Showing 1 of 54 conversations about:
Frederico
32
Oct 8, 2018
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Is anyone aware of a split keyboard configured similarly to this, but that includes F keys? I am being driven crazy trying to find such an animal; I’m getting very close to designing and paying whatever it costs to build my own.
Oct 8, 2018
Wolfgang_Bach
66
Oct 8, 2018
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Check out the Kinesis Freestyle Edge. It may be bigger than what you have in mind, but it is a split keyboard with function keys.
Oct 8, 2018
Frederico
32
Oct 8, 2018
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Yes, I already own it; I should have mentioned it; thank you. While it has F keys, it’s got it’s own serious problems with the layout and oddball space bar sizes and the like. I still cannot get used to the placement of the command key under the X key. It is also flaky as hell and requires constant Attention plugging and unplugging the USB to get it to be properly recognized with custom programming. Having spent $220 on it and all of the accessories, and then another 150 on the custom key set for Mac because they are too cheap to include five extra keys for Mac, I’m pretty underwhelmed.
Oct 8, 2018
Aphoid
45
Oct 8, 2018
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What do you mean by "the custom key set for Mac?" I'm typing this on a Freestyle Edge connected to a Mac right now. I haven't had major issues with it aside from the "layout and oddball space bar sizes" that you mention.
Oct 8, 2018
hyperlinked
287
Oct 8, 2018
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I was considering a Freestyle Edge myself, but after your comment, I think I'll pass. I have the original Freestyle and it just never felt right when I put my hands down on it.
If you're willing to entertain bulky keyboard options, the Matias Ergo Pro is a pretty good one to look at. It too has some odd sized keys, but it feels way better to me. The only issue is that the original batch of Ergo Pros had some serious quality control issues. I don't know how the current batch is holding up. I have one from the first batch and mine is totally fine, but I had to resolder a few switches and replace a switch to get it to stop repeating on me.
In other words, it's an ALPS board and has ALPS issues, but it's really solid.
Oct 8, 2018
Frederico
32
Oct 9, 2018
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I mean they couldn't be bothered to throw in even four macOS-specific keys (Command, Option; left and right; Eject; Clear or Help or Power); they do include these keys on Freestyle Pro for Mac. And, ferkrissakes, those macro keys on a stock Edge are HIDEOUS, and those alone demanded replacing so as not to offend respectable humans.
I'm also extremely disappointed they didn't sculpt the Shift and right-Option keys to better tactilely isolate the arrow set. And, yes, it's a lot to ask, but asking Mac users to adapt to the Kinesis way of managing macOS feature keys on the F row after two-plus decades of knowing where the fn media, Expose, Mission Control, etc., keys are, is just another stab at mismatched ugliness; if you choose the Mac layout, you have to move your keys and then the printing doesn't match.
This is before we disagree with each other about the horrifying slick texture of the stock keys, never mind the complete lack of sculpting and row-heights; you may prefer an entire keyboard of R3, but I'm old school, I guess, and like my rows and groups in varied heights for better blind targeting.
So, yeah, I had enough hope that they'd rapidly improve their firmware on this young edition of an already established lineup, and at least include a Mac Eject token; so I ordered a custom $90 Mac-inspired keyset — based on the classic 110 typeface, but optimized for LED backlights — from MaxKeyboards; but of course they don't have an Edge template, so I had to order five more individual custom keys at $7-12 a pop to round it out; and then, because what the hell, right? I ordered their $15 R4 Mac media keys to cover up the aforementioned hideous macro keys; but, that’s not they end of it, because you know you’re going to want to order a few more pricey one-offs once you decide how you’re going to finally configure this new layout to your liking.
I mean, if you're going to commit to learning a new, ultra-compressed layout that is different than the other split ergo you've been using for over twenty years, you may as well go all in, n'est-ce pas?
And you even resign yourself to yet more disappointment when you realize why they printed the stock keycaps in such an ugly, shitty compressed manner on the top center of every keycap, and added white top-print on the lower half of the F keys; the LEDs aren't lensed like other $100 boards that can illuminate the bottom and fronts of your custom keycaps; so you get to live with half-lit keys, wondering if you can mod the board to add an additional LED under the most offensive keys, or if you’re going to go back and redesign your key and give MaxKeyboards even more money.
And, then, oh my, then you *FINALLY* start trying to really program it, and you're driven insane by how long it takes the ludicrously slow V-drive to mount (seriously, is this thing an RS-232 serial connection? My cheapest, oldest, ancient 8MB USB 1.1 thumb drive mounts ten times faster), and then *at least* another 30-60 seconds for the Mac layout app to bounce 100x in the Dock and to actually load (because they couldn't be bothered to create a parallel local editor method that merely syncs the config files) — and, just to make the whole experience truly special, you have to load and unload the V-drive to test any changes on any keys, despite the claim that is only the case for the Macro keys; and that a board refresh will let you test any changed, saved config file with the V-drive mounted. Nope. Just nope.
Then you discover that the Edge starts picking up random settings for keys you didn't even try to program, like an Escape key suddenly producing five up/downstrokes for no apparent reason; or your R key just doesn’t produce an R anymore. Further, you start finding that the Refresh function, even with V-drive dismounted, doesn't really always refresh, so you have to crawl under your desk to unplug/plug the cord first to get it to reset (mostly); or you might even have to hard-reset the board (you did back up your config files, first, right?) So you buy a $30 USB hub with switches and mount it to your keyboard tray so you can either toggle power or perform a hard reset from your chair every time the board borks for no obvious reason, including when you haven’t touched a config file or even switched layouts for days.
Eventually you decide you just cannot stand the multi-minutes round trip cycle to make one tiny adjustment to a macro, so you spend time to build your own syntax editing library so you can just use BBEdit and a triggered shell script to make edits and sync without opening the terrible GUI.
Once you finally have a comfortable editing environment, and keys that you can (begin to) physically fly on without looking at them, you quickly discover that the board isn't as programmable as you were led to believe; it can't even do modifier chording, so you also then quickly realize your fantasy of having a truly portable keyboard for macOS, Windows, and Linux, that will speed up your work on guest machines that you aren't allowed or can't spare the time to add Karabiner and BTT, and equivalent keystroke modifier utilities to and configure those, as well, is just that: a fantasy.
But, hey, on the bright side, Kinesis Support is super quick to answer emails, even on weekends, to offer apologies and lame workarounds for a $200 board that could so easily be great.
Assuming, of course, you are willing to further forgive the cheap, plastic, bigger than a battleship chassis, that, despite its crazy weight, won’t stay put, so now you have to apply friction pads to it, as well; and the extra bulk is just enough to put your other peripherals just that much further away from your hands, requiring even more muscle memory adjustments.
So one is left to wonder if one can get a good price for it on eBay, and whether or not the custom keys can be salvaged on another board, or if that is still more lost investment.
Hence my query above; that layout and slim chassis look like what I want, save for missing F keys. If I could find a pair of single row, eight-ten key macro strips that could be programmed as F/macOS Feature keys, I might learn live with at four-piece keyboard (plus external ten-key).
Cheers
Frederico
Oct 9, 2018
Frederico
32
Oct 9, 2018
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I *almost* loved the Matias Pro; but the nav cluster was a mess for me, and even if I could adjust to the command row oddball placement, I just could not adjust to F5 & F6, nad the 6 key "on the wrong half." I adored the Alps switches, whihc were so very similar to my old Apple keyboards from the 90s.
RE the Edge: see above; here's an image of the modified keys and my (forever work in progress) layout. Two Marble Mouse, Magic Trackpad 2, and cheapass LED tenkey with fake Browns and too much light leakage. I'm not happy with the media keys; waiting to see if I keep the board to redesign them.
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[waiting on RMA hotswapp on upper left display; Mac 110 still at the ready for its Eject key and better Numpad; still looking for a good, compact ten-key.]
Oct 9, 2018
hyperlinked
287
Oct 10, 2018
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What do you mean by the nav cluster on the Ergo Pro? The keys on the left? I just ignore those or harvest those switches if I ever need to replace a switch elsewhere on the keyboard. I've remapped my own custom key shortcuts to give me access to the most common nav actions I want. That way I don't have to rely on my keyboard to make those available to me and I can expand the range of keyboards that suit me well.
I'm not a function key user, so the weird split in the function keys doesn't bother me, but I could see how that would drive someone crazy. Have you considered using a key binder app to use a modifier key to activate a function key when one of the numbers are pressed? That might address your issues if the function keys are what's holding you up.
Have you tried an Ergodox? That is probably my favorite split keyboard form factor, but it's a little hard on the thumbs and it's a keyboard that I can only use when I know I'm not going to be using other keyboards often. Once I get used to the ortholinear layout, I find myself tapping in between keys when I have to go back to a standard layout. I developed some strategies that allow me to be less clumsy when going back and forth, but utilizing an Ergodox or any ortholinear takes commitment.
Damn, that's some crazy monitor action you have going on there! How big is each one? I gave multiple screens a try before, but I never use more than one screen effectively. The other ones usually just sit there doing nothing, but I am heavy user of screen spaces and swap back and forth between spaces constantly.
Oct 10, 2018
Ahngel
19
Oct 11, 2018
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VE.A / VE.A clone?
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Oct 11, 2018
Frederico
32
Oct 13, 2018
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The nav cluster are the arrow/home/end/up/down; I just couldn't stop hitting up/down with muscle memory trying to hit a phantom Option key, let alone the right Control. It didn't suck, but after a week of hard effort, I decided it wasn't for me. I also didn't care for the keycaps texture.
That's three 27" LG 4K on the bottom; three AOC 1440p on top. I kinda don't need them all anymore, as my work has changed; the uppers were used primarily for dashboard and video; but, hey, I still make use of all of them; super nice being able to view background information at a glance without being forced to switch windows or spaces. I still do a lot of coparative work where I need to see a lot of pages/windows/images at once, while working on an active main stage/canvas/page.
Oct 13, 2018
Frederico
32
Oct 13, 2018
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Oh, hey now, that's awfully close. in fact, I may be in love. Fully programmable? macOS?
Oct 13, 2018
Frederico
32
Oct 13, 2018
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Seriously, where can I locate a similar animal? I need LED backlit keys; preferably Cherry Brown; or Alps White; or an even better keyswitch that the illuminati of keys prefer these days. And are those eight keys on the side seen as keys on the same board? I've discovered the Kinesis Edge actually has a hub onboard that mounts the Macro keys on the left as a separate board, so you can't chord them with modifiers on the main board. Totally destroyed my plans for it. Looks like it's heading for ebay.
Oct 13, 2018
hyperlinked
287
Oct 13, 2018
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Oct 13, 2018
Frederico
32
Oct 13, 2018
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I have, and honestly, I dismissed it too quickly when I first saw it; I brought it back into consideration a few weeks ago; but I remain unsure, and without a few days to test drive, it's very intimidating. The thing is I am succumbing to neuromuscular degeneration; whereas I was not long ago a relative keyboard wizard typing 130+wpm, using proper cursor navigation and selection, etc., and rarely if ever touching a pointing device (outside of apps that demand it or are poorly programmed and there is no other choice); shortcuts and macros were and are my religion. Additionally, over my 40+ years of flying on keyboards -- excluding the mechanical typewriters (ask your great grandparents) I learned on, I've pretty much always been enamored, then reliant on F-keys (my first few years on the original Mac keyboard without was a love-hate relationship as I straddled the *nix universe). As my cognitive functions are also failing, learning a similar, but entirely new instrument is not a challenge I particularly relish; I want my remaining years to be spent producing and creating, not relearning how.
My concern with F-keys via modifiers is two-fold: one, muscle memory just wants to leap to a perfectly aligned Function row (F1 above numeric 1, etc; so even the Edge already fails by having shifted it by one spacing compared to what I was most accustomed too); and chording a modifier with even the numeric row has already become a challenge (Command-n is far easier than Control-n, but I'm even losing that.); so marrying a board that requires a modifier to gain an F-Fey makes me nervous.
The Edge excited me, because my newfound clumsiness can still quite easily drop a thumb on a modifier on either the left or right hand mods, and then my ring or pinky fingers of the same hand can surprisingly easily find targets outside the Shift columns. My plan for the Edge was to macro the shit out of the eight "H-keys", and use one of the three standard modifiers (Command, Option, Control) to effect a two-digit action, rather than increasingly difficult three- and four-digit chords. After struggling on and off for weeks trying to make these chords work, I was flabbergasted to learn they took a lazy, cheapskate approach to the PCB design, and the H-keys are just a glorified set of Mouse Buttons jammed on the same chassis. Further, the Edge is incapable or assigning more than one modifier key to a single key, so you can’t even build your own pseudo-Hyper/Super/Meta keys. Massive oversight.
It's also a nightmare to *quickly* program and test a single key, and I find that changing one key might bork the programming on the rest of the board, requiring at a minimum, numerous refresh actions, and too frequently both soft and hard resets and starting over. The frustrations of trying to discover what I need to program while I create, and not being able to do so without6 ruining my concentration for my actual project is at times infuriating.
Worst of all, Kinesis doesn’t really give a shit; they just say I’m trying to use the board beyond its intent, and I’m welcome to dump it for a loss on eBay. For a company that was once all about addressing ergonomics and disabilities, they’ve fallen into a lazy place.
I'm into the Edge now for nearly $400, including custom keys and an external Numpad (which I'm still seeking to also replace with something that doesn’t suck), and, whether it's the Edge, or another similar compact board, I'm pretty certain I am going to require a traditional Inverted-T arrow and Nav cluster (I'm talking to a guy on etsy now who's able to build one for me that I can place to my right).
Another $300-$500 thrown at a completely unknown company and as-yet untouchable piece of vaporware that's still 3-6 months out isn't terribly soothing. I’m also pretty set on having backlit keys after all these decades of not needing them; my vision has become sensitive/poor, as well, and I need to work with less ambient light, so on those occasions when I lose touch memory and need to realign my brain with the characters I am indeed appreciating the LED-backlit keys.
But I'm keeping my eye on the UHK, and thanks for keeping it in my periphery. Oh, hey, I can’t discern if I can buy it with or optionally install my own backlit switches; it doesn’t appear to be the case; so you know?
Oct 13, 2018
Ahngel
19
Oct 13, 2018
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100% programmable. So the one I have is a VE.A clone from taobao I believe you can have them preassembled for somewhere around140? I think , the real VE.A your looking at $600+ ,. it allows per switch led and underglow rgb and yes they are part of the pcb
Oct 13, 2018
hyperlinked
287
Oct 13, 2018
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I'm so sorry to hear about your troubles. Believe it or not, I can relate. I've been a speed demon on a keyboard for the better part of 30+ years, but hand pain has slowed me down a lot lately and I first learned to type very fast on manual typewriters. Fortunately for me, hand pain can be managed (unlike neuromuscular degeneration) and I've been able to manage it quite well, often by using my ability to quickly develop my motor memory to explore different layouts and learn different macro sets to find the one that works best for me.
Unlike you, my right hand is on my mouse much of the time and I rarely bother to learn any more keyboard shortcuts than I need to know because I have to use so many programs that I've given up on doing that except for a few things that are simply too cumbersome to do with a mouse. Instead, I've learned to use very macro heavy pointer devices. I do a lot of things with mouse macros that people do with keyboard macros like selecting the next/previous word, deleting the whole line, skipping to the next match, jumping to the end of the document, and so forth.
The lowest button count on my pointer devices is five buttons, but I need at least 7 to be comfortable. My favorite is my Roccat Tyon with 14 buttons that expands up to 25 if you use the layer button to access secondary functions.
Regarding your issues with getting keyboards like the Edge to give you the macros that you need... are you a Mac user? If you are, have you tried Keyboard Maestro? I use that program to do a lot of custom macros. Most of my macros are done in that software so I have them no matter which keyboard I'm using at the time. I'll usually continue to keep a handful of macros programmed directly into the keyboard because I just find there are few that seem to work more smoothly that way, but most of the time, they work just fine being emulated in a software layer.
Oct 13, 2018
Frederico
32
Oct 14, 2018
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Yes, I have been a Keyboard Maestro user since before OS X existed (I can’t recall exactly what version it was, but were you around when it moved from Carbon to Cocoa and our macros wouldn’t import/upgrade, and we had to recreate everything from scratch? I was furious; but so reliant I couldn’t abandon it; and in those days it was portable without admin privileges); more recently I also use Karabiner and Better Touch Tool to further undo what Apple hath wrought with El Capitan and newer. And of course I have always used AppleScript and shell script combined with other keystroke listening tools like FastScripts to assign keystrokes to very complex actions or simple needs or menubar items (before the System Prefs allowed you to reassign standard menu items and Services). The problem is I also have to use other Macs, as well as PCs and Linux machines, as guest and frequently without admin privileges; so I am trying to find an ergonomically comfortable and fully portable keyboard, that I do not have to depend on download or sideload of my most important macros and applications and related profiles, daemons, texts, etc. That’s really awesome that you can do so much with your mice; I tried that route for a long time but my very wide frame and shoulders (and three terrible auto/motorcycle accidents) has always been a problem with using non-stationary pointing devices or tools, macro pads, etc, too far to the right or to the left of the keyboard. I used to love the multibutton Kensington Pro trackballs; but they don’t work well under OS X anymore, so in addition to the *awesome* Magic Trackpad 2, I am using the Logitech Marble trackballs on both sides of the board; they have four buttons each, which I do program for specific use in specific programs (as I do with my keyboard, of course); like you, I have gone to using buttons (and my beloved F-keys) for ‘select word/line/paragraph’, etc, rather than struggling with my failing, unpredictable pinky (Parkinson’s tremors and dyskinesia) on the Control keys and chording. My overall project is to move the entirety of my keystrokes and shortcuts and macros into a single program (KM) at a minimum, but I would prefer to get as much as possible on a single keyboard, even if it means sideloading or downloading the libraries and scripts to which they refer, so I am as portable as possible. One still functional workaround is that I carry an entirely complete user account (with key apps and utilities, macros and environment prefs; but without my data) with a pre-specified, atypical user ID number, that if the host owner is willing, we can quickly add as a user account for that machine and assign the unique UID and user folder path/UUID to my portable drive, and then I get all of my customizations within just a couple-few minutes; and after I’m up and running, the host can then remove admin privileges if desired, and I can work normally. Later they can just delete my account entry after I remove my portable drive, or leave it for future use without having added anything of mine to their drive. It’s always best not to calculate how much time you spend saving time, but when it comes to realistic pain and disability management, no investment is too great. Cheers Frederico
Oct 14, 2018
Ahngel
19
Oct 15, 2018
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I got mine local from keyboard Meetup but I believe he got it from here https://world.taobao.com/item/556970472669.htm?fromSite=main&spm=a1z10.3-c.w4002-6810242093.56.3ff19e11k1gX8e
And if you don't want it assembled you can request the kit only
Oct 15, 2018
Poblopuablo
277
Nov 16, 2018
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V.ea clone :)
Nov 16, 2018
rflxvcrsr
4
Dec 11, 2018
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That's a total nightmare. Ok, you've convinced me not to ever go down that road.
Dec 11, 2018
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