Weeknote 2021-09

Elaborately carved metals

  • I’ve been listening to a lot of music this week. Rediscovered an old favourite of mine: Cult of Luna. I had no idea they were still making music, I used to listen to these guys in my first year of Uni. Turns out their latest album is an absolute banger.

  • A friend and work colleague switched to Vim recently, and asked me for some advice on learning it. It made me remember some of the features that I love about the editor and why I still enjoy using it even though it’s a million years old in programming standards. It also made me remember just how hard it is to explain to new users.

    I absolutely love this article, by Daniel Miessler about learning Vim - particularly the part that explains the vim commands as being like a language. The first time I heard this analogy a few years ago it absolutely blew my mind and really helped me understand the way normal mode commands are structured.

  • A year ago I wrote a post about keyboards. I mentioned the Corne Keyboard, an awesome little open source 40% keyboard from Japan that I had been happily using for some time.

    Shortly after I wrote that post the creator of the Corne showed off a prototype of a new keyboard he was working on, and it is very special indeed.

    It’s based on the Corne, but makes a few layout changes that I think will be a nice improvement to the Cornes already excellent layout.

    It’s called the Cornelius, and it’s a high-end, split-ergo CNC aluminium, gasket-mount 40% keyboard.

    This combination of things makes this keyboard very special indeed, maybe even unprecedented.

    Building mechanical keyboards is kind of a niche hobby, and 40% keyboards are a niche within a niche. Most people who look at them think that they’re either a joke, or that they’re of limited use, that it must be impossible to do actual work on a keyboard with no numbers, and only a limited number of the keys that are on a “normal” keyboard.

    People who like their 40% keyboard to also be split and have alternative layouts to the standard row stagger are a niche within a niche within a niche!

    This means that when it comes to high-end custom keyboards, there are very few that cater to this part of the community. It takes a heck of a lot of work and a boatload of money to design and prototype a complete keyboard, that’s machined out of high quality materials and finished well, and because of the small audience, group buys are risky.

    There have been a few nods in this general direction: The Whimsy for the standard 40’s crowd, the IMK Corne Case, the Boardsource LP Corne Case and the Corne-ish Zen for the Corne users.

    There’s also the Prime_E which is ergo, but uses an integrated plate.

    The only thing I’m aware of that’s actually gasket mount - the mounting system preferred by a lot of the really high end “normal” keyboards (cough, Keycult) - is the excellently named PooPooPeePee Keyboard Carnival Round 3 (abbreivated to P4KCR3), and that’s just a standard 40, rather than a split ergo 40.

    So to have someone go all out and do a full machined aluminium gasket mount ergo 40 is pretty freaking special.

    The group buy is being run in Europe by splitkb.com and because spots are limited (there are 100 units for the EU region, 50 for Japan, and 100 for the US), they’re running it as a raffle, where 100 entries will be picked at random and offered the chance to buy one. The raffle ends soon.

    Have I entered it, I hear you ask?


  • Debugging problems with the internet is a pain in the arse. Recently we’ve been having a problem where the connection seems to drop out randomly. It doesn’t happen every day, but probably on average once every 2 days. It’s only down for a couple of seconds and then it reconnects again.

    It’s bloody annoying when it happens in the middle of a video call.

    I’ve been going back and forward with Zen Internet, my provider, for a few days now, dutifully trying all of the things that they suggest.

    I did mention that I run my Zen provided modem/router in PPPoE mode as I have a UniFi Dream Machine that’s happily handling all of my networking needs. Sadly I think this has just given them the reason they needed to stop helping me debug it anymore. So I’m off to go and complain at tech support.