MX blacks: random impressions

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Muirium
µ

07 Aug 2019, 14:20

swampangel wrote:
07 Aug 2019, 14:16
vometia wrote:
07 Aug 2019, 13:34
So it looks like I'm going to have to scurry off and find out what a Poker is! And steal myself an HHKB. I'd probably just be reckless and buy one of they had an ISO-style return, but I never could get used to the horizontal type, even when that's all there was (er, thinking early '80s UK home computer scene rather than an absolute statement).
The JP layout of the HHKB has an iso-style enter, but also an arrow cluster and a bottom row layout which may or may not suit you https://www.amazon.com/Keyboard-Profess ... B001KWJTCW
I just hit submit on my post and I see the HHKB-JP just had to come up! I wouldn't advise that board at all. It's hard to find, super expensive, and it's JIS, not ISO. The regular ANSI HHKB types just like any other American layout keyboard, making it really easy to get used to. JIS is a completely different story.

Image

All those extra keys by the spacebar are there for a reason. And it's nothing to do with the language we type.
Wazrach wrote:
07 Aug 2019, 13:39
vometia wrote:
07 Aug 2019, 13:34
And steal myself an HHKB.
If you decide you want an HHKB, I'm currently selling a black one with an official PFU vibration-dampening mat and silencing rings to get rid of the harsh upstroke rattle the stock HHKB has. I've had it for 4 months and it's not really for me, even with BKE Redux domes.
I'll certainly never let go of my HHKB. It's by far my most used and my ultimate supremo top number one favourite board! Type-S + Hasu's Bluetooth = sublime perfection.

The Poker is a popular family of little MX keyboards, roughly equivalent to the HHKB, in form factor at least. The layout isn't quite as good: it's a straight up 60% chop from the general fullsize and TKL layout you're already used to. But they do come in ISO—pretty sure the Ducky Mini did that and there are certainly others—and they're a customiser's paradise. They're common enough they're the de facto standard for 60% keyboards. There's a whole industry out there for aftermarket cases and the like. That's where my Alps64's solid aluminium case came from: it's not even MX, but Hasu made sure to be Poker case compatible.

Seeing as we're all such a bunch of codependents and enablers!, I'd say a Poker or the like is well worth a try sometime. You might be surprised how well 60% handles you. Or then again, maybe not! Love / hate as it is.
vometia wrote:
07 Aug 2019, 13:34
I guess I don't need to explain that to anyone here! Some other people seem flummoxed by my keyboard obsession and I keep trying to explain to them, "you're happy to spend hundreds of quid on a new graphics card every couple of years but you begrudge spending more than a tenner ever on the part of the computer you actually physically interact with...?" I dunno.
That's our whole thing summed up, exactly. Hardware-wise, so much about computers, tablets and all the rest of it just comes down to the binary question: does it work or not? A graphics card is either keeping up or it's failing, and so on. Keyboards are much more analog, and so much more complex, seeing as they interface with these mysterious human creatures outside the machine! Does it work? Oh, it better! But even that's just the start. Keyboards get fuzzy because that's where we are.

Anakey

07 Aug 2019, 16:49

Just thought people in this thread might be interested that tickets are now available for the next UK meetup in Leeds, https://mechboards.co.uk/product/mkuk-meetup-5-leeds/

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vometia
irritant

09 Aug 2019, 18:41

I suspect I'd generally really like 60%. I'm so clumsy I find even a TKL with a minimalist bezel to he problematic in terms of hand positioning and "my human interface device is colliding with my other human interface device!" while gaming. I keep thinking "but function keys", but actually they're usually not that vital: quickload/quicksave are usually remappable and not required at a moment's notice.

And I still don't understand some people's liking of things they're physically in contact with when they suck. Yes, I know those tailored trousers look awesome and I know they hold their colour better than cotton, but I am not spending £100 on polyester. And especially with shoes: as much as today's pricing is distorted, £50 shoes with "faux" leather i.e. PVC-over-polyester, same as nasty '70s budget pre-smelly trainers were made of... no. I can understand if people actually want to buy that stuff but what's frustrating is when it elbows out the actually decent quality stuff that can no longer be had for love nor money. In the case of shoes, I've now resorted to learning to make my own. But I can't realistically do what with keyboards.

Leeds meetup would be interesting to me if it wasn't so far from Oxford, but anything further from the local shop tends to be a bit "argh!" for me. :/

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vometia
irritant

13 Aug 2019, 06:30

Well I've ordered a Pok3r though at £150 for an ISO it was a bit pricier than I'd anticipated. Ended up at Amazon again on the basis that for their other evils, they do at least tend to deliver rather reliably and I've seen complaints about "direct from seller" causing a massive headache. Next question is what to do about keycaps. YMDK do some lovely sets and a few even come with the ISO keys, but it seems that's my lot as 2/@. 3/# etc are still a thing I'd just have to live with. A minor one but it just bothers me and after so many years I still need visual reminders of where ;/: and '/@ are especially.

Could go the really expensive PMK route again but unless I was DSA I'm SOL. They do still have the wonderful Lime set but if I'm going to the expense and the hassle of getting them through customs I'd want something different. I guess in the meantime I can either swipe the Flico doubleshot SA caps off my Majestouch, though the very dark brown on a white case may look odd, or put the Tai-Hao (which I've added to my dictionary as I can never remember which way round!) "You've been Tangoed!" set on it. Or I could do some sort of mash-up using the YMDK for the alphas, modifiers are and Something Else™ for the numbers, but I guess finding different sets matching in terms of colour, feel and sound let alone profile is probably optimistic. But I understand others have dome similar.

The other thing scheduled to arrive is my 22U cabined, which should hopefully swallow my server, desktop and games PCs, as well as the UPS, networking and KVM and other sundries like my hifi amp and tuner. It should all fit (I hope!) but I should've probably bought more shelves. The UPS can be a retracting shelf for the gaming rig (which is by happy coincidence, or not, exactly 19" tall), the server and desktop units are rackmount cases, one shelf can take the hifi and the other the networking gear I guess. I suspect I should've invested in some USB and HDMI extension cables... to save me the trouble of finding the stuff I already have lying around!

The other question is, where do I put it? My lair is getting increasingly crowded and 2' square is a big area of space in a small and overcrowded room.

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Muirium
µ

13 Aug 2019, 11:44

In many ways, I’m quite impetuous too, but keyboard purchases are not among them!

A white case? Hmm. That does limit caps colourways quite a bit. The general rule is keys want to be lighter than the chassis. You can break it, and sometimes even break it well, but you’re playing on a harder difficulty compared to a black case that’ll go with literally everything.

I assume you went with MX red, right?

As it happens, I do have a weighty box full of 7bit’s legendary Round 5 (tall SA doubleshot sphericals) that are way more than I need. There’s surely a good set for spare in there. The hard part, though, would indeed be those specifically UK layout keys. See, as a Mac user, I expect @ on 2 even on my ISO boards! I’m nearly certain I don’t have those few extra keys.

Image

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vometia
irritant

13 Aug 2019, 13:56

Impetuous is pretty much my middle name! Well actually it's Beatrice. "St Beatrice, the patron saint of impiety", or something.

Well it's here. First impressions, since I feel qualified to offer them after just minutes because of said impetuousitnessousity. First of all I said to Amazon, "no I'm not paying your fiver for postage now that I no longer do Prime, I'll have your free delivery tyvm, see you in a week." And here it is, a mere 24 hours after ordering, which came as a bit of a surprise. It was UPS chap, too. "You got another parcel for me? Big thing, weighs 70kg." "'Fraid not. At 70kg I think I might've noticed when I was loading my van!" So that is currently "delayed" due to some UPS embuggerence.

Oh yeah, where was I? First impressions. It's nice. I mean really nice. I haven't thought of anything to quibble about in terms of the keyfeel and sound. The thing is very solid indeed and the keys have that wonderful "upwards clack" thing, but also a surprisingly loud voice when bottoming out too. So this is most certainly not going to be my "quiet keyboard"! What is surprising is that I'm finding even the MX Reds to be surprisingly... resistant. For someone who thought for years they'd be way too twitchy they're just not, and are immediately my favourite Cherry switches. I feel bad for the poor old Filco but this is just putting into contrast how much I hate Blues. Horrid things.

The white colour scheme is surprisingly agreeable. If everything else was white I might even kinda sorta like it with its kinda sorta centred legends, only they aren't quite. Now this is where it's going to get all sorts of complicated. Firstly the colour: my bright idea is generally to repaint stuff I don't like the look of. I kinda suck at painting but on the other hand the results haven't been as bad as they might. Thing is, would that be sacrilege? The price tag becomes apparent in that it has a nice aloooooominum case which is probably responsible for all that noise, and while I could take it to bits and cover it in Hammerite, I'm not totally sure I should.

"Things I'm ambivalent about." That case: as well as the colour and the noise, where's my adjustable feet?! I didn't think to look into that beforehand because impetuous etc. So it's currently propped up on the base on my screen. And the 60% thing: "where's me F-keys? Where's my cursor keys, for that matter?!" as my hand keeps wandering towards right-menu trying to find something. At least the fn key thoughtfully maps them to the usual ijkl, and Home and eNd shouldn't be too hard to remember. But how hard? I just spent ages trying to find the end key and of course a replacement keyset isn't going to have those legends. But I knew that on a 60%, the fn key (why doesn't this editor apparently have alternative fonts? grr etc) was a thing and that certain compromises will result. This seems to have been done about as well as can be expected and doesn't have certain weird quirks that I've read about with other keyboards where using modifiers on something that needs to be shifted has to be done in the correct order otherwise it doesn't work.

The rest of my "first impressions" will have to wait and it may turn out to be entirely academic as my gf seems to have taken a shine to it and is yelling up the stairs for me to let her have a go. So I'll have to write the rest of this in another post on my old new keyboard.

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vometia
irritant

13 Aug 2019, 14:16

Her impressions are that she likes it but is less enamoured with the position of the function key. Dunno what to do about that: my first thought was to remap it using xkb until I realised "oh yeah, can't do that!" so... dunno. She'd prefer it to be where the hateful Windows key is. There are some switches on the bottom but the Poker's packaging is a bit... well, it's rather light on documentation. No manual, no quick-start, even its box prefers not to say much, having no more than the Pok3r, Vortex and Cherry logos on it. I'm not sure how "use the Force, Luke" should translate in this instance: "just do random stuff, Vom, like you usually do, you fat halfwit" is one possibility, or at this moment the "use teh intarwebz, St Beatrice the Impetuous."

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vometia
irritant

13 Aug 2019, 15:45

Right, back again, still sans keyboard: she seems to have warmed to it a bit more now we've discovered how to employ the otherwise totally bloody useless caps-lock as a second function key, and to utilise the somewhat obliquely-named "layers" as a sort of edit-lock. I'm curious to see how she gets on with it as she doesn't like change, but she does like cute.

I'm vaguely curious about the Round 5 stuff as I didn't quite understand what you meant about whether or not it included the stuff in question; but I'm neither understanding nor wording this effectively as I'm now being very distracted indeed by the neighbours who have a spectacularly loud and unpleasant-sounding hedge-trimmer and child.

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Muirium
µ

13 Aug 2019, 16:18

Here’s the Pok3r’s missing manual:

http://www.vortexgear.tw/db/upload/webd ... 966663.pdf

More perplexing than it should be. As I recall (never had this board myself) there’s a user definable Pn layer as well as the standard Fn layer, to add to your complexities and potential solutions!

As for Round 5, this is what it looks like in action on a 60%:

Image

I have an insane amount of the stuff. Loads of different colour schemes (all ultimately white, grey, black and deep cherry red). Loads of layout support (see that numrow, it doesn’t have to be like that). And altogether just too much of the stuff to ever need myself.

But! Pretty sure I don’t have those UK keys in the diagram I posted earlier. I’m just not a UK PC user.

Oh, that photo is my custom creation. (If anyone is interested, it’s lying in pieces nowadays, looking for a rebuild and some love.) The white Fn key to the right of right Shift is pure HHKB inspired. That’s where the all important Fn key should f’n be!

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AJM

13 Aug 2019, 17:57

I have several Vortex boards (ViBE and Race 3), so I have a bit of experience with programming them, should there be any questions.
(The PN key is only for some backlighting shenanigans and to end a macro while programming. Otherwise it's pretty useless.)
Using the caps-lock key as FN is of course the right choice. I also reprogrammed FN+C, FN+V etc. as Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V etc. So it works as well as an Ctrl-key for the important stuff.

BTW: I just spend 2 days desoldering silent-red switches and replacing them with lubed Gateron silent ink black switches - only to find that they are indeed a bit too heavy. So my favourites are still lubed Healios switches.

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vometia
irritant

14 Aug 2019, 14:52

I have it back again as she wasn't entirely convinced so she's nicked my, erm, canard à la citron vert. I may or may not get it back. So in the meantime I'm the one trying to get used to the Pok3r in its 60% glory. Pros and cons. It is very cute and theoretically it ameliorates the RSI-inducing nature of "the user interface device from hell", as someone I know always insisted on referring to the mouse. And it just feels really nice to use in its own right.

The make-or-break thing is that awkward matter of... well, it being 60%, so although there are several ways of coping with the absence of the editing keys, none are really feeling intuitive yet. I know I need to give it time but I'm reminded of first using a computer keyboard very many years ago where I'm spending way too much time looking at which key does which job. I do worry that so many frequently-used keys needing either modifiers or mode-shifting may never be intuitive and/or not annoying. I dunno; I'm probably being a bit negative considering so many people love their 60%ers but it does take me a long time to get used to stuff, and I am aware of that. But I'm not denying that it's awesome at being what it is.

Except for the space bar switch and/or its stabilisers. Something is binding slightly.

However things work out, one thing it has confirmed to me is what several others have said before, which is that Cherry's real strength is their linear keys. The tactile ones are IMHO horrible and had given me entirely the wrong idea of what they're about (and yeah, I know this is subjective, so I'm being cautious!) and what is also interesting is that it seems MX Reds are really about as heavy as I want to go. I'd been almost tempted by a hitherto unknown "natural" switch described as about mid-way between Red and Black but it would've been too much. But I'm also a bit suspicious about the "hitherto unknown" aspect.

Moving on, those keycaps are lovely, even if the oxblood thing isn't totally my colour, but that's kind of missing the point: all I can do is to rehash my previous comment and do a sort of Gallic shrug about nearly all manufacturers doing such fugly keycaps since forever. I don't get it. Even with the oxblood, if you had a full UK set I would've been more than happy to replace it with a bunch of used notes but... well, I just said about the inordinate amount of time I spend actually needing to look at my keyboard. I think part of it is just that autism thing of "accept that something isn't what it says it is... or isn't where you want it to be." Which is all sorts of frustrating.

And thanks, AJM. I've largely figured out its rather idiosyncratic guide, though there are a few outstanding things, such as rebinding not whole keys but just certain modifiers (e.g. I would've liked alt/1-6 to be the same as alt/f1-f6, but otherwise leaving the number keys as they are: I'm not sure it's possible) and I've yet to look into escape and ` sharing the same key: that's somewhat irritating as it already requires extra keystrokes with the compose key to type e.g. "à la" which is time-consuming and uses far too much think!

Soldering: no idea whether or not I can do it, but I won't. I think I'd lose the will to live after redoing an entire keyboard's worth of switches and deciding I preferred the original. I certainly feel for you.

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Muirium
µ

14 Aug 2019, 15:33

60% definitely takes some getting used to. I knew I wanted an HHKB hard the first time I saw it existed. The draw to a minimal layout is as you say. I’d call it visceral and involuntary! You just know you need it when you see it, if you’re one of us who even feel drawn them in the first place.

Now, the Poker is not the sixty that I know. See, since I had to save up for my HHKB, and happened to come by an IBM Model F XT in the meantime, I trained up on the HHKB function layer on my XT first. (Soarer’s converter supplied the magic.) The XT feels great but its layout is pants. Fortunately for me, one thing it does have right is a short right Shift and a place to put my Fn key. So I did. And I was so ready for the HHKB when I got it a year later it’s hard to even remember the learning process.

Consistency is the thing. I map all my small boards the same way, when I can. And that is HHKB style. Behold:

Image

See the front legends? They’re engaged by the HHKB’s one and only Fn key, to the right of right Shift. Press that with my pinkie and this is where I work the cursor all day with my right hand:

Image

Not all sixties have a key in that spot. My Kishsaver for example, a much beloved and awesome beastie wrought in solid zinc!, is like your Poker. What do I do? Same Fn layer, but I use the bottom right corner key for Fn instead. Not perfect, but it works. Because muscle memory is everything.

Image

Consistency! What would drive me mad is using WASD or IJKL or whatever for arrow keys. Then I’d be thrown straight back to beginner again. But, and I’m sure to the sixty skeptics’ amusement, I find my HHKB know how invaluable and a joy. The cursor diamond on all my little keyboards is as natural to me as the arrows on a TKL. And the page up/down and home/end keys are in fact better placed than having to head on elsewhere. For me, this thing is gold.

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AJM

14 Aug 2019, 17:43

On these Vortex boards you can remap only whole keys (for which on a 60 % the options are very limited) or the <FN> layer. So you can't change the behaviour of <Alt> + something. Because for <F1> you have to press <FN>+<1>, <Alt><F1> requires <FN>+<Alt>+<1>, I'm afraid.

Concerning "`": Would it help to reprogram "`" to <FN>+<'@> ? You would have to press the same amount of keys, but it would be a bit more intuitive than <ESC>.
(I was sceptical at first if this works, because "`" is a key that doesn't output something by itself, but influences the following key (don't know the right term at the moment), but surprisingly it works fine and even the combination with <Shift> is correctly replicated. I've noticed this already with this onboard programming of Vortex boards: It's a lot less flexible than QMK, but far more intelligent.)

Concerning 60% in general: I also sometimes play with the idea of this and try to use <FN>+JKIL for the cursor keys, but I think I'm too old for this. At the latest - when it comes to combining this with <Shift> for highlighting text - maybe even in combination with <Ctrl> to jump from word to word, it all ends in confusion. I also use PgDown to scroll/read through webpages. Having to press two keys for this or holding <FN> for minutes is just not practical.

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AJM

14 Aug 2019, 17:56

Or - if you are used to "`" on this position, you can also reprogramm:

<ESC> = "`"
<Shift>+<ESC> = that strange rotated L-thing, one can only find on UK keyboards (how is it called?)
<FN> + <ESC> = ESC

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depletedvespene

14 Aug 2019, 18:07

AJM wrote:
14 Aug 2019, 17:56
<Shift>+<ESC> = that strange rotated L-thing, one can only find on UK keyboards (how is it called?)
It's a logical negation sign. Highly used in mathematics, barely used in computers (where the "bang" took its place)... except on terminal keyboards, for reasons I've never known.

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depletedvespene

14 Aug 2019, 18:20

AJM wrote:
14 Aug 2019, 17:43
Concerning 60% in general: I also sometimes play with the idea of this and try to use <FN>+JKIL for the cursor keys, but I think I'm too old for this. At the latest - when it comes to combining this with <Shift> for highlighting text - maybe even in combination with <Ctrl> to jump from word to word, it all ends in confusion. I also use PgDown to scroll/read through webpages. Having to press two keys for this or holding <FN> for minutes is just not practical.
This is why I dislike sub-75% keyboards as well. The Fn chords should be reserved for stuff that's used occasionally OR stuff that won't be ever requiring a different mod, and even then, it requires careful design. For example, having an Fn key to the right of a 1.75U right Shift and then mapping Mute, volume up and volume down to Fn+backquote, Fn+Tab and Fn+CapsLock respectively would be fine, but assigning HJKL to the arrows is not (and then, not even if Fn were also available on the left side of the keyboard – see below).

I've noticed young'uns who favor the use and abuse of Fn layers tend to disregard and sometimes even be unaware that the F keys and the nav keys already have secondary, tertiary and even cuaternary usages depending on the mods activated (Shift+arrows: selection text while moving; Ctrl+arrows: move one word or paragraph at the time; Ctrl-Alt+arrows; move the selected block around; etcetera... and that's just on text editors!). I've even had to explain more than once that we already have a layer for "extra alphas" and a dedicated key for it (AltGr) — alphas on an Fn layer is definitely a sign of bad layouting.

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Muirium
µ

14 Aug 2019, 19:49

I use Shift + Option + Arrows many times an hour, they’re that instinctual. The numbered F keys, meanwhile, are largely just a PC thing. The Mac (and iOS) are much more alpha centric, with chords like Shift + Command + S and the countless like, which need no more fingers on a sixty than they do on a full-size.

As for typing à: what does Windows and the like do when you hold down the a key? Is it really still just aaaaaaa? Hopefully they’ve just copied Apple by now and you get a wee menu with every diacritic your heart desires.
Last edited by Muirium on 14 Aug 2019, 19:52, edited 3 times in total.

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vometia
irritant

14 Aug 2019, 19:50

Just quickly (I'm knackered and off to bed even though it's not yet 7pm: up since 4am and a "challenging" day) the ¬ thing is/was popular with IBMesque programming languages; PL/I maybe? I forget offhand as I'm just a C pleb and even that and its antecedents like BCPL and related have gone through various and sometimes quite ugly and/or bizarre stylistic changes.

I also can't remember the name of the thing where accent keys act as their own compose sequence: I tried it briefly and didn't like it, probably because "it's different, so I don't like it." :D

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depletedvespene

14 Aug 2019, 20:38

Muirium wrote:
14 Aug 2019, 19:49
As for typing à: what does Windows and the like do when you hold down the a key? Is it really still just aaaaaaa? Hopefully they’ve just copied Apple by now and you get a wee menu with every diacritic your heart desires.
Well, of course it's still just "aaaaaaa". Do you actually expect to press and release and press and release and press and release and press and release and press and release and press and release and press and release and press and release and press and release and press and release and press and release the H key to write "hhhhhhhhhhhideous!"? And what if you press and hold down the arrow key? Should an option for "differing amounts of up/down/left/right" appear? Dead keys for diacritics are superior to the dumb (YMMV), clunky (YMMV), poorly designed (YMMV) and inherently limited (YMMNV) "contextual diacritic menus" Apple provides.

Just sayin'...

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depletedvespene

14 Aug 2019, 20:44

vometia wrote:
14 Aug 2019, 19:50
Just quickly (I'm knackered and off to bed even though it's not yet 7pm: up since 4am and a "challenging" day) the ¬ thing is/was popular with IBMesque programming languages; PL/I maybe? I forget offhand as I'm just a C pleb and even that and its antecedents like BCPL and related have gone through various and sometimes quite ugly and/or bizarre stylistic changes.
IIRC, ¬ originated in PL/1, which added a few symbols that were not present in ASCII in the first place (and that is why it was never used in other programming languages).


vometia wrote:
14 Aug 2019, 19:50
I also can't remember the name of the thing where accent keys act as their own compose sequence: I tried it briefly and didn't like it, probably because "it's different, so I don't like it." :D
Dead keys, if you're talking about the same thing I'm thinking you're talking about.

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AJM

14 Aug 2019, 21:16

I've learned a lot today. Apart from depletedvespene making good points ;) , that Apple uses its smartphone keyboard UI apparently also for its "serious" OS!?
@vometia: What do you have to press to get an "à" as mentioned in your example?
I thought "`" + "a", but if I understood you correctly, you "don't like it".
Muirium sounds as if you have to hold "a" in the iPhone fashion to get some kind of submenu. But then, why do you need the "`" key?

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depletedvespene

14 Aug 2019, 21:24

AJM wrote:
14 Aug 2019, 21:16
I've learned a lot today. Apart from depletedvespene making good points ;) , that Apple uses its smartphone keyboard UI apparently also for its "serious" OS!?
@vometia: What do you have to press to get an "à" as mentioned in your example?
If this "à" actually means "á", it may be referring to the fact that the UK Extended layout produces vowels with acute accents in the AltGr layer (AltGr-A → á , AltGr-Shift-E → É, etc), instead of a dead key ( press ́ , then press A → á).

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AJM

14 Aug 2019, 21:45

vometia mentioned "à" and "`" being in the function layer of the ESC key on the Pok3r. The "´" (in contrast to " ' ") on the other hand seems to be missing completely on an UK layout as far as I can see.
But maybe we better let vometia have her well-deserved rest and let her clear it up later. :)

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Muirium
µ

14 Aug 2019, 22:42

Ha, getting schooled on typography by PC boys. As if! Diacritical composing dead keys have been a thing on the Mac since the eighties, back when you were keying in Alt + numeric codes for letters!

Image

To type à, you press Option + ` to enter grave accent mode—the cursor changes to show said diacritical waiting above your character to be—then press a. To type umlauts, Option + u. It’s always been there (I’ve used it in a Mac Plus emulator) and still works as well as ever today.

Apple added the høld ã vôwel behaviour around Lion, if memory serves. It’s pretty subtle—I never trip it in regular writing—but a helpful second route for the occasionał ōddbållš you haven’t memorised.

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vometia
irritant

15 Aug 2019, 06:11

Dead keys: yeah, that's what I was thinking of! Still don't like them. :D gf's name has an "è" in it so it's kinda awkward to type now, the key sequence being (with AltGr as my compose key) AltGr - fn/Esc - e. It's now as bad as e.g. the Portuguese fondness for "ã" which is also fiddly to type. Fortunately I am not any sort of linguistics type and the only reason I ever attempt to type the latter is when a Brazilian fb friend has posted some caption and I'm curious what it says!

I've never used PL/I. It actually doesn't look too bad a language, said in much the same way that Ada doesn't seem too bad a language, the latter being something I only encountered at college: I suspect I'd hate having to use either for a living! But especially PL/I as that would've likely meant MVS; and while I find mainframes fascinating (and beam-springs!) I think MVS is one of the most tedious operating systems evar.

Some last minute remapping on my Poker (I can never figure out whether it should be that or Pok3r: the stylistic thing seems a bit twee and reminiscent of people who type "Apple ][") to hopefully make things a bit easier. I was wondering why I couldn't quite get the hang of the arrow keys until I realised my finger-memory was trying to use vi's cursor movements so I've changed them to h, j, k and l, which may not be ergonomically awesome but is more familiar; and since that steals the home key, I've set [ and ] to home and end, and ; and @ to page up/down (initially tried @ and #, but it didn't agree with me). Hopefully this way I can spend less time peering at the keyboard wondering what I should press!

I'm also wondering if I should get a blank key set on the assumption that it's affordable (and even possible) to have them etched and in-filled to my own specification. Maybe I should read about that sort of thing instead of just randomly pontificating but I'm easily confused.

Edit: I also need to do something about the squeaky space bar. Any household lubricants I can use on it? I'm guessing neither Vaseline nor 3-in-1 is a particularly good idea.

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AJM

15 Aug 2019, 10:52

Ah, ok. So if you would prefer AltGr - Esc - e (without the FN) to type a "è", it's not a problem.
(still a keypress more than the sophisticated Windows route, but hey ;) ).

To program
<ESC> = "`"
<Shift>+<ESC> = logical negation thingy
<FN> + <ESC> = ESC

you would have to do:
- choose layer
- <FN> + <RCtrl>
- <ESC> (until the spacebar light flashes / if a key has already been programmed before, you have to press it twice till it's ready)
- <FN> + <ESC>
- <PN>
- <FN> + <ESC> (until the spacebar light flashes)
- <ESC>
- <PN>
- <FN> + <RCtrl>

In other words: You program <ESC> as <FN> <ESC> and <FN> <ESC> as <ESC>, which sounds like an infinite loop, but it works.

Concerning lubricants: You would need something silicone based - avoid anything petroleum based (it damages plastic).
I used silicone grease, that is sold in little tubes for lubing seals in coffee machines, so you could even eat it without problems. :D
(for inside switches most people would consider it a bit too thick, but for stabilizers it's just right.)

User avatar
vometia
irritant

15 Aug 2019, 11:52

I'll need to decide which would be the most irritating between using fn to get at the ` key or at the escape key, as I also use the latter a great deal in both editing (I'm a vi type) and video games. Of course I could just add a new XCompose sequence to accept esc as a valid modifier...

Good tip about the silicon-based stuff, because I'm also having endless problems with the lid of my fancy new Nespresso Barista spewing out milk! I think they really needed to do a bit more testing before unleashing it into the wild.

User avatar
kbdfr
The Tiproman

15 Aug 2019, 13:35

The above discussion about the difficulties of accessing certain characters
sounds rather amusing when you could have a Tipro board,
which basically is a 75% with 2 additional rows above the F row,
adding 32 (!) fully free programmable (!) keys.
.
Tipro MID-DM1288A.jpg
Tipro MID-DM1288A.jpg (58.61 KiB) Viewed 136 times

User avatar
depletedvespene

15 Aug 2019, 22:27

vometia wrote:
15 Aug 2019, 11:52
I'll need to decide which would be the most irritating between using fn to get at the ` key or at the escape key, as I also use the latter a great deal in both editing (I'm a vi type) and video games. Of course I could just add a new XCompose sequence to accept esc as a valid modifier...
In a nutshell, all those issues stem from the design error that 60%/65% keyboards commit, of conflating the ESC and BACKQUOTE keys into one without much (if any) thought to usability. The fact that the Enhanced layout (ok, the F AT, but who's counting) made the top left corner key from a mod (Esc) into an alpha (BACKQUOTE) is far away into the days of yore to not be an excuse.

Then again, another problem is that most of the extant logical/national layouts are in dire need of a serious revision; would be a great chance to make that particular key back into a mod (Back Tab on 75% and over; Esc on 65% and under).

User avatar
Muirium
µ

16 Aug 2019, 00:05

Meanwhile, the HHKB has `~ and Esc as entirely separate keys. When throwing shade, aim right!


@Choc
I’ve never come up with a satisfactory use for that grid of extra keys, up above the useful stuff on my Access-IS. I’ve plenty of legends to throw at them, but the very geometry defies my attempts at a sensible, let alone intuitive, system. I don’t need function keys, in their pointless indistinct dozens. In fact, I don’t truly need anything beyond a well designed sixty at all.

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