Showing posts with label keyboard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label keyboard. Show all posts

This Week I Learned - 2017 Week 36

Last week post or the previous old archive.


Tecware Phantom 87, a cheap TKL mechanical keyboard. I've bought one and some initial write up on the mechanical keyboard.

Meanwhile, keyboard have different keyboard profiles or different key caps height. Aesthetically, high-profile looks way better than low-profile. The only issue is cleaning. Low-profile keyboard is easier to clean in the long run. Furthermore, keyboards can be classified by different keyboard technology or keyboard switches.

On a related note, Kinesis, the maker of most expensive ergonomic keyboard, Kinesis Advantage 2, has released Kinesis Gaming. I'm not aware of the their Kickstarter campaign, but they managed to raise enough fund to build this. While it may seems like a new design, I noticed it bears similarity to Kinesis Freestyle2, another split ergonomic keyboard. Only difference is the extra wrist reset and additional features for gaming. Unfortunately, aesthetic wise it's not pretty (subjective opinion) and Kinesis keyboard is known for its high price tag.

What took them so long to produce a gaming mechanical keyboard? Even though they can come up with a non ergonomic version? They have been quite late in the gaming mechanical keyboard. Even Topre already came out with Topre Realforce RGB. Other keyboard manufacturers have been charging premium building so called gaming mechanical keyboard, lots of useless fancy features but little durability. Let's hope this split design catch on so that other keyboard manufacturers in China will follow suit (ahem clone) and produce a more economic version.

If you have a low-profile mechanical keyboard, there are other maker, Norbauer & Co. who are building aluminium case for your beloved keyboard. Mechanical keyboard is indeed a booming industry. 

Thinkpad 25 (via SD). To commemorate the celebration of 25th anniversary release of IBM's (or Lenovo's) Thinkpad notebook, a special edition will be released using the non-chiclet keyboard layout, similar to those in T420. Hence, some claims it's just a T470 body with T420 keyboard. However, I was surprised to find out that Thinkpad notebook uses different keyboard switches or variants all these while. Can' wait? Just get Frankenpad (modernized and modified version of Thinkpad) from 51nb (via RD). However, this is a custom-made motherboard and the price is quite steep. Claiming warranty maybe an issue.

Reddit user nitrocaster explained why you should get a Thinkpad X220/X230 instead of other models. In short, it's cheap, support 16GB DDR3 RAM, and support 7-rows keyboard (X220 only). Even better, there are full resource guide on Thinkpad X220.


Creating custom table of content in ConTeXt. I've been struggled with this issue for the last few days and finally managed to get it to work. It seemed that I misunderstood the \placelist syntax and use the wrong variable name, use `appendix`.
\setuplabeltext[appendix=APPENDIX~]
\definehead[appendix][chapter]

\definelist[appendix][criterium=all]
\setuplist[appendix][alternative=b]

\placelist[appendix,widetable]

\startappendices
    \appendix{Sample Appendix}
    \appendix{Another Appendix}
\stopappendices

The powerful \definestartstop and \definehighlight of ConTeXt macros. This is as good as the HTML's custome tags. Sadly not supported by all web browsers.

They knew the basics. But they lacked mastery. Don't study at the last minute.

Tecware Phantom 87 Mechanical Keyboard

During the long holidays, bought myself this mechanical keyboard, Tecware Phantom 87. Finally, I can experience mechanical keyboard first hand and discover more about mechanical keyboard in details.

Why this mechanical keyboard? Based on the reviews by GoldfriesYuuki Haruto, and Mona Liza, this seems like a good solid beginner mechanical keyboards. Features like Tenkeyless (TKL), solid back plate, modular switches (you can change to other types of Cherry MX compatible switches), and lastly, affordable prices (I got it around MYR 129). I've picked the Outemu Brown switches because its sound softer but less "clicky" compare to the Outemu Blue switches.

When come to keyboard and typing (lots of typing), my daily driver is Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. I doubt any mechanical keyboard out there can satisfy my needs. For the case with Tecware Phantom 87, there are two issues that bother me somehow. First, the key cap is too small. The area covered by the key cap is not wide enough and you have to be very precise when typing. Second, unless you have a palm rest, the typing experience is somehow quite discomfort (wrist angle problem, either vertically or horizontally), especially if you have history of minor repetitive strain injury (RSI). Maybe getting a palm rest can improve the experience and reduce the discomfort. This is yet to be seen.

Yes, there exists MiSTEL Barocco MD600, which is a split ergonomic keyboard. But with a hefty price tag of MYR 600, I don't think is worth the price and effort. Top up a little more and you might as well get Kinesis Advantage2 instead. Also, a lot of ergonomic keyboard manufacturers fail to realize that just by splitting the keyboard into half doesn't means it's ergonomic. It only solve half of the problem, the wrist angle is also another issue needs to be addressed.

Even so, the Tecware Phantom 87 is a good mechanical keyboard for modding. I've watched the YouTube video on building a mechanical keyboard and it seems quite a fun and easy electronic project. By building your own mechanical keyboard, you will understand how the keyboard switches works mechanically. At the same time, you will learn some electronic skill as well like soldering and desoldering. However, based on the part list, it will cost around MYR 600 just to get all the required materials and equipments. Learning is never cheap in any possible ways. You're going to pay for the hard lessons anyway, someway or another. However, we can save some money by building on existing cheap mechanical keyboard. This is where Tecware Phantom 87 is a good choice. Since this keyboard is reasonable cheap (I know, subjective) and has a modular switches, you can mod the keyboard with different switches and key caps without worrying about messing up. Even so, you can also salvage the parts or get a new one instead.

Should you get a mechanical keyboard? No. Unless you're a gamer or into modding. Otherwise, I don't think using mechanical keyboard for casual typing or coding will server any good benefits, especially when comes to preventing computer-related injuries.

This Week I Learned - 2017 Week 35

Last week post or revisit some old archived posts.


Long holidays and I finally have extra time to clear off some of those pesky and pending to-do list. Learned quite a lot this week, especially from different electronic devices and computer hardware.


Software development 450 words per minute. (via Reddit / HN). Be grateful. That's probably takeaway from the article itself. I was wondering how it going to affect your hearing if you keep listen to the headphone non-stop for more than 8 hours per day?


Good post on introduction to mechanical key switches, specifically Cherry MX family. For a non-gamer but mostly using your keyboard for typing, Cherry MX Brown and Cherry MX Blue would be the preferred keyboard switch for a mechanical keyboard. The Brown switch was originally developed for Kinesis Keyboard. Yes, that company that created the ergonomic contoured keyboard. Meanwhile, the Blue switch, have same tactile feeling and clicking sound to IBM Model M but less activation force. Does mechanical keyboard worth it? Yes, only if you play lots of games, build a Battlestation, a mechanical keyboard enthusiast, or have extra money to burn.


Buying an air purifier? Fview YouTube channel is probably the best I've watched so far. Honest opinions with lots of satirical remarks in between. Just like taking an advice from a trustworthy friend. So which air purifier to buy? From the result and price point, just get Xiaomi Air Purifier even through you have to tolerate the high fan noise. I was surprised that few European brands are so expensive but the filtering output was mediocre. Most likely you're paying premium to the quality material and long term reliability. One thing I've learned from electronic devices made in China or electronic devices in general these days. There are not built for reliability. a throwaway device that only serve a purpose for a short period.




Yeah, the bokeh, colour, and contrast is phenomenal and surely will make you mouth-watering.  Just make sure you watch the YouTube video in highest resolution. The most important criteria is the colour (in JPEG) format shows the actual colour and contrast representative of what we saw with the reviewer eyes. Be warned, both Sony A9 and Voigtlander 50 Heliar V4 will cost you around MYR 21k. Definitely not worth it unless you have extra cash to burn. Even so, still not worth it.




More lesson regarding ConTeXt. Want to use Times New Roman, make sure you've installed the Tex Gyre package where it includes the Termes aka Times New Roman font.


Installation of more PWM casing fans. The motherboard seemed quite sensitive and there are numerous times I can't get to the POST screen. Reading through the POST troubleshooting steps, manage to boot up the machine again. Suspect loosen power wires, memory slot, or bended CPU pins were likely the contributing causes.

Fan speeds seems to be at an accepted range. There is an increase of volume heard but I like the white noise.
$ sensors | grep fan
fan1:         1704 RPM  (min = 1577 RPM, div = 8)
fan2:         1875 RPM  (min =  784 RPM, div = 8)
fan3:         1577 RPM  (min =  685 RPM, div = 8)
fan4:            0 RPM  (min = 3515 RPM, div = 128)  ALARM
fan5:            0 RPM  (min =  703 RPM, div = 128)  ALARM


Hardware UART in MSP430. I have no idea this is possible. Mainly because I have no idea what and how UART works anyway. And, I also found out that there is a UniFlash, which is the Universal Flash Programmer for all Texas Instruments devices. Seems to support MSP430 and GNU/Linux but I haven't try it out yet.


I was looking for a DAC and my research indicated that using Raspberry Pi with HiFiBerry would be a good choice. Maybe that could put my shelved Pi into good use?


Running Docker on Fedora host but have permission error with mounted volume?
$ docker run -it -v /home/ang/project:/export tts:latest bash

[email protected]:/export# ls -l                
ls: cannot open directory '.': Permission denied

To resolve this properly, since this is a SELinux permission issue (reason why you should always test your stuff in Fedora/Red Hat/CentOS distros), you can append extra `z` or `Z` character to the mounted volume option `(-v)` as shown below.

-v /home/ang/project:/export:z

Meanwhile, setting up Docker in Fedora to support non-root user. (Yes, there are many security concerns).
$ sudo groupadd docker && sudo gpasswd -a ${USER} docker && sudo systemctl restart docker
$ newgrp docker


Readjustment of my night computing usage. Turned on Gnome's Night Light. This is to reduce the effect of blue light affecting the body melatonic production.


This Week I Learned - 2017 Week 29

Last week post or some ramblings from the past.


The quest of finance independence will influence or make your adhere to different life principles. Minimalist life style, waste free, child free, debt free, and other approaches. Some of these deliberate choices may against the normal social norms. Is all depends on how aggressively you want to proceed ahead. The biggest obstacle is consumerism, especially in this digital age. Reducing your social media usage (yes, this includes normal Internet surfing) is a good start.


Interesting part that the WiFi extender cannot connect through 5GHz because certain countries does not support channels other than Band 1. It's quite confusing where extending your WiFi coverage if you're using the same SSID as you have to check the BSSID to differentiate which SSID you're currently connecting to. But one thing for sure, I definitely love `nmcli` console tool, probably my favourite software. Always gave me the hidden surprise of its usages and features.
$ nmcli -f BSSID,ACTIVE dev wifi list


Nostalgia bucklespring keyboard sound. Instead of spending a fortune in getting the real physical keyboard, just install the software and enjoy the emulated sounds. Good for the electric typewriter I was thinking of setting up using the underutilized Raspberry Pi.


Chinese cleaver (菜刀), compare to other similar type, is a general purpose kitchen knife.


"We receive subsidies from the government." (more write up from MiniMachines). Now we know why Orange Pi is so cheap, everything is sold as Bill of Materials (BOM) price. It would be nice if the software support is better.


Why you should not use React now due to the the BSD+Patent license issue. Partially open source but with patent grant issue tagged along. Are we going to see more PATENTS file issue in coming future?


"Being unwilling to adopt a necessary amount of structure and process is just as much of a hindrance once you hit a certain size." Full context of the discussion. The observation when you organization reached certain size where formal process is unavoidable. Yet, people are still making the same old mistake over and over again.


Using Linux kernel >= 4.9? Switch to BBR TCP to control the network congestion and increase your Internet speed. It seems to increase the download speed tremendously. Alternative and more detail explanations from APNIC and ACM Queue.


The secret passion of Git checkout. Funny but very well-written guide on using Git checkout. Meanwhile, use rebase by default, if possible for all your branches. While we at it, user `merge --no-ff` if possible because we want to preserve the branch history.


Kindness is underrated (via HN). Being polite, empathy, professional, helpful, or kind? Neither one will get the message across if the receiving end fails or unwillingly to listen. I totally agree with the comment, "On the internet, nobody can hear you being subtle".

This Week I Learned - 2016 Week 33

Last week post or you might want to check out the whole series.

Travelling. Hence, the delay in weekly post.

The Hiperstation. Probably the cleanest and minimalist workstation station with a touch of retro feels, the VT220 terminal. Maybe I should readjust my battlestation again?


While we're on the discussion on retro hardware, how about reproducing the nostalgia bucklespring keyboard sound of IBM Model-M keyboard.

Introduction to Japanese, via HN. Comprehensive guide the Japanese language and writing system.

This Week I Learned - 2016 Week 05

Last week post.

#1 Reply 1988. Highest rated drama in Korea cable television as the time of writing. Heart-warming family Korean drama about a group of neighbouring families and friends set in 1988. Lots of nostagia look back in the eighties. Interestingly, the genre of the drama is known as coming of age where we follow the growth of the characters from youth to adulthood. One of the drama's original sound track (OST), "A Little Girl" (a remake) caught my attention. It has been a while since I've mesmerized by any OST. Frankly speaking, the best kdrama I've watched so far. And lastly, why 1988? Is the year that Korea hosted the Summer Olympics which leads to a significant political and social changes.

#2 TypeMatrix. (via Arcachne Webzine) Another ergonomic keyboard but without splitting the layout into half but instead more sensible keys placement, for example, large Enter key in the center.

#3 Visualizing Concurrency in Go. (HN dicusssion) Visually intriguing but 2D representation is still better than 3D, for example, like UML sequence diagram? Would be even better if we can have step-by-step tracing of the code and the visualizing simultaneously.

#4 Overpass Web Font, free/libre font by Red Hat. Primary used for the company own branding.

#5 Docker Official Images Are Moving to Alpine Linux. The sentiment in HN discussion does not agree with such approach. Furthermore, docker-slim was created to solve fatty container issue using your favourite GNU/Linux distros.