Dear reader, allow me to enlighten you in my current keyboard setup and it’s journey towards it.
Once upon a time when I was just starting my career, I was using a “standard” OEM keyboard with a rubber dome. For be back then this was quite normal as I was used to this for many years before.
But after some time RSI became a thing, and I wanted a little more comfort in my wrists and hands. So I switched to a “split” keyboard (Microsoft Ergonomic 4000). It took some time to get used to the small gap in between the keys
yhn. Seemingly the one I used to type them with the wrong hand. Took about a week or 2 to get it again correctly wired inside of my brain.
Few years have passed and I started to become a little annoyed by the amount of real estate this keyboard consumed on my desk. And I did what i do best, using a search engine to find data on the best true split keyboard on the market. And I found several of them. First in line was a cheaper Kenisis Freestyle 2, still a rubber dome, but at about €150 it was worth the try to see if this was what I was search for.
So I bought the keyboard, used it and soon realised Yes this is what I need. But there was a catch, the freestyle 2 had a “num-lock” on the left side of the
n. And while sometimes not typing very accurate dead center of the keys, and till this date I still don’t, I occasionally hit the num-lock. Imagine what the output of your writing will be when your numbers are under the keys
uiojklm,.. I can tell you from experience, the code will not work.
During my research I also found the Matias Ergo Pro mechanical keyboard. It was still in pre-order at the time I bought it from Canada. Took about a month or 3 to get it, and it was well worth the wait. No more num-lock pressing. But about 16 months in, the keys
l were “double tapping”. And I was quite surprised that I potentially broke a mechanical key. I contacted Matias and they suggested some cleaning with pressured air. But no joy. And to my surprise when i told them that, they send 4 new switches to me. Free of charge, within warranty. I soldered them on, and it was functioning again.
I’m not quite sure why the switches broke that fast, but I can imagine it has something to do with my role at the time. As a SRE / Systems Engineer
ls were like my favorite commands.
When I started contracting I switched back to the Ergonomic 4000 as a temporary keyboard. Because in my research I also found the keyboard that I knew would fit me as a glove. I found the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard. I was one of the backers on Crowd Supply. And I’ve followed their blog since 2015. But before I send my backing, I emailed them about repairability. And it would not be a problem with the initial release. As long as you know how to solder.
About 2 years passed, and finally I received my UHK. And boy o boy what a joy this was. In front of me I have, and writing this post with that same keyboard, a navy blue case, MacOS ANSI layout, Cherry MX Clears (Same force as the Matias Switches) and a palm rest. It was a treat. And to this day, I swear by this keyboard. The configurability is near endless. Macro keys, 4 key layers, multiple key mappings. What ever you need, you can do it. Heck.. I even made
tmux macro’s to resize panes. Because the key binding where i want them, MacOS has another..
So about 4 years of pure enjoyment of this UHK. I ordered the V2. I just had to have it. It was ordered with a black case, Kailh box brown switches, MacOS ANSI layout and again the palm rest. And at the time of writing I’m already waiting about 6 months of it to be shipped. And it seems like within a few weeks from now I’ll be a proud owner of a UHK V2. And one of the best features of the V2 are the hot-swappable switches.
Q: Why does it matter?
A split keyboard matters in my opinion. With a split keyboard you can put your shoulder, elbows and wrists in a more comfortable position. One that gives less chance for RSI to come lurk around the corder. Look at your wrists on a regular keyboard, everything is twisted and not straight. That is why it matters.