Jul
10

My Ideal Keyboard 2017

I've already written a large version of this post but it got nuked due to a technical issue; here's another version, albeit shorter.

My current keyboard is a Logitech G19 and it features a lovely little built-in LCD screen, in addition to the array of extra keys that are typical on a Logitech device.

Before I carry on, I need to expand on the screen somewhat. The screen, photo of mine to the right (reminder: sort out the horrible image CSS), is useless due to the lack of software. Logitech ship some little pointless "applets", such as a clock, that aren't all too useful. I decided to change that and write my own called Like a G19 (ha, a pun!).

You can click on the link for more info, but briefly: LAG19 gives you a full visual WYSIWYG editor that allows you to place various controls down to show information. It takes the LCD screen from gimmicky-but-useless to extremely useful. I put a huge amount of time into it and yet I haven't worked on it for a couple of years, let alone released it. Shame.

I've always used mushy rubber dome keyboards, but not out of choice; it's just the prevailing tech for keyboards - even this aforementioned £130 keyboard. Back in the 1990s I do remember Nimbus computers at school and the buckling spring keyboards sounded awesome; not that I knew that at the time as I was an Amiga idiot and everything PC sucked.

I recently gave some mechanical keyboards a quick test at some computer shop and... loveliness. Not perfect, as they weren't buckling spring or Cherry MX Blues, but close. Just missing that nice, loud click.

I've been occasionally looking at mechanical keyboards for the past year and still haven't bought one. The problem tends to be the feature set: thery typically aren't complete enough. MX Blues, but no multimedia keys? Multimedia keys but no Blues? Blues, but no RGB lighting? It's so frustrating.

Although the Logitech G910 Orion Spectrum is mechanical, it uses some custom switches called Romer-G rather than the Cherries I'm looking for. Grr.

Here's what I want.

  • Buckling spring or Cherry MX Blue micro-switches
  • Full per-key RGB lighting
  • Macro keys (that can be assigned to anything)
  • Multimedia keys
  • USB ports

Someone give me what I want!

Jul
26

Logitech G19 and the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum Mechanical Keyboard 2017

After forcing myself to use the Logitech G19 keyboard for the past two years, I've finally booted it right up the arse and replaced it with a proper mechanical keyboard. A Corsair K95 RGB Platinum (click here for US version).

I kept with the G19 because of two reasons.

Reason the 1st: The built-in LCD screen. Paired with my Like A G19 application, that LCD was really useful.

Reason the 2nd: It cost £150. I had to keep using that damn thing because it cost me so much.

I still found myself reading about mechanical keyboards every few months and which switches were the best. Incidentally, the Cherry MX Blue switches sounded like my kinda thang.

The other day I decided enough's enough, and I'd go ahead and buy a mechanical keyboard at long last. It arrived today, and I realised something: the Like A G19 app will be forever retired without anyone else ever seeing it. Hmm, can't really be having that.

I quickly made some source changes, wrote a Readme.txt and shoved it outta the door. I can't really stress this strong enough: Like A G19 has no support and no real future.

This is the first and last public release; unless someone gives me a big stack of cash, I'll no longer be updating it and I won't be releasing the source. The last twenty years have proven to me that releasing software for free is a terrible idea. I've also released source to applications before and nothing good ever comes of it, either. Anyway, it's tied in with my other libraries - source of which I'll never be releasing.

If you have a Logitech G15, G510, or a G19, and you'd like to make the built-in LCD a bit more than absolutely freakin' useless, take a look at Like A G19. It's free, but it's woefully incomplete. Reading the included .txt file is a must as it tells you how to use the Profile I myself was using these last two years.

Anyway, this K95 RGB Platinum? It's awesome. Weighs in at 1.35KG due to being made of aluminium and absolutely solid. The only issue though is that I personally wanted Cherry MX Blues, as I said above, but it only comes with either MX Brown or MX Speed. I chose the Brown, but I would've loved the clicky Blues. Oh well.

Oh, and as a bonus: I'm now using a proper UK layout. It turns out the G19 had a US layout, which meant the Enter key was only single height as opposed to the double height of a UK layout. Very annoying as I was never really able to get used to it even after a couple of years.

Below is a photo of the keyboard, along with the WASD key-caps that I changed - they're included in the box along with a key-cap puller and additional QWERTY caps. They're sloped and have a textured finished.