I have been using a cheap MaCally keyboard for the last year and I have been very underwhelmed with its performance. Yes it works, but it feels dead compared to other keyboards that I have used in the past. Since I am glued to my keyboard 8 to 10 hours a day I decided to look into other options.
Ergonomic keyboards have side issue where switching to a regular layout can be a bit troublesome since it no longer fits in the muscle memory slot. Add that to the fact that I use a Dvorak layout and in the admittedly rare times that I have to actually be in front of somebody else’s computer and I would practically be reduced to tears trying to hunt and peck my way through the simplest of tasks. Besides if I need a ergonomic keyboard I would use something that is truly ergonomic like the Kinesis Advantage keyboard.
Once I decided that a regular layout would be best for me I went in search of different types of keys and fell squarely in the “Mechanical Keyboard” world. Talk of the old IBM Model M keyboards of which I still have one in a closet somewhere reminded me of the joys of typing on those old beasts. Unfortunately in today’s workspaces the old Model M’s with the buckling springs would be far too obnoxiously loud to be used without generating hate thoughts from the people around me. This meant that the loud clicky blue’s and green’s are also out of the question, leaving me with the brown or clear versions as the most likely options.
After looking at the various gaming centric mechanical keyboards, the Filco’s, Das’s and more… I was pointed to WASD. WASD will put together keyboards with choice of switch types and custom keycaps. Most of the reviews say that WASD make very nice keyboards and they make a version that they call the Code keyboard with white backlighting and Cherry Clears. The WASD Code design is supposed to be a joint effort between WASD and Jeff Atwood which caught my attention. So I read reviews and watched videos that mostly said that this is an awesome keyboard and made plans to acquire one.
I know better than to ignore the occasional bad reviews so I was aware of several complaints that cropped up about this board. some of these complaints like chatter and occasional squeaky stabilizers are probably common with most if not all mechanical keyboards. Two other issues that I heard about are slightly more worrisome, like the “ping” that the backplate has been reported to make on key presses. Squeaky keys can be addressed with proper grease and I was hoping that the ping was noticeable only to those blessed or cursed with perfect pitch.
Typing when it comes down to it is a joy on this keyboard. There is that slight ringing sound that some people have complained about and if it bothers me too much I will break the warranty by taking it apart and adding some vibration dampening foam to the keyboard between the pc board and the bottom of the case. I am pretty confident that this would take care of the vibration in the mounting plate.
Overall I am very satisfied with the cherry clear switches and while I wish that there was a bit more attention to detail in the construction of the WASD Code especially considering how much it cost, I will likely keep it just for the clears.
- Cherry Clear keys are pretty nice
- I went back and forth between browns and the heavier clear key and finally settled on the clears. So far I am pretty happy with the decision.
- Good backlight
- Yes it’s only white, but since I like simple designs it is perfect for me.
- Simple clean design
- Very clean with no logos.
- Pretty nice Multimedia controls
- Taking a bit to get used to but the design allows control without any extra knobs stuck to it.
- Supports Hardware Dvorak
- This is a good thing for me since I type in Dvorak and using software mapping sometimes fails for apps like Vcenter.
- Caps lock indicator very understated.
- Case fit not so good.
- Slightly uneven joints. For the price I had thought that the fit and finish would have been cleaner.
- Slight ringing from backplate when typing.
- I had heard about this before I bought it, but did not think that it could have been such a big deal. After poking around some more this is not all that uncommon with plate mounted switches and can often be dramatically reduced with proper application of a foam pad between the board and the case..
- Does not take into account Mac with Dvorak layout
- I had to change the mapping in the os level for the Alt and Command keys. This is not a big deal, but should have been considered
- Key Caps are ABS not PBT+POM
- These keys will wear out like any other ABS key cap. I suspect that it will be a bit uglier due to the painted keys. Vortex makes some doubleshot PBT+POM keycaps that don’t look too bad for around $40
- Cable channel does not hold the USB cable secure
I started looking into emergency lighting and higher quality flashlights that I can put an various places around the house. You know for those times when the power goes out in the middle of the night and we need some quick illumination to keep the boogie man at bay for the kids and to protect the adults toes from being smashed trying to get to a flashlight on the other side of the room.
I started by looking into Dorcy 41-1032 Failsafe Rechargeable LED Emergency light that I found at Build.com. This light stays plugged into a convenient wall socket and can serve as a night light and a flashing beacon when the power goes out. This looks like a great solution for kids rooms and perhaps hallways also. The only drawback with this one is that it is not really very bright as a flashlight. However as a first line of power-out illumination defense, it looks like a good solution. If nothing else, it will serve to get us to the brighter lights that I plan to stash around the house.
For brighter lighting I started off looking into the same flashlights that our armed forces seem to use a lot. These are made by Surefire and while top of the line, they are VERY expensive. For example my favorite light that stays at my nightstand is the G2X™ Pro Dual Output LED light This light comes in at a whopping $70.00 and uses special 123A lithium batteries. These batteries have a 10 year shelf life and they are not cheap either at $22 for 12 batteries. The G2X puts out a very bright 320 Lumens full brightness and 15 Lumens an low brightness.
So what else can I find that is close in quality and features with a much lower price point? I did not have to look any further then Build.com to find a the Dorcy 41-4278 Black Weather Resistant LED Flashlight at less than half the price $29.50. This light is also made out of durable aluminium with dual light output and it runs off regular AA batteries! The down side to this light is that it has a little less light output then the Surefire, however it is still more then adequate at 260 Lumens at full and 122 Lumens on the low setting.
I know that there are much cheaper solutions out there, however I am looking for quality here. After all, my Wife and Kids, not to mention my toes are relying on me to keep them safe as I can and If I have to spend a little extra to have good quality tools and equipment to help with this task, I will happily do so.
I am moving to the Chico area, and just discovered Idea Fab Labs in Chico! I can’t wait to get settled into my new digs and check this out! I will be going to a Thursday night open house as soon as I can and report back what I suspect will be a glowing account of Idea Fab Labs.
Getting linux to scan for a new drive without rebooting is as simple as:
echo "- - -" > /sys/class/scsi_host/host0/scan
Assuming of course that the drive is attached to host0, otherwise choose the host that is appropriate for your situation…
After scanning you should be able to see the new drive by running:
After which you can do your normal partitioning, formatting and mounting of the new drive.
The good folks an RAVPower sent me one of their RAVPower Luster 3000mAh external batteries, and I have to say that their timing could not have been better. For me, the idea of an external battery is for emergencies. Like when you find yourself with out your normal charger, on a longer then expected road trip.
And this is exactly what happened to me. I left for the weekend to visit my in-laws with my wife and two of our children, and had the RAVPower with me to test, so I purposely ignored my normal charging schedule to see how well this thing performed. I had consistently experienced about 1 and a half full charges while on our trip, which was awesome for such a small package.
However this is where this amazing $19.99 beauty really shined. On my my way back home Sunday night I was rear-ended by some idiot going at least 100mph (While I was going 65mph, which was like a 35mph rear ender). The good news is that nobody was hurt, but all my electronics were in the trunk, which was completely destroyed, and of course my phone battery was low. The built in flashlight on the battery was invaluable for making sure my family was fine, checking out the damage, and it kept my phone running long enough to call 911 and the tow truck. and when it was all over, the phone was even completely charged!
Personally I think everybody should get the RAVPower 3000mWh battery and much of my family will probably get one for birthdays and such.
I loved flying the Parrot AR Drone with my iPhone or iPad Air. I didn’t love the $299 price tag, although I’ll admit, it’s probably worth it since it’s so much fun. A remote flying machine doesn’t have to cost that much though, and clearly there’s demand for low-cost alternatives. The latest, PowerUp 3.0, is about to finish up its Kickstarter funding where it flew past its $50,000 goal with nearly $1.2 million raised.
via Why buy a drone when this $30 Bluetooth chip can make your paper airplane fly? — Tech News and Analysis.
I have long been a fan tracking failure rates, and when a company like Backblaze publishes their drive statistics my ears seriously perk up. After all, 25,000 drives is a pretty decent pool to pull performance stats from, and they are sharing!
Because Backblaze has a history of openness, many readers expected more details in my previous posts. They asked what drive models work best and which last the longest. Given our experience with over 25,000 drives, they asked which ones are good enough that we would buy them again. In this post, I’ll answer those questions.
via Backblaze Blog » What Hard Drive Should I Buy?.
How long do disk drives last? The short answer is: we don’t know yet, but it’s longer than you might guess.
Why does a company that keeps more than 25,000 disk drives spinning all the time not know how long they last? Backblaze has been providing reliable and unlimited online backup for over five years. For the past four years, we’ve had enough drives to provide good statistics, but 74% 78% of the drives we buy are living longer than four years. So while 26% 22% of drives fail in their first four years, and we have detailed information about the failure rates of drives in their first four years, we don’t yet know what will happen beyond that. So how long do drives last? Keep reading.
via Backblaze Blog » How long do disk drives last?.
Bza.biz can craft jewelry in the shape of the sound waves of a recording you send them. They offer a variety of different materials; plywood, black plywood, white, blue or “radiant” acrylic. Even silver.The plywood and acrylic are discs that are strung in the shape of the sound. Or, if you don’t like that idea, you can have it cast in silver as either earrings or a keychain.
via This Soundwave Jewelry Lets You Speak Without Saying A Word.
External battery packs are one of the most useful types of accessories you can own. They are endlessly convenient when you’re not near your phone or tablet charger and also great for emergency or power outage situations. The Limefuel Blast L60X is one of the more modest entries into this category, with a pocketable form factor and a sleek design, but it’s also one of the easiest to recommend.
via The Limefuel Blast L60X external battery pack is power in your pocket | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog.