Is the Quest over?

I previously wrote on this topic:

discussing about Queen Elizabeth II, Emperor Reiwa and other characters in my personal RPG (a.k.a. the real life), on a quest for the (almost) perfect keyboard.

Now it's time to end this quest! (Or is it...)

If you've read the previous episodes, you might've imagined that now I'm using both Emperor Reiwa (Filco Majestouch 2 TKL) and Dr. Black (custom YMDKey ZJ68).

Actually, something has changed.

After the brief adventure with Harlequin (Royal Kludge RK61), I've considered again the size of the keyboards and decided for something else. Using the (nice!) Royal Kludge RK61, I've had the strong feeling of a difficult adapting to another keyboard layout. I've worked 20+ years with an IBM Model M and it's now 3 years on a Filco Majestouch 2 TKL. Moving from the full-sized Model M to a TKL layout wasn't much of a problem, since I used the numpad area only for inserting special ASCII/Unicode characters not available on the keyboard, and as you might imagine, wasn't something happening very often. So, the switch was easy.

But, as said, I'm now partly working from home and partly from office, with the goal also being not to commute with the keyboard in the backpack (laptop, I have no choice, though). So, using a TKL keyboard at home (or in office) and a compact 65% one in office (or at home) might add more unnecessary complexity.

I've really considered the YMD-65% ZJ68 a very good solution, also for the fact that the case and things were all aluminium and the customization of the keys layout was actually absolute, even considering the use of QMK/VIA firmwares. If it would've been the only keyboard...

But still, two TKL seems better than one, so I've diverted my search to a TKL format.

Standing still the switches type, I've also decided to focus on the same YMDKey side-printed “Dolch” keycaps. They're not dye-sub PBT, the label is laser-etched on them, but the fact that the label is side-printed will save the pain to search for better quality (and nicer colours) keycaps (see Hami Melon Keycaps, with dye-sub PBT, but too fancy colours). They have an OEM profile that is quite standard, so no weirdness here.

So, the new keyboard will still dress in black: the main character is still Dr. Black, here!

Another funny, interesting and useful things I've found out by chance, is that German ISO layout has the keycaps I need to complete my Italian (142) layout! And if you wonder why the Italian (142) instead of the plain Italian layout, you have to remember I'm a software developer, so I often need things like {, [, ], } and also ~ and `. The Italian (142) layout helps having both braces and square brackets at hand (just like the default Italian layout), but it also allows for the ~ and ` to be directly available on the keyboard. All of them, through the AltGr key. The variants are the position of @ and #, but still fine for me.


What is missing? Well, the actual keyboard!

Having decided the actual mechanical part, I only need a TKL barebone that can fit hot-swappable south-facing 3 pins switches. Why hot-swappable? Because YMDKey does bot have TKL keyboards, so I can't ask them to assembly my keyboard.

In the end, the actor playing the character or Dr. Black is the Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard TKL ISO Barebone (or GMMK for short).

NOTE: no affiliate link, no one is paying me to write this. Just personal opinions.

It's not aluminium, but it's a well-known keyboard that is good-reviewed. The cable is detachable. It's somehow programmable, even though with its own software (that seems not-so-well reknowed) that does work on Windows systems only. I hope I won't be asked to move to a Mac, at work... The whole case it's half the size of the Emperor Reiwa one, let's see when I'll receive switches and keycaps: the keys are not inside a frame but they raise up from the case itself (that is: I can see below them!). The box contains the keycaps and switches pullers, a red ASCEND keycap that is supposed to place at the Esc key position and a 1.25u black keycap with the Glorious logo on it, that should be placed at the (left) Windows key.

In the end, I've spent:

Total of €169,39, basically the same as Emperor Reiwa (Filco Majestouch 2 TKL), but with nicer keycaps, detachable USB cable and useless ;) RGBs.

Not bad, considering the short amount of time needed to search for this. The funny thing in all this mess is that I know my keys by hearth, so I actually don't need to have labelled keycaps at all... but no one is perfect!

Is the Quest over? by Marco Bresciani is licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International