I’m super excited about the Keyboardio Model 01, and glad to see their Kickstarer is live (go back it now!), even if I squirm to see my bits in the video. Given that I recorded nearly an hour of video about my experience using the keyboard, I tend to think the best bits of the interview didn’t make it into the their final draft.

Here are some more thoughts

I met Jesse nearly 15 years ago at Diesel Cafe in Somerville, MA when I walked up and introduced myself and asked him about his crazy keyboard setup. I’ve always preferred working out of coffee shops to hermetically sealed fortress of solitude like setups and ergonomics is one of those things that gets compromised. Jesse was already bridging the gap, but 15 years ago the results weren’t pretty. (sort of Snow Crash gargoyle-ish)

Most popular ergonomic keyboard designs are worse then useless, and the ones that aren’t seem to assume you’re very stationary spending 8-10 hours a day in your designated parking space (probably with a fancy chair, desk, dual monitor setup, etc) — they’re big, heavy, clunky things.

And at the end of the day they’re still designed for typing prose.

The Model 01 is different. It’s small enough that I can throw it in my low profile Osprey day pack which is my standard navigating the crowded streets of New York bag, along with a laptop, a book, and a notebook. And it’s lovely from the smooth milled maple, the custom keycaps, the rainbow backlit keys, and the solid metal backing. (that said it isn’t light with all that solid maple and metal)

The Model 01 is a tool for a craft, the craft of programming. When I think about great craft people, I think about how their tools become extensions of their hands. You keep your tools sharp and well oiled, you invest the time into customizing your editor (except for the folks always flitting to the latest and greatest which feels like the opposite of craft), but a keyboard that is a sharp, well designed tools, that’s designed to be customized and repaired, and also takes into account how hands actually work is something new.

I’m sure folks will get value from the Model 01 for tasks other programming. But it’s hard to overstate how poorly thought out the current offerings of keyboards are for programming, with our statistically unusual range of characters, forcing a ton of stretching and reaching, the activities that cause RSI.

I’ve been using the keyboard for about 2 weeks. I’m definitely not entirely comfortable with it yet. For some reason my right hand slips left and I have a habit of hitting the Return key instead of H meaning my sentences look like t
is wit
weird spaces in t

I do love the functions keys, the no reach navigation and bracket keys. The delete and space keys come very natural. Still getting used to reaching for the shift keys.

Looking forward to having time to do immersion as I’m right now flipping back and forth between the Model 01 and my laptop keyboard. It’s been a while since I’ve learned a new layout, so many of the alternative layouts like Dvorak promise typing speed increases which is one interesting. I’m looking for typing sustainability not typing speed.

And despite threatening to, I haven’t hooked the butterfly programmable button up to deploy … yet.