Hello everyone, since last Tuesday I´m a happy user of a Treg Unit Marc gave me when we met in Santa Monica. But I get ahead of myself.
I visited friends in LA and took the chance to ask Waytools if there is any chance to see a TextBlade in person while I´m over there. I didn't expect an answer but for my great surprise Marc called me up and we arranged for a late meeting the day I flew back to Europe. It was a kind of end of business day meeting so I expected to meet someone from public relations for a quick hello, maybe a short look around the office and then a few moments playtime with a TextBlade and off I go into the night either wanting one more then ever or being relaxed, that this thing is not as big of a gamechanger than I thought. Litte did I know, that all would turn out different..
First of all, I have to say it was a more than amazing meeting. Marc himself welcomed me and took me to a grand conference room overlooking Santa Monica - at least as much as one could see - it was late and super foggy.
Marc is an exceptional and inspiring man. We talked about the present and the future, development, films, design, art, culinary bits, politics and a lot more. And he put all in context and in the last extent brought it back to the TextBlade and other things they are working on. Thanks again for this experience!
After 4 hours I touched the TextBlade the first time. Looking at it without any context it was actually bigger than I expected. It´s not small enough for my jeans-mini-pocket. BUT its amazingly small if you once get to take it around more. It´s unbelievable how small it is considering how much tech hides inside the package. And it definitely fits well next to my iPhone 7 in the normal jeans pocket, disappearing if not needed.
Marc took the time to give me an in-depth "tour" of the TextBlade and a lot of its internal finesses that they developed from the ground up because no one did it before. He showed me a lot of the features I imagined reading through this forum and answered all my questions. It's funny how the possibilities the TextBlade already offers open up pandora's box and the mind does not stop imagining even greater features (which all will be possible with the new firmware, thats why they put so much effort and manhours into this).
And then the unexpected happened close to midnight, he offered me a place in treg - how a gadget that I bought years ago could excite me so much. While nibbeling on fantastic dark chocolate we went through the legal stuff and there I was, holding the smooth package in my hands. Silky cardboard wraps around and holds the Blades. If only all "buying" experiences could be like this (I'm sorry Marc, I hope this does not lead to masses storming your office longing for "chocolate and blade")
Late and exhausted from all the impressions I drove home. The first time I could actually play was waiting for my flight in the airport restaurant the next day and I immediately got some looks of wonder what I have there. I know now, that happens. It did with my 67 year old neighbor on the plain, she wanted to have one immediately, cause she cannot type on screen, but typed all her life on typewriters and keyboards. It happened with my neighbor who came over to get something. And of course in meetings. I see a lot of dropped jars. Fun !
Typing the first few words is really weird. I'm not a touch typist in the classic sense. I use all my fingers, but i float around the keyboard and use different fingers on the same keys sometimes. muscle memory is not beneficial at this point. (but as I type this on the TextBlade right now I'm getting faster by the minute and it's definitely better and less exhausting for the hands. Just still a bit slower. and sometimes I catch myself "floating around" pressing the same key with two fingers with no welcome output.)I also rewalize that I'm so used to a straight keyboard that my Pinky "is too short" for P. that needs some more effort right now. Funny enough the Backspace is no problem.
The intelligent recognition of the pressed keys, if my finger is on I and K but it knowx tht i wanted the I is working great .. maybe i'll have to adjust the A a little bit though. Seeing the testsoftware implemented and the way the blades recognize velocity and force and the exact place on the key is astounding and with the new firmware could open up great possibilities to be used as a midicontroller and things like this. Oh my, i'm getting more excited by the minute.
Getting to know all the special layers is a fun ride. I'm a big fan of the edit layer. and like Marc explained everything makes sense and is consistent throughout the blades standard maps. the arrow keys are some kind of arrow function on every layer. something that is very conforting and great.
I downloaded an app for the iPhone to train the typing and that helps, but simply forcing myself to touch type helps the most.
After getting past my jetlag I started playing more intensly with my new "toy" (even though its surely no toy in the classic sense - but it makes fun to use ... so kind of is). I configured Jumps to use on my Mac next to the mentioned iphone. That was a fast and easy process and I had the feeling the Blade showed up faster than any other bluetooth device so far. I had to deactivate and reactivate "hot corners" (thats really a handy feature where you have CMD on one corner of the spaceblade) to get them working though. But thats also fast and easy. ... or I forgot to setup the jumpslot as MacOS first ... it was probably me.
I just realized that I never mentioned the feel of the keys. They are just so perfect, you forget that this is something you could do wrong developing. I'm a great fan of the wired apple chicklet/aluminium keyboard, the one with the num pad. I use it on all my computers and think this was the last really good keyboard from apple. It has the right travel, the right sound and feel of the keys. And the Textblade is even a bit enhanced, because it has a nice click as well, followed with a smooth stop. It's hard to describe but it feels very good.
Anyway, after jumping around between iPhone and mac, my mac suddenly ran into a connection problem and the Bluetooth stack went wild. I sent Waytools a support ticket, it was Saturday afternoon, just to let them know asking how I could provide some kind of log and then tried to delete and reconnect the Keyboard lost in loop. I turned Bluetooth off and on, took the Textblade apart to restart it... and I couldn't even restart my computer before Marc called me and fixed the issue together with me. An unbelievable customer service they want to implement in a way even after general release.
And while I had him on the phone I asked him about another issue I ran into:
I use spectacle, a small tool to rearrange appliction windows with the keyboard. something you will greatly miss if you ever used it. For it I use a certain keycombination that incorporates alt cmd and arrows... a combination that is not possible to recreate easily on a textblade BUT (there is the but again) the whole nature of the textblade and its maps allowed me to put the window movement onto the function layer (Marc guided me through the process that is pretty selfexplanatory, but great to have the mastermind on the phone to explain the consistency idea again). so the keyboard shortcut ended up on home row and is accessible way faster and more convenient now.
Something I realized while talking to him and grasping the possibilities of the reprogrammable keys is, that I will have a perfectly configured keyboard where ever I go. I use a lot of custom shortcuts in Video editors for example. And when I work on a new system where I can't install my profiles I can now use the standard settings together with a preconfigured Map instead of customizing the software manually each time. That will safe a lot of time.
Also, I use a lot of text expanders for phrases and credentials I use often. my email address or bank details or phone numbers. these sync on my devices - but they don't work in every app or on computers i'm not logged in. now I just put them on the macro layer and boom. I have them ready to go on all devices ... if I'm logged into cloud or not.
I'm still at the very beginning but I can already tell taht this will be my go to keyboard for a lot of tasks once i muscle-memoried the s*** out of it.
thanks again Marc for taking me in and showing me your chocolate factory. And thanks to your team for putting all this knowledge, and detailed work into it, thanks for all the time you are investing in this. I hope you will have a lot of memorable "real life moments".
will report back once I'm more settled with this great tool.