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Mechanical keyboards for programmers and gamers

keyboard gamers open source

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#1 OFFLINE   abarbarian

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Posted 26 May 2018 - 04:47 AM

Input Club's mechanical keyboards aren't just about producing exceptional products. They're also proof that open source can solve any problem.


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Open source software already powers most of the world, partially because it is free and mostly because it is so accessible. Under an open source system, the flaws and imperfections in every product can be observed, tracked, and fixed, much like the Japanese philosophy of "continuous improvement" known as kaizen, which is applied to every aspect of a process. By following these principles, we believe that the open hardware movement is poised to fundamentally change the global product economy.

At Input Club, we design and produce mechanical keyboards using this same philosophy and workflow, similar to how a person might develop a website or application. The design files for our keyboard frames and circuit boards are available via GitHub. The open source firmware, the Keyboard Layout Language (KLL), has contributors all over the world. This may seem like a standard process to people active in the open source community, but I assure you that it is not the norm when making keyboards.

More about the Input Club

https://input.club/product/


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Input Club designs tools that allow you to interact with computers on a fundamentally new level. Our keyboards take away all the rules and allow you to type any way you like. We created an operating system that governs input called the Keyboard Layout Language to make sure you have complete control over your thoughts and ideas.

Our products are a new type of open hardware, one more aligned to the philosophy of our time. You own your keyboard, the design files for the hardware are freely available, the code behind the firmware is on Github, and we have a keyboard configurator that lets you decide what your keys do when you press them.
Our keyboards have a core philosophy that affects the features that we incorporate into our devices. We also have a working list of features that are planned for future products, but these are either in development or require more time to complete. You can sign up for our email list to be notified about our progress or you can contribute on Github.

This is a full size keyboard they have on offer, well more of a condensed full size,

https://kono.store/p...anical-keyboard

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Kira is our finest full sized mechanical keyboard design. Angelo Tobias (thesiscamper) and Input Club collaborated to create Kira’s uniquely classy RGB aesthetic. Kira comes with a variety of mechanical switches including Input Club’s typist friendly Hako Switches as well as options from Cherry, Novelkeys, and Kaihua.

However this is the keyboard that caught my eye and am seriously thinking of buying one,

https://input.club/k-type/



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Minimal Aluminum RGB Mechanical Keyboard

The K-Type is the most powerful keyboard we’ve ever created. Whether you play complex video games, despise Caps Lock, or simply want things to be organized your way, the K-Type has the ability to match your needs.
Standard Tenkey-less Layout
Fully Programmable
RGB Backlighting
Optimal Mechanical Switch Types
Open Source Software and Hardware
Machined Aluminum Frame
USB Type C Connector

They also do a dinky White Fox keyboard and a luverly wooden carry case for it. Too small for my digits and the case is sold out.

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#2 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 26 May 2018 - 08:09 AM

That is neat and all but most mechanical keyboards have open layouts with replaceable switches and such. The mechanical keyboard community is very open with DIY approach. Lots of people buy premade keyboards but the majority of mech enthusiasts build their own, sometimes with a very strange layout. Here is a huge list of crazy looking custom keyboards https://scrapbox.io/MECHKEYS

Personally, I have been using mechanical keyboards for years and would never use a rubber-dome keyboard again.

Here is my home mech, a Pok3r 60% with a wooden wrist rest:

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The function keys and other keys are typed by using the FN keys but I remapped it to use the caps lock key as my mod key.
1-12 is also F1, F2, etc.
i, j, k, l are arrows keys (like vim)
: is insert
h is home
n is end

This keyboard also has a programmable backlight but I prefer to not use a backlight.

Here is my WASD 104 mechanical that I use at work:

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And here is the keyboard the guys at work made for me as a joke:

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Both of my current keyboards have Cherry MX Blue switches which are among the louder switches (sounds like the old IBM Model M keyboards from the 1990s) and only require half a press to register a key so your speed increases greatly. http://www.keyboardc...nical-switches/

Also, all keys on mechanical keyboards can be switched out and there are tons of places where you can pick from predesigned ones or request custom ones. There are also some crazy artisan keycaps that you can buy (yes, that is a keycap).

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My next project, I am thinking about ordering a board, switches and a case to build my own keyboard.
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#3 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 26 May 2018 - 08:33 AM

@CLI Phreak - nice but you need to tell those guys at work that lots of people are allergic to the saps found in wood. I hope that hypo-allergenic keyboard is treated with a good, hypo-allergenic polyurethane - unless you are one of many also allergic to polyurethane. :( Then you might be stuck using voice! ;)
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#4 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 26 May 2018 - 08:38 AM

Right :hysterical:
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"Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain." -George Orwell, 1984

#5 OFFLINE   goretsky

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 05:38 AM

Hello,

I have a Ducky ONE keyboard.  It has blue LED backlighting, which I hate, but MX blues and a standard 104(?) key layout, which I like.  Hm... I see that Ducky now has it with white LEDs.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky
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#6 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 09:30 AM

I don't really understand back lighting on a keyboard. I have used a couple and find them distracting. While I am a pretty good touch-typist, I do still occasionally look down at the keyboard when I need to use some of the less common keys like braces, the F keys, or with a Windows Key + some other key combination that requires me to be a contortionist (at least with my fingers). I never use my computer in the dark so that part is not an issue.

I like to pay attention to what's on my monitors and not be distracted by pretty lights elsewhere. That's exactly why I don't go for fancy case lighting either - besides the fact they don't do anything for performance, consume some (even if just a little) power, generate some (even if just a little) heat, and do nothing for performance (worth repeating).

If I wanted a lighted keyboard, I might go for one where just the lettering on the keys had a very soft, white illumination. That is, no "back" lighting, but just the letters (numbers and symbols) on the black keys themselves were illuminated. I have seen a couple but none that "felt" right at the end of my fingers. The tactile feel of the key presses were too mushy or too hard, or the position I had to hold my wrists was just wrong and I felt would aggravate my RSI issues - common with many keyboard users after extended use.

And since, IMO, how a keyboard (and mouse too) "feels" in our own hands is the most important characteristic of a HID (human interface device - e.g.; keyboard and mouse), a fancy/pretty keyboard is useless if it feels awkward (or even painful!) to use.

You would think the perfect keyboard and mouse would be easy to find. I am not sure they exist. For now, the next best thing (for my hands anyway) is the Microsoft Comfort 5050 set. I don't know who the OEM is for these Microsoft branded products, but they work great, are very well made, have just the right tactile feel (for me), so far have been very reliable and (again, for me) are very comfortable.
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#7 OFFLINE   goretsky

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 11:44 PM

Hello,

I find the LED lighting largely a distraction, especially the aforementioned hated blue LEDs.  But then again, I also don't normally type in dark room.  The old IBM ThinkPad laptops had a white(ish) LED called a "ThinkLight" embedded in the screen bezel above display that proejcted down onto the keyboard.  That was actually pretty nice for those "dark room" type situations.

Feel-wise, I do like "clicky, full-travel, full-pitch" mechanical keyboards like the old IBM Model M and Northgate Ultra/Omnikey and newer MX Blue keyboards.

Typing is such an individual activity, though, that I don't think there's any one type of keyboard that everyone is universally happy with (or universally loathes, for that matter).

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky
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#8 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 09:33 AM

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Northgate Ultra/Omnikey
My all time favorite! It was a shame they went away.

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Typing is such an individual activity, though, that I don't think there's any one type of keyboard that everyone is universally happy with
People ask for buying advice all the time for keyboards (and mice). I always tell them because they are extensions of our own hands, they must determine for themselves what feels good to them. We can comment on build quality and function, and maybe how the maker treats their customers, but that's about it. As I noted above, what feels good in my hands may seem awkward or even painful in theirs.

Users need to find a local computer/electronics store and go play touchy-feely for themselves. Try to set the keyboard at the same height as they would encounter sitting at their own desk.

Just take along a bunch of hand-sanitizer. >_<
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#9 OFFLINE   zlim

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 11:40 AM

I am not a touch typist; I look at the keys as I type. For an older person, a black keyboard just doesn't work. (neither does a black phone & answering machine combo with light gray lettering!)

I am using an old Dell Quiet Key that is either light gray or beige. I prefer that and I have a few archived in case this one breaks. I bought a lighted keyboard for my husband's computer from monoprice. There were 2 major problems with it: it wasn't perfectly flat and that keyboard would not let me boot into the BIOS. I bought one of those EZ Read keyboards (over sized yellow keys with big black letters) for about $5 - $10 at a chain that sells surplus things. I could get into the BIOS so I bought a 2nd keyboard in case that one went bad. His computer is the only one in the house that doesn't have a PS/2 slot so none of the keyboards I stashed away would work and I didn't want to buy a keyboard adapter.
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#10 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 01:49 PM

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For an older person...
I'm no spring chicken either - just ask my new great-grandson. And I still have to sometimes squint even with my tri-focals. So I hear you.

I was going to suggest a large letter keyboards next time you are looking for new keyboard - but see you already have. Of course, if everything is fuzzy, it does not matter how big it is.
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