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

Re Tias,

That does look more legible than I'd expected, and I am making more of an effort to not sit in the dark! Bad habit of mine and it was making me depressed, so I'm now trying to flood the place with daylight-coloured light. But I'm still not sure it would be enough for me to easily see the key legends without having to really refocus.

Re Swampangel,

Yes, I did try that for a while and ended up doing in my knee! That said, I was fat(ter than I am now!) so maybe it was a slight case of misadventure. Pity, I liked the idea and the desk itself worked quite well: I had a workbench I'd inherited from work which is excellent for holding lots of equipment and made it "stilts" out of square-section aluminium tubing that I managed to find proper feet for. So it was nice and stable and the ideal height for me but it just never really worked. Mostly the recent problems are as a result of my incident (which is more of a mental health thing, hence my efforts to not spend so much time sat in the dark!) and the remainder is a long standing problem of mild scoliosis which keeps my right shoulder in constant tension. I've accepted I just need a regular six-monthly service at the local osteopath and should become an investor in whoever makes Deep Heat.

Re Elrick,

I'm glad you agree about keycaps. I'm not sure why I would've expected anyone to think differently really, considering this forum; though I do think people are weird in that they say "my £5 keyboard is just fine" and I'm left feeling, but that's the one part of the computer you physically interact with. You'll spend hundreds and hundreds on every CPU upgrade for often minor benefit but the thing that needs to be ergonomic... argh. etc.

wrt other keyboards, I'm fairly adaptable. I mean my first love is the Model M, and the Matias, while close in feel, isn't that. But I'm mostly relaxed about it as long as it doesn't have one of my specific hates: which are mostly a mushy feel, hair-trigger reaction, inconsistency or binding. Okay, I admit I also said I don't like the tactile Cherry switches in that they just feel a bit insubstantial to me but I understand that's not the case with the Topre.

I'm still wavering with the Matias. I want to keep it "because it's cute", but the problem is getting noticeably worse. I think I also feel a bit embarrassed to return it after it's got my grubby fingerprints on it (okay, I can scrub them off) and I've probably filled it with crumbs too. But it wasn't cheap, it is faulty and the prognosis doesn't look good so I guess I should get on with it. :/
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 09:16

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vometia wrote:I'm still wavering with the Matias. I want to keep it "because it's cute", but the problem is getting noticeably worse.

That is why an RMA is required (sending it back to the Retailer).
vometia wrote: I think I also feel a bit embarrassed to return it after it's got my grubby fingerprints on it (okay, I can scrub them off) and I've probably filled it with crumbs too. But it wasn't cheap, it is faulty and the prognosis doesn't look good so I guess I should get on with it. :/

Too right. Doesn't matter the condition, the Retailer under our Consumer Law here in Convict Town, the Seller is required to either 1) Give you back your Money 2) Give you Store Credit or 3) RMA your buggered keyboard with a Brand New one.

Although you might be in the US so your own Consumer Laws may differ somewhat.

Good Luck on your chosen decision and remember, to stick by it no matter what. You're the one after all who has spent your hard earned money on that Keyboard and something needs to be done about it.
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 10:30

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She’s in England, which is increasingly like being in the US these days, but still…

Anyway, I absolutely agree. Return the board so Keyboardco can return it, in turn, to Matias. There’s no point whatsoever holding onto something brand new yet in such decay. Matias needs to get the message: your switches aren’t working. Fix it! Not this one board, but every one you make.

As for a nice black Realforce, I do happen to have a spare white HHKB keyset. Same Topre mount and profile. The alphas would work quite nicely on a Realforce, just not the mods or F-keys or arrows. Presumably you know where Return, Control, Page Down etc. live and your real worry is finding that pesky ampersand or curly bracket. Those are the same on the HHKB, and nicely bright too. Depends if you’d like a sharp black vs. white two tone colourway.

But whatever you do, return the Matias while you can. Don’t fall for junk.
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 11:56

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Yeah, I know I should return it. They've given the go-ahead as long as I raise an RMA first so it's not like I have to fight to do it or anything. I just feel sad because I anthropomorphise things so much. Hopefully Matias can get their act together and I'll have one that actually works reliably... one day.

Mu, I'm really very interested in this spare keyset of yours and if they'll sit happily on a UK/ISO Topre (alphanumerics are quite enough for me to figure out the remainder) then I'm thinking this is exactly the answer I'm looking for: in which case I'd be more than willing to Paypal them out of your possession!
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 13:11

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That’s the spirit! I’ll try them on my Realforce first just to make sure I’m not leading you up the wrong tree.
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 13:19

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Well I've filled in the RMA but they really, really need to change this clause:

Your credit will be based on the condition of the goods and their packaging, carriage will not be credited.

If they try that on I'll never order another thing from them and will tell everybody else what they did.

Obviously for the record they are obliged to pay for return postage for faulty goods and I believe the "based on the condition" is a specific probably UK-only clause within a particular timescale and is very rarely invoked because it pisses people off so much. The only company I've ever had pull that stunt is ebuyer and true to my word I've never done business with them again and advised others to avoid them.
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 13:23

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Hmm. Don't like the looks of that bum-shieldy legalese. For what its worth, though, they've a pretty stellar reputation for customer service in reality. Naturally, tell us all how you get on, and ensure Keyboardco knows that you are!

Now, about those HHKB caps.

IMG_0222.JPG

Been busy with the key puller…

IMG_0220.JPG

And here's what the HHKB alphas look like when mixed with the Realforce's native white caps. Looks like the matching profile on all rows to me.

IMG_0226.JPG

Note the backslash key. That's the Realforce's own, as HHKBs have Backspace there. Looks like a colour match with both white models here. Also note the HHKB's front legends: they'll always know they were born for 60%.

IMG_0229.JPG

Here's both sets compared. I just popped the Realforce's number row in the space beneath the function keys. The photo suggests a colour difference, but there's none in reality; that's just (gloomy rainy) lighting. What is different is the font! There's not much in it, but I think the Realforce's legends might be in Helvetica Neue while the HHKB's are in the classic original. But then I would spot a tiny difference like that

The only thing you lose with HHKB alphas is the Realforce’s own numpad legends. They’re centred around I, just like your SSK:

IMG_0218.JPG

Not that you’ll likely see them on black on black either!

If you score yourself that all-black Realforce (and you rightly fall in love with it) these caps have you covered pretty brightly. Even in the winter gloom I spot them in today!
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 14:26

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As is often the case, I agree with Mu's assessment. At various times, I have put HHKB caps on a RF and RF caps on a HHKB, mixing and matching each way with no issues of profile or color mismatches. I have also used replacement RF sets in various colors on both HHKBs and RFs -- these sets lack the front legends, but I tend to ignore those anyway.

Regarding Matias again -- I recently had a minor issue with one key on a KBP V60 Type R with Matias Click switches. Mechanicalkeyboards.com replaced the board and paid for shipping both ways. I have since done a number of modifications, making this a rather expensive board, but I like the end result.

kbp_V60R_mtc1C25.jpg

Keyboard internals: KBP V60 Type R (completely programmable with TMK).
Switches: Matias Click switches except the Spacebar, which now has a Matias Quiet slider and tactile leaf.
Case: TEX CNC aluminum tray-type case, lined with 1/8-inch "art foam".
Alpha caps: Northgate Omnikey 101 doubleshot ABS.
Modifiers: Matias blank black ABS.
Accents: Tai Hao Red Dolch.
Stabilizers: Matias wire-type, lubed with Superlube 21010 synthetic grease.
Layout: Programmed to HHKB-style with RCtrl = Fn.

Usually, I put dye-sub PBT alphas on my Alps- or Matias-switch boards, but these have a bit of a gray tint and they tend to dull the sound a bit, so I went with the Nothgate doubleshot ABS, which are a brighter white and better at letting the sound of the switches come through. However, these caps sometimes cause a bit of binding, and so I might go back to dye-sub PBT alphas from an IBM 5140, IBM P70, or SGI Granite keyboard. The black black modifiers from Matias work just fine.

One other thing -- I put small strips of very thin self-adhesive polyurethan foam on the top plate where the spacebar stabilizer mounts hit. This, along with lubing the stabilizers and installing the Matias Quiet slider and tactile leaf into the switch do wonders for subduing spacebar clatter.
Last edited by Hypersphere on 30 Nov 2018, 16:45, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 16:36

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I'll have to agree with Hypersphere, the Matias Mini Quiet Pro is a real nice KB but it cannot hold up to upscale Topre based KB's or oldschool classics. Don't get me wrong though, it is still a high end keyboard just not my first choice.
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 16:42

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Hmm, Keyboard Co are being more evasive now, with "if we can confirm a fault" (not helpful given its notoriously intermittent nature) and they dodged the matter of the return postage entirely. So I guess I'll keep the Mini and not order from them again.

Oh well. :/
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 19:52

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vometia wrote:Hmm, Keyboard Co are being more evasive now, with "if we can confirm a fault" (not helpful given its notoriously intermittent nature) and they dodged the matter of the return postage entirely. So I guess I'll keep the Mini and not order from them again.

Oh well. :/

I would not have expected that of them...good luck with that!
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 19:56

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I'm not even going down the "trying my luck" route. Life's too short and I've dealt with too many companies who've given me the run-around when it comes to returning defective goods. Keyboard Co's terms offer less than the statutory minimum and when I emailed to clarify they had a seemingly more conciliatory tone but were sticking to their guns so... just no. I'll take the loss of a defective keyboard and simply avoid dealing with them again in future.

I'm surprised, the guy I spoke to originally seemed keen to help but the one who responded to my query really didn't assure me at all, in spite of me saying (and I really shouldn't have to do this) that my intended follow-up order was contingent on how they handled the return. I guess they're just not a repeat business sort of company.
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 20:03

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@vometica: Sorry you had such a bad experience with the KeyboardCo. My experience with Mechanicalkeyboards.com here in the USA has been much more positive. One reason I like to order things from Amazon whenever possible is that they readily accept returns.
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 20:36

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It seems to come down to who you get: seems some of them are very helpful and others... less so. It is unfortunate about that policy (and that it seems some staff are prepared to enact it) though: I often won't even deal with companies I see trying to pull that sort of stunt in advance. Occasionally I've forced rogue retailers to at least observe the legal minimum, but as mentioned, "life's too short". Which is probably why they try it in the first place, but it seems a sure way to lose a hard earned reputation.

So anyway, yeah, one of their guys managed to lose the sale that Bruce worked so hard to get, and any future ones too. :/

I've tended to be the same with Amazon and while I've frowned on their, erm, "creative tax systems", they do offer a much better standard of customer service than you get elsewhere. Especially where IT products are concerned, which has always been a bit like the Wild West of retail; plus anyone who sells through them also needs to adhere to their policies as a minimum, so no messing about with paying to return broken goods, though that does still leave people at the mercy of intermittent faults (such as key chatter...) And when it's actually a known design fault it seems at best rather pedantic to insist they verify the fault is present otherwise they'll presume the customer is the problem. Again, Amazon themselves have been a market leader in presuming good faith on the part of their customers.

Sadly I have largely stopped buying from Amazon in spite of the good customer service as they've been increasingly compromised by various fake, knock-off and poor quality goods in recent years, which seems to have become a torrent over the past year or two, and I have noticed a downgrade in their customer service in the same time (e.g. no more collections of returns, delayed refunds and the withdrawal of electronic communications). Pity.
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Unread post01 Dec 2018, 06:45

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I get how you feel. I’m a sullen thundercloud when I feel I’ve made a poor purchase. All too easy to give up and just rain on myself, as if that solves the problem.

No way to sneak around their system and contact Bruce directly?

Keyboardco, of all people, should know the Matias problem. Alas, such problems thrive when customers give up, and when it’s in retailers short term interests to ensure they do. Not smart at all for long term loyalty, but the bean counters like their odds.

Matias boards aren’t £10 eWaste. But they sure deteriorate like they are.
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Unread post01 Dec 2018, 08:51

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I'm not sure: the risk is what happens when it arrives after I post it. There's no guarantee it'll be him who deals with the return or if it'll somebody who wants to play hardball. Bruce is well aware of the problem which is why he was fine with the full refund, though he also reckons it's not a difficult fix; didn't really pay that much attention to the latter as opinions seem to vary but I may look into that as an option.

In this case I'm actually not really full of self-recrimination about my purchase, I still love the keyboard, even if the annoyances, not so much. I'm mostly annoyed with their official policy of dealing with returns which is to assume to customer is wrong unless they can duplicate the fault themselves and to refund/return/etc accordingly and to wriggle out of return postage if it is faulty. They need to do something about that. I now have a fairly long list of companies I refuse to deal with for doing the same thing (and given the failure rate of PC-grade components, people who do self-builds in particular are going to be returning stuff periodically) or other notorious shenanigans like "restocking fees" (which I'm aware is against the law, but so is expecting the customer to absorb the cost of postage) and I don't feel any loss for not dealing with them again. Except for the loss of further aggravation which is obviously a good thing!

Topre is still something I may look at in future. But I'll look elsewhere, which I understand might be tricky if I want a UK keyset (I know I don't need a UK keyset but... meh, I'm autistic and the wrong layout would bother me forever!)
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Unread post01 Dec 2018, 11:02

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If you got a black one, any ISO layout would do, so long as you were replacing the alphas with whites. I’d go with a blank black model, so the barely visible mod legends couldn’t even taunt with their non-matching “Strg” and such.

Last I looked into this—many years ago—Keyboardco was all of Europe’s one and only Topre distributor. But that was an age ago, before I got my American Realforce in America. Back then, Elite Keyboards was the only place to go stateside, but that has changed in recent years. Topre might have opened up a bit.
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Unread post01 Dec 2018, 11:39

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vometia wrote:Bruce is well aware of the problem which is why he was fine with the full refund, though he also reckons it's not a difficult fix; didn't really pay that much attention to the latter as opinions seem to vary but I may look into that as an option.

Some references to get you started:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Mhmb2kBuwQ (Matias switches will have a different style contact leaf than Alps SKCM but the process is otherwise the same)

https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyb...ent_guide/

I wrote a text description of the process here along with some of the common problems I encountered: https://bitswamp.com/2018/07/21/refurbi...-switches/ It's an awfully dry read though.
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Unread post01 Dec 2018, 14:49

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Muirium wrote:If you got a black one, any ISO layout would do, so long as you were replacing the alphas with whites. I’d go with a blank black model, so the barely visible mod legends couldn’t even taunt with their non-matching “Strg” and such.

Last I looked into this—many years ago—Keyboardco was all of Europe’s one and only Topre distributor. But that was an age ago, before I got my American Realforce in America. Back then, Elite Keyboards was the only place to go stateside, but that has changed in recent years. Topre might have opened up a bit.

Today there is also https://mykeyboard.eu - you can get for example Leopold's FC*** capacitive (Topre) keyboards from them.
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Unread post01 Dec 2018, 15:58

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Poking around on their site, looks to me like it’s only the Leopold models there. Including this one, which I didn’t know about:

Image
https://mykeyboard.eu/catalogue/fc980c-...re-45g_80/

Pros:
In stock
Black
Topre
No dealing with keyboardco

Cons:
ANSI
Still those nutty black on black caps
Oddball layout
€240

I’d give the cheaper FC660C consideration, as near on everyone loves those. But again with the ANSI and off standard layout. If you’re strictly ISO, good old keyboardco may have a barrel to introduce you to…
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Unread post02 Dec 2018, 09:54

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Muirium wrote:I’d give the cheaper FC660C consideration, as near on everyone loves those. But again with the ANSI and off standard layout. If you’re strictly ISO, good old keyboardco may have a barrel to introduce you to…

I prefer to use ISO, but in the case with the FC660C I have replaced the standard controller with the Hasu Alt controller. This lets me program in the missing ISO key as well as a few usable macros.

As Muirium said the FC660C is cheaper but if one chooses to mod it with an Alt contoller, the total cost will be about the same as the FC980C. Alt controllers for the FC660C are readily available at 1upkeyboard.

Hasu also made an Alt controller for the FC980C, but I believe they are not produced in the same quantity as the Alt controllers for the HHKB and FC660C. Last time i checked Hasu's geekhack thread he still had some Alt controllers for the FC980C left for sale. But then again modding the FC980C with the Alt controller brings its price closer to the 88UB.

I really like the compact FC660C, the only thing I really miss about it is Bluetooth. I have not yet dared to venture into HHKB-territory, but I guess it would be the next step.
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Oh you bet it is. I love my Bluetooth HHKB. By far and away my most practical, and therefore used, of all my keyboards.

I think Vometia’s ISO dependency is about the *physical* ISO Enter key vs. ANSI, not a *logical* remapping of other keys in the layout. If so, an alt controller would make no difference for her.

Personally, I much prefer ANSI, but I can stand ISO if required. It’s left shift that actually catches me, many times a day! Damn fool key to go and shrink.
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Unread post02 Dec 2018, 11:21

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Muirium wrote:Oh you bet it is. I love my Bluetooth HHKB. By far and away my most practical, and therefore used, of all my keyboards.

I think Vometia’s ISO dependency is about the *physical* ISO Enter key vs. ANSI, not a *logical* remapping of other keys in the layout. If so, an alt controller would make no difference for her.

Personally, I much prefer ANSI, but I can stand ISO if required. It’s left shift that actually catches me, many times a day! Damn fool key to go and shrink.

Great pictures Muirium, such a nice board:)

I find the HHKB simple yet elegant and I can completely understand why so many praise it. When I was searching for my first Topre board I had originally considered the HHKB, but was put of by the fact that is only available in ANSI. I was so used to using ISO that I was really afraid to try FC660C just because of that reason.

Nowadays I have no problem using either ISO or ANSI, but I mainly use ISO because it makes it easier for others to use my workstation or computer at home.

For myself I think that the next step should be to try a HHKB Type S, as I would really like to see how it is to use on a daily basis. It seems like a compact board that can handle most anything.
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Unread post02 Dec 2018, 13:10

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Once you get hooked by the HHKB layout with Backspace directly above a horizontal Enter key, it's difficult to use anything other than an ANSI keyboard, which can be remapped to a HHKB-esque configuration.

Regarding Topre vendors, formerly I relied on Elite Keyboards in the US, but they seem to be virtually out of business. I know that many here do not like Amazon, but I've noticed that Amazon is now selling Topre-switch keyboards. They seem to have reasonable prices on HHKB and RF, but their Leopolds are outrageously expensive.
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Unread post02 Dec 2018, 13:36

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Indeed. Elite Keyboards looks moribund. They were a decent shop but seem almost closed down now.

Always bear in mind on Amazon: who is selling this thing? Amazon is not only a store, but a platform. They’re more like eBay that way, and I don’t trust either of them to ensure a good experience, whatever their promises. Because, all too often, ultimately your business is between you and a third entity. When things go wrong, responsibility gets all murky as it seeps down in the cracks. Amazon is all about scale, not individual user relationships.
Tias wrote:For myself I think that the next step should be to try a HHKB Type S, as I would really like to see how it is to use on a daily basis. It seems like a compact board that can handle most anything.

As long as you’re comfortable with 60%, this is indeed all true. That’s the gating factor. Some of us were always hot for 60% (hey!) while others are angry it even exists. Most folk are somewhere in the middle, I think, and so I’d never say to them it’s a trivial step from their current comfort zone. No, it’s a leap. For so much better or so much less, well, that’s all down to you.

The HHKB type S with Hasu’s Bluetooth controller is, for my tastes, the ultimate keyboard. Light yet well built, compact yet capable, optimised yet programmable, and so much more true to itself once I pulled out the stock controller for Hasu’s. If Topre made them like this as stock, it would be the most compelling keyboard in the world.

Supposedly, there’s HHKB news due sometime soon. I’d love to see FPU/Topre overhaul the current HHKB BT and make it this good. Doubtful, of course. But Hasu’s controller is already everything the HHKB could ever need.
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Unread post02 Dec 2018, 13:48

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The other option (wrt "physical ISO") is to convince "the user" of the advantages of the ANSI layout ... for example, with a programmable keyboard, one could use the ANSI Enter as a dual-role key: right control when pressed in combination with another key, enter when pressed by itself. Of course, symmetric to the caps lock key, with the same treatment (left control / escape or caps lock). Also, I recommend Leopold wholeheartedly: high quality keycaps by default, and their Topre domes are snappier than the Realforce ones, but not too snappy (i.e. less than the BKE domes), which, for me, are in the perfect tactility range - I think they are unofficially rated at 50g.
Last edited by Laser on 03 Dec 2018, 18:12, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post02 Dec 2018, 13:57

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Thus far, I've had excellent luck with Amazon. Over the years, I have purchased many things from them, including electronic components, hardware bits and pieces, books, videos, and computer mice. Whenever I have requested a return, they have always immediately granted it, no questions asked.
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Unread post02 Dec 2018, 14:02

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vometia wrote:I'm not even going down the "trying my luck" route. Life's too short and I've dealt with too many companies who've given me the run-around when it comes to returning defective goods. Keyboard Co's terms offer less than the statutory minimum and when I emailed to clarify they had a seemingly more conciliatory tone but were sticking to their guns so... just no. I'll take the loss of a defective keyboard and simply avoid dealing with them again in future.

I'm surprised, the guy I spoke to originally seemed keen to help but the one who responded to my query really didn't assure me at all, in spite of me saying (and I really shouldn't have to do this) that my intended follow-up order was contingent on how they handled the return. I guess they're just not a repeat business sort of company.

Speaking of The Keyboard Company, I just received a mouse from them which looks like it has been in use for weeks, if not months. It would be interesting to see how they handle this situation.
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Unread post03 Dec 2018, 13:21

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Sorry about disappearing again, been a busy week and I'm just recovering from it!

In the meantime, the reliability of the Mini continues to deteriorate to the point where it's becoming unusable and once I'm done typing this I'm really going to have to replace it with something else. Probably the Filco: though I'm not that big on MX Blues, it's not like they're unusable and it's a bit quieter than the M.

But the B key is just getting ridiculous: sometimes I get nothing, sometimes I get two, sometimes the second one appears after another key has been typed, and now the space bar is joining in too.

I think at this point I'm really going to have to return it and if they won't refund the return postage just cut my losses. :/

I'll reply to the other posts in detail once I have a clearer head, but in the meantime, thank you everybody for advice, ideas, comments and other stuff!
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Unread post10 Dec 2018, 08:17

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