manufacturing

When you pay attention to what you type on

At work I use a Thinkpad w510. It’s one of those big slabs of computing that brings you joy to use. It has ye olde scissor switch keyboard that everyone knows and loves. I hear the new chiclet style keyboard is decent… but just that, decent. This keyboard is the real deal, behold:

Thinkpad W510 Keyboard

There’s only one problem. The machine has a Nvidia Quadro FX 880M. This is a really damn nice GPU to have on a laptop and I’m thankful for it. The problem is it runs hot, uncomfortably so for the workloads that I throw at it. This means I ended up having to use an external keyboard to avoid having my left hand run a full 10° higher than the rest of my body. I ended up with this, a regular Apple iMac keyboard:

Apple iMac Keyboard

Since I’m using it on Windows I have to deal with Apples outright disregard for its hardware users on platforms that are not macOS. Now, with this said, I’ve been looking for years for a PC keyboard that has the same key feel as the stuff Apple makes plus a few things:

  • Volume control buttons.
  • Media control buttons.
  • Full set of home keys and numeric keyboard. None of that weird ultra-minimalist keyboards that make you regret using a computer.
  • A full set of F-keys
  • Macro keys would be nice to have
  • Have it be wired. Wireless sucks and it’s insecure. If it must be wireless then give people the option to use an USB cable instead.
  • USB hub.

At home I use a Corsair Gaming K55 RGB keyboard. It’s got all the goodies I outlined above minus the USB hub but it does have backlighting:

Corsair K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard

It’s a nice piece of kit. Not that loud since it uses regular plastic switches as opposed to mechanical, but you can still feel a nice clack when the keys bottom out.

So basically what I want is a flat keyboard like Apple makes but with a bunch of extra keys. Got some benefits for it:

  • Wired means you don’t have to worry about battery life.
  • Flat means you can pack it in a bag with a minimum of fuss.
  • The minimalist look will make people lose their shit.
  • The keys will still feel really nice on long typing sessions.
  • They won’t hear you typing at the coffeehouse across the street.

I’ve been looking for something like this for years, and no manufacturer has stepped up to the plate. They’re all trying to chase the look Apple has but they come up severely lacking when it comes to the functionality. This would be a keyboard for people who are not afraid of buttons on their devices— say, DIP switches on the back to emulate various settings, like the CODE keyboards do. If some Chinese upstart were to start making a device like this and not load it up with a secret keylogger it would probably do pretty well for itself.

But what do I know. After all I’m only looked at as a kitchen hand these days.

vroooooom VROOOOOOOOOMMMM

Bernstein is interested in this phenomenon as “memeufacturing” — a couple of social-media stars (or garden-variety celebs) post viral videos of themselves using an obscure gadget, and halfway around the world, factories shut down their e-cig lines and convert them, almost overnight, to hoverboard manufacturing lines. Bernstein cites a source who says that there are 1,000 hoverboard factories in South China — and another one, Chic Smart, outside of Shanghai, that’s threatening to sue all the rest for patent infringement (good luck with that).

Source: Pre-mutated products: where did all those “hoverboards” come from? / Boing Boing

So we’re supposed to call them hoverboards? I want my real weather controlled, fusion powered DeLorean, then.

By the way, maybe the Segway would have been an actual, y’know, revolutionary product if it had looked like this to start with.