So, happy to report I got a phone interview a week ago and then a week later, this Thursday, I received a TextBlade in the mail.
Friday evening I received a call from Mark Knighton From Waytools and he did a very thorough walk through and introduction to the TB.
I know for some of you this will be annoying to hear someone other than you has received a TB but hopefully this will also give everyone hope to stick with the program for the release.
First of all, packaging is first class. They even put little bumpers around the box so that it sits snugly in the bubble wrap envelope and doesn't bounce around in shipping. The box itself is beautifully designed and constructed very solidly. I know a lot of this has been covered before but since not everyone has read everything I’ll recap certain things.
I'd reviewed a lot of the material online including the wiki (http://waytools.rocks) when I found out I was in Treg so I was pretty well prepared when the TB arrived. It took me less than a min to connect to my MacBook and within 10 min I was jumping between my laptop and my iPhone. I'm now writing this on my iPad in jump slot 3.
I used the TB all day Thursday and Friday and now, Saturday morning, its already starting to feel natural.
BTW this is KB 11 and keys still have the older green ink. MK said that they have the green ink fixed but are waiting until the last min to re-print keycaps. When they are ready he said they can do like a thousand sets a day so this won't be a hold up.
When I ordered the TB back in 2015, I was expecting a simple, compact travel keyboard for my iOS devices. Nothing special. Now that I’ve started using the TB I see that it is so much more.
As soon as I took it out of the box I could feel the quality. The motion and click of the keys is very satisfying. I showed it to my 23 year old daughter who knew nothing about the TB (other than Dad had been waiting a long time for it) and she immediately commented on the feel of the device, that she could feel the quality, and that the keys we're really satisfying to press. As a point of comparison, my MacBook Pro keyboard feels slightly spongy.
The software itself is a feat. The flexibility and power it puts into the keyboard is awesome. It has all the tutorials built in. The ability to map any key configuration, add macros and customizations is great. I haven't done this yet but I plan to create some custom layouts for specifics apps and then load them into different jump slots.
One thing that speeds up the learning curve a lot is that the app allows you to show a copy of the keyboard at the bottom of the screen as you type (on iOS). The on screen keyboard dynamically modifies as you press modifier keys so you can find things tucked away on deeper layers. This allows you to keep your eyes on the screen as you type and work with various key layers. I wish this feature existed on the Mac. I'll probably be using my iPad a lot more now because of this one thing.
Layers are really logical and I'm picking them up pretty quickly. This isn't a keyboard you'll be able to just hand over to someone without some explanation.
Also the app, in addition to controlling the TB is also the conduit to WayTools. All support issues, upgrades, requests are all handled though the app.
The call with Mark
The call was actually several hours long and took place starting at 7:00pm on Friday west coast time. I mention this in response to anyone questioning the dedication of the company to this product. Eventually we had to end the call so he could drive his wife home.
We walked though a lot of the basic features and he took me all the way through how to create macros, custom layouts etc. We also covered how to down load updates and interact with support.
We spent a good amount of time covering the underlying hardware. I didn't realize they build the key mechanisms themselves to get just the right feel. Also the keys don't have springs in them but the bounce is controlled by magnets. There's even an accelerator in the space blade that you tap to turn the TB on when its turned off. Super sophisticated.
I didn't ask why I was chosen for Treg.
I didn't ask about release dates or gating issues. It's obvious they want to get to GR as much as we do.
He did mention that there were many issues/bugs that came up though the Treg program that would have been real problems if they weren’t addressed.
He mentioned that Apple users are ideally on the most recent OSs and that TB is ready for iOS 11.
He also said that the reason he does some of these walkthoughs personally is because he's figuring out what points of the current documentation need to be more clear and what needs to be documented. Eventually everything will be documented enough that there will be no need for personal walkthroughs. Also they use these calls to get clearer feedback than you'd get over a written medium.
Both Mark and Jennifer who interviewed me originally are really nice people and super professional.
TB is without a doubt the best keyboard I’ve ever used. It's not an evolutionary step, yet not too far a leap that it feels weird or unfamiliar.
It makes you aware how much we use keyboards, not just for text entry, but for controlling our devices in many ways.
I'll most likely be using my iPad a lot more and leaving my computer at the office.
So a long post. Happy to say, "Typed on a TextBlade".