Community Intros


(JP) #1

First of all, thanks to J+K for bringing us and the model 01 together…

I’ve really enjoyed reading all the comments, thoughts, ideas, civil discussions, etc. on here and thought it would be nice to know more about the community…

Sort of an Hi, I’m blah. (kinda like AA without all the drama).

Some ice breakers:

Location.
Your background.
What brought you to the model 01?
What other boards have you used?
How or what makes you excited about getting the model 01?

Jonathan Phan - Southern California, just south of where J+K live, they may be losing their football team (not soccer) here in the near future.

I work in IT and due to RSI, I’ve been looking/always kept my eye out for ergo keyboards, currently use the kinesis and type matrix. When the M01 came out I was sold, especially when J+K made there way to LA where I got to try it out. I don’t do long and continuous typing anymore but am always looking for better ways of doing things… Layouts I’ve tried - dvorak, colemak, workman. I’m super excited to get my hands on a M01, the added benefit is it’ll be that much harder to “pink bunny” me.

What is pink bunny you ask? Its when you leave your terminal unlocked and a fellow co worker sends an email to your distro group + choice friends that “I like pink bunnies”. Its a nice way of saying minor breach of security, lock your workstation… Right now, I rarely get pink bunnied, because the kinesis prevents that, people have to use OSK, with the M01 + rune keys, it’ll probably never happen (again).

I don’t write firmware so thank you to all those that do that and are willing to do it for the community (@algernon). Thank you to you multilingual aficionados for helping design the layout (@antevens). @bjn, @andrewg, @merlin and everyone else that have contributed to this project, kept the discussions lively, proposed great ideas, etc.


(Antonia Stevens) #2

Thanks for starting this, I think getting a bit of background might help us understand each other perspectives and design decisions.

My name is Antonia Stevens, I’m a DevOps engineer, I’ve been a developer/ops person for 20 years. I’ve done a fair bit of embedded and real-time Linux work but today I work in the IT Security industry.

I’m born in Iceland but moved around a fair bit in my 20s, ended up in Toronto, Canada where I live and work.

I’m quad-lingual and trying to learn French, hence my interest in international keyboard and unified layouts along with them being programming friendly.

I think my interest in keyboard started back in 98/99 when I helped a friend with severe joint issues get a Datahand and at the same time I got interested in corded layouts when a coworker bought a Twiddler.

I’ve also done some work on international layouts for various OSes for both ANSI and ISO keyboards.

My current keyboard is an ErgoDox, in fact I have 4 of them and several more PCBs, I designed my own RGB backlit ErgoDox PCB and I’ve done some other PCB work in the past.

Our Pink Bunny is called Baggy Pants, except being a security company you’ll never find the backdoor they put on your system.

I’ve done a fair bit of firmware work, both for the ErgoDox (my LED drivers use I2C and is on the same bus as the halves use too communicate) and I’m comfortable with C though not an expert.

I have my own custom keyboard layout called Gelatin, I started by creating an optimized layout for all languages that use the Latin based character set balanced by the number of native speakers, I then added all the major programming languages weighted by popularity and in the end I created something quite similar to Colemak, the differences were small enough so that I just used Colemak but swapping A/N and moving all the symbols.

I’m still optimizing and changing it 3 years on but I’ve got working layouts for ISO/ANSI/Ergodox for Linux/Win/OSX all of which I use regularly.

I saw the Kickstarter for the Model 01 and knew right away that I needed one, if not for any other reasons just to create a Gelatin layout/firmware

One keyboard layout to rule them all :slight_smile:


(James Cash) #3

My name is James Cash. I’m a programmer & the co-founder of a bootstrapping startup in an experimental stage. I mainly do backend web dev work in Clojure right now, but I’ve dabbled in a number of areas & programming languages.

I also live in Toronto - hi @antevens!

I think I’m a bit of a keyboard noob compared to most of the folks in here when it comes to hardware (I just have a cheap CoolerMaster keyboard right now - not a lot of spare cash for fancy keyboards at the moment). I’ve been wanting the Model 01 since the Jesse first started blogging about his keyboard making efforts (in like 2010 or so?) & it represents a big investment for me both in terms of money and my dreams :stuck_out_tongue:

While I haven’t done much exotic with my hardware, I’ve always liked playing with software things - I’ve been using Dvorak since high school and always trying to tweak key mappings, editor setup, and the like (as I’ve posted about a few times here, I currently am enjoying making my shift keys insert parenthesis - very useful when programming in Lisp!).

I’ve been so excited for the Model 01 since the Kickstarter and this forum has stoked my excitement to a fever pitch. I can’t wait to get my hands on one & see what we’re all able to make it do!


(Gergely Nagy) #4

I’m not all that good at talking about myself, it’s a bit boring, in my opinion. I’m Gergely Nagy - usually algernon, because that’s much easier to pronounce -, from Hungary. I’ve been writing software since I was about five, professionally since I was sixteen (and that was… a while ago, although not quite two decades ago yet), in all kinds of languages (C, Clojure, Python, Go, Delphi, Java, Haskell, Prolog - you name it), for all kinds of purposes (text-to-speech, logging, embedded systems, highly distributed systems, etc). I had brief stints as a sysadmin, and even as L3 support. Since 1996, I’m a Linux user, and only boot into Windows to play games (most of those, with a controller, rarely with a keyboard). I’m a jack of all trades kind of guy, master of none. Mind you, my biggest passion has little to do with computers, but much more with drama: at some point, one of these years, I’ll get a degree in Hungarian Human Arts.

A few years ago, almost a decade now, during a very stressful and fast project, I started to have severe pain in my hands, and ended up having to work with voice recognition for a few months. That started me down the path of exploring better alternatives than sucky keyboard laptops with QWERTY. At first, I bought a TypeMatrix 2030, and fell in love with the matrix layout, and useful keys like Enter in the middle. I still stayed with QWERTY, because my right hand refused to learn Dvorak for a long time. Then, almost exactly one year ago, I watched a Clojure/Conj talk, about the Dactyl keyboard. I fell in love with the split design immediately, and started to look for options. I pre-ordered the Model 01 soon after.

Meanwhile, the keyboard-bug caught me, and bought myself an ErgoDox EZ (of which I have two now, one for work, one for home), which taught me that fully programmable firmware is king, and I’ll never want to use a keyboard without an open source firmware. I finally switched to Dvorak last year, when I got the EZ, and had to re-learn everything anyway. My right hand finally gave in, and accepted to remember the Dvorak keys. Having used the EZ for close to 8 months now, I like it, but the thumb cluster is a bit of a lackluster, so to say, and I barely use the bottom row. There’s plenty more about my ErgoDox experience on that same blog I linked to earlier, for anyone interested.

The things I like about the Model 01 most, are the palm keys, the wood, and the individually sculpted keycaps. I have not tried either, but I’m pretty sure I’ll love all of them. Oh, and Matias Quiet Click is something I also heard good things about! I’m using Gateron Browns at the moment, but I would not mind something a bit heavier, and with a more pronounced bump. As far as I understand, the Quiet Click has both.

I also love the updates, and the way the firmware has been open since day zero, so much so that even my fumbling attempts at making it do the things I wish to do, have been well received.


(bracher) #5

Mark Bracher
Los Angeles (Pasadena)

I’m a software engineer and systems guy, so I end up typing more than is healthy… I switched to Dvorak 20 years ago to help with some tightness and pain in forearms and wrist (not carpal tunnel), and haven’t really looked back.

I came to the Model 01 because I’ve been on the lookout for a split keyboard with mechanical keys, and a former co-worker pointed it out to me.

At work I type on a Kinesis Freestyle 2. At home I have a straight keyboard with mechanical keys. On the train I use the built-in keyboard in my laptop. I’ve tried typing on a “bowl”-style Kinesis board, but found some of the symbols I needed for coding to be too much of a pinky stretch.

So many things excite me about getting my Model 01s. Foremost, I suppose, having the same style of keyboard at home and at work. Having a split keyboard with mechanical feedback. They’re pretty.

I’ve been lurking on the Dvorak discussion, but came to it a bit late. Most of the things I really care about have already been voiced.


(JP) #6

To all so far…

I don’t think any of your stories, accomplishments, trials, learned experiences, failures are boring (I read them all). I’m pretty introverted but I love meeting people that are similar minded, notice I did not say like minded or clones, how boring would that be.

I suspect this will grow to be a great community (and hope for that). Will we always agree on everything? No, of course not, I don’t expect rainbows and unicorns. The type of people that are interested in this keyboard (regardless of their walk in life) are open minded, we can entertain an idea without accepting it (Aristotle).

For this reason, I think that we’ll produce some amazing things, layouts, concepts, that while may not be as revolutionary as the inventing the integrated circuit (Noyce circa 1958), is just as important and will greatly improve the QOL for those that use keyboards in the future.

And yes, @antevens, if we know each other’s backgrounds, we’ll better understand perspectives, design decisions, and intended usage, while making new friends.


(Lars Hagström) #7

Lars Hagström
Uppsala, Sweden

I’m a half-brit/half-swede that work as software engineer. I’ve been in this field for about 15 years, and a keyboard is really my main source of income… For most of my life I’ve typed on keyboards with the Swedish QWERTY layout, except for occasional uses of US and UK layouts.

I’ve been using ergonomic keyboards on and off for most of my professional life, not really because of RSI, but more because I find them more comfortable. Although, I have occasionaly gotten “warning signals” from my hands and forearms. This is being typed on a rather horrible Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 7000 (that spacebar, ugh), and at work I have a Kinesis Freestyle 2, which I like.

This is my first foray into the field of custom keyboards and custom layouts in particular. I came into this thinking that I could create a “universally liked Swedish layout”, but I have quickly realised that there is probably no point in even trying.

As an aside I also have preorder for the Waytools TextBlade, which I am in two minds about cancelling, since they have failed to deliver for such a long time. But then again I would kinda like to have a portable keyboard as well, since that is not something the Model 01 can be accused of being :slight_smile:. But if I decide to keep that I will have to make sure my custom layout works there as well…

Forgot one thing, I am a bit of a Free Software nut, so the openness of this project is really important to me.


(Michael Richters) #8

My name is Michael Richters. I live in Winnipeg now, but I went to school in Boston. I don’t think I’ve ever met Jesse, but I know I have friends who know him. I have used both RT & Hiveminder in the past, so I was already fond of his work when I stumbled on the Keyboardio project, which I think I discovered via Reddit because of CGP Grey mentioning WASD keyboards on a podcast.

I have never had an RSI problem, possibly because I generally don’t rest my palms when I type, so I move my whole hand laterally to type keys like shift, tab, and enter on typical keyboard. I have always been picky about them; I bought three IBM keyboards back in the 1990s when I thought that USB keyboards with awful switches might completely replace those good, old serial port ones, and I still use them. I have always been frustrated with keyboards to a certain extent, mostly because of the staggered keys, which make my ability to type numbers accurately very poor. I’m now looking forward to trying out a fully-programmable keyboard to see how well it works for me, though there are a few things I might not like — I’ve always hated those Microsoft ergonomic keyboards because they force me to type with my elbows far out to the sides. I’m skeptical of the split keyboard being right for me, and I think the “wrist-rest” area of the Model 01 might just get in my way, but I still expect it to be a major improvement over what I’ve been using.

A few years ago, I replaced the stupid QWERTY-descended software keyboard on my Android devices with something that makes much more sense (MessagEase), and I’m eager to do the same on my full-sized computers.


(Andrew Gallagher) #9

Hi, all.

I’m Andrew Gallagher, an IT security consultant/sysadmin from Northern Ireland currently working in Dublin.

I became a bit of an ergo conoisseur in the late 90s while working on my (long abandoned) PhD, and finding the initial warning signs of RSI starting to creep up on me. I messed around with various left- and right-handed mouse, trackball etc. options, but the single thing with the most effect was changing to Dvorak. I chose Dvorak because a) I’d read about its various benefits and b) it would force me to learn to touch type. if I was doing it again, I’d consider Colemak instead, but that didn’t exist at the time and it’s not so much better than Dvorak that it’s worth changing now.

About eight years ago or so, I finally gave in and bought a Kinesis Advantage. I had dithered about it for years due to the expense, but haven’t regretted it since. So much so that I eventually bought a second one (this time second hand) for home. The main things that annoy me about the layout are the odd choice of where to put the symbol keys (both in the qwerty and firmware-dvorak layouts), and the fact that it keeps the shift keys on the pinkies. Remapping in the firmware let me solve these issues, but the programming interface is limited and gets irritating after a while. (The new version apparently is much better)

The oddities with the Kinesis firmware Dvorak layout are the main reason why I’m so keen on making a single scancode layout work with multiple OS keymaps. Because I also often work on my laptop without an external keyboard, I still need to use the standard OS Dvorak keymap - and so minimising the differences between my laptop layout and my kinesis layout is something that I find very important.

I looked into Ergodox and several other alternatives recently, but came to the conclusion that keyboard.io was the most promising (and elegant) solution available in the near future.

I also retrofitted palm keys onto my original kinesis (as per this geekhack thread: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=26579.0) but the switches I could source locally are a little too stiff and they aren’t in the best position. Some day I may fix that.

PS @lars: I’m in the same place as you with the TextBlade. Cool idea, frustratingly long gestation.


(Bart Nagel) #10

I’m Bart Nagel. I work as a freelance full-stack web engineer. (You can hire me!) I’m from the UK but live in Vancouver, Canada.

I’m used to UK (PC-105) keyboards, on which I typed UK qwerty until about ten years ago. Around that time I realized I touchtyped most keys correctly, but used the wrong fingers on the number row and had a couple of other issues (I think I used my ring finger for p). I consciously corrected these, and a while later realized I was faster than ever, and that I never looked at the keys any more. I started playing with moving the keycaps around, even though I didn’t actually change the keymap. I had them randomly placed for a while, and later spelled a nickname I had at the time across the top row with the rest random. Just for fun.

I think that led to me hearing about other layouts, and as soon as I heard about it I switched cold turkey to Dvorak. I very rarely had strain before that, so that wasn’t really a driving factor, but I certainly didn’t like the idea of it and I think I’ve felt strain just once since (during an 80-hour week; not surprised). It was more just seeing Dvorak and thinking how much more sense it made. I touchtype at around 130wpm, which is about the same now on Dvorak as it was at my qwerty peak. I can no longer touchtype qwerty (other than my main passwords and setxkbmap dvorak), but I bet I’m still faster on it than your average casual computer user.

Around the same time as I switched to Dvorak, or maybe a year or so earlier, I fell in love with the keyboards the University of Southampton had in its Electronics and Computer Science department computer labs, which were huge German-built Cherry-branded things with Cherry MX blue keyswitches. I liberated (with an unofficial blessing from some staff) two of them when I left and moved across the Atlantic, and I still type on both of them today. One goes in whatever office has hired me at the time, the other is on my desk at home.

I love the loud click and the feel. One of the two has keys which feel a lot heavier than the other, and given that they’re both Cherry blue, I’m not actually sure why. But even in office settings – so far coworkers have noticed and commented but I’m assured by everyone it’s not actually a nuisance – I definitely prefer the click. (YMMV of course.)

Increasingly since I switched to Dvorak, like @merlin above, I’ve become frustrated with keyboards in general: Why the stupid staggered layout? Why does my right hand have so many more keys in its charge than my left? What’s the point of this caps lock key and why’s it so close to me? Why are control and shift in such awkward positions for chording?

I noticed years back that I tend to have my keyboard on an angle, with the left corner further away from me than the right corner. I realized this happened subconsciously, and it’s to make the keys less staggered.

I started looking at alternatives, particularly grid-layout ones, probably still close to ten years ago, and didn’t like the look of a single one of the offerings. Each of them had at least one issue. I started wondering if I could make one myself, and at some point drafted out some ideas. I wasn’t realistically actually going to build something, but thought about it from time to time, and then started looking again for alternative keyboards. Still nothing.

Until I saw a blog post about the Model 01. Right away I knew this was it. It checked absolutely all of the boxes except… quiet click? Noooo… I followed closely for a while and paid for two as soon as the fundraiser opened. I was delighted to see a loud click was added to the options, too. :wink:

I used the prototypes when they came to Vancouver. It’ll take some getting used to! I made a lot of mistakes when typing on it, but that’s just muscle memory. All the keys (at least all the main ones) definitely feel exactly where they should be – I’ll just have to retrain myself to not adjust for the staggered layout.

Can’t wait to get started.


(Michael Richters) #11

It’s surprising how many of the participants in this discussion live in Canada.


(Antonia Stevens) #12

Canada has a surprisingly large keyboard enthusiast community, perhaps it’s because Matias (http://matias.ca/products/) is up here, the fact that we have a bilingual country with two different keyboard layouts (there is also AZERTY) or just because we’ve got nothing better to do in winter :slight_smile:


(Michael Richters) #13

Indeed. However, I’m one of the Canadian crowd, but my interest is unrelated to all of those things, and pre-dates my association with that country. Probably just another manifestation of my atypical nature…


(Sam) #14

Hi all, I’m Sam Seltzer-Johnston. I find my own surname is long and amusing.

I’m from Michigan. Almost Canada, but not quite.

I’m a software engineer both professionally and for hobby. I had my first exposure to programming using a variant of BASIC when I was 13 and got more serious about programming when I was 16 in the wonderful world of game modding. Programming didn’t come naturally to me, which was frustrating, but it grew on me over time. I originally got into programming out of my passion for video/computer-games. This evolved into a broader set of interests during my secondary education in Computer Science. I’ve been working professionally for close to 2 years now as an R&D guy in the automotive industry on both embedded and non-embedded applications for over-the-air vehicle updates. I plan to work on games professionally some day, but for now I’m a hobbyist. All in all, I’ve been programming for almost a decade, so it seems I’m a bit novice compared to most of the folks here. It’s cool to hear about all of these diverse IT backgrounds.

Shortly after starting professional work, I realized that being both a professional and fervent hobbyist was causing me to use a keyboard for 16+ hours a day. Needless to say, a month or two of that caused my arms to apparently atrophy. I accidentally broke an employee’s mug during an interview because my arm flipped out in an awkward way that managed to perfectly latch one finger onto the mug handle and propel it from a desk directly onto the floor. Worst way to start an interview ever. Hilariously enough, they were good sports about it and the interview went great after that. In any case, I concluded that my keyboards and posture were insufficient. Using wrist braces and a standing desk slightly mitigated the issue, but didn’t solve it.

Fun fact: I didn’t learn to properly type until about a year ago. I typed with between 2-3 fingers on each hand for many years maintaining a pretty average WPM. I’ve had a deep disdain for the physical layout of every keyboard I’ve seen/tried, which put me off from learning proper typing habits.

Then I found the Model 01. It took me a little time to wrap my head around it, but it seemed to have solved every problem I’ve had with most conventional/ergonomic keyboards. After a few months of deliberation, I preordered mine and decided to learn to touch-type properly. My reasoning was that the relative difficulty of going from QWERTY chicken-pecking keys to QWERTY touch typing would be similar to that of getting accustomed to the Model 01. I wanted a benchmark to see how easy it might be for me to switch between layouts and muscle memory. Using keybr I managed to get the hang of it after a couple of weeks. At the same time, I got rid of my mouse for almost everything, which was a big source of my right-wrist pain, and learned to use keyboard shortcuts whenever possible. After about a month of doing these things I began to feel about as proficient as I had been before (if not a little more).

My only two qualms with the Model 01 were lack of wireless and portability. Both of those are fine to give up in the name of comfort, but I’ve considered designing a little carrying case and a lap-stand of sorts for the Model 01 just so I can take it to coffee shops with me.

As an aside, I’ve been learning Japanese on my own for about 6 months now using the All Japanese All The Time method, which is essentially a combination of a SRS (spaced repetition system) and self-imposed immersion. It’s a wild language acquisition technique for long-term native-level proficiency. It’s seriously like some kind of weird black magic. Learning to use foreign layouts and input systems has been quite an adventure, and I look forward to seeing what the implications will be for me when using the Model 01.


(Bart Nagel) #15

Likewise. Very strange how common we seem to be here.


(pnunn) #16

My name is Peter Nunn, I live in Bannockburn, Victoria, Australia and run my own IT consultancy doing support and software development. I’m a materials engineer by training but have been working in IT for about 25 years now.

I’m probably about twice the age of most of you by the looks of things as I started using keyboards when they were the real mechanical ones on teletype printers.

I went cold turkey on Dvorak many years ago after being a pretty proficient qwerty touch typist as I was getting some RSI issues which I never get on a dvorak layout and have been using fairly standard mechanical keyboards as much as I can (hard in clients places) though, although I have to say I’ve found the Mac keyboard to be reasonably good and I tend to use that mobile a lot lately.

Certainly no keyboard expert, but very keen to get my hands on the 01 and give it a go.


(Jesse) #17

(Yoann Brosseau) #18

Hello,
My name is Yoann Brosseau. I live in France and I am a developer and integrator in a multi-national company.
I began to be interested in the keyboards and the ergonomics of my workstation after several years of kinesitarry sessions for arm and shoulder pain.

I first started by changing layout, then keyboard with a Typematrix 2030 in BÉPO layout.
But I used mechanical keyboards for a long time, and I missed it.
So I began to look for a mechanical keyboard that is orthogonal, programmable, pretty and that is not in kit to be assembled at home.
That’s why I chose the Keyboardio.


(Aesen Vismea) #19

Hi, I pretend to be Aesen Vismea, and I do freelance web development, Android development, and Minecraft modding. I live on the east coast of the United States, and I don’t currently have an ergonomic keyboard. I’m also likely younger than anyone else here.

I was surprised to be invited to the forum since all I did was answer the survey, I’m not a backer nor have I preordered as I don’t have the money to spare right now.

I currently use a Corsair K70 RGB with custom keycaps, with most keys being just a dot (though now I’m wishing I went with runes :P). I’ve customized the layout a little bit with Xmodmap and a driver called ckb. The lights are set up to pulse along with my music.

I had wrist pains doing autocomplete in an IDE with Ctrl+Space, and they faded after changing my caps lock to þ and using it as my autocomplete key. That got me somewhat interested in an ergonomic keyboard, and I stumbled upon Keyboardio as a result. I’ve kept up with the backer updates and am impressed by their regularity and detail, especially considering what some other Kickstarters do.


(@TheBaronHimself) #20

Hello all you lovely people!

My name is Simon-Claudius, I’m an Audio Engineer, Designer, Developer, Programmer and Researcher. As you might imagine, most of what I do is audio related. I record and produce music, I do sound design, I make tools for audio in software and sometimes in hardware. However, I’m generally interested in technology. Programming is one of my favourite things to do. I also like making physical things, mostly involving woodworking (my mother was trained as a carpenter… go figure…)

After my undergraduate in Music Technology, a degree covering Audio Engineering, Electronic Engineering and Computer Science I became Audio Director of Revolution Software in York in the UK, where I worked on the game ‘Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse’. This was a very challenging job as I was responsible for the entire audio production of the title, spanning from tool and technology specification and design, sound design, sound sourcing, communicating and coordinating with the different departments of the team and sound implementation in scripts/code.

I’ve been working as a freelancer in the wider field of audio and am currently finishing my MSc by Research in Music Technology.

At some point during the last few years I became somewhat obsessed with typing and finally learnt touch typing. Having always been interested in interfaces and human computer/technology interaction and design I found Keyboardio and couldn’t help but backing the project, going for the two keyboard tier.

I’ve been involved in a few online communities such as Twitter, Github, and more specific places such as the Sublime Text Discussion Forum.

I’m currently typing on a Das Keyboard mechanical keyboard and while I rather like it I look forward to replacing it with the Model 01.

I hope can add to this community. I’m happy help in any way to move the project forward and improve the Model 01’s quality.

After release I may start designing and building custom stands for Keyboardio products and sell them to interested folks. Should you want to talk about that specifically, just hit me up :).

It’s great to meet you all!