Author Topic: Thoughts on the CTRL Keyboard?  (Read 16700 times)

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Offline etatauri

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Thoughts on the CTRL Keyboard?
« on: Mon, 09 April 2018, 11:51:14 »
I was wondering what you guys think of the new CTRL keyboard that's coming out. I am tempted to buy a barebones board.

I have a K-Type at the moment, and while I still love the keyboard I am a little disappointed by the lack of software support.
What're ya'lls opinions regarding KLL vs QMK, and K-Type vs CTRL?
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Offline Blaise170

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Re: Thoughts on the CTRL Keyboard?
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 09 April 2018, 12:21:55 »
I joined the drop for it. It checks almost every box that I'd want in a custom and also comes in at under $200.
I proxy anything including keyboards (キーボード / 鍵盤), from both Japan (日本) and China (中國). For more information, you may visit my dedicated webpage here: https://www.keyboards.es/proxying.html

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Offline mkozlows

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Re: Thoughts on the CTRL Keyboard?
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 09 April 2018, 16:44:36 »
I have a K-Type at the moment, and while I still love the keyboard I am a little disappointed by the lack of software support.
What're ya'lls opinions regarding KLL vs QMK

Are you a programmer-type, or someone who would use the visual configurators?

If the former, you can take QMK out for a drive right now with your K-Type (it doesn't support the LEDs, apparently, but the keys should work fine) and get a sense of it. I'd say that the general sense is that it's more mature, has capabilities that KLL doesn't expose, and that defining custom keymaps is actually a little nicer. (In theory, KLL being a declarative DSL should make it cleaner than raw C; in practice, QMK's raw C has a bunch of ease-of-use macros that make it syntactically pleasant, while KLL has a rigid JSON/YAML-like format.)

If the latter, yeah, I'll be honest and admit that I'm totally baffled by I:C's online configurator thing, and don't understand how it's even supposed to work. But the options for QMK are all kind of speculative for your purposes: Massdrop is working on making a configurator for the CTRL, but (per their KS) it's "alpha-state" right now. Based on the little preview video they have, my suspicion is that it'll turn out pretty nice, but I don't particularly love their older Ergodox configurator (compare to the genuinely excellent one for the Ergodox-EZ). The QMK people are working on a graphical configurator, but it's still very early in development.

Upshot is, the QMK stuff currently has more built-in capability, and is more powerful today if you're comfortable doing some light programming-type tasks; by the time the CTRL is delivered, it'll probably also be true that it has a better GUI configurator, but that's a bit of a gamble.

Offline Techno Trousers

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Re: Thoughts on the CTRL Keyboard?
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 09 April 2018, 17:45:11 »
I joined the drop for it. It checks almost every box that I'd want in a custom and also comes in at under $200.
+1. I ordered a barebones unit and will populate with some of the 550 box jade switches I ordered from a previous drop. I'm not sure which cap set I'll use yet. Probably Pulse round 3. Oh yeah, I need to join that today.

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Thoughts on the CTRL Keyboard?
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 09 April 2018, 18:08:03 »
So, it is a dark-anodized version of the Input.Club K-Type ... Big deal.
Still does not support ISO, because it is Massdrop it probably still has rattly stabilisers and it has a hideous floating-key design so that you can all

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Offline etatauri

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Re: Thoughts on the CTRL Keyboard?
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 09 April 2018, 18:30:39 »
Are you a programmer-type, or someone who would use the visual configurators?

Unfortunately, my programming skills are not great. I know a bit about markup languages like HTML and CSS, and have looked through enough javascript to kind of decipher what's going on and edit/copy/paste things to make it work for me.

With KLL there was just no documentation for me to study. I wanted to learn how to do animations but I couldn't figure it out.
All I really want is to have 4 layers for Qwerty, Colemak, numpad, and function layer, and have the resources to do custom animations.
IC's configurator, while at times good, still seems very clunky...

It really sucks that the selling point of these keyboards, the software, is where the gamble lies. I didn't buy the K-Type because it just looked nice. I bought it because it was supposed to be community-driven, open source, and highly customizable with a kick-ass configurator.
Input Club K-Type / Vortex Pok3r / Magicforce 21 / Razor Blackwidow
MX Clear / MX Blue / IC Halo Clear / NK Box Pale Blue / NK Box Navy
SP DSA HC Dolch / SP Dye Sub DSA / SP SA Dasher / MD MT3 /dev/tty / KC Strong Spirit

Offline mkozlows

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Re: Thoughts on the CTRL Keyboard?
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 10 April 2018, 10:08:49 »
With KLL there was just no documentation for me to study. I wanted to learn how to do animations but I couldn't figure it out.
All I really want is to have 4 layers for Qwerty, Colemak, numpad, and function layer, and have the resources to do custom animations.
IC's configurator, while at times good, still seems very clunky...

It really sucks that the selling point of these keyboards, the software, is where the gamble lies. I didn't buy the K-Type because it just looked nice. I bought it because it was supposed to be community-driven, open source, and highly customizable with a kick-ass configurator.

As far as I can tell, I:C is still supporting the K-Type in their Kiibohd firmware, so it genuinely is community-driven, open-source, and highly-customizable. I mean, it's the same firmware they're using on their Whitefox and Kira stuff, so despite the breakup with Massdrop, it's not like that firmware has been abandoned.

Anyway, based on your goals, I'm not convinced that a QMK-based board would work any better for you. The layers, sure, that's easy, and I strongly suspect that Massdrop's configurator will make that straightforward to do with the CTRL. But custom animations are probably going to be something where you need to drop down into actual coding in the near future.

Offline Blaise170

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Re: Thoughts on the CTRL Keyboard?
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 10 April 2018, 10:11:12 »
Even if you can't program it yourself, I'm sure you could find someone in the community willing to help you out with it.
I proxy anything including keyboards (キーボード / 鍵盤), from both Japan (日本) and China (中國). For more information, you may visit my dedicated webpage here: https://www.keyboards.es/proxying.html

View my current and past keyboards here: https://deskthority.net/wiki/User:Blaise170

Offline crystalhand

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Re: Thoughts on the CTRL Keyboard?
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 10 April 2018, 11:00:31 »
With KLL there was just no documentation for me to study. I wanted to learn how to do animations but I couldn't figure it out.
All I really want is to have 4 layers for Qwerty, Colemak, numpad, and function layer, and have the resources to do custom animations.
IC's configurator, while at times good, still seems very clunky...

It really sucks that the selling point of these keyboards, the software, is where the gamble lies. I didn't buy the K-Type because it just looked nice. I bought it because it was supposed to be community-driven, open source, and highly customizable with a kick-ass configurator.

As far as I can tell, I:C is still supporting the K-Type in their Kiibohd firmware, so it genuinely is community-driven, open-source, and highly-customizable. I mean, it's the same firmware they're using on their Whitefox and Kira stuff, so despite the breakup with Massdrop, it's not like that firmware has been abandoned.

Anyway, based on your goals, I'm not convinced that a QMK-based board would work any better for you. The layers, sure, that's easy, and I strongly suspect that Massdrop's configurator will make that straightforward to do with the CTRL. But custom animations are probably going to be something where you need to drop down into actual coding in the near future.


The support for Kiibohd is still there but has never been as good as QMK in my opinion.  They are slower to roll out new features and they can have major issues with a board for months before they get around to addressing it.  I have my infinity ergodox running kiibohd but much prefer my dactyl running qmk.  Kiibohd is simpler to use but not nearly as robust.

Offline Data

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Re: Thoughts on the CTRL Keyboard?
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 12 April 2018, 10:04:04 »
I joined the drop for it. It checks almost every box that I'd want in a custom and also comes in at under $200.

Same.  CTRL fixes most if not all of the issues I had with the K-Type.