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As programmers, investing in a great keyboard is the best thing we can do for better productivity and also health reasons with some layouts preventing RSI.

There has been an explosion of custom designed keyboards recently such as Dactyl, Preonic, Keyboardio Model0 and many more. Most powered by QMK firmware allowing you to do insane customizations.

I am curious what keyboards do you all use? Have you built/designed it yourself? What do you use to program the keyboard and what customizations have you made?

p.s. I use an Apple magic keyboard that I modify with Karabiner. I am also writing a DSL that lets me easily modify my keyboard configuration. Only thing I would love to change in my magic keyboard is to split space key into two keys and generally have a Preonic layout of keys but with non mechanical switches as I get tired typing on them and like low key travel.

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    Kinesis Advantage. I’ve been using them for almost twenty years, and other than some basic remapping, I don’t customize.

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      Ditto, I’m at a solid decade. I cannot recommend them enough.

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        Also Kinesis Advantage for over a decade. On the hardware side I’ve only mapped ESC to where Caps Lock would be. On the OS side I’ve got a customized version of US Dvorak with scandinavian alphabet.

        I’d like to try a maltron 3d keyboard with integrated trackball mouse. It’s got better function keys too, and a numpad in the middle where there’s nothing except leds on the kinesis.

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          Me too. I remap a few keys like the largely useless caps-lock and otherwise I don’t program it at all. It made my wrist pain disappear within a couple weeks of usage though.

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            My only “problem” with the Kinesis, and it’s not even my problem, was that the office complained about the volume of the kicks while I was on a call taking notes.

            So I switch between the Kinesis and a Apple or Logitech BT keyboard for those occasions.

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              You can turn the clicks off! I think the combo is Prgm-\

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                Yeah, its not that click, it’ the other one from the switches :-)

                I can be a heavy typer and for whatever reason, these keys stand out more than I expected to others behind the microphone.

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              I prefer the kinesis freestyle2. I like the ability to move the two halves farther apart (broad shoulders) and the tilt has done wonders for my RSI issues.

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                similar, largely I like that I can put the magic trackpad in between the two halves and have something that feels comparable to using the laptop keyboard. I got rid of my mouse years ago but I’m fairly biased on a trackpad’s potential.

                I’ve sometimes thought about buying a microsoft folding keyboard and cutting/rewiring it to serve as a portable setup. Have also thought of making a modified version of the nyquist keyboard to be a bit less ‘minimal’ - https://twitter.com/vivekgani/status/939823701804982273

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              Interesting to see so many people with unusual keyboards. I’ll be the dissenting voice: I use the keyboard on my 2013 MacBook Pro and I’m happy with it. Before that, I used a cheap Logitech keyboard with my Linux machine, and was happy with it too. As long as I don’t type in weird positions (like sitting on a couch with a laptop) and keep my wrists more or less straight, I don’t have issues with RSI or anything.

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                I, too, use my MacBook keyboard, and it’s been my primary way of interacting with computers for about 7 years now (prior to that, I had a desktop with a Microsoft Natural). The main thing I’ve gotten used to that I’ve found I now have trouble adjusting away from is the way the MacBook combines the keyboard with a trackpad just below it. It feels much easier on my right arm/wrist/elbow to move between kb and trackpad in this setup, versus in my previous desktop setup, where the mouse was on my desk off to the right side of the keyboard, and I had to move my arm back and forth between the two.

                I’m sometimes tempted to go full-on keyboard-only, but as long as I’m using a mouse regularly, the trackpad-below-kb combo feels more comfortable to me than having separate devices. Wanting to stick with that is also the reason I don’t use a docking station for my laptop even when in the office.

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                  I agree, the trackpad is so convenient that I haven’t bothered learning a lot of keyboard substitutes when I moved to a Mac. That’s why, despite my seeming indifference to input devices, I’m reluctant to move to the new MBP - the current combination works really well, and I’m not sure that’s carried over to the new model.

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                    I haven’t found any touchpad issues moving from the 2013 Macbook Air to the 2016 Macbook Pro. I don’t think there’s any particular advantage to the bigger touchpad, but it hasn’t got in my way at all. I don’t think I’ve ever had a problem of accidentally triggering mouse input with my palm, or anything like that.

                    The one thing that would concern me with the new laptops is the stuck/broken keys issue, which seems widespread (I’ve had keys that have got stuck, and unstuck themselves) but now that the replacement program is in place I’m be much less concerned about it.

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                      That’s good to know. I’m also concerned about the new keyboards - even on the 2013 MBP I’m on my second keyboard. I don’t think the replacement program covers the 2018 MBP, does it?

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                        I assume the 2018 MBP isn’t covered by the replacement program, since the machine’s only just been launched. It would be a little weird to launch a new product and a replacement program for an anticipated failure at the same time :)

                        Anyway, I’m not a close follower of Apple, but I think they tend to take their time before instituting replacement programs. People were complaining about the keyboards jamming up on the MBP for quite a while before Apple acknowledged it as a real issue.

                        And, though Apple’s denying it, it seems really unlikely to me that the changes to the 2018 design weren’t at least partly in response to the issues that have come up.

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                Prelude: I worked myself into a state where I needed a two-hour break after about twenty minutes of keyboarding. Two keyboards with different layouts on different desks, changing between them every few minutes, a terrible project, and some ungood stress out of the office. But as luck would have it, that office was in a… well, not in a hospital, but on campus, so got to see a real specialist quickly. A friend in his department just brought me along. He spoke cluefully and I’ve followed his advice in the decades since. In brief: “Pay attention to your body. Learn what hurts and stop doing that. Don’t let anyone at you with a knife.” It’s served me well. I admit to a certain arrogance about it.

                A colleague and I bought and tested about 10-15 keyboards, including some very expensive specials, and the ones we ended up using weren’t the most expensive one, which probably would get you into trouble with the bookkeepers if you were to try it. Arrogance helps.

                I currently use an 88-key unlabelled WASD with dampening o-rings. Because it keeps me from moving my hands much while I type, and keeps me from looking at the keyboard, and I like the feeling of the keys. You should ignore the first sentence in this paragraph and focus on the second, because the brand name isn’t important, how your body reacts is vastly important. Does it feel okay? Then okay. Not? Then change.

                The same applies to your chair and desk, because your body is one. The shoulders are tightly connected to your hands. (The chair comes first, btw. You get a chair for sitting on, then a desk that suits your body on that chair. http://rant.gulbrandsen.priv.no/arnt/ideal-office has more speechifying about chairs and stuff. I speechify too much.)

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                  This reminds me that when I was younger, I spent a lot of time behind my computer sitting on a plain old stool and I remember it was much more comfortable than the more traditional big and heavy armchair I currently use at my daily job. I think not having a backrest forces me to keep my back in a straight and comfortable position.

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                    I use synergy to share a single keyboard and mouse across computer systems. It works fine, and it can deal with Macs, Linux and Windows. You can even cut-n-paste across the systems as well (text only though).

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                      Have they fixed the bugs I ran across when I tried that?

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                        I haven’t encountered those issues, but the Mac is the server, and the Linux system is the client. I don’t know if that makes any difference.

                        Also, I think I started using it post 2011, so maybe those bugs don’t exist in the version I’m using.

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                      A stressful job plays a larger role than you might think. I speak from experience. About 10 years ago, I had really bad pain typing - for months. I quit my job, moved somewhere else, got a new job and the pain went away. It still flares up from time to time if I overdo it, but goes away quickly.

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                      technomancy’s atreus, handwired. Will build another one and a split atreus too.

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                        I’m working on a weird prototype to turn my Atreus into a pi-powered laptop with a shoulder strap: https://www.flickr.com/photos/technomancy/tags/atreusdeck

                        Turns out powering a Pi with a battery is harder than you’d think.

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                          What’s the battery life on this? I am only half joking…

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                            About 15 minutes with the battery I’m currently using and a Pi 2. (The Pi 3 draws like twice as much current.)

                            Needs a lot of work.

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                              Ugh, that’s more of a UPS in search for the next power outlet :)

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                                I ended up ditching the Pi because the battery and screen stuff was just too fiddly for a mobile device. My most recent prototype uses an Android device instead. The battery setup is much simpler, and the screen is much higher resolution. I’ve been using it with Termux as an SSH client, and it works pretty well for that; much better than I was expecting.

                                https://www.flickr.com/photos/technomancy/43534951372/

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                                  Neat! And the intended position is hanging from your shoulders and you type while standing?

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                                    You can type while standing, but it’s more that you can easily move around from one sitting position to another and easily take it with you.

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                          Been wanting to build a customized atreus for some time, it seems like a great build

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                            Yes, it is. There are also 65key variants or a split model for a 3d printer.

                            If you want it the easier way get a kit and PCB from technomancy!

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                          Model M reporting in.

                          I’d like to find something new, but – and for reasons I haven’t investigated or discovered – even newer versions of the keyboard, where they claim to use the same switches, don’t feel the same. I wonder if it’s like leather shoes and I’ve simply developed a preference for the worn-in feeling.

                          The rest of the time, I use whatever keyboard is on my laptop (I have a MacBook Air 11” that is great for programming but aging, and a MacBook 12” with the shitty disgusting butterfly keyboard)

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                            Another Model M user here—I use Model Ms on everything, including the Mac laptop at work (which rarely moves off the desk). It’s kind of funny to see the cable with two adapters, one to convert from DIN to PS/2, and then from PS/2 to USB.

                            I also have a stash of Model Ms at home that I’ve collected over the years, but frankly, the ones I use have yet to wear our, so I’m probably set for life.

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                              Why switch? :) You have the mother of all mechanical keyboards! :)

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                              My daily driver is a Keyboardio Model01, and am using an ErgoDox EZ with Gateron Browns at work (an old one, not the Shine). Both of them run Kaleidoscope, the firmware originally designed for the Model01. I uhh… customised the firmware a tiny bit. Just small things. It’s not like I’m using over a dozen plugins on my Model01, nah, why would I? :p

                              Anyhow, my Model01 and ErgoDox sketches are all open source, and the former has a bit of documentation about how it looks and works.

                              I also own a Shortcut prototype, and am looking forward to laying my hands on a Raise at some point. I’ll also build a trackball for myself somewhere down the road, but… that will be a while.

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                                Really love your setup. I am curious, for making modifications to the keyboard to write everything in C or you use some kind of wrapper language to make things easier for you to edit?

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                                  I write everything in C/C++, mostly because that’s the most efficient way for me. I know the languages well enough to be comfortable with them, to not need any abstraction over it. Besides, a lot of my customisations are just configuring plugins, not much to make nicer there.

                                  The problem with trying to come up with a wrapper language is that it needs to generate pretty efficient code. There are a lot of shortcuts made all through the firmware to make it all fit into 28k, with all the bells and whistles. With this restriction, it’s not easy to build a DSL on top of it.

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                                Since the last thread I sold my Ergodox. It was just too large for me, and when I mouse I often use my left hand to type on the right side of the keyboard.

                                I replaced it with an OLKB Planck also with mx browns. It’s a small columnar keyboard running the versatile and well-documented qmk firmware. I still use the Norman Layout mapped like this. I’ve set the modifiers (shift/ctrl/alt/super/raise/lower - last are the color-coded up/down arrows) to be one-shot keys because I found my most common typo was holding them a just a hair too long (though that had a bug along the way).

                                I think a Let’s Split with qmk would be an improvement over the Planck. Unless I’m careful about posture, I find my wrists unhappy about being turned out after an hour or two. Fingers crossed there’s a group buy for a kit soon (from someone other than Massdrop; they badly mishandled the Planck run).

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                                  Let’s Split’s are actually stocked now by online stores since they’re so inexpensive to produce. Last I checked I saw a different store months ago but just with a cursory search I see this one’s stocking them currently. From personal experience the more expensive part of building a let’s split would likely be the plate if you care to have a metal one. I haven’t found anyone stocking plates for this configuration (even though it’s relatively simple and now kind of common) and group buys that include a laser cutting service are rare. I paid $80 (!!!!) through like lasergist or something for the stainless steel plates on a full let’s split, and deciding whether or not to press buy was like a kick in the gut…

                                  EDIT: like I said if you don’t care about a metal plate specifically, you should be able to procure an acrylic plate sandwich set fairly easy and inexpensively. The website I linked actually sells them.

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                                  totally happy with a Microsoft ergonomic keyboard.

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                                    Same here.

                                    I’d love to have a fancy mechanical keyboard with lots of option keys etc. but I don’t have endless spare time to research let alone configure something like that.

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                                      Same on both counts

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                                      The MS Natural 4000 is perfect for me: I went from pain after an hour to no pain no matter how much I type. It’s only $30! Great stuff.

                                      I’ve got an ergodox, but getting used to the thumb keys at work but not having it on my laptop at home was just too much to get used to.

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                                      At work a HHKB Professional 2, I’m in love with this keyboard. At home Im trying to learn to use the ergodox ez with a dvorak layout (I’ve built a custom firmware that ties very well with my environment of i3, vim, tmux, etc), I also have a filco majestouch 2 and a Model M

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                                        I also use and love an HHKB Pro 2 at work. I’ve replaced the controller board with one of Haasu’s units in order to be able to program it myself with QMK - I used this primarily to get play/pause/skip buttons in addition to the volume buttons in the default keyboard map, but also have tap-and-release on the shift keys type parentheses.

                                        I’d like to add that I type using the Colemak keyboard layout - I switched in college when I was starting to experience RSI, and the option of fixing it for “free” by switching layout was really attractive. I’m glad I use it, and still do, but I’m not sure I would learn it again if I had to do it over. Proper ergonomics makes a bigger difference, and it takes me a second any time I sit down at someone else’s PC to recalibrate myself. Trying to use it on Windows is also a pain, though Dvorak is better in this regard.

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                                        I recently built a split ortholinear keyboard out of iris PCBs than runs QMK firmware. Here is a picture of it and here is my customized layout.

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                                          Very pretty.

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                                            Thank you!

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                                          I have a bunch of Cherry MX Brown tenkeyless keyboards, mostly using and fond of Filco Majestouch 2 Ninja TKL.

                                          In X.org configuration I have this, no need for programming:

                                          rules:      evdev
                                          model:      pc105
                                          layout:     cz,us,pl,ru
                                          variant:    dvorak-ucw,,dvorak,ruu
                                          options:    ctrl:swapcaps,grp:sclk_toggle,grp_led:scroll,compose:menu,terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp
                                          

                                          I’d just like someone to resurrect old scissor-switch low-profile keyboards with the good old keycaps and make it into an external tenkeyless keyboard. In theory I could find a preserved laptop keyboard on the internet, figure out the wiring and properties and build my own electronics and case for it but that’s not a weekend job by far, not for me at least.

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                                            Matias Ergo Pro. Helps me to keep a better position and prevents pain.

                                            A small customization - CapsLock acts as ESC.

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                                              I use my laptop keyboard (13” macbook). I’m probably not as intensive a hacker as the rest of you because that’s what I’ve used for over a decade now (just have changed macs). I tried out “DasKeyboard” and found it annoyingly loud. Plus, the temptation to use it to whack someone over a “tabs/spaces” debate would be dangerously high. (edit I see @alexkorban and I make a team :) )

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                                                You must have WRISTS OF STEEL.

                                                Those Apple laptop keyboards, at least the newer ones, are the squishiest awfullest (IMO :) key feel EVER in the history of keyboards.

                                                Only keyboard that eclipses them is the membrane keyboard of the Atari 400 (Which I blame for giving me the propensity to POUND THE FRACK out of the keys :)

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                                                The bulk of my typing is on a Nyquist keyboard; it’s essentially a split Preonic. I’ve made two of them with green switches (clicky clicky clack), and find it a joy to tap on. It took me a while to get used to the ortholinear layout. When I am not typing on that, I’m probably using the keyboard on my home laptop (whichever old Thinkpad is nearby).

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                                                  I’ve been using a WASD CODE Tenkeyless with Cherry MX Browns for the past 4-5 years. About a year ago, I got a Pok3r RGB with Browns as well. More recently, I bought a ErgoDox EZ (shine) with MX Cherry Reds that I’m trying to train myself on (I bounce back and forth between the CODE and the Ergo when I need to be a more efficient typist while I’m not effective on the Ergo yet. The goal is to use the Ergo as my daily driver in the next month or so.

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                                                    While remaining a big fan of the original Model M, I stick with my trusty Unicomp UNIX keyboards, specifically, the Unicomp Inc R6_x Bright_Linux keyboards, having tried all the more expensive high end trendy ones.

                                                    (Apologies for the dirty keyboard picture.)

                                                    I am very interested in trying an Esrille NISSE, however.

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                                                      Another Keyboardio Model 01 user. It’s the only keyboard of its kind (split, ortholinear) that I’ve tried, where I can comfortably reach the most important keys. I have gone through periods of being unable to type at all, and have almost no pain now. I’ve had an Ergodox, a Kinesis Advantage, and a Kinesis Freestyle.

                                                      I have made some customisations, by modifying the stock firmware, to make it easier for me to use my main 3 natural languages, without having to switch the input language in my OS.

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                                                        Aside from thinkpad and xps laptop keyboards, I’ve used:

                                                        • A Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000, which I really liked, but the build quality was bad and the membranes became very ‘soggy’ feeling after 2 years. Discarded.

                                                        • An ErgoDox EZ (bought from the creators via Indiegogo), which I could not get accustomed to, and buying 2 to have at home and at work was prohibitive. Too much twiddling involved, did not like having to memorize layers. Sold. The build quality was excellent though, the most solid keyboard I’ve ever touched.

                                                        • 2 Noppoo Choc Minis, one with brown and the other with blue Gaterons. I love the short space-bar, the layout is very close to what my laptops use, so there’s no hassle involved in switching. Build quality is mediocre. No programming aside from ctrl:nocaps in xorg.conf and switching around insert/delete to match the xps keyboard.

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                                                          ergodox (that my brother built for me) at the office. cheap mechanical with cherry knock-offs at home and the macbook (13” early 2015) when i’m out and about (which is usually 50%+ of the week)

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                                                            I use an Ebuyer Extra Value keyboard that cost me the princely sum of 1.89. It’s more comfortable than any other keyboard I’ve tried.

                                                            No programming but I do use Dvorak layout (just set in software - I used to physically move keycaps around but it turns out a lot of people who think they can touch-type a Qwerty layout can’t actually touch-type a Qwerty layout).

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                                                              I switched to the Colemak keyboard layout ~2010 and have been using it since. On GNU/Linux with setxkbmap us -variant colemak and on windows with PKL.

                                                              At home, I use a TVS Gold keyboard - I like its tactile response but the keys are a little to sharp around the edges - ~10 years old now. At work, I use a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 - ~ 6 years old now.

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                                                                How long did it take to learn Colemak for you, so that it became “normal” for you?

                                                                Did it make you type more accurate, as in making less typos?

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                                                                  Edit: Found an old comment of mine that may more accurately represent my initial reaction (after 2 years) https://forum.colemak.com/post/12525/#p12525

                                                                  I used to type around 60wpm in QWERTY - used only 3 fingers on each hand. My unconventional typing style lead to intense, persistent pain between my left ring and middle finger knuckles while writing up my undergrad project reports. I initally blamed it on Emacs and switched to using a folded-in thumb for pressing control instead of my little finger(something I follow till date). However, I realized the pain was due to my unusual finger positions while using E and R. I switched to Colemak in the first few months of my masters where I had a few light weeks when I could switch cold turkey. It took me around 2 weeks to get to ~20wpm and after a month or 2 I hit 60-70wpm. I can currently type at around 80wpm steady and haven’t bothered trying to type any faster. [edit] I try to prioritize accuracy over speed - I did get a little more precise with pressing the keys after switching - but that can be primarily attributed to learning touch-typing and positioning my fingers on the home-row [/edit]

                                                                  I don’t use any customizations other than changing the keyboard layout. Some people claim that replacing hjkl by enio in vim helps their case, but I keep things as vanilla as possible. I love the extra backspace instead of caps-lock.

                                                                  side note: Not having touch-typed with all fingers before was an advantage. Putting my fingers on the home row automagically switches my mental mapping to colemak while positioning my index fingers over “k” and “d” in qwerty keyboards makes my hand start typing in qwerty instead. This helps when I am on some other person’s computer.

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                                                                ergodox-ez / blank keycaps / current dvorak configuration

                                                                1. 2

                                                                  Another ergodox with dvorak here. The ability to type without having to squeeze your wrists together greatly increases comfort imho. I like the straight (vertically-staggered) columns from a comfort perspective as well.

                                                                  1. 2

                                                                    On the ergodox ez and very happy with it. I built one back before the ez with clear switches but I actually prefer the brown switches in my ex.

                                                                  2. 4

                                                                    Leopold FC something – tenkeyless, ANSI layout, Cherry MX Brown switches, blank keycaps.

                                                                    As for customizations (in software): Colemak + shifts as parens + CapsLock as Control/Escape.

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                                                                      Ditto! I never got into alternate layouts because it seemed like it’d take years of practice to become as fast as you were with QWERTY/AZERTY.

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                                                                        I wasn’t very fast with QWERTY, I only learned to properly type with Colemak :)

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                                                                      TypeMatrix 2020 (dvorak). An excellent key arrangement.

                                                                      http://www.typematrix.com/2020_2030_compare/

                                                                      http://www.typematrix.com/2030/why.php

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                                                                        Steelseries 6GV2 at work.

                                                                        Some older Keytronics (the one with the grayish spacebar with the lightning bolt on it) at home.

                                                                        The only customization I do is to convert Caps Lock to Control.

                                                                        1. 4

                                                                          I use a blank version of the Truly Ergonomic Split Keyboard with a RollerMouse Red and I find it very ergonomic. Everything is accessible within limited hand motion, the palm rests of the RollerMouse make it very comfortable. The only complaint I have about the TEK is that the keycaps are not very durable (at least with the version I have), but I managed to find replacements for most of them through Signature Plastics. Here’s what the setup looks like.

                                                                          1. 4

                                                                            At home: Filco Majestouch 2 with MX Blues

                                                                            At work: Filco Majestouch Ninja with MX Browns (and O-Ring dampers), because I prefer my colleagues not to hate me.

                                                                            I haven’t bought anything shiny in a little while though, so I’m eyeing up something a bit different like a Pok3r or and Ergodox-alike.

                                                                            1. 2

                                                                              I have a FIlco Majestouch 2 (also with MX Blues) and after a few years of daily use it began suffering extreme keybounce. It’s unusable now due to chatter/key bounce that affects nearly all the common keys. I’ve given up on it but might disassemble it and see if a deep cleaning with distilled water helps.

                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                Mine is coming up on 4 years old I think, and I’ve ad no issues at all. That said, it sounds like a fault and I’d try contacting the reseller or manufacturer to see if they have any suggestions. Mechanical Keyboards should last pretty much until the switch mechanisms give out, if not longer.

                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                  This was ordered (had to dig out the email archive) in mid-2010 and was used daily until late-2013 or 2014, based on other purchase dates. Meh. I’ll contact the original seller, elitekeyboards.com, but frankly I don’t have expectations because it’s nearly eight years old and they don’t carry that line any more.

                                                                              2. 1

                                                                                I too have two Filco Majestouch - one at work and one at home, both Ninjas, with different switches! At home, the keyboard’s plugged into a Mac and has a problem with dropping keystrokes / being slow as I type in a browser (and sometimes elsewhere). I can’t find a fix so I’m likely to plug an Apple keyboard in instead :(

                                                                                The only remappings I do are:

                                                                                • CAPS LOCK -> CTRL
                                                                                • ALT -> CMD
                                                                                • WIN -> ALT

                                                                                The post mentions ‘programming’ - I’m assuming this is referring to remapping. I did look for keyboards where I could record macros, but those that exist are very expensive.

                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                  Keystroke problem fixed - using a rear USB port instead of front panel!

                                                                              3. 4

                                                                                I use the cheapest mechanical keyboard I could find with Cherry MX Blue switches and O-rings. It’s a Monoprice-branded thing that cost me $50 in 2014. They don’t seem to carry it anymore, but I suspect any of the sub-$50 mechanical keyboards you can find on Amazon are basically the same. Prior to this, I used a Model M, but I spilled tea on it and it died.

                                                                                I use mechanical keyboards because membrane keyboards cause me wrist pain and I can’t type accurately on chiclet keyboards (probably due to the keys themselves having no contours). I have never used (nor wanted) any macro features on a keyboard. The most important thing is that you find one that fits your preferences and comfort; features don’t matter at all if the keyboard causes you pain.

                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                  At work I am using a Siemens-Nixdorf keyboard for many years now.

                                                                                  To give your fingers some relief/training I can recommend a rubber ring.

                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                    That keyboard looks beautiful! Does it have mechanical keys?

                                                                                  2. 3

                                                                                    Topre Realforce 87U. I have feeling of oneness with cup rubber. :)

                                                                                    Before that, a Ducky One with MX Blacks. I never got good at not bottoming out on the keys, but after playing with @swifthand ’s board with MX reds, I found I really enjoyed them.

                                                                                    Before that, a Logitech Illuminated K740 with scissor switches.

                                                                                    Life is too short for shitty keyboards.

                                                                                    EDIT: I really, really just want a keyboard that I can put like 150g or heavier springs into. I don’t mind a workout while typing. :P

                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                      For home I love my Razer Black Widow mechanical keyboard. This surprises a lot of people since I actually like it MUCH better than even the DAS keyboard. This is one of those twitchy things - I just like the feel better.

                                                                                      For work, so as not to annoy my cubemates into complaining bitterly (it’s happened :) i use a WASD CODE keyboard. It’s got the tactile feedback I NEED from a keyboard, but is quiet enough to not bother coworkers.

                                                                                      I don’t program either, although at work I have some F-keys assigned to the volume controls with Karabiner. Given that Karabiner is basically non functional in newer MacOS versions I’m not sure what I’m gonna do when I get a new work laptop :)

                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                        I recently built a planck (MIT layout, kit finally shipped via Massdrop from January). I’ve been trying various QMK customization but I’m a little unhappy with some of the default behaviors I have to override in QMK, so I’ll probably need to spend time over a coming weekend to dig deeper. Overall, I really like the ortholinear setup but I do find my muscle memory is still needing some training with it.

                                                                                        Outside of that keyboard, I use a trio of vortex boards: vibe, core, and racer3. I really like the simplicity of on-hardware reprogramming despite the limitations and the build quality is great. I have Cherry MX Brown switches on all of these (I’m sure I could get something closer to ideal but these switches have been great for me).

                                                                                        Of course, I also recently replaced my laptop with a Thinkpad T480 and I’m very happy with that keyboard when I’m in a quiet space or don’t have a table to put a keyboard and mouse on in front of me.

                                                                                        Re: QMK, I’m almost tempted to just write my own firmware from scratch, both as a learning experience but also to get around some of the annoyances I have with how QMK deals with layering (at least for the planck keyboard).

                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                          I currently use a Poker 3 with MX Clears, which is an absolute beast and I love it. I do not use that much the programming functions of the keyboard but they are handy from time to time. There is no obvious way (apart from always using one of the custom layers) to do the only change I really like: put a ctrl in the caps lock key

                                                                                          I have considered building one a couple times, but I currently lack the skills, the time and for what I have seen in my short research, the money to burn. But if I end up building one I would probably go for an Ergodox layout.

                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                            I started into mechanical keyboards with the Cherry G80-3000 which is non-programmable and then switched to the Pok3r which allows remapping keys. What I did then is to have a layer for PC and a layer for Mac and switch the arrow bindings to regular hjkl vi keys.

                                                                                            I used to have an Ergo Dox EZ which I programmed with my custom layout but I ended up rarely using it. I really like to have my keyboard at my lap which does not work that well with a split layout, so I passed the Ergo Dox to a coworker who also does not use it.

                                                                                            On Mac I have Karabiner Elements to remap the right alt to F13 so I can use it as compose key as I have on my Linux machines. This is easily the weakest part of the setup since Karabiner tends to repeat keypresses on high load (compiling) or sometimes when waking from standby, therefore making it completely impossible to unlock the Mac.

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                                                                                              I use the Corsair K70 with Rapidfire switches.

                                                                                              I’ve been considering buying some crystal switches too.

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                                                                                                I myself use a standard 104(?)-key Type Heaven w/ Topre switches.
                                                                                                Only customization I do is Dvorak layout and CapsLock=Control.

                                                                                                I have never heard of QMK. Seems powerful. Some of these features (Space Cadet, Steno/Plover, Macros) seem really cool to me. I might look into this later..

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                                                                                                  I’m quite happy with my Obins Anne Pro (60%). I have been unable to program it with the official iOS software that simply hangs every time I try to use it. Fortunately, there’re some projects trying to replace both the firmware and the software (I still have to find the time to try them).

                                                                                                  https://github.com/ah-/anne-key

                                                                                                  https://github.com/fcoury/electron-anne-pro

                                                                                                  https://github.com/msvisser/AnnePro-mac

                                                                                                  https://github.com/kprinssu/anne-keyboard-windows

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                                                                                                    I currently am using the nightfox and yes I do program it cause there’s some buttons that I want on the second layer.

                                                                                                    I love it.

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                                                                                                      I want a Nightfox badly but I’ve seen nothing but bad reviews (example video review) of the Hako switches, in particular the Trues that are the only remaining available choice.

                                                                                                      You said you love it, so I wonder what switches you have and what your preferences are? Have you tried Zealios?

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                                                                                                        I do have the Hako switches and would have prefered MX browns or Gateron browns but I do like these ones. Honestly they were pretty heavy when I first got them but they are actually really nice now, I would compare them to MX blacks.

                                                                                                    2. 3

                                                                                                      Currently:

                                                                                                      • Home office: KUL ES-87, tenkeyless, with Cherry Green MX
                                                                                                      • Work: Unicomp Ultraclassic, the continuation of the IBM Model-M buckling spring

                                                                                                      I use the laptop keyboard unless I know I’ll be stationary, then I drag around a KBC Poker-X with Cherry Blues.

                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                        KUL ES-87

                                                                                                        I have a pair of ES-87 keyboards as well – one at work and one at home – but with Cherry MX Brown switches. I like the feel, and they’re just quiet enough that I don’t get evicted from the office or my family!

                                                                                                        I use xmodmap instead of the DIP switches on the keyboard to replace Caps Lock with Control.

                                                                                                      2. 3

                                                                                                        Having tried various mechanical and / or split keyboards with different kinds of switches over the years[1] I keep coming back to to the Apple A1243 keyboard. It’s cheap (not really a requirements for me, but makes it easy to replace) and I like its feel the best. (And I’m far from an Apple advocate!)

                                                                                                        Currently I’m actually using a Topre Realforce since those were still on my list to try out, but I don’t like the experience much better than the aforementioned A1243 keyboard. So, given the price, I would chose the latter.

                                                                                                        [1] Including the TypeMatrix mentioned on this page.

                                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                                          An IBM/Lenovo SK-8835 Thinkpad desktop keyboard. I’ve also used the similar (newer, no numpad) SK-8855, and the SK-8845 is the same but has no numpad.

                                                                                                          I use it because I’ve used Thinkpads since high school; I am highly acclimated to the touch and layout of the keyboard, and I use the trackpoint regularly (even though, at my desk, I have a separate mouse—a Logitech Trackman Wheel, model T-BB18—which I use primarily).

                                                                                                          It has zero programmable features and is in all ways other than physical layout unremarkable. It supports an adequate range of hotkeys I’ve configured with xbindkeys. I find the comfort of using the keyboard far more important than the number of bells and whistles it comes with.

                                                                                                          (As an aside, I’ve never liked the feel of any mechanical keyswitch I’ve tried. My preferred force profile is high initial resistance followed by collapse with a soft landing—in other words, exactly what good rubber-dome switches provide—which I have never seen in a mechanical switch. Buckling-spring switches have the right force profile but are in all other ways far too harsh. Topre switches are better, but I still significantly prefer my high-quality laptop keyboard rubber-dome scissor switches.)

                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                            I use the SK-8845. It’s a pretty good keyboard, but I still miss the one in my old ThinkPad T500. The SK-8845 has some flaws:

                                                                                                            • It’s missing a windows key.
                                                                                                            • The touchpad is glitchy. I haven’t quite figured out how it’s glitchy, but it does things I don’t expect sometimes.
                                                                                                            • The “back” and “forward” buttons are hardcoded in the firmware to send alt-left/alt-right.

                                                                                                            I’ve been considering converting a ThinkPad T500 keyboard/touchpad to USB for a while, but never quite had the motivation to do it.

                                                                                                          2. 3

                                                                                                            Realforce 104U. The variable-weighting has ruined me – trying to use a normal keyboard now means either the main keys are too light or the pinky keys are too heavy.

                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                              Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard

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                                                                                                                Same. The Fn key switch is a bit annoying but most of the Fn functions I use are accessible through alternative combos.

                                                                                                                When it comes to my overall health and comfort, however, changing to an ergonomic keyboard helped a little but correcting my desk and posture helped a lot.

                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                  I prefer the Fn key switch to a Fn button that requires a combo key press

                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                    Unfortunately, it seems that many of the things I prefer in the short term (such as combo key presses) wind up hurting my hands in the long term. :-/

                                                                                                              2. 2

                                                                                                                I use a Lexmark Model M with AHK set up to map right control to the Windows key. I love the switches, but honestly the reason why I use it instead of something else is because I got it for free from my school. I don’t really have the money for a custom or customizable keyboard, so I stick with what I have.

                                                                                                                1. 2
                                                                                                                  1. I use ErgoDox EZ. Here is my setup and recent interview at ErgoDox EZ

                                                                                                                  2. I lost all my soldering skills and tools long time ago. :)

                                                                                                                  3. Here is my layout in qmk_firmware repo.

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                                                                                                                    My preference is Topre switches. Cherry MX never felt quite right to me. MX browns are supposed to be quiet, but I think they sound rattly.

                                                                                                                    I also prefer tenkeyless boards. My hand doesn’t have to travel over an unused numpad to get to the mouse.

                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                      I’ve tried a bunch of different keyboard but seem to have settled on the WhiteFox running QMK (I did the original port based on the TMK version and have since pushed updates for newer revisions). I’ve got one at home and one at work, using the Zilent 67g switches (I find these nice to type on, and not too loud, though they’re a little squishy if you bottom out). Hilariously enough, even though I did the port, I use a fairly stock layout. I’m pretty sure it’s just the matt3o layout.

                                                                                                                      I’ve tried the Ergodox Infinity, Minivan, K-Type, CM Novatouch, Pok3r, Red Scarf II+ Ver. D (What a name), CM Quickfire Stealth, and the Zeal60… but I keep coming back to my WhiteFox.

                                                                                                                      I’ve got a testbed for my ergodox showcasing some of the weird things you can do with QMK at https://github.com/belak/ergodox-layout but I haven’t used this in a while. I’ve never been a great touch typist.

                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                        Own a Daskeyboard 1.0

                                                                                                                        But daily drivers are:

                                                                                                                        • Work K780
                                                                                                                        • Home K480

                                                                                                                        … I prefer standard 104 key layouts.

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                                                                                                                          I use a Vortex Race 3 and absolutely love it. It’s compact, like a really good laptop keyboard, with dedicated buttons for everything I want dedicated buttons for (and none of the ones I never/rarely use). The only customisation I have is the usual remapping of caps lock to control. I’ve tried a few switches and settled on MX browns. Pretty vanilla all-round :-)

                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                            At work, I use a full size Filco Majestouch 2 with MX Browns, with one of the QWERTY international variants. I started using a mechanical keyboard after using one of those terrible flat white Apple keyboards for years, which had started to take a toll on my wrists.

                                                                                                                            At home, I mostly use the keyboard of my XPS 13 laptop. If I had to work more from home, I would buy an external screen and a tenkeyless Majestouch 2 with MX Browns.

                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                              I actually do most of my programming on a Thinkpad laptop, using the built-in keyboard there, which I have no issues with. I own a K-Type hooked up to a PC I mostly use for gaming, but I haven’t made as much use of the firmware programming functionality as I could. I told myself when I bought it that I would make it display a pretty light show, but so far I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet.

                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                I use the Atreus and I love it. I haven’t had to program it but I probably will eventually.

                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                  Atreus with clicky switches and the stock firmware for a little over a year (IIRC). I only use it at my desk, but I’ve been very happy with it so far - it’s one of the least expensive and most easily available of the small, staggered-column keyboards. I have to stave off wrist pain/finger numbness which keeps recurring (I switched from a mouse to a trackball recently as well), and one of my hard requirements for a full-time-use keyboard is that it can’t have staggered rows, as the side-to-side motions make the pain flare up much more quickly. My only complaints are that I wish I’d remembered where I put the rubber footies it came with, as it’s very slidy with just the screws on the bottom and a couple of them have loosened and gone missing due to sliding on the desk.

                                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                                    Next time I come down to Portland I’ll bring some extra rubber feet; maybe for FennelConf 2019!

                                                                                                                                  2. 2

                                                                                                                                    DELL AT102W. Grey Alps. I modified it with an Adafruit Bluefruit plus battery and TMK modified firmware so now I use it over Bluetooth.

                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                      Right now I have three ergodox infinity (here’s the one I’m using now: https://imgur.com/a/us5PXto ) one ergodox-EZ, two kinesis contoured (ps/2 and usb) and an IBM Model M.

                                                                                                                                      At the moment I only use the ergodox infinity keyboards and the online layout configurator, because I can’t for the life of me get the firmware to build. But I do regularly tune/change my layout in small ways.

                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                        Those keycaps are a work of art, care to share where you found them?

                                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                                          Oblotzky SA Oblivion https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-x-oblotzky-sa-oblivion-custom-keycap-set?mode=guest_open

                                                                                                                                          I have both Oblivion and Hagoromo sets with colevrak and ergodox additions.

                                                                                                                                      2. 2

                                                                                                                                        I use a Keyboardio. It’s my first keyboard with vertically-aligned keys, and I’m really liking that. Also, the pretty colors. I recently walked through the quick-start directions and practice-reflashed it with a fresh build of the default firmware, but I haven’t written any code for it yet. Anything I do to it is likely to be purely cosmetic… those individually-addressable LEDs give me a lot of ideas.

                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                          I’m happy with the Apple Keyboard (USB) for work. Maybe upgrading to a Apple Magic Keyboard in a while.

                                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                                            I have a custom built kb that I can change the firmware on but I never got around to it. Still nice to have the option.

                                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                                              ducky shine 6 with cherry MX brown switches. it’s got the gamer-ish rgb lights with about a billion different customisable zones, so I’ve set it to a static colour.

                                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                                I use the Apple Magic keyboard at work after my Pok3r started acting funny. Something’s off with it and I haven’t gotten around to fixing it.

                                                                                                                                                I currently use the whitefox with one of the Hako switches at home, occasionally switching between it and my Planck

                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                  WhiteFox (True Fox layout) with Kaihua Brown switches. I use AHK to rebind Caps Lock to Esc if pressed and Ctrl if held. It is programmable, but I haven’t yet done anything terribly special with it on the firmware side (waiting for Kiibohd to support dual-role keys so I can move that AHK script to my keyboard’s firmware).

                                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                                    I like split, ortho-linear (or rather, staggered columnar) keyboards, but I also like having lots of keys (5 rows, 14 columns), so I use a Diverge (2, the 3 is out now) from UniKeyboard: https://unikeyboard.io/product/diverge/

                                                                                                                                                    I modified mine to have a fixed base and mounted a trackball in the middle: https://imgur.com/AIW3vzy

                                                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                                                      I’ve used a few different keyboards, but nothing too fancy.

                                                                                                                                                      I like using low travel keyboards, so most laptop keyboards work nicely for me. When not using a laptop keyboard (my work machine is a Dell Precision 5520), I alternate between a Kinesis Freestyle (so nice for packing and taking places), an MS Ergonomic 4000 (sometimes referred to as “The Camel” by my friends), and Microsoft Mobile Bluetooth 5000 keyboard.

                                                                                                                                                      I’ve tried a Kinesis Advantage, but it transfers what is normally minor knuckle pain into my wrists, being too narrow for my shoulders.

                                                                                                                                                      I typically don’t customize the keyboard itself, I’ll occasionally remap capslock to control, but is hasn’t happened much lately.

                                                                                                                                                      I find that a some variety seems to help with keyboards.

                                                                                                                                                      1. 1
                                                                                                                                                        • Gon’s NerD 60 (+bluetooth, Sentraq steel plate) with 35g lubed Milk Gats and /dev/tty caps on an acrylic case
                                                                                                                                                        • Let’s Split (custom order laser cut steel plate) with lubed Matias Quiet Clicks (+62g Zealio for a Jelly Key Pink Oasis escape key) and original AEKII caps on a custom wood case

                                                                                                                                                        The Gon’s keyboard uses his firmware to program the keyboard but I’ve left it working about the way he set it out of the box. The Let’s Split still needs some kinks worked out (halves won’t mate, I’m going to try a fresh pair of Pro Micros since they’re so cheap) but it runs off of a custom QMK configuration of mine (based off the existing let’s split configuration but not left was much of it after I was done writing mine) that gets flashed onto the Pro Micro that I soldered onto each board.

                                                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                                                          WASD 87 key with Cherry MX Blues. Not really ideal in an office environment but most people use headphones and it hasn’t been too bothersome to my neighbors afaik.

                                                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                                                            I have a Truly Ergonomic mechanical that I don’t end up using because I prefer pointing stick mice.

                                                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                                                              I’m currently on a Matias Quiet Pro, because I wanted something fairly quiet with NKRO and a decent Alps-feeling switch. They’re not quite as nice as while Alps, but they are meaningfully tactile and the “click” is nice and high.

                                                                                                                                                              My previous keyboard was a ~30 year old NTC KB-6153EA with white clicky Alps switches, which are just lovely. They make Cherry MX Blues feel and sound like complete junk.

                                                                                                                                                              I also have a slightly worse-for-wear IBM M122 which I plan on building a converter for just for the sake of it. Who can resist the prospect of 24 F-keys?!

                                                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                Unicomp PC 122 is a modern USB-supporting version of the M122 5250 keyboard and is readily available.

                                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                  Not in the UK it’s not. And where’s the fun in that?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                    Very true!

                                                                                                                                                              2. 1

                                                                                                                                                                I received my Ultimate Hacking Keyboard about two weeks ago - it’s great, I’ve not programmed it yet, but it does QWERTY, Dvorak and Colemak by default, and the keyboard can do mouse movements. Looking forward to playing with it more in the future.

                                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                  I use Microsoft Natural.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                    I use a Vortex Vibe, it’s programmable but I don’t do it, I’ve just remapped caps-lock to control.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                      I’ve been using a CODE V2B (Cherry MX Green) for a few years now and love it. The only issues I have are that the lettering is worn on a few of the most-used keys, and that the Caps Lock light is hard to see. The keyboard has no numeric keypad because I can’t stand that extra length on the right. When I need a keypad I plug one in separately.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                        I’m currently using a combination of thinkpad keyboards, crappy (read $40 on amazon) offbrand boards with blues, and a cooler master masterkeys pro L (with cherry mx reds). The masterkeys is a great board that I definitely should have gotten with blue switches. It’s nice for gaming but I haven’t been doing much of that lately…