Hello there, welcome back to Not So Random Software! This week I am taking advantage of the long Easter weekend to wander outside my comfort zone in the world of… mechanical keyboards! Two years ago I started feeling a persistent wrist pain (potential carpal tunnel) which resulted in the need of a split keyboard. I started with the Kinesis split keyboard and have been really happy with it. After one year I decided to take this as a hobby and build one myself, starting with the Iris model. Today is about some of the random things I learned along the way!
A random article or paper
I always thought building a custom keyboard would be quite challenging and time-consuming, but it seems that there has been a shift in the industry that is empowering people to do it at home with great results. You buy pre-designed PCBs (printed circuit boards) from manufacturers like keeb.io and then it’s about connecting a few pieces and customize it to your needs — the fun part! This article shows you a build session step by step with pictures.
A random video or podcast
One of the things that has constantly put me off from building my own mechanical keyboard was the idea of soldering pieces together. I went past this fear by simply watching a couple of Youtube videos on how to do it…it’s not hard!
A random book
Can you believe that there is a book on mechanical keyboards? I would have never thought when I started researching this, but the community grew quite rapidly in the last 5 years!
A random tool
I started learning VIM because I couldn’t configure the hotkeys to the level I wanted on Intellij Idea. That lead me to further configurations like Hammerspoon or Karabiner-Elements. That eventually led me to the mechanical keyboard community, and in turn to the idea of configuring your own keyboard firmware using the QMK open-source firmware…it’s a rabbit hole!
A random line of code
Do you know that you can play music using Ruby thanks to the Sonic-pi software? Now you do! And here is an example:
A random quote
When someone is searching then it can easily happen that the only thing his eyes see is that for which he is searching. He is then unable to find anything or let any thought enter his mind because he always thinks of nothing but the object of his search. He is obsessed by a goal; searching means having a goal. But finding means: being free, open, and having no goal. Hermann Hesse. Siddhartha