-level reconfiguration remains to be seen; and if system-level configuration of Cinnamon is the answer, then the solution is worse than the problem! It's been an experience, but argh.

Anyway, again, that's of really questionable relevance to the Matias!

It's interesting what you say about the differences between the Click and the Quiet switches, though I'm not surprised: I think for me the audio feedback also provides part of that "tactility", and I think I also prefer the feel of switches that "clack" which obviously damped switches aren't going to do. I may actually try a Matias Noisy for my daytime keyboard: I'm taken enough with this one that I think it's worth trying out too. I'd probably stick with Matias' own keyboards, partly as it takes me a while to re-adapt from one layout to another, partly for the comments about respective reliability/QA/whatevs and partly because, however easy it was setting up Windows with my new key-bindings, I've no idea how straightforward it is to switch between keymaps: probably not difficult but that is one thing that's really simple with xkb. And which I still don't want to use anyway. :D

Oh, and I'm sure I've used Xfce at some point: sounds very familiar. I remember experimenting with lots of window managers probably in the late '90s when there were suddenly a rash of them appearing like KDE, Gnome and the aforementioned. But the reason I went with Cinnamon isn't because I especially like it or its features, it'd just got to that point where I couldn't be arsed, and even where customisation is easy, it's often one of those things where the more I meddle, the worse it gets. :lol: What I found was not aesthetically pleasing was the industry standard of the '90s, CDE: though it had some really nice features, overall I found it to be really fugly. Not surprising as it just sort of extended Motif in that regard. I also seem to recall it was insanely complex to configure, though that was possibly just HP's take on it since HP/UX seemed to make everything needlessly complicated. But given my experience with xkb I guess it was just showing The Way Of The Future™.

Ah, just discovered one problem with my new print screen key: it occupies the position where my fingers still expect to find compose (RALT) so now I'm taking a screenshot every time I want to type an extended character. Sigh.
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Unread post29 Sep 2018, 09:37

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So, my adventures into the weird realm of xkb aside, keycaps: I've had a quick look around and it's looking like I may still be in a similar situation to where I was with my Model M, which is that custom keycaps aren't really a thing. Unless I'm just looking in the wrong places, which is often a safe bet with me anyway.

I'm assuming that these are compatible with regular Alps keys and that the most aggravation I'm likely to experience is with the size and shape of the non-alpha keys. Which is potentially workable... except that it might look and feel odd if the style is substantially different to the modifier etc keys, and would also be annoying if the UK keys aren't available.

I guess I should really just be content with what I've got! The keycaps are of reasonable quality, they're actually doing the job they're meant to, i.e. UK-ISO layout and they fit the keyboard, and it actually looks rather smart all in black compared to the celebration of beige that is any classic Model M.

But I don't really do content. Not until I've ruined it.
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Unread post29 Sep 2018, 14:11

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vometia wrote:So, my adventures into the weird realm of xkb aside, keycaps: I've had a quick look around and it's looking like I may still be in a similar situation to where I was with my Model M, which is that custom keycaps aren't really a thing.

Don't worry, the Matias switches hold on to the caps so tightly that you'll live couple of years longer by just not experiencing the nerve-wreck that happens when pulling some of those caps off.
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Unread post29 Sep 2018, 15:31

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vometia wrote:So, my adventures into the weird realm of xkb aside, keycaps: I've had a quick look around and it's looking like I may still be in a similar situation to where I was with my Model M, which is that custom keycaps aren't really a thing. Unless I'm just looking in the wrong places, which is often a safe bet with me anyway.

You're right, there's the Tai-Hao doubleshot ABS caps http://www.tai-hao.com/catalog/ins.php?index_id=83 and the expensive but presumably lovely Alps Throwback GB (closed) https://www.deskcandy.xyz/group-buy/alp...keycap-set and not much else besides harvesting from old boards.
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Unread post29 Sep 2018, 15:35

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vometia wrote:I'm assuming that these are compatible with regular Alps keys and that the most aggravation I'm likely to experience is with the size and shape of the non-alpha keys. Which is potentially workable... except that it might look and feel odd if the style is substantially different to the modifier etc keys, and would also be annoying if the UK keys aren't available.

Ah, the murky joys of caps compatibility. Something else to bear in mind: stabilisers. Even more annoying than a key that’s a bit smaller than the space it occupies is one with a sway like a boozy old fogey whenever you go anywhere near it. Not a reassuring feeling in either case!

I’m not well versed in Matias’s’es’s taste in stabs. But whatever they are, the caps have to be compatible with them, or you’re in for a lollopy experience.
vometia wrote:I guess I should really just be content with what I've got! … But I don't really do content. Not until I've ruined it.

Yeah, I know the feeling well! Before you go anywhere near a second Matias, or an upgrade set of caps, I’d set aside the cash for a Topre. Those come with legitimately “dayum son!” degree nice ones as stock. Which is part of their whole appeal.
vometia wrote:I'm still not entirely happy with it: though it now functions exactly as I would like, what I do not like is having to modify the system files

There, of course, is another way. Instead of programming (every facet of) the system, program the keyboard:

Image
I have Hasu’s controller inside my HHKB and Alps64, where it’s a real pleasure to use. He even has a web ui for the code averse of us. What I don’t have is one of these USB to USB “converters” as his software is already inside my keyboards, but I can vouch for its power and refreshing elegance. The good of that inline dingdong is you’ve patched the problem once and everywhere, and it will work with any USB keyboard you fancy.
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Unread post29 Sep 2018, 19:25

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I think you've collectively set me straight about the folly of looking for better keycaps! :lol: Admittedly a lot of it is driven by the "because I can" mind set, but "because I can't" seems to counterbalance that rather well.

And there also seems to be a subtle push towards getting a Topre, but it's just a vague feeling I'm getting so I may be mistaken.

The programmable keyboard doobries look quite interesting. I'm assume these are things that can live inline somewhere along a USB cable contrivance rather than poking out the back of something. That also looks like quite an interesting approach to things even if the purist in me (for slightly idiosyncratic and pedantic values of "purist") would rather that was still established from my own user profile. But I'd hazard a guess they can accommodate that sort of behaviour too.
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Unread post29 Sep 2018, 19:45

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I spent an hour or two creating an xkb geometry file for the Mini: which is kinda... something. Not sure how useful it is but it's there.

Though its usefulness is a bit compromised because I can't figure out how to make it "stick": as soon as the Linux box sees fit to reevaluate its X situation it flicks back to pc105, which is annoying. No amount of fiddling with rules and various config files can dissuade it, and I have no idea whether the culprit is basic Linux, Xorg, Cinnamon, Mint, Debian, Ubuntu or something else. I may eventually find it but I feel I've already spent enough effort on this: it works and this is just a "because it should!" annoyance rather than anything affecting its functionality. But even so... argh. Again.


Image


I'm really inclined just to leave it alone because whenever I muck about with the X11 settings something keeps power-cycling the screen: only "briefly" (well, for up to five-ten seconds a time, which is annoying when you're trying to do stuff, especially as it can be more than once a minute but at really random intervals) but God it's irritating me a lot. Edit: six times in under two minutes. Now it's seriously irritating me. I dunno what's responsible and I'm not sure how they've managed to screw it up so badly.

Also thinking of the Matias Noisy, which it seems is only available via the Keyboard Co (which really is "only" as they're the sole UK distributor) in white and wireless of some sort. Neither of which I want. Which I guess is steering me towards the trying out the Topre.
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Unread post30 Sep 2018, 15:33

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vometia wrote:And there also seems to be a subtle push towards getting a Topre

Subtle!? Since when was I ever!

Hasu’s crafty doohickey could be integrated into the Realforce itself, though he doesn’t sell them like that. Think the idea is more for sticking out the back port on a desktop box, which is why they’ve not appealed to me as yet. I so much prefer the artful dodge built into the keyboard proper. His drop in HHKB controller is a joy that way.

Do you remap much at all on the Model M? Realforces are much more standard layout than the Matias minis. Plus they typically have a set of DIP switches underneath for such things as disabling the Windows keys and swapping Control and Caps Lock. If you thought your Matias’s glow in the Caps Lock was fancy, a Realforce comes with a spare Control sized Caps Lock key with LED window too. Can’t say I’ve ever used mine, but I appreciate the sheer anal retention on show.
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Unread post30 Sep 2018, 19:29

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It's as well, I seldom "get" any sort of subtlety or hint!

I'm not desperately keen on things that stick out the back of other things as they tend to either get destroyed or damage whatever they're plugged into: not so much "if" as "when", which is why I tend to prefer a sort of mid-cable arrangement. Though that has its own issues, such as adding to all the spaghetti down the side of my desk.

I don't do any remapping really: I did once, I think mostly on the basis of "because I can!" but now I just stick to a regular ISO-UK layout with right-alt doing compose, which on Linux at least doesn't actually involve any faffing about. This is the first remapping I've done in a long while and it has been somewhat onerous so I think I'll either go for the contraption or just try to leave it well alone!

I'm kind of tempted by the Realforce simply because of the enthusiasm of so many people here, but that's a lot of money to spend on something I don't even know I'll like. All I know is the M & F remain my all-time favourites, and I'm liking the Matias a lot; I may like the Matias Noisy even more. And while these keyboards are a little heavy I would be very nervous about something requiring less downforce because I really am that cack-handed, so 45g is a risk, even considering what you said a few posts back. And I know what I do not like are Cherry MX switches, I just couldn't learn to love them, and linear switches which I've always found a bit meh. From what I understand, in most regards I should expect the Topre switches to safely fall into the former category rather than the latter. Sound also matters: although I like the clackity-clackity of the M & F it is a bit much for other people to live with, but even my "quiet" Matias makes a not disagreeable sound: it still sounds clicky and tactile (well, as much as tactile can be a sound, but y'know) but just a bit more polite than the IBMs.

The available keycaps at least from the sellers I could find also remain a bit of a problem for me: though the light keyboards aren't that brown, I don't want a light-coloured keyboard, and what I do want is light-on-black caps. And preferably some coloured ones, though I can live without them. But light markings on dark preferably black keys and case is pretty much non-negotiable for me.
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Unread post01 Oct 2018, 12:45

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All this talk of Topre and I just glanced down at my Mini and thought, it's so cute, how could I be so mean as to think about replacing it already? :(
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Unread post01 Oct 2018, 16:50

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Ha! Don’t worry your little Matias. If you like it, you like it. Ain’t no harm at all in that.

I’m more about warning you off deep diving it with upgrades and extra family members. Once you’re up past £200, you’re into Topre territory and might as well head on over. There’s something about keyboards that makes many of us slide right off the deep end in “upgrades” while effecting ever else improvement. Be wary.

Your desire for white on black legends, mind, is a bit of a showstopper for the classic Realforce. Those use PBT plastic for their caps—the good stuff that many of us swear by—but dark PBT doesn’t play well with the double shot process good light legends are made of. You’re right to look askew at Topre’s rather silly black on black legends! It’s possible to put their white caps on a black keyboard, but alas they don’t sell them that way.

Topre does have other models now besides the Realforce I know well. Newfangled stuff like the Realforce RGB:

https://mechanicalkeyboards.com/shop/in...ail&p=2114

But I don’t think Keyboardco sells them. And I’m the kind of snob that doesn’t pay them any interest. Love those PBT dyesubs just too much to bear the thought of lesser keys.
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Unread post01 Oct 2018, 17:06

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That is a fair point. I like it enough that I'd also like to try a clicky out of sheer curiosity but I get exactly what you're saying, the combined price would be more than a Topre, which is pretty much the Rolls Royce of easily available keyboards. And probably not a bad analogy as RR is also probably quite a particular taste! By which I mean aesthetically, still not being 100% sure what to expect.

But my Mini will be safe from modding: there's no keycaps available and anything more low-level is generally beyond my capabilities. I may be able to do programming but when it comes to any sort of electronical faffing or other DIY I'm afraid I'm entirely hopeless.

As for the Mini's standard keycaps they seem okay: not top notch but okay. The Filco's heavy replacement keycaps are actually really nice and almost make the MX Blues feel just about decent, they're that good. But I guess I can live without them on this thing: while nice to have, they're not essential as the mini's keys are good enough. Though while I'm thinking about it I kinda miss that solid heaviness. I could say exactly the same about my Ms and F though.

I guess I'm surprised by dark PBT not being suitable for double-shots: I'd rather naively assumed that you could mix pretty much anything with anything using that process, but I know absolutely nothing about plastics at all other than the fact that some feel nicer than others when you're typing on them. But I couldn't really name them.

RGB... dunno. I'm not a purist in that sense, but it comes back to me being able to make a real mess of anything too customisable and actually I find backlighting other than absolutely the most subtle to be distracting: a very, very low orange might be nice in dim light to see the key legends but other than that, do not want, for the most part.
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Unread post01 Oct 2018, 17:26

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Somewhat relevant, an interesting review comparing a Topre with a Mini Quiet. The chap is a self-confessed Topre fan so I'm thinking the Mini did remarkably well. From what he's saying, I can see pros and cons of both, though I'm left thinking I'd most likely be happier with the Mini's key feel and sound and particularly with them having white rather than black legends. And as previously observed, the Mini is very cute. Much more so IRL than the photos might suggest.
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Unread post03 Oct 2018, 14:53

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As always, Mu raises interesting and provocative points!

Regarding the Hasu USB-USB converter, I haven't yet installed one inside a keyboard. I use it externally so that I can plug in various keyboard in my rotation that have not yet been remapped internally.

Just today, I tried out the Hasu USB-USB magic on a Pok3r. I had been frustrated with this keyboard, because although it is extensively remappable, it is not completely programmable. The most frustrating thing is the RCtrl cannot be remapped using the Pok3r's built-in remapping functions. However, to my delight, the Hasu USB-USB enabled me to remap the Pok3r's pesky RCtrl as my Fn key! Now I have the board configured in my customary HHKB-esque manner. Nevertheless, the Pok3r still comes up deficient -- there are two dead keys to the left of the former RCtrl key. Luckily, I don't really miss those keys.

Of course, even by reconfiguring the board HHKB-style, the Pok3r cannot be redeemed for me because it still has Cherry mx switches.

@vometia: As for the Matias mini being cute, I suppose that it one way to describe it. Please do not take offense, but for me, both the black and the white versions of the Matias mini resemble something out of Tellytubbies or Fisher-Price.

tellytubbies.jpeg

FP25.jpg


Indeed, the styling and the tendency of the black polycarbonate case to show fingerprints are two factors that kept me from buying a Matias mini keyboard.

Even so, I admire Mr. Matias and his independent approach to designing keyboards. His switches aren't as good as vintage Alps, but they are far better ( IMO) than Cherry mx and clones. I have several KBP V60 keyboards with Matias switches, and I have put parts from Matias switches into some of my refurbished Alps keyboards.

Moreover, the Matias company is a good source of other Alps-compatible parts, such as keycaps and stabilizers. I have used their keycaps extensively on keyboards with Matias or Alps switches. In addition to standard keycap sizes, they sell 7u spacebars and 1.5u modifiers that can be used on vintage Alps keyboards with Winkeyless layouts.

Because I usually prefer typing on PBT keycaps, I source Alps alphanumeric caps from selected vintage boards and round out the modifiers and spacebars using ABS caps from Matias.
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Unread post03 Oct 2018, 18:36

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Haha, don't care, it's still cute! Even though I remember when Teletubbies were originally a thing (actually I'm sure Bill & Ben and The Banana Splits weren't that weird; though actually... I remember going next door to watch the latter on their fancy new colour TV. I'm not sure any of us were ever quite the same after that) and my sister had one of those Fisher-Price phones.

I guess I got used to slightly unorthodox designs after the Elan/Flan/Enterprise/whatevs crash-landed in 1983/84. The design eventually grew on me but at first I thought it was absolutely the most fugly thing I'd seen. Perhaps it was home computing being drowned in a sea of beige shortly afterwards that changed my mind.


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Unread post04 Oct 2018, 13:07

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@vomentia: Thanks for taking my little joke in the fun spirit in which it was intended. I am greatly relieved that you apparently were not offended. I am also pleased to see that you have actually had personal experiences with Teletubbies and the Fisher-Price phone! The shared experience provides a common point of reference.
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Unread post04 Oct 2018, 14:16

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Actually my Mini was very offended. I've had to spend the past three days consoling her.

Er anyway. I had another bash at getting the correct keyboard geometry to "stick" in Linux Mint today and think I've finally cracked it. Though it's not especially obvious and I suspect due to Cinnamon's incomplete use of the underlying libraries; incomplete or hidden, possibly, but the outcome was the same.

I'd already got to the point where I've done my editing of the xkb files in /usr/share/X11/xkb, which involved several system files, namely geometry/pc, symbols/gb and rules/evdev*(.lst|.xml), all of which still pains me: I can separate out the first two into their own file, which I should do at some point, but can't do the same with the rules files, annoyingly, unless there's some option to merge them with user-defined files. Yes I know I'm being purist about it!

Next step is to install dconf-editor if it's not already there and navigate to org.gnome.libgnomekbd.keyboard, under which is the "model" entry which needs to be changed to, well, whatever the model is: in my case matias, which is hopefully all I need to do. "Hopefully" as I've been randomly tinkering about with various settings on and off and haven't kept a list of what I changed, which is a bit cavalier of me, but y'know. Anyway, this seems to match the rule I added to evdev under the "! model = geometry" section which simply states "matias = pc(matias)".

This seems to have done the trick but it required a lot of head-scratching, Googling and trial-and-error to get to this point. Typical Unix, I suppose, where there's a million ways to do things, a few of them work in an incomplete or temporary manner or have some manner of unintended consequences, and at most one will actually properly do what you want. But good luck finding it.
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Unread post07 Oct 2018, 13:24

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@vometia: Your Mini being offended reminded me of the scene in "A Fistful of Dollars" in which the man with no name confronts the men who were laughing at his mule.

"You see, I understand you men were just playin' around, but the mule, he just doesn't get it. Course, if you were to all apologize... [the men laugh] I don't think it's nice, you laughin'. You see, my mule don't like people laughin'. Gets the crazy idea you're laughin' at him. Now if you apologize like I know you're going to, I might convince him that you really didn't mean it..."
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Unread post07 Oct 2018, 18:08

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I enjoyed reading this thread. Maybe I should try one of those some day.
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Unread post08 Oct 2018, 18:47

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Not-so-good update: I'm now starting to get a bit of the dreaded key-bounce, which is not severe but enough to be getting slightly irritating. Currently the "b" key is especially noticeable where I'm seeing an increasing incidence of getting two of them or none at all. Only a tiny amount of the time but based on what others have said it could get worse. Not sure what if anything I can do about that as I am not the handiest person when it comes to maintenance and tinkering with stuff. I mean I can assemble flat-pack furniture which seems to be beyond many people but things like soldering and not breaking stuff are beyond me.

That was I think three misbehaviours of the "b" key so far in this post. :/
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Unread post06 Nov 2018, 07:58

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Three unwelcome bbbastards in just a couple hundred words? Unacceptabbble! If I had three false key presses from a keyboard *in total* I’d throw that garbbbage back at the store who sold it to me while I still could.

The smug Topre fanboy in me is warming up a great big I told you so grin, but bbbollocks to him for a moment: that error rate is plain refund worthy, for any keyboard. It’s the same madness inducing gaslighting people suffer from Apple’s shitforbbbrains suicide MacBBBooks. It’s straight up landfill, frankly.

There’s all manner of garbage keyboards we’re all familiar out there which suffer no such probbblems. This is fundamental stuff! It’s not super elite high end to expect to get the characters that you typed: it’s “a keyboard.”

Now, how long until someone tells you to strip it down and fix Matias’s’s’ chattering switches one by one, yourself? Those switches are a product failure. And because of apologists, Matias sees no need to fix them.
Muirium
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Unread post06 Nov 2018, 11:33

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@vometia: Yep, definitely send it back for a replacement or refund. It's a shame about Matias, both with respect to their own keyboards and those made by other companies (such as KeyboardParadise, KBP) that use Matias switches in some of their products. I like Matias switches when they work as intended, and generally I have had good luck with my KBP V60 Matias-switch keyboards.

However, I recently bought a KBP V60 Type R (fully programmable) with Matias Click switches from Mechanicalkeyboards.com (MK). It arrived with a detached stabilizer wire on the R Shift and a letter-key switch that was tactile but not clicky. It would have been very easy to attach the stabilizer properly, and I might have been able to repair the malfunctioning switch by opening it and adjusting the click leaf, but this was a brand-new board that should have been in perfect working order. So, I returned it for a replacement. MK shipped out the replacement straightaway and refunded my shipping costs.

The main thing is that customers need to insist on the reasonable expectation that a new product should work as intended. Otherwise, companies can assume that all is well. Perhaps complaining and returning defective products will not help, either, but if we do not act, then we are guaranteeing that things will not get better and probably will get worse.
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Unread post06 Nov 2018, 14:11

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I wouldn’t say a shame about Matias, but shame *on* them. This is a problem they could fix if they cared. But signs are they do not. Their boards have a bad reputation for reliability—the Ergo Pro especially so, in its controller as well as its switches—which is unacceptable for any daily use input device, let alone those sold as high end upgrades over the ubiquitous consumer boards they’re aimed to replace. You simply can’t advise people to swap perfectly reliable scissorswitch junk for predictably faulty mechanical boards, not in good conscience, even if Edgar Matias is by all accounts a fine fella and a friend of the keyboard community. There’s such a thing as being unfit for purpose, and this is it. Needs fixed, recalled and replaced.
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Unread post06 Nov 2018, 14:54

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I guess I should send it back. It's such a shame, I love the keyboard but it simply isn't good enough. In contrast, as much as I'm not a fan of Cherry MX switches, they "just work". All of the time. Whereas it does seem that Matias now has a bad reputation for... well, exactly this.

I hope Keyboard Co will take it back without argument: as is typical of my timing, it's only a week or two since I tossed its box out with the recycling and while legally it's not required to send faulty items back in their original packaging, some companies can get quite pissy about it. There's also the risk of "looks okay to me" when it comes to intermittent faults which can also result in quite a large bill if they refuse to accept there's a problem. I don't have experience with returning stuff to them so I'm not entirely sure what to expect. Based on others' experience and recommendations I'd be happy to part-exchange it for a UK/ISO Topre ("happy" inasmuch as there's no white-on-black option, very weirdly: I hate beige but my typing's not good enough for invisible legends) which may make them less likely to kick up a fuss.

Pity, though. It's a nice keyboard except for the rubbish QA.
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Unread post06 Nov 2018, 15:47

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It is unfortunate that so many companies have turned to China for manufacturing in order to save on production costs. The work ethic in Canada or the USA is probably no better than it is in China and likely worse, but when concept and production are linked within the same country, it would be easier to exercise strict quality control. Where is the tipping point beyond which customers would be willing to pay more for greater reliability?
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Unread post06 Nov 2018, 15:53

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Although that's a different subject, I entirely agree. I know there's an assumption in some quarters that such concern is racist, but it's nothing of the sort and actually I remember growing up in the 1980s when there was a serious concern about the working conditions in "sweat-shops", something you never hear about now, which is very weird to me. Obviously it's nothing to do with race and everything to do with employee conditions.

What I find unpalatable is that too many companies are easily circumventing hard-won worker's rights in Europe and the US by simply moving production to countries where there's no such legislation, sweeping it under the carpet and pocketing the savings. Where they are (partly) passed on to the customer"consumer", I'd love to have the option to buy better quality stuff but quite often the option isn't there.

In this case it seems that the closest option is Topre.

I had assumed that Matias make their keyboards in Canada but that may be a misperception. Either way they seriously need to get their act together: as much as I started off saying I really recommend this keyboard, at the back of my mind I did have a concern that the inevitable would happen. And so it did, inevitably.
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Unread post06 Nov 2018, 16:08

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I manufactured a few keyboards and PCBs in the past. The situation is worse than it looks. As of today I couldn't have a full keyboard done in Europe even if I wanted. There's simply no way to produce 500-1000 samples. You can do prototyping (say 100 samples) but that's incredibly expensive. You can also have PCBs done domestically but the cost is 10x (no kidding) and the quality often not that good. I remember the PCB manufactured by 7bit in Poland (I believe) and they were pretty bad.
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Unread post06 Nov 2018, 16:20

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Sad thing is the quality used to be there but I think the skills have been lost. Of course they could be found again, but there seems to be insufficient demand and willingness to do so.
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Unread post06 Nov 2018, 16:23

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it seems we don't really have the mid-range anymore, you either get the cheapest possible product (look at Amazon, 90% is mostly low quality stuff) or go super-luxury.
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Unread post06 Nov 2018, 16:37

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Sorry situation, eh? The vicious circle of disposable costs, disposable workers and disposable goods. We “consumers” are trained to find any fair price an outrage. So no one produces in Europe, because the demand is suffocated by our mass preference for cheap junk. Doesn’t work? Buy another.

I wouldn’t say that Chinese manufacture is a sure fire ticket to dodgy goods. Apple has plenty of high quality (from its perspective) product come out bang on spec there, but that’s because Apple is a major player with clout measured in the global lingua Franca: $USD Billions. Apparently they have American staff flying over there and inspecting things in person as part of the production ramp for every new product, and expect to have a lot of shit pulled on them until they sniff it out. Foxconn and pals are just as dodgy as we imagine. But when you’re richer than Jesus, you have people for that.

Matias doesn’t.

I think the problem here is ultimately the design. Those switches of theirs are cheap late stage degenerate Alps clones. Simplified to an inccch of their liiives. I’m hardy the last one to say this, but: clone the good ones, the classic, complicated, blue, brown, salmon and green Alps, those ones, the right ones! Simplified Alps don’t deserve a comeback. Their predecessors do.

Meanwhile, as for Topre:
002 wrote:Nothing gets me excited like a maid in Japan sticker:
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Unread post06 Nov 2018, 16:37

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