Other mech board alternatives ... for use before TextBlade GR shipping

So I have been using my Planck for a while now…I have also taken a regular job so I don’t need to travel to so many sites.

I am thinking of ordering a crkbd kit which will be a significant outlay considering I also have to build the thing.

I am still kind of holding out hope that I’ll see a GR/TREG TextBlade. I haven’t checked my shipping window for over a year so I don’t even know when the “expected” ship window. But given I ordered coming up 5 years ago I’m also not really going to be shocked to discover that it is still a year away.

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that looks like a nice mech board, I don’t think that building it will take very long.
I’m just waiting for the delivery of my keyboardio atreus (https://shop.keyboard.io/products/keyboardio-atreus) which will be my new portable keyboard. I will probably do a review video after it arrives next week.

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In case the TextBlade doesn’t ship, eventually I’d be looking for other solutions too. Though in my case, my main focus wouldn’t be the physical keyboard, though that is important. Rather I’d start with wanting to know what the latest options are for programming one.

Because I’d want to have it work as much like the TB as possible! Certainly this would mean I’d need to have it read multiple key combinations (to get things like “command”, etc). And recognize if the space bar is held so it can do a “green layer” (and shift-green layer).

Essentially I’d want to only be using 3 rows for almost everything, just like the TextBlade. Oh, I’d certainly make use of the other rows, but I sure don’t want to have to reach for number keys any more! I’d use the other row keys for some special stuff. Much like I use the emoji layer now - I set some stuff so, even when the keyboard is set aside, I can reach out and do some basic things with just two fingers without having to set up both hands to do the same thing.

Don’t know what apps can do all that and, of course, which keyboards allow it.

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I also have an Atreus on the way, it is in the local post office as i type, so far sooner than my Blade. It will be interesting to see how it works.

QMK is the answer to all of the questions.

Any mech board that supports QMK, which is almost all of them.

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Thanks. Two quick questions:

  1. Are there any of the things I’ve described that OMK can’t do?

  2. Does the process cause any lag in typing?

I have my Planck doing similar things to what you describe. Along with the much more.

As for typing lag; I’m not sure. I haven’t noticed any. I’m not the fastest typist in the world; but I have noticed that my speed has improved since typing on the Planck.

I built a crkbd this year. It was my first build and took about 1.5-2 hours. I did not do backlight LED’s on mine. My biggest challenge is that I can’t program it with my work laptop as the corporate security settings will not allow me to install the required software, so I have to use my wife’s laptop if I want to change anything.

I have the OLED screens on mine, but haven’t gotten them to work yet.

As far as lag I don’t think there would be any. The keyboard has a micro processor (two in the case of the crkbd) and you are mapping the output to the electrical input from the key. Then anytime the micro processor sees that electrical input it gives the mapped output. I have changed my laptop back to QWERTY as the standard QMK output is “QWERTY” but my keyboard is programed for Dvorak.

I have three layers programmed, standard alpha, special characters, and one that has a number pad on one side and a collection of operation keys on the other. I have keys that will toggle to a layer, and also keys that if I hold the other half of the keyboard will shift to a different layer (eg. hold left index key, right side of keyboard is num pad).

Typed on CRKBD.

I had problems with the micro usb sockets on the board being weak. I ended up getting a usb cable with magnetic end on I leave the end in the socket and disconnect at the magnet when needed. It also limits the amount of force that can be applied to the socket if the cable gets bumped.

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It’s just so… BIG!! And I assume that this also needs to go in a case, making it even bigger. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of these keyboards: build it yourself, program as you like, etc. It’s just …

I think the TextBlade has spoiled it for any other keyboards. It’s size when open (and closed) is presently unmatched. Unfortunately, they haven’t finished it yet so that everyone can enjoy it. Hopefully, soon.

I agree that it is significantly bigger than a textblade. I don’t move it a lot, but other than the aforementioned socket it seems fairly robust. I put it in a section of my bag mostly isolated and don’t worry about it.

Another related question. Now I have some idea of what to do long term if things go south - OMK mechanical keyboard, wireless! (though I’ll definitely want to find one ready built because DIY is definitely not my thing!), is there anything out there for more typical keyboards. For example, using a standard Apple keyboard, etc?

Just thinking about playing around with something now even if I never actually need to use it if TB gets to GR.

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This brings up a completely different question. Do the TextBlades require the infrastructure (apps and whatever Way Tools provides) in order to work at all? After waiting 5 years I am wondering if there is no GR what happens to the people who love their TB. Will this all have been a dream not realized.

As I recall, once set up, you don’t need the apps, etc, to do anything other than make changes later, if you want.

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On linux you can use xmodmap to remap your KB inputs to do other functions. I haven’t really looked into it much as QMK allows for much more significant customization.

I am not sure if there is an equivalent OSX system.

Too bad that even stalwarts like DBK have to consider their options if “things go south”. Waytools, can you give us reason for confidence other than some version of “We’re working hard”, like, for example “Here’s what’s left before we ship the new infrastructure to TREG”.

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Actually, I’ve posted many times, going way back, that I couldn’t be sure it would ship. I think way back in 2015 - certainly by early 2016 - that maybe there was in issue with magnets working consistently (I had no idea about the technical issues, but like always I was considering all possibilities I could think of).

Now, I will say that I’m more concerned now than I was 2 years ago. The longer it takes, the more concerned I’ll be. And I still have a number of possibilities I consider (but don’t know enough info about).

But what I do know is that the TB is i brilliant device. I never would have thought that a keyboard which is smaller than any other, which one would normally think of as just something where portability is more important than actual typing experience, would turn out to be superior in typing feel and convenience (less reach in general, far superior editing capabilities, etc) to any full-size keyboard I’ve ever used - and it isn’t cramped at all!

I have a corne and the IMK aluminum case. I really like it, though it was a lot of money and time. Soldering it probably took me twice as long as @Xbhamcb for just the basic keyboard. I added LEDs later and those were as much of a pain as everyone says. I eventually got them on and then later some of the solder connections went bad and I haven’t bothered to fix them.

I also use a magnetic cable and even reinforced the usb port on the board with hot glue. My kids somehow still managed to bust it off :frowning: I just switched the cable to the other keyboard half and programmed that as the master. It’s not perfect and I will likely upgrade to the controllers with USB C ports at some point.

The IMK case is really nice and I particularly like the tenting. There are some minor problems with it due to flipping the boards and the offsets of the components. Someone on Reddit had a post with all the problems detailed and I think I saw some boards designed to work around the problems. By now it might even be possible the cases have been updated though I’m not sure. If you want I can find that Reddit post.

Edit: It looks like the v3 circuit boards will fix both the case offset issues as well as the pain to solder LEDs. This makes me want to join the group buy and try the LEDs again.

How about Karabiner? Don’t know much about it, but some people talked about it here before and I got the impression it didn’t require some special keyboard. But no idea if it can deal with all these key combinations we routinely use on the TB.

I received my keyboardio atreus yesterday.
It is programmable with some easy to use free software called chrysalis that runs on windows, mac and linux.
I did a quick video review of the keyboard.