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Pretty Good Hat

Tag: keyboards

I’ve ordered myself a holiday vacation treat: I’m going to build myself an Iris. It’s my first try at a split keyboard, and I’m looking forward to both the build and the experiment of using it!

A photo of a scone covered in butter on a plate

Every time I see a “workers need to be back in the office” take, I’m going to reply with this photo of a fresh homemade scone covered in homemade clotted cream, sitting beside my keyboard while I work in the morning sunlight streaming through my window.

Keyboard Week!

What a great hobby week. A few days ago I built a keyboard with my kiddo, and yesterday I got started on a build for myself. We built the KBD67Lite from kbdfans. While I’ve had a couple of mechanical keyboards, these were the first that I’ve built up from parts – fortunately, the kbdlite comes as a nice kit which made for a gentle introduction to lubricating stabilizers. (Which, by the way, makes a tremendous difference.)

close-up view of a hotswap PCB

Kiddo picked out keycaps that make this lovely gradient, and they feel really nice.

side view of a purple keyboard case with keycaps that run from vivid to pale pink and orange

I went with gray keycaps on a white case. So far this board is a real pleasure to type on. Now that I have a good point of comparison with my Q1 board I can start to get a feel for how qualitatively different switches and keys can feel. By comparison, the Q1 is indeed a little pingy, for example, so I’m even more curious to see how some modifications to its components could feel.

top-down view of a white keyboard case with gray and dark gray accent keycaps

After the build, I did some work in QMK to program a couple of MacOS specific layers for the KBD67Lite. Unlike the Q1, it doesn’t have a hardware mode switch, so I have to make a virtual one that lets me toggle Mac and Windows layers with a key combination. Fortunately I was familiar with working in QMK from all the screwing around I did with the vim mode I built, so it didn’t take too long to figure this out – and I’m happily typing away!

A blue plastic keyboard case without switches or caps installed, showing the bare switch sockets, held in my hand

Building this kbd67lite with kiddo was a good Christmas day project. (I got one for myself, too – caps and switches should arrive tomorrow!)

screenshot showing the QMK configuration of a keyboard layer, with the RESET command highlighted

The hardware flash mode on the Q1 requires removing the space bar and pushing a tiny button while plugging in the keyboard. But you can program a key to do this instead. This is a massive improvement! Fiddling/Learning QMK would be terribly cumbersome otherwise.

Keyboard programming with QMK update: Adding more vim keys to a new layer on my Q1! After a long time idly thinking it would be neat to have vim-style navigation in, for example, an Outlook compose window, I can now toggle layers and do exactly that. It’s pretty slick.

A plastic bag containing grey and blue keyboard switches. The bag is labeled T167g.

Oh, this keyboard hobby is going to be a Thing, I can tell. I got some alternative switches to try in my Q1. These are quiet tactile switches, slightly stiffer than the stock Gateron browns. I swapped them in for ESC and return, and got a nice, just stronger feel with less ping.