Update to my micro.blog Friday Afternoon Coffee Buddies: I have switched to India Pale Ale. Do with that knowledge what you will.

Considering having one more coffee today. Just FYI.

Re iPad distribution for remote classes, my son’s school writes:

Your child’s 6 digit birthday is the passcode you will need to unlock your iPad.

Seems like a bad idea for the school district to use PII for a password, both for security and privacy reasons.

a dark-haired women in a blue summer dress, sitting on a table and laughing

My wife and I were recently thumbing through some old photo books, mostly marveling at how our son has grown. One of them has this photo of her from a couple of days we spent in Park City about five years ago. I adore this photo and treasure being able to bring her a smile.

📷 I cautiously suggested I was thinking about getting a film camera and my wife said she thinks it’s a great idea. ❤️

In the span of three weeks I’ve somehow acculumated not one but two mechanical keyboards: A Keychron K2, and a Ducky One 2 SF. I had ordered the Ducky first, but it was out of stock and after about a week it appeared that its shipping date had been pushed back even further – several more weeks out from my reading of the inventory update at mechanicalkeyboards.com. In a fit of impulsive work-at-home consumerism (in which I see I am in good company, I also ordered the Keychron, which arrived in just two days, and I’ve cheerfully been banging away on it for the last couple of weeks.

Well. The Ducky turned out to ship much sooner than I expected based on the order number I had, and it arrived last night.

Comparing the two isn’t quite apples to apples because they have different switches: The Ducky has Cherry MX Browns, and the Keychron has Gateron Blues. My logic with the K2 decision was that I would use it mostly for work, and would appreciate the tactility for day-in typing, while I would mostly use the Ducky with our gaming PC and would prefer a little less key pressure there. Note that this is one hundred percent a ridiculous post-hoc rationalization. I figured, if I’m going to have two of these things, I might as well try a different style. We’ll see how that bears out! I’m swapping back and forth between the two while typing up these thoughts.

I have come to really like the tactility and sound of the blues on the Keychron. I’m a little self-conscious of it when I’m on a work call, and will try out some of the tweaks that Phil describes in his notes. A few keys are a little wobbly or scratchy in their travel, which I don’t notice at all so far on the Ducky. True to the way they’re described, the slightly more positive tactile feel of the blues does make them feel more accurate for doing lots of straightaway typing.

Agreeing emphatically with Phil, I sure think Keychron put the del key in the wrong place. But I do prefer the true top row of F keys on the K2, in part because it means that Esc is a dedicated key and doesn’t share functionality with backtick and tilde; I use all three of those a lot, and I don’t like needing to use modifiers. The Keychron also has a surprise dedicated screen-capture key on that F row, which I find I use way more than I realized for work. It’s really nice to not need to fiddle with multiple modifer keys to find that one. The Ducky has one accessible with the fn key, but I’m never going to remember where it is.

Among other things to really like about the Keychron: The Windows/Mac switch and the three toggle-able bluetooth connections are really good! I won’t actually swap keycaps every time I swap PC modes, but the keyboard comes with both sets of Win and Mac modifiers keys, and my muscle memory with both systems is juuust about good enough to simply change modes and be pretty effective. 1 Three bluetooth settings lets me swap easily between my work PC, my MacBook, and an iPad. This is great for my current home office setup, where I can bring the MacBook over at the end of the work-work day and hook it up to the monitor; then I toggle to Mac mode and tap fn-1 to activate the bluetooth connection to it. It’s really slick, and is a great capability. I haven’t noticed latency as an issue. Both keyboards use USB-C so I don’t need to fiddle with anything to swap between them. The K2 thoughtfully includes a right-angled plug so the cable connection is really low profile.

the stylish rat design on the space bar

There’s no disupting that the PBT keycaps with the Ducky are better. The texture is subtly more pronounced, while the ABS keys on the K2 can feel a little slick – and they definitely show fingerprints more readily. The slightly thicker cap of the Ducky is nicer to feel and to strike. Ducky is also really fun because they throw a few bonus spare keys with different colors or print styles into the box; my Ducky came with a super cool year of the rat space bar, and I’m absolutely rocking that thing. While I’m not a big LED fiddler, both keyboards have lots of light modes, though the Ducky’s LED is a full RGB while the Keychron’s is white. I’m a simple man and go for a steady glow. The shine-through of both key sets is nice and sharp. I’m really thinking about a PBT keycap upgrade for the K2.

If every app were vim, the location of the page up/down and home/end keys wouldn’t matter as much, but, alas. Two weeks in, I haven’t gotten used to the location of those keys on the K2. In addition to the misplaced del key, the Keychron has those four keys in what I think is just the wrong place. Ideally, I would swap the two sets – putting page up/down immediately above the right arrow key. That would make it easier to grab with muscle memory. The Ducky also has a small gap between that column and the main set of keys, which serves muscle memory better, even in just a very short time of use; it also has the Del key in the proper location, and because it uses modifiers to turn page up/down into home/end, there are two fewer keys in the column to confuse my fingers. It’s almost immediately feeling natural to hit fn+ one of those keys to modify it to home/end, and I can locate the correct key much more quickly while touch-typing. This is a really well thought-out design on the part of the Ducky folks.

The height of the Ducky is better – by comparison, the front edge of the Keychron is like the Cliffs of Insanity. This hasn’t actually bothered me in the couple of weeks I’ve used the Keychron, but I can certainly see it being a problem. Trying out a wrist rest is probably a good idea.

Notes on swapping between the two: Having played some Destiny 2 with the K2 and felt the push-back of the stiffer switches, I’m definitely looking forward to the experience of playing with the brown switches on the Ducky. I think the blue switches do win for solid typing feel, but whenever I change between these boards, my first thought is, “wow, the K2 is loud!” It’s probably good that I mostly share my home office (it’s the dining room) with a lab/border collie mix. Phil is 100% on the right track to suggest some modifications to dampen the case noise a little. But both feel similarly robust; neither feels flexy or cheap and nothing makes me sense that the Gaterons are any lower quality than the Cherry switches.

Time will tell if I migrate to one or the other more full-time for work and/or for fun. For now, to finish a way too long and self-indulgent post, I’ll just say I’m a happy convert to these keyboards. They’re fun and feel good to use, and I will take anything I can get that helps me look forward to sitting down to work at this particular moment. Good tools matter; these are both good tools.

  1. What I could really use is a keycap with both modifiers printed on it; that would be an even better solution for the Keychron, and would eliminate the occasional “waaait, which is cmd again?” moment. I’m almost tempted to use a white paint marker to scribble a tiny cmd and whatever-Apple-calls-that-alt-symbol on the K2’s modifier keys. But I’m not there. Yet. [return]

Me: Cheerfully typing away on a note using icloud.com on my Windows PC This is a really slick, easy way to write across platforms. I like it!

iCloud: I’m unavailable now. Did I save your stuff? Only time will tell!

Bow of a paddleboard with low sun reflecting off the water and a tall peak in the far distance

Yep, went paddling again after work this evening. Float therapy has a lot going for it.

Me: Neck-deep in a giant spreadsheet

My son (coming into the room, crying): Dad, why are we here at all if we’re just going to die and the earth will be swallowed by the sun someday?

Snaps one’s fkn perspective right sharp, I tell you what.

My face when I forgot to turn on the espresso machine, but go to make an espresso anyway, finding the machine off and cold.

The bow of a paddleboard on calm dark water with sun touching trees in the distance

Another beautiful morning on the water. Not a bad way to begin another trip round the sun for me.

a lake and clouds overhead, both lit by sunset rays of orange and pink light

Watching sunset from atop a paddleboard on Lake Mary was the right idea, tonight.

Monday bread update: gluten free bread is hard, friends.

Yesterday I learned how to make a Discord bot (success!) and this morning I’m making a loaf of bread (outcome TBD but it smells good in here). It’s a cool monsoon-season day so far. Hope Monday treats y’all well.

a mechanical keyboard with dark gray keys and a white backlight

Well, hello there, noisy little buddy.

In addition to sitting on an exercise ball, I have impulsively ordered a mechanical keyboard, so my transformation to Insufferable Guy At Work-from-home is nearly complete.

Screenshot of commented code reading ‘this is elegant and also wrong.’

How’s work today? Well, here’s the note I just made to myself.

A record player with the album The Highwomen next to it

Decided to listen to some records while at the work-from-home-station today.

A small rocky beach, with a curvy shoreline and dotted with sunflowers

This morning, on the water.

Screenshot of Libby showing a sync code to be entered in a new device

Today I learned that Libby has this fantastic sync feature that lets you copy library cards and info to another device. I wanted to read a book that Libby can’t send to Kindle, and this worked elegantly to make it available on an iPad.

My mid-2014 MacBook Pro has had a good run, but the trackpad has gotten fiddly — which was workable — and the MagSafe cable just split at the connector end — which definitely means a discrete life remaining. I thought maybe I’d hang in there until ARM. But I think it’s time.

Trees and shoreline reflecting in a still lake, with a near full moon high overhead.

It was a perfect, perfect morning to go out paddling. Cool air, glassy water that turned to a few light riffles with a breath of breeze, and the rising sun made for a calming, restoring time on the water.

Self portrait in a pullover blue hoodie in front of shady lake

This morning’s sunrise paddle session was short: it was breezy and cold! I was really glad to have kept my favorite sweater in my dry bag, because I couldn’t have gone out on the water without it. Even so, it was chilly, and I was scared of falling into that cold water.

A partially shaded lake with some high clouds overhead lit by low sunrise light

Checking in from this sunrise paddle session. It was a beautiful, absolutely calm morning on the lake today.

FYI gonna take a couple more days off, everybody.