Author Topic: Mini Keyboard with Trackpoint  (Read 272948 times)

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Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #100 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 16:42:34 »
I probably could do the 90 degree bend at the sides and at the front. At the front there would have to be cutouts for the switches but it would be still a 'manufactured' edge. If I'd leave the back as it is the pcb could still be dropped in from above.

Unrelated, my wife just complained about the noise from the blue Cherries, LOL.

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Offline bigpook

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« Reply #101 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 16:44:37 »
Quote from: lowpoly;14630
I dropped the whole board from 3 feet and nothing happened. It landed on the case though.

What kind of damage szenario could that be? If I dropped my HHKB on the floor I wouldn't expect it to survive that.

The keycaps are tough as can be. You'd need a big hammer to break them.

I notice the keycaps are exposed on the keys that face the outside of the board. It just seems like something/anything can get wedged in there and maybe cause damage/issues with the keyswitch, maybe.
Your right about dropping it on the floor, aside from a Model M, there stands a good chance of some kind of damge, bezel or no bezel.
And while the keys are tough, how tough are the key switches?

Its probably nothing, but now is the time to bring these questions to the fore.
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Offline bigpook

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« Reply #102 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 16:48:11 »
Quote from: lowpoly;14632
I did that. Looking at it now I should have done it again after stripping the first paint job.


ok, so thats not really an issue then.
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Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #103 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 16:50:13 »
Thinking more about the 90 degree bend I don't think it would look good. Just look at the bottom pic and the radius that is created by a bend. You can't do cut-outs with that radius.

Anyway, I don't think the case can be mass produced like I did it here. So it would either have to be plastic or machined Aluminum. No bend problem with either of these. The question is just how the edge should look.

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Offline bigpook

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« Reply #104 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 16:55:38 »
Quote from: lowpoly;14637
Thinking more about the 90 degree bend I don't think it would look good. Just look at the bottom pic and the radius that is created by a bend. You can't do cut-outs with that radius.

Anyway, I don't think the case can be mass produced like I did it here. So it would either have to be plastic or machined Aluminum. No bend problem with either of these. The question is just how the edge should look.


If its plastic of machined aluminum, then the 180 degree bend that bhtooefr suggested would look nicer. Then again, it just needs to look finished, so some kind of rounding at the top would work. Visually, I would suggest that there be no sharp edges.
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Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #105 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 17:00:35 »
Quote from: bigpook;14634
And while the keys are tough, how tough are the key switches?
The switch is weaker than the cap, no question. But you'd have to do crash tests to see what happens. The cap might just slide off. Or the upper part of the switch falls off but you can clip it back together. On the outer rows I pull the keycaps off all the time without using a keycap puller. Not as precise but so far no problems.

Edit:

Quote
Its probably nothing, but now is the time to bring these questions to the fore.
Of course, I appreciate it. Let me know when I get too defensive. :)

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Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #106 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 17:09:57 »
Quote from: bigpook;14640
If its plastic of machined aluminum, then the 180 degree bend that bhtooefr suggested would look nicer. Then again, it just needs to look finished, so some kind of rounding at the top would work. Visually, I would suggest that there be no sharp edges.

Maybe it's time for a 3D model now. I really wanted to avoid that. :) With something like this, you have to see it.

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Offline bigpook

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« Reply #107 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 17:10:40 »
Quote from: lowpoly;14643
The switch is weaker than the cap, no question. But you'd have to do crash tests to see what happens. The cap might just slide off. Or the upper part of the switch falls off but you can clip it back together. On the outer rows I pull the keycaps off all the time without using a keycap puller. Not as precise but so far no problems.



So thats not an issue then, ok. Moving on.
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Offline bigpook

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« Reply #108 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 17:12:48 »
Quote from: lowpoly;14645
Maybe it's time for a 3D model now. I really wanted to avoid that. :) With something like this, you have to see it.


: ) And I take it that you are able to render this as a 3D model?
I bow to your skillz, lowpoly.
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Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #109 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 17:39:30 »
:)

Doing this well will take time but might come handy with production.

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Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #110 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 18:29:04 »
neat. photoshop?  I agree about the bezels, absolute blasphemy.

It sounds like I'm a minority voice here but I say again if you go too far from a normal layout you're going to appeal to a handful of geekhackers with esoteric typing habits rather than to the masses -- and I would hope this beautiful design is destined for the masses ;)

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Offline Chloe

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« Reply #111 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 18:30:45 »
Interesting location. I find small trackballs (like the one in my Compaq) too slow on big resolutions. I wonder if something like a Blackberry trackball could be added to the top of the space bar key with some firmware so fast movements would move it further.

Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #112 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 18:34:15 »
I still want to put it in a sandwich and eat it.

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Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #113 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 18:36:56 »
Quote from: webwit;14666
True if you don't change the defaults. But if I change the mouse settings when using a Compaq MX 11800, it works fine on my 1900x1200.


but you're not using a separate driver for the mouse on the mx11800 right? So when you switch back to your laptop's mousepad dont you have to readjust your mouse settings?

I had this problem with my mx 11800. Gave up on the mouse cuz didnt want to keep switching mouse settings as I went back and forth.

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Offline bigpook

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« Reply #114 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 18:49:55 »
Quote from: wellington1869;14662
neat. photoshop?  I agree about the bezels, absolute blasphemy.

It sounds like I'm a minority voice here but I say again if you go too far from a normal layout you're going to appeal to a handful of geekhackers with esoteric typing habits rather than to the masses -- and I would hope this beautiful design is destined for the masses ;)


While I really like the design, this is not a keyboard for the masses.
It has no blinking lights, no multimedia keys, no flluff.
I would think this keyboard would appeal to people in the same way that the HHKB, Topre, Filco....keyboards do.
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Offline Chloe

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« Reply #115 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 18:54:47 »
Quote from: webwit;14666
True if you don't change the defaults. But if I change the mouse settings when using a Compaq MX 11800, it works fine on my 1900x1200 (and I like my pointer real fast).


If I changed the mouse settings would it affect my other trackballs? I don't really need to get it working though.

Offline Chloe

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« Reply #116 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 18:59:26 »
Quote from: bigpook;14670
While I really like the design, this is not a keyboard for the masses.
It has no blinking lights, no multimedia keys, no flluff.
I would think this keyboard would appeal to people in the same way that the HHKB, Topre, Filco....keyboards do.


I think they should make rubber dome versions of these keyboards for people who like the styling but aren't really interested in the switch technology.

Offline bigpook

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« Reply #117 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 19:00:36 »
Quote from: Chloe;14674
I think they should make rubber dome versions of these keyboards for people who like the styling but aren't really interested in the switch technology.


What would rubber domes give you? Aside from a cost savings.
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Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #118 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 19:06:08 »
I think it will come down to lowpoly's vision of what he wants (and the marketing possibilities that his OEM manufacturer -- if he winds up with one -- wants to exploit).  Either way so long as there are multiple versions of this board, different market segments (from specialized to mass markets and anything in between) can be addressed (and all of us in those different niches can have something to buy that we're happy with).

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Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #119 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 19:09:45 »
After all, lowpoly may decide that what he wants is to sell it to five of his friends for whom he'll pick up a soldering gun and put the boards together in his basement and that will be that.

*shudder*  

;)

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Offline Chloe

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« Reply #120 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 19:10:22 »
Quote from: bigpook;14677
What would rubber domes give you? Aside from a cost savings.


Nice looking, compact keyboards? :)

Offline bigpook

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« Reply #121 on: Sat, 13 December 2008, 19:14:20 »
Quote from: Chloe;14681
Nice looking, compact keyboards? :)


: ) yeah, that would be true...
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Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #122 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 14:26:50 »
Quote from: webwit;14661
lolz, i has can pimpt yer keyzbort !!!

Show Image


Blasphemy, surely! Just as those bezel lovers! (it looks much better without).

It got the backspace, ~` solution from the HHKB. Two keys intentionally left blank as I didn't know what to put there by default - me, as a colemak user I like BS on the position of Caps Lock, but that's not very mainstream.
Well done. :) Doing the backspace change would have been hard to do without machinery and nothing to solder it to. But the main reason not to do it was that I like backspace and enter more apart. And I have backspace on Fn+space which I really, really like.

The trackball looks good there.

And I agree that CapsLock should be a blank key. Not sure if Cherry has it without the step. The middle row is different than the others. A couple of blank keys for the bottom row should be included anyway.

Quote from: Chloe;14663
Interesting location. I find small trackballs (like the one in my Compaq) too slow on big resolutions. I wonder if something like a Blackberry trackball could be added to the top of the space bar key with some firmware so fast movements would move it further.
Or like the one in the Apple Mighty Mouse. I thought about putting the mouse buttons directly into the space bar but decided against it because I feared that the added weight and cables might affect easy movement.

Quote from: Chloe;14674
I think they should make rubber dome versions of these keyboards for people who like the styling but aren't really interested in the switch technology.
From a sales POV definitely not a bad idea.

Quote from: wellington1869;14680
After all, lowpoly may decide that what he wants is to sell it to five of his friends for whom he'll pick up a soldering gun and put the boards together in his basement and that will be that.

*shudder*  

;)
I spent so much time on this, I'm not going to make another one by hand. So it's all or nothing. :)

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Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #123 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 14:43:04 »
Quote

I spent so much time on this, I'm not going to make another one by hand. So it's all or nothing

eeexcellent :)
Lowpoly,  honestly, just make sure that this board doesnt meet the same fate of all the  other boards that we all like on geekhack - difficult to find and buy because they've deliberately shot themselves in the foot by deliberately trying to appeal to a hyper-specialized demography or market.  Thats the self-limiting cycle I'd love to see your board eventually break out of. Geekhackers love your board, but dont limit yourself to the geekhacker market. All of our complaints of unicomp, dsi, etc have been their lack of imagination in marketing (and in not producing obvious variations). Thats what you should avoid! Think big with this one, please, I'm begging you-- otherwise yours will be merely another "neat" specialized keyboard that eventually geekhackers will be talking about saying "now why didnt he put in this and market to that? He would have sold a million more and secretaries everywhere would have benefited". Break out of that cycle of limited marketing imagination that all the good boards out there seem to be confined to.

my 2 cents :)

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Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #124 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 14:44:14 »
The problem is, every single variant will greatly increase the production costs, especially if there are PCB changes or case changes involved.

Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #125 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 14:49:21 »
IMO the worldwide keyboard market is unimaginably huge (and growing! as the BRICs come online), and IMO, keyboard manufacturers even ones with great products, arent even making the slightest real effort exploit it.

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Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #126 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 14:51:42 »
The problem is, with the economy the way it is, even if he DOES market the hell out of the things (we're talking throwing more money than even Microsoft does at marketing one keyboard model,) and gets them in every store, the things won't sell that well.

Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #127 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 14:53:46 »
Quote from: bhtooefr;14761
The problem is, every single variant will greatly increase the production costs, especially if there are PCB changes or case changes involved.


I think from a marketing pov, each variant is treated as a separate product, with its own cost/sales analysis. Also, just like starbucks will operate a store in Times Square even though it has no chance of being profitable, some variants will be necessary as "prestige" variants (like linux layouts or hhkb versions, all of whcih will have limited specialized uber-geek niche). So some variants may well lose money, but the whole product line benefits. The real money comes from the appeal of the brand, the whole product line, to the masses of ordinary users. Prestige is part of that marketing appeal, and if Apple has proved anything, prestige can be a powerful mass market booster. If many of the ordinary consumers realize for the first time why mechanical switches are different (product differentiation is a huge part of the marketing strategy, along with prestige) and begin using mechanical switches for the first time because of this board - everyone benefits.

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Offline bigpook

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« Reply #128 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 14:54:32 »
I don't see this as a main stream keyboard. Its for a niche market, no?
If its produced and available I would think word of mouth would get the message out.
Keyboard geeks will find it if its out there : )
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Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #129 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 14:55:21 »
However, especially in this market, 99% of people are thinking, "why should I spend more than $10 on a keyboard? That $10 keyboard will do everything I need it to."

And, even in the mechanical switch market, you're competing against the Das Keyboard (which DOES have marketing behind it) and used Model Ms.

Also, being in a niche market isn't necessarily a bad thing. I think the way lowpoly is marketing is focusing on the niche, while not ignoring other markets (note the mention of never having to leave home row, so he's marketing to the ergonomic market some.)

Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #130 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 14:57:15 »
Quote from: bigpook;14767
I don't see this as a main stream keyboard. Its for a niche market, no?


I guess I'm saying it ought to be both; both niche and mainstream markets are addressed with variations on the theme and brand, layout and switch options.  I'm saying he should think big like that, and I guess IMO the biggest mistake existing manufacturers are making is they're not thinking big at a time when the size of the overall market for their product is growing by leaps and bounds.  IMO anyway.

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Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #131 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 14:58:30 »
And I think that if you're not based in China, making cheap-ass rubber dome keyboards, your market is shrinking, not growing.

Let's face it, this is a luxury product we're talking about.

Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #132 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 15:10:05 »
Quote from: bhtooefr;14768
However, especially in this market, 99% of people are thinking, "why should I spend more than $10 on a keyboard? That $10 keyboard will do everything I need it to."


I guess I disagree with this on two levels.

1) Lets say what you say is the case. But if statistically the market for keyboards is huge anyway and growing on top of that, and if most consumers are buying $10 boards, then the approach a keyboard manufacturer should take, is to educate the consumer. This is what Apple did so successfully.  In marketing circles there is an old story: A wealthy shoe manufacturer had two sons and he was trying to decide which son would inherit the business. He sent both sons to India, telling them to report back on the conditions in India and the possibilities of their company expanding to India. The sons go to India and discover that among the masses very few people wear shoes in India. The first son comes back: "Dad, no one wears shoes in India, we dont have a chance there. I recommend we dont expand there." The second one comes back: "Dad, no one wears shoes in India - we should immediately expand into India."  Guess which one inherited the company?

2) My second response to "people are happy with $10 boards" is: I dont think this is true. I think this is a bit of a myth. Take my secretary for instance (ie, the secretary in the office where I work). She's a fairly ordinary secretary as far as secretaries go. She's fairly clueless about technology, doesnt much care about technical things. Like everyone else in the office she gets a computer upgrade every 3 years or so. I've helped her and countless other secretaries upgrade their machines when they're buying new equipment. And my experience is that she is in fact hyper concious of the perceived quality of her accessories. That includes keyboard and mouse. She has always bought a keyboard that looks good and that she thinks will be comfortable, type well, etc etc. Even she has done compare and contrast between keyboards, talks about them, etc. She makes her living too in front of the keyboard. She merely lacks information. She sticks to membrane versions because that is what is thrown in front of her at best buy and staples, not because she couldnt recognize - and desire - and understand - the benefits of mechanical switches and better layouts. She would appreciate them if a manufacturer made the attempt to reach into the places where she shops -- catalogs and B&M stores.


So I disagree on both counts. First if the market isnt being addressed, lowpoly should address that market.  Second if information on product differentiation isnt out there for the masses, lowpoly should put it out there for the masses. Thats the right response, IMO, not assuming that interest isnt there, or market isnt there. Information makes the market out of thin air. In this case it isnt even entirely out of thin air; its an existing and growing market as millions in the BRIC nations come online. Thats the whole secret sauce of capitalism, isnt it?

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Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #133 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 15:12:23 »
Quote from: wellington1869;14760
eeexcellent :)
Lowpoly,  honestly, just make sure that this board doesnt meet the same fate of all the  other boards that we all like on geekhack - difficult to find and buy because they've deliberately shot themselves in the foot by deliberately trying to appeal to a hyper-specialized demography or market.  Thats the self-limiting cycle I'd love to see your board eventually break out of. Geekhackers love your board, but dont limit yourself to the geekhacker market. All of our complaints of unicomp, dsi, etc have been their lack of imagination in marketing (and in not producing obvious variations). Thats what you should avoid! Think big with this one, please, I'm begging you-- otherwise yours will be merely another "neat" specialized keyboard that eventually geekhackers will be talking about saying "now why didnt he put in this and market to that? He would have sold a million more and secretaries everywhere would have benefited". Break out of that cycle of limited marketing imagination that all the good boards out there seem to be confined to.

my 2 cents :)

Quote from: bhtooefr;14761
The problem is, every single variant will greatly increase the production costs, especially if there are PCB changes or case changes involved.

Variants should be added one at a time. But it may be good to think about it even before you do the first. Like J.K. Rowling knew the complete Harry Potter plot before she started on the first book. :)

I'm currently thinking about the case. A machined aluminum version will be nicer but more expensive. Saving production costs by using rubber domes or scissors may just make no sense if you have an aluminum case keeping the price somewhat high.

Edit: Added the quotes after which I clicked "reply".

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Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #134 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 15:18:22 »
Quote from: lowpoly;14773
Variants should be added one at a time.


Sure, but IMO there are four, maybe five, variants that seem immediately obvious. A couple of those address uber-geek markets (linux versions, hhkb versions). A couple of those address wider markets (we know alps and cherries are popular, so alp versions of the pcb and cherries versions). One might addresses widest market in layout (normal layout). One might address mass market (rubber dome version).  These variants seem obvious right at the get go. Further versions can come out as other opportunities are identified.

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Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #135 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 15:22:06 »
Alright, how about this... you launch with an aluminum case, Cherry blue (clicky sells to geeks that don't know about the various switches, which is many of them) version, just like this.

That's your top of the line model.

Expand downwards from there.

However, I think if you're going that angle, a rubber dome version might not make sense, unless you're going for this condensed layout on every model, which won't hit mass market well anyway.

The TrackPoint should be optional, though, on models below your initial "halo" model. Quite a few people hate TrackPoints.

(Of course, look at the Happy Hacking Keyboard. They've got the halo model of all halo models, the Professional HG Japan.)

Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #136 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 15:26:30 »
Quote from: bhtooefr;14765
The problem is, with the economy the way it is, even if he DOES market the hell out of the things (we're talking throwing more money than even Microsoft does at marketing one keyboard model,) and gets them in every store, the things won't sell that well.


Personally I think that the fact that keyboards havent been fettishized for the masses yet, and remain a fetish only for uber-geeks, represents one of the most historically huge marketing opportunities in history. We are talking about a product that literally hundreds of millions of workers around the world sit in front of for 8 hours a day, use 8 hours a day, and is the first thing they see after drinking their coffee in the morning, and the last thing they see when they turn off their computer at the end of the day.  And such a product hasnt been fettishized for the masses yet? What a historic marketing opportunity.  Apple fettishized the lowly mp3 player; apple fettishized the cell phone, apple fettishized the laptop and even the mouse for a while. We need not be apple; the marketing principle is the same. Apple went approached a product - the mp3 player - that millions and millions of people already owned, were already using, it had a market already. What they did was make it neat and prestigious and they capture enormous parts of that market for good.  And yes, they did it by having a neat product (which lowpoly has) PLUS throwing gobs of money at advertizing and product differentiation for the masses - which lowpoly needs to do next.

The lack of fettishization of the mp3 player was an opportunity, an opportunity for advertizing, prestige, product differentiation. Apple threw gazillions at marketing and ads for something taht no one had marketed in a focused way like that before. The exact same opening exists for keyboards. All it takes is will. Millions want a better keyboard - even if they dont realize it yet. Exact same situation as existed with mp3 players.

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Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #137 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 15:29:03 »
OK, well, one thing is, what is the primary niche we're going for? (There can be multiple answers to that question.)

Compact? (Which I think might be it - note the "type-in-style" domain)

Ability to never have to leave the home row?

Mechanical keyswitches?

Programmability isn't a good niche to go for, nobody cares about that.

Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #138 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 15:35:28 »
Quote from: bhtooefr;14771


Let's face it, this is a luxury product we're talking about.


So is everything apple sells, but they are  simultaneously  mass market products.

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Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #139 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 15:42:48 »
Quote from: bigpook;14767
I don't see this as a main stream keyboard. Its for a niche market, no?
The layout makes it a niche product. You have to educate yourself to use it. The mass won't do that. An optional docking station might be nice that adds the F-key row and cursor block. I think I mentioned this one before.

Quote from: bhtooefr;14775
That's your top of the line model.

Expand downwards from there.
Yes and the other way round would be hard unless you're in China.

Leaving the Trackpoint away wouldn't be a difficult variant.

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Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #140 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 15:52:46 »
Quote from: wellington1869
Personally I think that the fact that keyboards havent been fettishized for the masses yet, and remain a fetish only for uber-geeks, represents one of the most historically huge marketing opportunities in history.
When I think about marketing,  those executives come to my mind that use a $400 fountain pen to do some signatures, then move back to their $5 keyboard for the rest of the day.

Email brought back the keyboard for people who wouldn't have written a line 30 years ago.

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Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #141 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 16:26:08 »
Also, I already asked it, but it wasn't answered...

What is this brand's niche? Obviously, the halo board (the one that epitomizes the brand) is the one in this thread, but what's supposed to make this brand special?

If it's compact boards, then making a full-size 104-key board wouldn't make any sense.

If it's minimalist style, a full-size 104-key board with the same style of case may actually make sense.

If it's a high-quality typing experience, rubber domes wouldn't make any sense, even if we were aiming for the mass market.

Those are just a couple examples (and, there may be multiple niches.)

Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #142 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 16:44:23 »
Quote

What is this brand's niche? Obviously, the halo board (the one that epitomizes the brand) is the one in this thread, but what's supposed to make this brand special?


I guess I'm saying that what makes this brand special a) that it is a neat design with mechanical switches AND b) the varieties it comes in and modularity it brings.

Its niche is that - unlike every other specialty mechanical board out there - it will not confine itself to a niche.

On the contrary,  it will be designed from the ground up, and from the get go to accomodate the most popular switches and layouts that we know of. It will be designed from the ground up and from the get go to be as modular as possible.

So this means not only do we have a set of prestige/halo boards and mass market boards, but we make modules and customization as easy and interchangeable as possible. (Thus immediately creating a secondary market for accessories-- and immediately creating an "upgrade path" for those who buy the cheaper version and add features to it later on).

So for instance, from the ground up it should be designed so that, (just as some examples) the following features should be upgradeable/downsizeable:
-trackpoint should be plug-in plug-out, and available as a post-purchase add-on option (in addition to being already included on the prestige versions).
-usb ports should be a module that pop in/pops out. (similarly, while being already included in prestige versions).
-numpad, arrow keys, and other options should clip to the side (either left side or right side, multi compatible). other modules we can come up with or third parties will offer (thus further enhancing the appeal of the board). This might include game controllers, calculators, trackpads, etc etc)
-dip switches to control certain things like control-capslock swap.

Having this modularity reduces the number of versions of the *main* board that needs to be offered. Want a fullsize? buy the numpad and arrow cluster modules, end of story.  

Its niche is that it fits into multiple niches, designed to do so from the ground up, on certain obvious things that other manufacturers have already done, but they havent taken those features to their full logical extent, but this board will, and will be a one-stop-shop mechanical board with huge accessory market that third parties will fill and that we can fill too - if we design it that way from the get go.  

As with modularity, so with varieties of switches and layout -- thus offering options that no one else is offering on a neat looking mechanical switch board.   Refusing to be pigeonholed because unlike all those other manufacturers, we would (from the get go) recognize the keyboard market as utterly untapped and we'd be willing to tap it with a single product line with modularity and interchangeability and upgradeability and customizability.  Thats its niche, IMO. And that makes it different from Das, unicomp, DSI (whose modular board is a move in the right direction but they'll never exploit it for what its truly worth), etc.  Filco too has the right idea, coming out with a new variant (the white alps) of its tenkeyless. Again thats the right direction, and the direction we need to push this board in. Variants and interchangeability and upgradability - for a basic board which is already very appealing but needs to stand out more from the competition. And we do that by doing what all these other boards are not: mass marketing, fetishize the keyboard for the masses.

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Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #143 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 16:52:02 »
Well, I was more asking lowpoly what it was. ;)

But, that is an interesting approach... that requires a redesign of the whole thing to make it TRULY modular. (Or, just making the USB hub mandatory, and running cables into it for the modules.)

Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #144 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 16:54:35 »
Quote from: lowpoly;14779
The layout makes it a niche product. You have to educate yourself to use it. The mass won't do that. An optional docking station might be nice that adds the F-key row and cursor block. I think I mentioned this one before.

I agree the function keys as a dock (or modular plug in) would be fine; but alternately for the more mass market oriented versions, just make it a normal layout (with an additional F-row built in, like the smk's). So again versions will be the key, IMO, to its appeal, whether thats achieved via modularity or just pcb versions.

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Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #145 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 16:57:15 »
Quote from: bhtooefr;14785


But, that is an interesting approach... that requires a redesign of the whole thing to make it TRULY modular.


ya, I guess thats what I'm asking (begging, really) lowpoly to consider from stage one, from the ground up, from the get go, and thus ensure for himself a truly unique product, a product which is not just visually neat, but functionally truly differentiated, and which will make expansion into new market niches much simpler later on.  

He has an opportunity to do this, build this philosophy into the board, precisely because this board isnt made yet.  And that --opportunity-- is the huge advantage he has right now versus every other manufacturer out there, IMO. (While addressing a long standing set of complaints geekhackers have always had, about unavailability of the particular version or variant they wanted to buy because no one is making it.)

This kind of modularity built into the design from the ground up ends that problem for the uber-geeks for good; and at the same time it opens up easier entry into a variety of mass markets.  Its win-win, and he has the chance to do it because he has just begun, and because he is part of this community that is so plugged into what is needed and what it takes.

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Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #146 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 17:59:57 »
Quote from: bhtooefr;14785
Well, I was more asking lowpoly what it was. ;)

I actually have to think about that. The only thing I'd really like to keep is the smallest footprint possible, be it this version or a bigger one without numpad. Others would be typing experience and design.

Never having to leave the home row is a feature of this board but might not apply to a product line. And while I think the ergonomic value is there I'm not sure it is proven. So it probably boils down to design and typing experience. That doesn't sound like a finished plan.

Quote from: wellington
modularity

I like that, I actually thought about doing a cursor block in the same design that could be snapped to the current case.

What you describe requires some major design changes making the board more expensive in the short run. Or, to avoid this, you need to install a much bigger operation with serious long term goals.

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Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #147 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 20:28:44 »
kensington slimblade, IIRC, uses simple magnets to attach its modules to each other. Wouldnt need any major casing changes and is pretty elegant.
But ya, I'm definitely suggesting taking a large range view here ;) (ie, you have a universally acclaimed design here, I'm just saying dont limit your market artificially the way every other mechanical board manufacturer seems to have done)

(btw, microsoft sidewinder keyboard is another modular one).

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

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Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #148 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 20:36:00 »
However, it has a bezel.

The bezel-less design is part of what makes this keyboard so distinctive, and it would be quite difficult to implement with modules, unless you had unsightly edge connectors or something...

Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #149 on: Sun, 14 December 2008, 20:43:26 »
Quote from: bhtooefr;14802
However, it has a bezel.

The bezel-less design is part of what makes this keyboard so distinctive, and it would be quite difficult to implement with modules, unless you had unsightly edge connectors or something...



lowpoly's board has a low bezel too tho, the sides could be lightly magnetic. That way there's no need for unsightly connectors either. Another option is for connectors underneath the board/numpad rather than on the side (as clips).

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

using: ms 7000/Das 3