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Unicomp... ARGH!!!

Posted: 25 Jan 2018, 05:02
by ClickMe
Don't get me wrong, I'm more that grateful that Unicomp is still producing a Model M (sort of) and that they still sell parts... but with their legendary attention to details I would have been better off buying a defective Model M keyboard on eBay and using it for keycaps.

I ordered left and right shift keys from Unicomp... and this is what they sent me. Better than nothing, I guess, but argh!!!

Posted: 25 Jan 2018, 06:01
by //gainsborough
I ordered some yellow modifier keys and they sent me two different shades of yellow >_<

Posted: 25 Jan 2018, 07:00
by Darkshado
You're not alone; to make matters worse, while they exist, Model Ms in my native layout aren't that common.

I've been meaning to call them (for way too long) about my latest order, despite numerous reprints it still is short one correctly aligned key. Can't think of a past keycap order where everything was perfect on the first attempt.

Too often I've been sent things which should never have passed QA in the first place.

I've resorted to photos with "reference" caps and I've come to think they haven't been looked at.
Spoiler:
2017-12-04 00.59.55-2.jpg
2017-12-04 00.59.55-2.jpg (975.96 KiB) Viewed 1150 times
Only the «Suppr» key below is Unicomp, the others are vintage IBM.
2017-12-08 16.46.44.jpg
2017-12-08 16.46.44.jpg (3.05 MiB) Viewed 1150 times
I've wondered if the commercial/industrial/government clientèle tends to prefer "a legend on the cap, as long as we get it yesterday" over correctly aligned, kerned and weighted legends that can coexist with vintage caps without jumping at you?

To quote their site:
"To compete successfully against products made in Asia, we must focus on producing the highest quality products at the lowest possible cost while providing the highest level of customer service."
:roll:

Posted: 25 Jan 2018, 10:58
by Quartz64
Looks like your Shift keycaps have some shift. Same story with me. Ordered Alt and two Escape caps about a moth ago. Alt is perfect, both 'Esc' labels are shifted towards bottom.

Posted: 25 Jan 2018, 12:04
by andrewjoy
Unicomp are like the special kid at the back of the sunshine bus, they don't know pretty much anything about anything but they are just happy to be around.

They are in a serious need of a re-tooling.

Posted: 25 Jan 2018, 13:23
by ClickMe
andrewjoy wrote: They are in a serious need of a re-tooling.
Not just retooling but attention to details and quality control. And willingness to innovate a bit. Arguably Model M keyboards are not designed for gaming so it would be silly to garnish them with multicolor lights, but a volume knob would not be a bad idea along with a more modern-looking enclosure. Maybe a few macro keys as well and a programmable controller. And while at it, why not resurrect the Model F in a modern 104 layout? Other than adding the Windows keys, they haven't introduced a new model in their 22 years of existence. Unbelievable.

The patents on the buckling spring have long expired. It seems to me it's just a question of time before somebody eats their lunch.

Posted: 25 Jan 2018, 14:02
by fohat
andrewjoy wrote:
Unicomp are like the special kid at the back of the sunshine bus, they don't know pretty much anything about anything but they are just happy to be around.
That is funny. I have bought bits and pieces from them for 6-8 years and what you get is pretty random.

My most recent key cap orders have been OK, but some of them have had really bad fonts (especially F keys). The most atrocious one was a "green alert" set that I bought shortly after they became available maybe 3 years ago.

On the other hand, they are great to work with and customer service is outstanding.

Posted: 28 Jan 2018, 13:29
by rich1051414
Poor unicomp functioning on kind words and hand me down tooling. They were doomed from the start but some how they keep the machine churning.

Posted: 28 Jan 2018, 21:27
by andrewjoy
rich1051414 wrote: Poor unicomp functioning on kind words and hand me down tooling. They were doomed from the start but some how they keep the machine churning.

They have a monopoly on the market. I think sapre parts for old systems and people who think the model m is the only mecanical keep them going.

Posted: 28 Jan 2018, 21:56
by green-squid
ClickMe wrote:
andrewjoy wrote: They are in a serious need of a re-tooling.
Not just retooling but attention to details and quality control. And willingness to innovate a bit. Arguably Model M keyboards are not designed for gaming so it would be silly to garnish them with multicolor lights, but a volume knob would not be a bad idea along with a more modern-looking enclosure. Maybe a few macro keys as well and a programmable controller. And while at it, why not resurrect the Model F in a modern 104 layout? Other than adding the Windows keys, they haven't introduced a new model in their 22 years of existence. Unbelievable.

The patents on the buckling spring have long expired. It seems to me it's just a question of time before somebody eats their lunch.
I'm surprised they haven't done a crowdfunding for that and new models. I know people who would KILL for a new Model M SSK or a 60%. They would be over the funding goal in absolutely no time, I'm telling you. Absolutely no disrespect, but it sounds like they hate money.

Though I've heard that some of the staff (even higher management) is nearing retirement age, so that may explain why they aren't open to big new things. They have promised a TKL back in, like, 2012 on their facebook page and nothing since then.

Posted: 28 Jan 2018, 23:00
by rich1051414
andrewjoy wrote:
rich1051414 wrote: Poor unicomp functioning on kind words and hand me down tooling. They were doomed from the start but some how they keep the machine churning.

They have a monopoly on the market. I think sapre parts for old systems and people who think the model m is the only mecanical keep them going.
"Monopoly on the market"

I don't agree with this. I place them in the mechanical keyboard market, and there are a lot. Even though no one else is makes specifically the same switch, they still are part of the mechanical keyboard market, same goes for matias, and logitech with their romer-g, ect. However, unicomp seems to have their eyes closed with cruise control engaged. Just because they don't seem to acknowledge the market they belong to doesn't mean they actually don't belong to that market.

It saddens me, since with the proper ambition, unicomp could be SO MUCH MORE. There is a large market out there with profits to be made if they were willing to risk it, and revitalize and modernize a bit, while preserving what makes the model M the model M.

Imagine an aluminum body 60% model M... There would be chaos in the starbucks across the world!

Posted: 29 Jan 2018, 00:36
by depletedvespene
Perhaps we should revisit the idea of a hostile takeover of the company. Not to gut it to make a quick buck, but to make those new models we're wanting so much (and a few other things I have in mind).

Posted: 29 Jan 2018, 00:52
by Norman_
green-squid wrote:
ClickMe wrote:
andrewjoy wrote: They are in a serious need of a re-tooling.
Not just retooling but attention to details and quality control. And willingness to innovate a bit. Arguably Model M keyboards are not designed for gaming so it would be silly to garnish them with multicolor lights, but a volume knob would not be a bad idea along with a more modern-looking enclosure. Maybe a few macro keys as well and a programmable controller. And while at it, why not resurrect the Model F in a modern 104 layout? Other than adding the Windows keys, they haven't introduced a new model in their 22 years of existence. Unbelievable.

The patents on the buckling spring have long expired. It seems to me it's just a question of time before somebody eats their lunch.
I'm surprised they haven't done a crowdfunding for that and new models. I know people who would KILL for a new Model M SSK or a 60%. They would be over the funding goal in absolutely no time, I'm telling you. Absolutely no disrespect, but it sounds like they hate money.

Though I've heard that some of the staff (even higher management) is nearing retirement age, so that may explain why they aren't open to big new things. They have promised a TKL back in, like, 2012 on their facebook page and nothing since then.
They'd probably be able to get someone to design them a new BS board pro bono if they promised to bring it to market. It's not like they're that complicated, and people are already designing these things (fSSK and new model F anyone?)

Posted: 29 Jan 2018, 02:26
by depletedvespene
Norman_ wrote: ... and people are already designing these things (fSSK and new model F anyone?)
Unsaver.

Both "original" and "redesigned".

Posted: 29 Jan 2018, 07:25
by green-squid
My fear is that they'll sit on their butts until the equipment completely wears down and then they'll just put up a thank you letter and go under quietly.