Matias Ergo Pro Tour - On Tour - Signups Still Open

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Spikebolt
√(4) != -2

08 Jul 2015, 14:37

I'd like to sign up for the tour :)

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Muirium
µ

08 Jul 2015, 14:41

Added to the list. Looks like it'll be a nice Iberian summer for the Ergo Pro!

IjonTichy

08 Jul 2015, 19:26

Muirium wrote: We'll see if you're still around and active in a few months, when the board has toured Germany.
Sounds great, thanks!

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HzFaq

09 Jul 2015, 21:08

I stumbled* across this cool functionality earlier on today.

Image

Under the right CMD key are 4 little DIP switches :D. Having backspace on a thumb and being able to swap control and capslock are awesome features that are strangely undocumented as far as I can see...Oh, putting the board in PC mode swaps the CMD/option keys and activates the media controls on PC. I've still not figured out how to trigger actual numlock though...

edit - *Credit where due, it was from this review.

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wlhlm
~

09 Jul 2015, 21:36

Those cheeky bastards, the best options hidden under an innocent keycap. :o

Thanks for posting this HzFaq!

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Muirium
µ

09 Jul 2015, 21:58

Very strange they didn't mention those switches, let alone document them. Is this something also present on the final revision of the keyboard, I wonder? Remember this is the early model with the demon Num Lock.

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HzFaq

09 Jul 2015, 22:14

Seems like the other review has the inconvenient numlock as well so the dipswitches might only be present on the first gen boards.

pcaro

09 Jul 2015, 22:32

Wow! This is a great feature! I hope is in the final version too.

HzFaq wrote: I stumbled* across this cool functionality earlier on today.

Image

Under the right CMD key are 4 little DIP switches :D. Having backspace on a thumb and being able to swap control and capslock are awesome features that are strangely undocumented as far as I can see...Oh, putting the board in PC mode swaps the CMD/option keys and activates the media controls on PC. I've still not figured out how to trigger actual numlock though...

edit - *Credit where due, it was from this review.

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facetsesame
Mad Dasher

18 Jul 2015, 01:15

The tour board has arrived! Thank you both!
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Overall the whole experience is very new to me - as my first go at a split ergo it was weird and difficult initially but I'm settling in nicely now. If I get one for work (I've been thinking about it for a while now), I'll try it with a numpad in the middle.

I'm particularly enjoying the nav keys and the massive ctrl! I wish right cmd was a ctrl too - I might even split it into two and have a menu key... The switches are very nice, with a distinct but not overbearing tactile bump at the right point, moving from reds I might have preferred them a touch lighter though I've hardly got to grips with this setup yet, so we shall see.

For what it's worth, the first ANSI enter I've used in ages is working just fine for me. I'm really lost with the "missing" backslash though.

That's quite enough early rambling. I'll report back later when I've actually used the thing for a meaningful length of time.

Thanks again for this opportunity!

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Muirium
µ

18 Jul 2015, 01:27

Ha, I feel quite the same way: while you were typing that I was playing around with a 64 key MIDI keyboard a friend's given me. I'm a right old beginner on musical keys. Vague awareness of octaves and fifths! But wherever did they put that backslash?

Glad you're enjoying it.

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ergo_typing

18 Jul 2015, 13:46

Muirium wrote: Very strange they didn't mention those switches, let alone document them. Is this something also present on the final revision of the keyboard, I wonder? Remember this is the early model with the demon Num Lock.
Forgive the butting in, but I'm the chap who wrote the Geekhack review. I have the 1st rev and 2nd rev of the keyboard. Both have the dip switches under the right command key. Such a handy feature - I very much recommend trying space on one, delete on the other. It takes a couple of days to get used to it but after that, it feels so much more efficient.

Great review btw

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Muirium
µ

18 Jul 2015, 14:32

Thanks. Did Matias document or even grudgingly acknowledge the dip switches anywhere on the Rev 2? What a silly thing to hide!

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ergo_typing

18 Jul 2015, 15:42

Muirium wrote: Thanks. Did Matias document or even grudgingly acknowledge the dip switches anywhere on the Rev 2? What a silly thing to hide!
No - there's no documentation about the feature in rev 2 of the board. Very odd but at least more of us know about it now and can spread the word!

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SL89

18 Jul 2015, 16:15

So did you use it for Space and Backspace or Space and delete.

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ergo_typing

18 Jul 2015, 16:48

SL89 wrote: So did you use it for Space and Backspace or Space and delete.
Space with my left thumb and backspace with my right. I mapped with Karabiner control + right spacebar to be forward delete.

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Muirium
µ

18 Jul 2015, 17:07

Left thumbers are from another planet! I'd go right space = space, left space = backspace, and leave delete out of it. But, like surely most users who don't even know they exist, I didn't play with those dipswitches so…

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ergo_typing

18 Jul 2015, 17:22

Muirium wrote: Left thumbers are from another planet! I'd go right space = space, left space = backspace, and leave delete out of it. But, like surely most users who don't even know they exist, I didn't play with those dipswitches so…
Heh - I actually switched to left thumb space on this keyboard. I've been getting typing pains in my right wrist, so I figured moving a frequently used action (the space bar) to the other hand might reduce the pain.

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Muirium
µ

18 Jul 2015, 17:26

For whatever reason, I seem to avoid keyboard based RSI, despite being prolific on and off the forum. Wide hands help. But I put a lot of it down to typing style. I like to stand while typing, and even when I don't I keep my wrists floating and hover over the board. I churn out something on the order of a million words a year (some of them even make sense from time to time) and don't ache a bit. My shoulders used to take a hammering before I switched to standing, though.

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facetsesame
Mad Dasher

01 Aug 2015, 00:56

The touring Ergo Pro has now passed from me to continue on its journey, so it's about time I added a few more thoughts.
Please do take these with all the salt you wish, as with this board I was new to both split ergonomics and Matias switches, though for me it was very much the point to try them.

I think Matias have put together a very nice package with the Ergo Pro. The form has a serious presence and heft with it to keep it in place, and multiple choices of how to keep it in place, with front and back legs and the option to remove the generous wrist rests. The keys too feature some very generous dimensions, including a longer left shift and a tall escape as well as the startling double height mod row. And yet for me the board still had an air of compactness, minus the nav and num pads and with miniaturised keys. Packed in its special kase, it is literally a nice package ideal for general safe keeping on a shelf or in a suitable outer box, touring the world.
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The use of detachable cables, with standard connectors throughout is very welcome. This thoughtfulness extends to providing a user guide with suggestions for the feet and broadly to alleviate the culture shock such a change may bring. Confirmation of the Mac functions was meaningless to me though as I'm on the wrong platform!
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Being new to split ergos, I had to try out some different positions. The first one I tried was devised from placing my hands on the desk with no particular reference (actually biased to typical a left-on-home-row, right-on-pointer) and going with it. This was not a success and is not to be recommended, but at least I could find out! Ultimately I took to using a more typical "butterfly" with negative tilt. This was very comfortable and easily an improvement on the standard keyboards I otherwise always use. The CST Ltrac wasn't a bad pairing, its height was ideal though when I moved my arm to pointer mode, I did miss the Ergo Pro's rests with the Ltrac's completely different approach to wrist support. Trying the pointer on either hand was part of the fun, I'm far from ambidextrous but could already cope so my weaker left was just fine. In between the halves of the Ergo Pro I'd contemplated trying a number pad, but this has yet to be purchased.
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In use, the most noticeable thing was of course that darn number lock! It turned out I used right hand for b far more than I realised. The board also alerted me to a trend to put left on an ISO-skewed \zxc instead of zxcv, explaining if exacerbating the issue - all the more ridiculous on an ANSI board where it becomes shiftzxc, though maybe some of use will use shift more than v... The far left was pretty busy on the Ergo Pro; with only an Alt Gr key on the right, it was covering all Ctrl, Alt and Win actions - that Ctrl in the "phantom B" position occupied by Number Lock on the prototype would be very welcome.

The little keys in the nav, arrows and text editing blocks I was more than a little skeptical of to begin with, but I found them comfortable and convenient. By the time I was packing up the board, the arrows were second nature and I'd more or less got to grips with the nav keys. The text editing shortcut keys were put to some use but it was very hard to break habits on these. With time and more effort I'm sure it could be done. One concern with these is that for some reason the production ISO versions appear to have no Undo key.
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I was pleased with the Matias switches, if not blown away by them. I'd prefer them a bit lighter (thanks to regular MX red use), and I didn't notice any incredible smoothness compared to MX, but with a clear tactile point at the right point at a reasonable weight I was satisfied. Not too noisy, too - critical if I was going to get one for work.

In the final days of the testing, something else took over.
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I've been entirely vulnerable to Round 5 mania for over 18 months, so its arrival could only ever be as irresistible as it had looked as an idea on Mu's Honeywell board. Which brings me to the one thing I really didn't like - the keycap texture. Especially now that I'm spoilt by semi matt double shot SA, I don't want to spend serious money on a keyboard with caps I'm not keen on - I like the appearance of the Ergo Pro's lasered caps, but I just didn't like the texture on the alphas. The convex space bars and control were absolutely fine, but I just didn't like the feel and would want to replace them...
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In summary, I'd already said earlier in the week:
facetsesame wrote:In a nutshell I'd say it's a cracking board, the only problem is that I'm (especially now) spoilt with caps and would never specify those textured lasered keys for anything if I could help it - I didn't like the feel of 'em at all. If I could replace the alphas with something with a smoother texture (and UK legends...), I'd almost certainly have an Ergo Pro on order for work by now.
Now where are my manners‽ Thank you very much to Muirium for negotiating and organising this tour, and for Matias for providing the keyboard!

I am of course, not in the pay of either. These are my opinions, for whatever they are worth.

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Muirium
µ

01 Aug 2015, 01:38

Thanks for the keycap addled thoughts, Facet. What did you mean by this bit, by the way?
facetsesame wrote: The board also alerted me to a trend to put left on an ISO-skewed \zxc instead of zxcv, explaining if exacerbating the issue - all the more ridiculous on an ANSI board where it becomes shiftzxc, though maybe some of use will use shift more than v...
The Ergo's Pro's got standard staggering, so I'm guessing you're talking about an alignment habit of yours? I'm a regular ANSI user, and Mac man at that, so I felt the board's layout was second nature besides the demon Num Lock of course. What a 237stard that one is! Grr…

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facetsesame
Mad Dasher

01 Aug 2015, 11:21

Muirium wrote: Thanks for the keycap addled thoughts, Facet. What did you mean by this bit, by the way?
facetsesame wrote: The board also alerted me to a trend to put left on an ISO-skewed \zxc instead of zxcv, explaining if exacerbating the issue - all the more ridiculous on an ANSI board where it becomes shiftzxc, though maybe some of use will use shift more than v...
The Ergo's Pro's got standard staggering, so I'm guessing you're talking about an alignment habit of yours? I'm a regular ANSI user, and Mac man at that, so I felt the board's layout was second nature besides the demon Num Lock of course. What a 237stard that one is! Grr…
Cheers Mu. Yeah, that's a habit of my left hand - not a feature of the board. I think moving your hand and arm outward as you descend the rows feels more intuitive - righty gets to do that, but not lefty. ISO's shortened left shift suggests an illusory path to address this: home on \ZXC. Doesn't help encourage getting that pesky B with the left hand though!

Playing about considering this is further cementing my fondness of SA - the dishing and the barely textured surface feels just right. They will shine but I'm fine with that. Even the yellowing won't be so bad on the white on blacks. See what happened to me there? I was here to answer your query but Round 5 stole my attention from underneath my fingers. Keycap addled is truer than I realised!

Mac and num lock aside, I got on very well with the Ergo Pro's layout. The special key shapes on the board took little time to adapt to and I was feeling quite at home with by the end. Even the half height function row (which I was unsure about) felt comfortable in the very limited use it got. Control next to N would be a very useful and welcome change, and with that sorted, I have no complaints at all.

In summary, I really liked the layout. I'm convinced that if I was using a retail UK ISO Ergo Pro I wouldn't be thinking about the layout at all. Unless I was trying to write some half-baked review.

andrewjoy

05 Aug 2015, 10:40

This is my first day back at work since i received the package. I prefer to test at work as i type long form more often.

First impressions are good, largest drawback is the num lock location i keep hitting it by mistake, if i was to get one that would have to go.

The caps are not the best, i may pull the doubleshots off my northgate and try them.

I am very impressed with this build quality and the quality of the plastics for the case. I would have liked to have seen another foot at the top so i could have the top raised like a normal board.

I am slowly getting used to the ergoness and its forcing me to touch type correctly. I am however slower than a hunt and peck at the moment.

Does anyone mind if i keep it a little longer as this is my first day ? Say mid to late next week ?

EDIT

hit the num lock 4 times when typing this post

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Khers

05 Aug 2015, 11:28

andrewjoy wrote: hit the num lock 4 times when typing this post
Not bad when there are 7 b in your post :D

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Muirium
µ

05 Aug 2015, 14:05

You can use it for a few weeks Andy. Just don't take all month! This is a board that takes a while to grow on you.

Oh and they fixed that viciously dumb Num Lock on the final model. So no one buying new is affected by it. Good job too. It's a 2464476 4366 97525…

andrewjoy

05 Aug 2015, 17:39

Getting to the end of the day now.

I am still 4 finger touch typing but i am getting far more accurate and can sit back.

I think i am hitting the num lock as i am not a real touch typist and i have always used B with the "wrong" hand.
Still its bloody annoying. Is there any way to turn it off in OSX?

One think i am finding hard is i am inaccurate with the ; and ' keys as well as i keep hitting right shift in place of return.

I may try it flat tomorrow and see if that helps.

Now back home to ANSI space invader awesomeness.

Hmm Split ergo space invaders mmmm ideas

EDIT somone had left it in windows mode ! Tut Tut

Back in mac mode now , i was wondering why i could not use the command key
Last edited by andrewjoy on 05 Aug 2015, 17:47, edited 1 time in total.

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Muirium
µ

05 Aug 2015, 17:44

Oh I've space invader ideas, too. Let's hope Rsbseb can be our non-MX mount saviour.

As for the demon Num Lock: that key doesn't even emit a code from the keyboard. It's like Fn in many boards, but just handles the integrated numpad alone. So there is no way to disable it on any OS! Short of opening up the keyboard and getting drastic…

Oddly enough, I wish my Realforce's Num Lock worked that way. (The SSK does.) But no, it sends the Num Lock keycode to the host. Which OS X simply ignores. Unless I use Karabiner to remap it I guess.

andrewjoy

05 Aug 2015, 17:46

i may try leaving the cap off see if that helps

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Muirium
µ

05 Aug 2015, 17:48

Now why didn't I think of that? Son of a 73578!

noobie94

06 Aug 2015, 12:22

I would like to join. If it is possible I'd like to squeeze in between jou and Madhias. Only if that is okay with Madthias obviously. I am doing civil duty (Zivildienst - don't know the right translation) atm and yea...the wage is pretty, freaking low. :cry:

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Muirium
µ

06 Aug 2015, 14:00

Yeah, I catch your drift. That's where you work as a hospital porter or a highway cleaner so you can dodge the draft! Austria's not so likely to go to actual war any time soon. Why not run obstacle courses and jump out of planes instead?

Actually, just the phrase "obstacle course" pretty much answers my question. I'll see what I can do!

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