Author Topic: Mini Keyboard with Trackpoint  (Read 124146 times)

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Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #30 on: Thu, 11 December 2008, 21:54:38 »
so basically you want the HHKB style with some modifications; I actually want a perfectly normal layout lol! I do my shortcuts with autohotkey so I need the standard layout else it messes up my hotkeys.

so there should be an hhkb version and a regular version... :)

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Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #31 on: Thu, 11 December 2008, 21:55:29 »
What makes this thing better than an HHKB is that it has more hotkeys to play with. I wouldn't consider an HHKB because of its lack of modifiers, and that SO MUCH is hidden.

And, with a LOCKING Fn key, it removes the major deficiency that the HHKB has with navigation.

I've gotta make that clear, though - caps lock MUST BE A LOCKING FN for me to buy this board.

I know there are locking keyswitches in both the Cherry MX and Alps camps, so that won't be a problem.

Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #32 on: Thu, 11 December 2008, 21:56:45 »
I love the "swirl" icon that he put on the winkeys and on the cable strap. Very funky.

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Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #33 on: Thu, 11 December 2008, 21:59:47 »
Yeah, that is a nice icon.

You know, is that your attempt at a Geekhack logo, or something else, lowpoly? (It IS supposed to be a G, after all.)

Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #34 on: Thu, 11 December 2008, 22:03:29 »
omg is that supposed to be a G? That would make a pretty great geekhack logo I think :)

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Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #35 on: Thu, 11 December 2008, 22:13:36 »
Also, I think it goes without saying that we want full 6-key rollover on this thing.

This thing is gonna be low enough volume that I doubt it'll add all that much to the cost.

(That is the problem with the Cherry vs. Alps thing, it'll add significantly to the cost to add another keyswitch type, unless they can use the same PCB... but they'll still need different keycaps.)

Offline D-EJ915

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« Reply #36 on: Thu, 11 December 2008, 23:29:17 »
I say solder in the locking key yourself ;)

If I were to buy a keyboard like this I would want it without the pointing stick to be honest.  Also right control keys are useless, especially on a keyboard with no arrow keys so that could be made into some additional modifier key or something.

I also like how the happy hacking keyboard sticks the #|\ key (left of 1) on the opposite side of the keyboard, for me this is a key I use quite a bit so having it easily accessible is somewhat essential.  I'd also prefer the right alt to be swapped with the 'G' key as it's an Alt Gr for me and the closer it is to the center the better.  The key right of shift added on the 105 keyboard is really not important.

Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #37 on: Thu, 11 December 2008, 23:35:05 »
Oh, nice, the alternate action (locking) Cherry MX switches are 2.1 oz, same as the blues. :)

So, if it were a Cherry-based board, I'd want 59 MX1A-E1DWs (blue, with diode, PCB mount,) 1 MX1A-31DW (alternate action, with diode, PCB mount,) and 1 MX1A-F1DW (green, with diode, PCB mount.)

Of course, all those diodes might not be necessary for a 6-key rollover board...

Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #38 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 05:28:48 »
Quote from: bhtooefr;14320
I really should draw my optimal layouts... how many Fn-style modifiers does that controller support?

Only one additional layer.

Quote from: iMav;14323
I'm fairly ignorant when it comes to the logistics regarding what it would take to produce production keyboards...but for what it's worth, you have the full support of geekhack.  If we can be of assistance, just let me know.  (we need a go to keyboard here)  :)

Thanks. There's a lot to do to make this production ready. I didn't think it through yet fully but plan to during the next days.

Quote from: bhtooefr;14325
(I'm thinking of this from a production standpoint. Buying TrackPoint IV keyboards to rip them apart to integrate the pointing stick = wasteful.)

Thanks for the Alps tip, I didn't know that. I think you can buy original Trackpoints. The company who manufactures them didn't care to respond to my emails though, grrrr.

Quote from: wellington1869;14330
all I can say is if the guy who launched metadot could do it on a whim with no previous manufacturing experience, then I think any of us can. Just a matter of getting the funders together with the lawyers :)

He never manufactured anything himself though. It still might be the right thing to do these days.

Quote from: wellington1869;14334
There's only 2 things I'd request changing on the design above --
1) that the capslock key be a normal flat-top key and not the 2-step or '2-level' style
2) that we throw in the normal 12 function keys along the top.

The flat capslock key won't work on this board, because the key won't go down very well when pressed on the lower part. It would need a level bracket then.

WRT to function keys I could build an extension module with function keys and cursor block from the left over G80 parts. I could even use the original G80 controller with that and feed it into the USB hub. Like a docking module. But accessing the function keys with Fn and number is perfectly intuitive? If you really need them you could use the number row for function keys and program a Fn numpad somewhere using the number row keys. The keycaps even have the same slant.

Quote from: bhtooefr;14340
So, really, what we need to do is optimize the layout. Of course, the Caps key will be used for different things by different people. I'm thinking of mine as a navigation lock (implemented as a shift - I know there's versions of the Cherry MX that support physically locked keys,) now, with the editing block on the home row and the row immediately above it, with the arrow keys on WASD.

I'd use Fn for accessing function keys...

Of course, that begs the question... do I really even need two separate Fn shifts? The only inaccessible keys with that layout would be the numpad, which... isn't really needed all that much (except for Alt codes, but I use those rarely enough that I can use charmap instead.)

So, here's what I want on the top row:

Esc should be the `/~ key in Fn mode
1 through =/+ keys should be F1 through F12 in Fn mode

(I'm guessing this is how the top row is already implemented...)

Row 2:

W should be Up Arrow
U should be Insert
I should be Home
O should be PgUp

Row 3:

CapsLk should be a physically locking Fn
A should be Left Arrow
S should be Down Arrow
D should be Right Arrow
J should be Delete
K should be End
L should be PgDn

Row 4:

Leave it alone.

Row 5:

Keys should be in this order:

Ctrl Win Alt Space Menu RtFn RtAlt RtCtrl

RtFn shouldn't be physically locking. It'll be useful for when I quickly need to navigate in the middle of something, but don't want to lock it down.

(And, I want Menu there because that's as close to the spacebar as I can get it, perfect for using it as a scroll button.)

Top row is as you said.

Rows  2-4: I like the WASD idea. What do you think of the NEO navigation layout? This is for an ISO keyboard though.

Row 5: Do you want to use Menu as a middle mouse button ("scroll")? I'd probably swap Menu and RtFn because I like to press Fn with the thumb... However, the keys in the bottom row are all the same size and re-programming is quickly done.

I might actually try this during the next days.

Quote from: wellington1869;14341
so basically you want the HHKB style with some modifications; I actually want a perfectly normal layout lol! I do my shortcuts with autohotkey so I need the standard layout else it messes up my hotkeys.

so there should be an hhkb version and a regular version... :)

It would be easy to provide a few layout files. And you can pull the lower row keys without a keycap puller because the edges are not hidden.

Quote from: bhtooefr;14344
You know, is that your attempt at a Geekhack logo, or something else, lowpoly? (It IS supposed to be a G, after all.)

No, the original name I had in mind also starts with a G. :)

Quote from: bhtooefr;14348
Also, I think it goes without saying that we want full 6-key rollover on this thing.

This thing is gonna be low enough volume that I doubt it'll add all that much to the cost.

(That is the problem with the Cherry vs. Alps thing, it'll add significantly to the cost to add another keyswitch type, unless they can use the same PCB... but they'll still need different keycaps.)

I have some ideas for a switch design, I'll have to see how this works out. :)

The pcb layout has to be done anyway, nKey rollover just adds some complexity. And the diode switches should be more expensive.

Quote from: bhtooefr;14362
So, if it were a Cherry-based board, I'd want 59 MX1A-E1DWs (blue, with diode, PCB mount,) 1 MX1A-31DW (alternate action, with diode, PCB mount,) and 1 MX1A-F1DW (green, with diode, PCB mount.)

:D

Rollover is not that good right now. It currently depends on using additional rows and columns.
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Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #39 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 10:27:11 »
Not really feeling the NEO layout, and it has some limitations that make it not good for this layout (with F keys on the board.)

And, yes, I'll be using RtFn less than the scroll button. I use trackpoint scroll ALL THE TIME right now.

But, you might ship it in this layout, for that cluster:

RtAlt RtFn Menu RtCtrl

That way, it looks like a standard Windows 104-key layout in that cluster, and it IS reprogrammable, so I could just change it to be how I want it.

Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #40 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 12:25:22 »
You're right about the NEO layout, I forgot the F keys. NEO has 4 layers so it's less cramped.

Currently I use a well known Japanese layout for the cursor keys just so I don't have to adapt when switching between keyboards. I'm not too happy with that one though as it relies heavily on the right pinky. I'll try WASD next week.

Quote
But, you might ship it in this layout, for that cluster:

RtAlt RtFn Menu RtCtrl

That way, it looks like a standard Windows 104-key layout in that cluster, and it IS reprogrammable, so I could just change it to be how I want it.

Sounds like a plan. A couple of blank keys for the space bar row might be nice. For ex. I never use RCtrl.

I just used Autohotkey to put the middle mouse button on menu. Very nice.

Speaking of standard layout...

Quote from: D-EJ915
I also like how the happy hacking keyboard sticks the #|\ key (left of 1) on the opposite side of the keyboard, for me this is a key I use quite a bit so having it easily accessible is somewhat essential. I'd also prefer the right alt to be swapped with the 'G' key as it's an Alt Gr for me and the closer it is to the center the better. The key right of shift added on the 105 keyboard is really not important.

I thought about that layout change for some time and finally decided against it. First it would have been very difficult to pull off without machinery. I only had a Dremel and a simple power drill. And I'm not that precise with my pinky so more distance between enter and backspace is good for me.

I'm using the board on my laptop now and the large feet work perfectly. I can even move the 'board around into any position I want (one of the big advantages of the small footprint).

Also, I put Ctrl-X/C/V on Fn-S/D/F. Not a big improvement but still nice. I'll move that to the other side for WASD navigation.
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Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #41 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 12:29:20 »
ESDF for the arrow key cluster actually makes more sense (which is what the NEO does,) as that moves right arrow to the F key, but WASD is more standard for an arrow cluster. (Think first person shooters.)

Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #42 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 12:41:31 »
Oh, and what's your opinion on making Caps Lock a physical Fn lock, with an alternate action switch?

Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #43 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 12:52:15 »
Sorry about the triple-post, but do you mind if I post this on other forums to gauge interest in a production version?

Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #44 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 12:57:56 »
Quote from: bhtooefr;14396
ESDF for the arrow key cluster actually makes more sense (which is what the NEO does,) as that moves right arrow to the F key, but WASD is more standard for an arrow cluster. (Think first person shooters.)
NEO uses ESDF because then home and end can be put to the left and right of the horizontal arrow keys. Which is quite elegant. But WASD is well established which I prefer.

Quote from: bhtooefr;14398
Oh, and what's your opinion on making Caps Lock a physical Fn lock, with an alternate action switch?
I think using CapsLock as LCtrl is highly popular so many would be put off by that switch. But I understand the reasoning behind it. I think we need both.
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Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #45 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 12:58:26 »
lowpoly what r u planning in terms of manufacturing? To take it to an oem manufacturer? Is that different from what metadot guy did?

(And yes I think we'll need multiple versions of this (both layout and switches) to make everyone here happy ;) I'd definitely only want normal layout (and preferably with normal function keys since I use them a LOT, both for custom functions and for programs, tho I might buy it even if they were just tied to function key). The trackpoint I could live either with or without.) But normal layout on the remaining keys is a must... at least on one version of the board...

"Blah blah blah grade school blah blah blah IBM PS/2s blah blah blah I like Model Ms." -- Kishy

using: ms 7000/Das 3

Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #46 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 13:05:04 »
Quote from: bhtooefr;14402
Sorry about the triple-post, but do you mind if I post this on other forums to gauge interest in a production version?

Not at all, thanks for doing this.
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Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #47 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 13:06:57 »
That is elegant, but my idea does put End on a home key (whereas the NEO layout doesn't,) and it puts Home one row above a home key.

Of course, maybe I could just do what wellington said, and solder in my own alternate action switch. :P

Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #48 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 13:44:40 »
Quote from: lowpoly;14407
Not at all, thanks for doing this.


we should generate buzz so that this actually gets made (including pressuring and hounding lowpoly himself) ;)

"Blah blah blah grade school blah blah blah IBM PS/2s blah blah blah I like Model Ms." -- Kishy

using: ms 7000/Das 3

Offline itlnstln

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« Reply #49 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 13:51:59 »
This is a very cool design.  Lowpoly should get this thing patented and in mass production.  I am not a huge fan of the small layouts, but this is great (I do love my ml-4100, too).


Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #50 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 13:53:32 »
So, I'm thinking, the following configurations...

60 MX Black + 1 Grey Linear
59 MX Black + 1 Alt Action + 1 Grey Linear
60 MX Brown + 1 Grey Tactile
59 MX Brown + 1 Alt Action + 1 Grey Tactile
60 MX Blue + 1 Green
59 MX Blue + 1 Alt Action + 1 Green

61 Strongman White
61 Strongman Black

Of course, right there, that means that you've got two different PCBs (unless lowpoly has an idea for running both Cherry MX and Strongman switches on the same PCB,) eight different switch configurations to run on the production line, and two different sets of keycaps (and that's just for one color.)

Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #51 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 13:56:20 »
by the way I'd probably never use the usb port and power adapter thing. if it saves any significant money, maybe a version without those (and without trackpoint) as a lower cost version maybe.

Oh, and dont forget european layouts.

"Blah blah blah grade school blah blah blah IBM PS/2s blah blah blah I like Model Ms." -- Kishy

using: ms 7000/Das 3

Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #52 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 13:57:01 »
I look at this board and I have the urge to put it between two loaves of bread and eat it.

"Blah blah blah grade school blah blah blah IBM PS/2s blah blah blah I like Model Ms." -- Kishy

using: ms 7000/Das 3

Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #53 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 13:59:34 »
I almost wonder if we could expand to those layouts after this thing takes off. The US market has the weakest selection of good keyboards, IMO.

(There may also be the fact that I want one of these, and I want US layout with horizontal enter. :p)

Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #54 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 14:05:45 »
every one of these should ship with an iMav-knitted keyboard sock. (personalized with your name on it).

"Blah blah blah grade school blah blah blah IBM PS/2s blah blah blah I like Model Ms." -- Kishy

using: ms 7000/Das 3

Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #55 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 14:12:25 »
Well, they are fully programmable, actually, already. ;)

Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #56 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 14:13:45 »
it should definitely come with a set of dip switches that do stuff. For instance control/capslock switching can be done that way right? That way a bunch of minor variations can be taken care of with dip switches.

"Blah blah blah grade school blah blah blah IBM PS/2s blah blah blah I like Model Ms." -- Kishy

using: ms 7000/Das 3

Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #57 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 14:15:01 »
Quote from: webwit;14446
I bow deeply and humbly while retreating backwards for geekhack's new king.


LOL! Walking backwards is quite a skill (did you see 'the madness of king george'?)

"Blah blah blah grade school blah blah blah IBM PS/2s blah blah blah I like Model Ms." -- Kishy

using: ms 7000/Das 3

Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #58 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 14:24:59 »
Quote from: wellington1869;14406
lowpoly what r u planning in terms of manufacturing? To take it to an oem manufacturer? Is that different from what metadot guy did?

(And yes I think we'll need multiple versions of this (both layout and switches) to make everyone here happy ;) I'd definitely only want normal layout (and preferably with normal function keys since I use them a LOT, both for custom functions and for programs, tho I might buy it even if they were just tied to function key). The trackpoint I could live either with or without.) But normal layout on the remaining keys is a must... at least on one version of the board...

As for OEM, can't say that yet. So, IF it will go into production: I agree that multiple versions would be good. Much can be done by programming the controller and moving keys around. Different switch brands will be more difficult. Everything that requires a different pcb layout will be a lot of work.

Quote from: bhtooefr;14408
That is elegant, but my idea does put End on a home key (whereas the NEO layout doesn't,) and it puts Home one row above a home key.

Of course, maybe I could just do what wellington said, and solder in my own alternate action switch. :P


Quote
Row 2:

W should be Up Arrow
U should be Insert
I should be Home
O should be PgUp

Row 3:

CapsLk should be a physically locking Fn
A should be Left Arrow
S should be Down Arrow
D should be Right Arrow
J should be Delete
K should be End
L should be PgDn

So, if you don't have the double action Fn: This would require constant change of the Fn key? Assuming that the other hand will press Fn. I think I'd prefer all the cursor keys on the left hand. Like f/v for home/end and g/b for pgup/pgdn (which I rarely use anymore).
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Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #59 on: Fri, 12 December 2008, 14:26:18 »
And there's even been mention of giving it blank keycaps. ;)

Edit: If you're going to use that approach, I'd do f/c and g/v. B is a bit of a reach for a left hand key.