The ongoing saga of a TREG user - tlrogers


09-12-2016 - Quick note. @mp3monkey had a great idea to try to have some of the TREG users post more frequently of their day to day interaction with their TREG units. I am willing and I hope able to post at least weekly. I decided to go ahead and rename this to more of an ongoing entry. Please try to only respond with comments I post or questions for me and I will try to make sure to respond to them as best I can. I will most likely post sometime over the weekends but I will try to have no more than 7 days between posts.

Hope some find interest in this.


Some initial impressions now that I’ve had the TREG unit for two days. I have done a pretty poor job of learning how to truly touch type over the years for at least 3-4 fingers. I still struggle to not use my left ring finger to press ‘a’ or my left middle finger to press ‘r’ and my right pinky is still pretty useless, or at least awkwardly slow. The rest of the fingers have actually migrated pretty well already. Because I have just about completely made the transition to having the TREG be my only form of textual input, I am pretty confident, over the next week or two, my proficiency will dramatically improve.

I love the unit. I already have 5-6 jumps setup and working. The 6th is only down because my BLTE dongle I purchased for my work desktop computer is not, for some reason, finding the drivers to make the TB work. I have it working and set up for my iPhone 6 +, in which I am typing on with the TB right now. Also set up and working on my iPad Pro 12, my work Windows 7 laptop, my kids 5 year old macbook pro (with a BT dongle), and my wife’s 3 year old macbook pro without one. The jumps are amazing. Jumping between 5 devices all sitting next to each other on the table is crazy amazing. Setting up the keyboard so that it will automatically use the built in meta data for the various operating systems was very easy and fast.

Even as I am typing this, the three best features in my opinion are having the edit layers on the same locations as the center keys (as I am still needing to use them quite a bit), the TB keyboard on screen to allow me to quickly see where the keys are as I enter the various layers as a cheat sheet, and finally the sticky shift key (which I didn’t even realize existed until my call with Mark today).

Speaking of the call with Mark, we had a great 2 hour conversation where he covered a lot of material. Being somewhat of a tech geek, I had already updated firmware multiple times, set up macros on the device, had it working on 5-6 of my planned devices, and had been messing around with most of the features I already knew about over the fist 24 hours of having it in my hands. Mark, although, was able to discuss a lot of the background behind the device and some of the clear technological advances that were required to make it work. He also demonstrated them, or actually talked me through doing my own personal demonstration showing the differences between my existing keyboards and the TB. I could clearly hear the energy and enthusiasm in his voice. He was able to show me numerous features I hadn’t yet found and eliminated two other accessories in the process (the blade holder/stands can be inverted and used as a ramp platform for the iPhone or iPad which will keep my other still very portable stands in my desk at work from now on).

Some input on the device itself. I really do like the feel of the keyboard. The key press feels very clean and the very impressive ability for me to type quietly is pretty amazing. I will be purposely keeping all of the out of the box key mappings for QWERTY iOS, MacOS, and Windows. This is primarily to force myself to learn the locations of the various layers. But also, I want to use it as I believe the vast majority of those who, I believe, will use it once this makes it to general release (and I truly believe it will be making it to general release). I already have several macros set up for my most common things that I type, primarily e-mail addresses.

With regards to the quality, it does have the ability to have quite a bit of flex to it. I accidentally dropped it at work during the first 24 hours I had it and the TB caught the side of my desk drawer and magnetically stuck tight. I had to peel it away from the side of the drawer and it had a pretty good flex. It didn’t seem to effect it at all. I am quickly learning the most efficient way to stow it and reassemble it by sliding the blades apart. By doing this I am finding that I am getting virtually no flex. With the build quality I’m seeing, I’m pretty sure it could handle significant flexing, even though I am pretty careful with all my tech gadgets.

From two days of use I don’t see obvious signs of this being anything but a device ready for general release but it is very early and I am a single user. In talking with Mark today I can clearly understand his desire to ensure that the known issues are resolved before general release. I am looking forward to the general release and my personal wish is for it to hit before xmas.

With regards to my work desktop, I have already ordered the Laird 820 to hopefully resolve my problem. I hope it have it resolved early next week as I want to get deep into MSSQL, C#, and lots of documentation I will be working on for work to really start putting it to the test.

Final note, I had posted before wondering if the TB would be the keyboard that would finally retire the ThinkOutside keyboard I have been using for many, many years. I admit that I have not opened that keyboard since the TB arrival except to compare it’s size. This will hopefully be my only text input device moving forward and from only 2 days of use I believe it already has.

Looking forward to the upcoming weeks as my speed continues to improve and my mistakes dramatically reduce.

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Could you elaborate on that? I use the stands to told the iPhone, but I don’t follow the “inverted” and “ramp platform” comments!

Or post a pic!

I do recommend, if you get it stuck on a magnetic item, like a table, you VERY carefully lift it off since, while it will definitely handle some flexing, it is possible that too much flexing will let it work for awhile before it fails. I have it on a plastic document holder with a fairly thin sheet of metal inside. That’s enough to hold it in place, but it doesn’t have enough magnetic attraction to make it hard to remove.

I also hope, when you store it, you have the metal part of the space blade on the OUTSIDE. Mark usually tells people. Again, it gives enough holding power, but not so much that is is too hard to pull apart.

I think you’ll find that in less than a week, most typing problems go away. But it can be much longer before you consistently get rid of some problems. I still tend to mistype certain letters though I’m doing very well overall.

It is a good idea to stick with defaults for awhile - partly to experience it like most people will, but also because it is probably best to see how you adjust to the TB before deciding that things you decide needs to have the TB adjust to you!

Good report!

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Here are some pics of what I’m referring to regarding flipping the grip. The underside has a very good gripping surface which keeps the device from sliding. The angle is enough to eliminate the glare or reflections from having it flaton the table, while still reducing the ability for people to see the screen if necessary. Finally, since you have the device closer to the table surface, it is less vertical as a gap between participants.

Then depending on whether you have 1 or 2 of the blade holders you can adjust the strength of the support using one or both. Since you can flip the holders and use both for storage you can take two with you all the time as you deem necessary.

For me, it eliminates the need for me to take additional accessories like my Gripzilla mini portable stand or the Apple flip cover to reduce my overall weight.





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So after two days here is my portable workstation for work.

Several years ago I was required to be in “war rooms”, which were essentially meeting rooms dedicated to a project during implementation phases of the project. I couldn’t stand being in the room with a laptop as I was much less efficient then I was when I was at my desk with 2 monitors. So, since I like to over engineer things, I found a half round table, added coaster wheels, strapped my desktop, 2 flat panels, a gigabit switch, a 6 port power strip, and a pull out keyboard tray under it. I adjusted it so it would still fit in my cubicle spot where I sat soI could simply roll it into the spot and continue working when I wasn’t in war rooms.

That was my workstation for 3 years. People would call it "mega desk " and mock me, might I say appropriately. Anyway, I eventually retired mega desk and took it apart. I now have three monitors at my desk, two in a horizontal position and one in a vertical position.

So now with work getting me a very light ultra portable powerful laptop and my personal iPad Pro 12" hooked together with the USB lightning port and an application called Duet which allows me to use the iPad as a second monitor at 60 fps. I am calling my new workstation “mega desk light” in hommage to my first desk. When transporting between meetings my total weight is still less than many people’s single laptops at work,but I get pretty much full productivity.

Now with the Text Blade I feel like I have an all around portable productive workstation.

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@dabigkahuna,

Yes I store it metal showing to reduce magnetic force and yes gentle is always better than lots of torque.

Thanks for sharing your experience and pics! I think I’m in the same boat with you on never learning to type properly, so it’s good to hear you are adapting quickly. I can’t wait to get my TextBlade.

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I’ll go ahead and join in on your post to give my first impressions with the TextBlade. First of all, the packaging was very impressive. The bubble mailer held the TextBlade box perfectly, and even the packaging elements were obviously designed. Upon opening the box and pulling the TB out, I was kind of shocked at how small the unit was. I think a few TREG users have had the same comment. Specifically, the blades are very thin, but obviously well made. The magnets are super strong, but not to the point where I feel they can’t be pulled apart.

I at first had some trouble pairing the device to my iPhone 6+, which, as I explained to Mark over the phone, is a problem I’ve had with many bluetooth devices on my iPhone. So I don’t believe it is a TextBlade issue, rather an iPhone issue. Once I restarted my iPhone the TB paired up no problem. When I first started typing, my inclination was to look at they keys and my hands. I quickly (within 20 seconds) realized that I didn’t need to look at my hands at all. Really I just needed to trust the typing I’ve been doing for the last 20 years. Once I stopped looking at my hands, the typing was free-flowing. It was NOT error-free, however. Having all of the keys and symbols right there at your fingertips does require some relearning, however it is a welcomed skill to learn.

Some of the major issues I’ve run into are related to overreach more than anything. I’m quickly figuring out that I don’t need to move my fingers so much. The apostrophe, however, is still the trickiest for me to consistently master. I’m still training my pinky finger to stay put!

I’m still finding that the TextBlade impresses me with every day of use. I plan on purchasing a bluetooth dongle for my work computer so that I can use the TextBlade with all of my systems. Now that I feel comfortable with everyday typing, I’m going to begin working with the other TextBlade layers and try to master spreadsheets!!

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09-12-2016 - Quick note. @mp3monkey had a great idea to try to have some of the TREG users post more frequently of their day to day interaction with their TREG units. I am willing and I hope able to post at least weekly. I decided to go ahead and rename this to more of an ongoing entry. Please try to only respond with comments I post or questions for me and I will try to make sure to respond to them as best I can. I will most likely post sometime over the weekends but I will try to have no more than 7 days between posts.

Hope some find interest in this.

4 Likes

Day 2 at work. Over the weekend I put about 8 hours of time on the TB to contiue becoming more efficient at typing in preparation for my first day back to work.

I found a couple issues that I turned into WayTools, one of which was already resolved in the latest TextBlade app released this evening to TREG users. The other couple, i know to be software related issues and I have already received feedback from WayTools that they are investigating. Nothing real critical and I have found workarounds that keep the TB from showing the issue while they investigate.

I have made significant improvements in my typing even if my overall speed is not fully back to where I am on the full size KB but definately fewer errors.

I started having more issues with my work laptop running windows 7. The keyboard would just stop working. I know this is a windows 7 issue and not a TB issue because I have a bluetooth mouse that loses connectivity at least a couple times a day. I’ve already ordered the Laird 820 and I am hoping that it will resolve my issues with windows 7 but I have my concerns.

I have had no issues with my iPhone 6+, iPad Pro 12", or either Macbook Pro.

I got to work this morning and tried another 15 minutes trying to get the desktop windows 7 machine up and going the the BT dongle I purchased from Amazon and it didn’t work so I decided to remote in from my iPad to my desktop which I’ve done for years with my Think Outside keyboard.

I had to do some Excel editing and was going along great until I needed to select a large range where I normally use the ctrl shift right arrow down arrow then copy then ctrl left arrow and then down arrow. In essence, copy a large range and paste just below the selection. I couldn’t figure out how to do it. I could do it on the iPad Numbers app just with the TB keyboard as I was trying to figure out what I was dling wrong. But it worked great with the TB locally on the iPad, but remotely to my windows desktop for some reason the meta data was not being translated. It doesn’t mean it is not capable it just wasn’t working and in the end I had to use the desktop and the main KB for about an hour to complete all the tasks I had to do.

The rest of the day I was able to use the TB and my iPad Pro for the 7 straight hours of meetings. In all 9 meetings I was able to use the Pro in the horizontal orientation and using the 2 nano stands to support it. I actully chose not to take the keyboard cover with me the rest of the day to force me to use the TB. You can see an example of how I supported the device in the images in the previous posts.

I was very productive during those meetings with my notes and was easily able to keep up and be as productive as I usually am.

Again, can I tell everyone how much I love the layers! Being able to text edit, flip between apps on the device, flip between tabs in safari, all from home row keys without moving from the home position much at all is amazing. How much more efficient I can be when my hands do not really ever need to leave the TB except to occasionally touch the iPad screen when I want to really fast jump somewhere in the document where I would usually use a mouse on my laptop.

In half of the meetings I was leading the discussions and was still able to keep notes using the TB.

I would say that it was a very successful day as I had antkcipated the desktop issue would remain anyways. The remote issue I will solicit feedback from other TREG users.

I had 4 or 5 engineers come up to me throughout the day asking about the TB since they saw me assemble it and use it throughout the meetings they attended. I anticipate that when the TB releases to the general public after all the pre-orders are filled that I will be seeing many TB at my place of employment.

OK, I have to take back what I said about customizing my TB. I realized over the weekend that I dont really listen to much media at all during work but I am always switching between apps. Being able to switch between apps with a hot key on the TB was very compelling. The issue was that the media layer is the normal layer and the app layer is the “green” meaning the space bar layer of the media layer. Any way I went ahead and built a custom map off the QWERTY map swapping the two layers and immediately saw an improvement as I was no longer needing to hit the space bar to use the app layer.

Final note. I used the keyboard so much over the weekend that I used up the battery for the first time and had to charge the space blade Sunday. As of right now after using the TB throughout the 10 hour work day nd using it uite a bit since I have been home, I still have 7 of 10 bars when I start the TB.

Looking forward to more tomorrow.

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I’m not sure what you are doing in Excel exactly, but I played around with Numbers a little (they may not work the same, I don’t know).

If I hold down the edit keys to SELECT stuff and press the period key (on qwerty), it will select to the end of the row. This seems to be the first part of what you describe, assuming Excel is the same. But I haven’t found a way to select multiple rows at once moving down. In a text file, I can move down a bunch.

I just rarely have to do anything fancy in a spreadsheet so this isn’t something I’ve been testing, but maybe I need to!

Hmmm, just looked at Excel on the Mac (2011). The approached to select the line didn’t go all the way across - seemed to stop at each empty column, though I’m not sure that is how it is working - this is just a quick test! It doesn’t seem to be consistent. As for jumping down, the select chord with space and “k” seems to go down a page in Excel, but not Numbers. The chord plus space and “L” also jumps down too, but to the end - but tens of thousands of rows even though I don’t use that many rows. Been a long time since I used Excel so I’m not sure what that is all about. Numbers does seem to select to the end (just rows I actually created) too. In any case, there does seem to be differences in the two spreadsheet programs.

That is pretty much normal Excel behavior you described. Nothing special the TextBlade is doing. It always selects to the first gap in populated fields and goes all the way to the end if you hit it again.

Work Day 3 -

Fast note today. I resolved the Excel issues today and have been using the TextBlade today for my Excel work. To select the range is very easy.

Totals keystrokes:

copy contiguous range

Legacy keyboard:
Ctrl-Shift-right arrow-down arrow. Ctrl-c
(6 key presses,since you are pressing all the keys sequentially)

TexfBlade:
Hold S-D-F (through end), press o, hold space blade, press o, press h
(5 key presses, since you are pressing the SDF simultneously)

Break down of what it is doing

  1. Go to the upper left corner cell to begin the range.
  2. Hold S-D-F (edit select layer) then press o to select to the end of the contiguous data to the right
  3. Continue holding S-D-F but now hold space blade to go to green edit layer and press o again to go down to the end of the contiguous cells down.
  4. Finally press h to copy

Hope that helps. It took a little while to get the hang of it but now it is faster than I can do it on my main keyboard even though it is not muscle memory yet. It is faster because I can immediately keep typing without moving my right hand to the arrow keys and back to the letters.

Good day. Still had more off and on BLTE working with my laptop and Windows 7. Hoping for the Laird 820 to arrive tomorrow. Maybe I can eliminate this issue on my laptop as well as finally get my desktop to work.

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Thanks for the update @tlrogers, I will definitely be using the edit layer in Excel multiple times per week, so the efficiency gains should be great for me.

I assume you are using Windows, because that’s not what I get with Excel 2011 on the Mac. I get the contiguous cells to the right, but not the next part.

DBK, I was using the latest version of Excel on my work Windows laptop. I don’t have an MacOS version of Office at my place to run tests on it. What is happening on your machine when you 'perform that step?

I mapped CTRL-PageDown and CTRL-PageUp to dedicated keys on the Function Key layer so that it is easy to move back and forth between worksheets.

@taylor, How do you map the combo CTRL-PageDown as a single key?

Well, just to make sure we have the same settings on our TB, on the “O” key in edit select mode, it says “next word”. If I also hold the space bar down, it says “next paragraph”.

Checking just now, I may have said the wrong thing about what happens in Excel because “sdf” and the “O” didn’t do anything this time. But if I hit the period instead, it will select the contiguous area to the right. On my Textblade, it says that is “End of line” - though on Excel is is actually the end of the contiguous area.

Adding the space bar to this, the “O” key still does nothing. If I hit the space bar and the period, it says it can’t find the search data (which makes sense because on mine, that combo is to “find next”).

So my keys don’t match yours - at least not in effect (they may have the same commands).

In Numbers, that “O” key will either add a row or a column based on whether space bar is added or not.

In Numbers, the period goes ALL the way to the right rather than just the contiguous section. With the space bar, I just get a beep.

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If you create a custom keyboard map, you can select a key (for example, on the FN keyboard I selected ‘f’ and ‘g’ for CTRL-PageDown and CTRL-PageUp). Tap on the key on the on-screen map and then select CTRL from the custom key ribbon. Then scroll to the right to find the PageUp/Down option. You should now see PageUp (or down) associated with the key location. If you scroll back, you should see that CTRL is still selected. You’ll then need to select the custom keyboard for one or more of your jump slots and then Apply the new mapping.

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It’s been another week with the TREG unit. My typing continues to improve but I realize that my lifelong poor habits will take a bit of time to overcome. My speed overall continues to increase and my ability to use the correct finger for the correct key column.

I continue to use the keyboard for most of my meetings. Last week I showed how I was using the nano stands as the supports for my iPad Pro. Since then I went ahead and purchased a standard Apple simple cover for the Pro as I always have concerns with protecting the screen as I move between meetings. There is quite a weight reduction between the Apple keyboard cover and the standard keyboard cover that I am easily noticing.

I found a side benefit of using the Apple standard cover. Due to the magnets within the case, while I am at work, I actually leave the nano stands at my desk and when I disassembly the Text Blade between meetings, I place the TB on the iPad cover and the magnets are strong enough to keep the TB attached to reduce the chance of dropping it between meetings. I no longer am so concerned with dropping (it just doesn’t happen when I place it on the cover)…

I received the Laird 820 on Friday of last week and spent about 3 hours trying to get it set up so the keyboard is connected to it as HID to get the desktop and laptop Windows 7 working all the time as a USB keyboard. I have had some issues with setting up the Laird but that is not a WayTools issue as this has been done my TREGers and has been provided for use. I am reasonably tech savvy but plead ignorance in setting it up. This week has been busy at home so I haven’t been able to spend any more time trying to get it set up. I hope to have more time this weekend to get it working.

One other note. After another release of the TB firmware this week another one of my issues has been resolved. I only have two open issues left so far with my TB experience. WayTools is resolving one of the issues as we speak and I am hoping that the other is resolved shortly. Note that neither of these issues are impacting me as I found simple workarounds for myself so that they don’t even show up any more. I just periodically force the issue to see if it still exists.

One other note. I am beginning to become more comfortable switching the the layers without looking at the keyboard. This is especially true for the editing later as this is still the layer I use most frequently. The second most layer I use is actually the app layer so I can switch apps in iOS. I anticipate that once I have the TB working smoothly for my windows 7 devices that the number pad and cell movement layers will be used significantly more.

Final note, I charged the TB Sunday and have yet to charge it again this week and I am still at 5 of 10 lights for the battery. I realize that I have been using it more as I normally would and have not been forcing its use (finding specific reasons to use the TB even though I normally wouldn’t be spending time on my device) to test things this week. Once I get the windows devices working I am anticipating needing to charge maybe twice a week.

Another great week. Loving the TREG unit.

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