Tuesday, December 22, 2009

To Build... Construx

The Coolest Building Toy ever. eBay is a godsend. 27 years after Construx debuted, it is still widely available. The pieces, made of ABS Plastic, retain their bright colors and most definately a fun factor.

In addition to making a bad-ass custom Keyboard & Mouse tray, there are many ways to play...

How tightly can one pack them in a box?
Given a random set of pieces, can you connect them?
If so, what is the smallest area you can do it in?
Make a structure that can hold x pounds, arranging the beam's directions to keep the structures intact)
A variant on the egg-drop engineering challenge

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I wanted the perfect keyboard

I wanted the perfect keyboard

The Final Maltron-Inspired Letter/Symbol Layout

The TypeMatrix Keypad and Arrow Cluster Overlay

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Red Dvorak DiGlyphs

White Dvorak KeyCap Designs,
with Qwerty shadowed in Red for reference,

and for use WITHOUT Key Remapping,
or for comparison of the layouts differences

These Caps were applied to My Classic MS Ergo Keyboard, which is about to get a nice even coat of Black spray paint applied. the keys are then capped with matte cellophane tape over and around each printed letter or symbol, rubbed down until it goes clear, leaving a nice smooth slick finish that relaxes the fingers.

I'm finding that Dvorak switches hands more often than Maltron, because of the Vowel segregation of AEIOU. I prefer the <>;:'" characters on the bottom row as on the Maltron Layout, because they are more often covered by the hands. The first two rows, being easier to reach in general, then allow access to the top 20 letters with the remaining 6 dropped down (3 on each side)

I also re-key-capped the new Apple USB Keyboard I had from my Dad's new Mac. He needed the Apple Extended Keyboard (with a full keypad) to Access all Finale's functions, but the standard board was already bundled with the Mac. He uses Keyboard Maestro for system macros on Mac, it's nowhere near as flexible as AutoHotKey for PC, but it has a clean interface.

Staggered Keyboards abound, but the square key layout is so much less messy. That said, any derivation from the standard PC Keyboard layout has benefits, so after I know Dvorak better, I will make a skin for my TypeMatrix Keyboard and enjoy the benefit.

My brother is learning to use the Dvorak as well, so this will be his take-home concession prize for coming to see me and Dad. I asked if he'd like any custom keycaps, but I think he's going for an "au natural" key treatment. (he will come around eventually)

It could be quite cool to have oversized glow in the dark leters on the keys, and maybe even integrate an enclosed light charging tray to recharge the keyboard's phosphorescence quickly when it fades.

Last Thoughts: Does a Backlit Keyboard with a Square arrangement exist? How about one that could be arranged in a sunken key-well formation?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Keyboard Nirvana

The 3-month Journey for a perfect keyboard has led me here, customizing both the innovative FrogPad and TypeMatrix Keyboards in a way that visually expresses their intrinsic awesomeness.

The TypeMatrix and The FrogPad are both miracles of "engineering done right" , light and super portable. The whole process has ended up teaching me so much about input devices and Windows automation and I finally,truly Grok It. A Maltron Keyboard is the Holy Grail of Keyboards, and Windows does only one keyboard remap for all
attaced keyboards but thanks to an advanced type correction word list, any mismatched key layout gibberish resolves to words after hitting Space. This must drive any keylogger crazy! It allows for obfuscation also so people don't shoulder-surf you or see a word before Commit is pressed.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Shifted up One Row

So I reclaimed the F-Key Row for numbers (Esc shifts numbers to F-Keys as a modifier) to allow the super-useful sub-alphanumeric Matched Symbol Row that the Maltron Contoured Keyboard provides:
( [ { -_ =+] } ) (with <, >. also on some models) -Balanced!

F-Keys that often used were lowered F2 rename / F4 path+closewin / F5 reload+find / F8 replace (in TextPad)

F6 hop active panes / F11 fullscreen moved up out of the center

Esc is moved down one, and used to shift the symbols (made primary for coding) to numbers. The FrogPad is still a superb dedicated NumPad as well as a full keyboard to itself

I flipped Right Alt / Ctrl to match the left side. KeyTweak (used for TypeMatrix boards) can be used to remap the relocated keys in the registry.

The FrogPad however, sharing the same SW keymap, is thrown off because windows does not have the ability to support multiple keyboard layouts (it lumps them all together as one keyboard)

I wrote a short remap script that is toggled by the caps lock key, (For Frog Use Only)

and alternate solution:
word-replace filter that corrects for the incorrect characters being sent due to the remap (15,000 word permutations, gathered from my chats and emails over the last 10 years)

"<-can become - "Keyboarding" -> can become -> ">y=euacim.f "

... the correct word is dropped in when you hit Space. Hey, it's Kludgy, but quite fast on a 2GHz PC due to AutoHotKey's Awesomeness
When I type BFE it launches my keyboard.ahk script, for customization.

Ergo Maltron Key Caps

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Finalized Tosh-Pad

The Last Ergo Mod

Saturday, August 29, 2009

FrogPad on my KeyPad!

So, I own a Lefty FrogPad, but the Right Handed USB model is OUT OF STOCK indefinately, so...

Thanks to the extra keys on newer keypads, I was able to provide the Full Functions of a FrogPad: The only exception is Ctrl-Alt-Del, which is not allowed in AHK to avoid maliciousness. Not a deal-breaker, by far:

I used an AHK Script to handle the key/modifier presses and modes, adding a few beeps to the toggles: short high beep (single character shift), longer high beep (lock down) and low beep (release lock)

Besides the symbol key being off-center, and Shift moved to the side, it's a full clone! The extra left button is a "Clear" Key, to release any held-down modifiers

This layout is Right Handed, taking advantage of NumPadEnter's double width key for Space, The most-hit key on the pad.

If anyone is interested, send me your email and I can provide the Keycaps (to be printed on Avery sticker Paper, cut and attached) and the AHK Script that makes the magic happen.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cloned 1-Hand Keypad

I made another Keypad, as a Gift to my brother, CAD superstar.

Right-Handed Configuration:

Left- Handed Configuration:

Thanks to the Genovation Programmable 24-Key PS-2/USB Keypad, I was able to make a cloned FrogPad that wasn't missing 3 keys (like my former clone) In fact there are 4 extra keys. Only 2 can be pressed at a time. If not, I'd make Space double-wide. To do that now would require me to cut the contacts for the 2nd Space keyswitch. Because of this, I used the 20 centermost keys. N-Key Rollover, it's a crime you have been so neglected in the PC Keyboard industry. Small Gripe Over.

Thank you Genovation for enabling me to keymap F13-F24 and some Media Keys and AutoHotKey for handling the keypresses. The code was a good way to learn some more advanced AutoHotKey behavior, with variables and functions consolidation.

Next Post: Using the extended NumPad on the MS Ergo 3000 Keyboard as, guess what, another Frog Clone!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

3 Steps to Laminated Keycaps

Before I got my FrogPad, or made my FauxPad, I prototyped it by retrofitting my old PS/2 Keyboard. I couldn't square off the key grid, but did everything else to it. The actual white lettered keys are below the stickers, in the Lefty Format

Here is a BETA print of the keycaps, on my old MS Ergo Test Model:

Left Side, Lefty Layout:

Right Side, Righty Layout:

FrogPad ACTUAL (Laminated):

FrogPad Keycap Diglyphs!

Original Key Map:

First Step:

Many Versions Later, My Final Design

Lefty FrogPad Layout:

Righty FrogPad Layout:

Since I'm a hunt and pecker at heart, although I have it memorized, creating this keymap has improved my speed on this thing!

Here's the result, fro ma previous printing of the keycaps:

VERY Happy with the results! WIN!

Friday, June 26, 2009

MyFrog KeypadMmod USB


Adapted an Intelligent Design to suit me. Wrote a large Keyhandling Macro 1,340 lines of manicured code (lots of hierarchy trees)

My new keyboard kicks ass! Cost of materials was about $30, and writing the autohotkey macro took a lot more time than I'd planned,

but after I gave up on some pesky keys, namely 000 and a num lock key that sends no scancodes (grrr), steady progress towards completion

was the order of the evening. Cutting out the stickers for the keys: not a chore, but drenched in awesome. (Typed completely with my pad)

Okay, back to deluxe Ergo USB for the recap and the blow by blow: (My new MS 4000 Keyboard is supremely hackable with a little harmless, undoable XML configuration file editing!

So, first, checkout http://www.frogpad.com/ (I'll Wait)
Cool how they state that the vast majority of hunt and peckers are super suited fot this. Also I notice that one-handed and two dont mentally overlap, Two hand travelling H&P Qwerty in the dark is not impeded AT ALL. it's like your wing and index fingers are some other kind of crazy hands.

Cost of Mod:
HW $17 from Amazon,
<$1 Sheet of Sticker-Backed Paper
< $1 of Ink. Time for Mod: Few hours for the software (one big elegant AutoHotKey macro ) Few Hours graphic design/layout One Hour remapping a few keys (the 000 is an annoying key, the capslock on the keypad is non-binding to the host PC, i.e. sent only during other keypresses)
Ok end of post. Sleep much. then I use KB for all sorts of awesome free mousing! (Plays Freebird)

FROM MY NOTES: Keys that didn't make it (out of 20):
Shift (first to go, thx to a 1x2 enter key)
(Thankfully a Sentence Case algorithm exists for post proscessing)

The D/V key (000, sends 0 3x, not it's own code)

The F/Tab key (a caps lock that only sends when another key is pressed, individially un-addressable)

Left over: 13 letter keys (for all 26 letters; cramped a bit but necessary due to losing 2 regular keys) and 4 modifier keys.

So I moved D and V to the bottom right corner keys, and consolidated any symbols duplicated on the keypad like - / & ^ * was lost in the mix, (altho it's not used very often at least) Faced with losing a few orange special key function (such as PgDn Home Delete, i chose Ins, Pause, SysReq(?) and Left(not the arrow key, perhaps a format toggle from Frog people? The I/D/3 key refuses to chord to anything, so I remaped delete (on U/V/^) to do Backspace instead (THE END. Keyboard Done!) PHRASES I TRAINED TYPING:
johnny too bad
horace andy
regggae mus itc feeds the world stage
and weeds tend to them tend to reason
with all these goings oin was not sexyyy or very drunk
Tarzan, King of Mars
Monster Magnetic
Tosca - Wonderful
Valtrex Covalent Bonds
Yammem Mediocracy
i would hold up
when he says we touch too much
Snap Crackle PoP
3 more divas
apple computer
from earth to the moon
gatecrasher iota
jam band
khomeni ayatollah
love actually
macintosh quadra
raffi sectional faciliation
spinal cord injury
ttony hawk isis mmy gooklvalencia
watch the watchmen
wayne gretzky
where the wild things are
one, two, free, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten! satisfied?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Frog with GuyLiner

To complete a reasonable facsimilie of the FrogPad, I Analyzed some photos and layouts, juggling keys to match the pad's promary and secondary (space-shiftwd) memory banks

Also found DataHand, Happy Hacking, Logitech Wave, several XP only USB Roll-Up Keyboards, The Maltron, The Ergo 8000, The Type Matrix (overlaps keypad and features straight key colums...

According to FrogPad, The Most Frequent keys are:

and the Secondary, Lesser used in English keys:

right hand side , to be used left handed.
The left side is a reference for the ALT LAYOUT.

SPACE / ALT / RCLICK / CTRL /SHIFT are going to be set up to emulate the FrogPad's 5 modifier keys
with AUTOHOTKEY (Amazing Keyboard Macro, GUI App Scripting Language)

More later...

QWERTY, Prepare to Die!

The keyboard's over 12 years old and well worn, Still pretty durable. Took several college beer soakings and a ton-o-grime. Flaky FRIK keys. Got a New MS Ergo 4000 USB, and I used both simultaneously for a few days.

I got my trusty small tech screwdriver, needle nose pliers, & cloth and gently pried all the keys out. I set them up in rows like catering, and leftover letters mingled.

Several KEYS have unique shapes (see the 7 for instance and some SPANmultiple keyboard keyhole columns. The MMS Natural spacebar even has a metal wire to steady it.

Some Key caps have seperated from the plastic columns they rest in, by 2 prongs that fit into a 180 split column.
A small needle nose pliers rescues the keyshafts, which then happily snap to the keys.

It's all in the wrist. At this point you can sort and wash the Keys.

Psyched to finally be More In Control, I grouped together PERL, LOST, WFTB, DC, XYZ and displacedF-keys.

T G 7 : odd shaped; not going anywhere
4 2 3 8 1 5 6 : (LOST #s)

( ) : Parentheses on top row
J C Q U G : Together
(Rounded shape letters)

The Right hand side starts with:
PERL, F8, F1 & F5 (LOST Ref)
Totally the reason I wanted to do this.

ADVK : for DVORAK, of course!
+= -_ BkSpc : Pros/Con/TimeTravel
7, H, N : fixed, due to unique shapes
H XYZ <> : Axial Navigation, Hold
< >{ }[ ] : Punct. & HTML/CSS ;':"
I O : Indeed; S : Plural near ENTER
BIOS : Nice Tech Ref

Modifier Keys were/are not interchangable. But almost all the alphanumeric keys moved. The F,R,I &K got flaky on this keyboard.

I hunt and peck with both hands without thinking, and I sure got a Brain-Age-type benefit from "changing my mental map" The keyboard doesn't own me (It's over 12 years old and well worn)

Check out the Numbers model of the "Numeric Keypad,"
NOT FOR USE WITH Hurley's new OSX/XP PC when he returns home. PS/2 Only! Sorry USB Peeps. (Wasn't that an IBM trade mark?)

A 5x3 Matrix +5,
Webbed Feet
A Sharpie,
Computer Case
Screwdriver Set

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

LOST Periodic Table Images

View My Latest:
LOST Periodic Table of Elements (HTML)

or Grab some GIF Images:

(Suggestions? I have 159 short LOST codes now. Can't wait for Wednesday 10pm!)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fixing Vista Columns

Dude - I know how to fix the Vista Columns Issue.

It's dirty, it's wrong, but in LIEU of anybody at Microsoft Caring at all and adressing this, here goes:

AutoHotKey =
A Windows version of Automator (Event Recorder)
+ AppleScript (Access to system dialogs)
+ Visual Basic (It has a GUI toolkit)

Take on the 257+ types of Explorer Detail Columns

Use on the fly, script-directed tweaking of the Explorer Detail Columns Dialog alphabetic column selection and spacebar toggle to make a custom column set.
These complex re-columning instructions can be made into a "macro.ahk"

You're gonna wanna crank up your ShellBags to like a million!

Make all Windows like this Window
in Explorer-> Tools
-> Options helps the columns die. They'll be back.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Vintage MacBook "Air"

Two years ago, a friend of mine dropped his MacBookPro Laptop (PowerPC Edition) SHATTERING HIS MONITOR. This was before the nifty magnetic Mac power connector existed. The monitor lit up, but only the top left corner was usable, the rest simply displaying a glowing, horrific chaotic fracture pattern.

Not having owned a Mac for many years (I used plenty at work, but went PC all the way at home), I asked him for it. He had no intention of having it repaired, as it was more than a few years old. With a DVI<->VGA adapter and an Viewsonic LCD Monitor, it was good to go! It had Built in Wireless Ethernet and USB (a good thing because the CD Drive was toast; bent and inoperable).

My father wanted a new Mac to use (His old Quadra 660 AV Pizza-Box finally refused to display a video signal) but the problem was the external monitor sitting next to the laptop was an ergonomic nightmare. The real screen WOULD HAVE TO GO. So... I replaced the broken MacBook Pro screen with the LCD VGA monitor:

The bent case put up a fight, but ultimately lost.
I tore in to the Poor MacBook using:
Gloves (to not get cut, or get monitor juice all over me)
A Small Fan (to blow away the mercury vapor that would be released)
Mini Screwdrivers (Using them at an angle on a bent case = not easy)
A Putty Knife (To pop the shell, not an easy task since the case had bent enough to count)

Maybe the Mac Mini should be re- released as an All-In-One Keyboard PC. It would be very Amiga 500 of them!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Meeblings" (Indie Game)

If you enjoy physics and logic games, like World of Goo, JellyCar, Lemmings, or even Chip's Challenge, you will enjoy Meeblings. Play it at Ninja Kiwi (it's a flash game). I blazed through all 50 levels (got kinda stuck a few times, but my OCD powered through!

The soundrack had me thinking "I'm Tom Bodett for Motel 6" due to it's banjo-picking airy elevator music.

Here is the Completion Screen in all it's marvel:

Sweet. Good Night Everybody!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

#mediamath Twitter Game

#mediamath Twitter Game
(Day 1 Awards)

Best Three-Show Additions (3-way tie)

1. Dollhouse = The Stepford Wives + Charlie's Angels + The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (@ethernautrix)
1. Millennium = The X-Files + Medium + The Mentalist (@kidmanproject)
1. FRINGE = Numb3rs + John Doe + The 4400 (@brunoprado)

4. Rome = Debbie Does Dallas + C-SPAN + I, Claudius (@benjamin_oc)
5. Family Guy = Simpsons + Married w/ Children + Alf (talking animal) (@garyb311)
6. How I Met Your Mother = Seinfeld + Friends + Frasier (@piriri92)
7. The Big Bang Theory = Star Trek + The Wonder Years + Melrose Place (@cyclopticupcake)

Best Two-Show Additions

1. The Office = Mary Tyler Moore + Arrested Development (@cyclopticupcake)
2. Supernatural = The X-files + Buffy the Vampire Slayer (@flatlandcometh)
3. Lipstick Jungle = Golden Girls + Sex And The City (@cyclopticupcake)

Reality Shows

1. The Biggest Loser = Survivor + Real World + Big Brother + Extreme Makeover + Denise Austin Workout (@garyb311)
2. Kitchen Nightmares = The Swan + Dr. Phil + the Food Network (@ethernautrix)

Perhaps, But Not Quite

1. Ellen = Oprah + the L Word (@flatlandcometh)
2. LOST = Twin Peaks + Northern Exposure + Guiding Light - Rocky (@jmpickel)
3. Xena: Warrior Princess = Hercules + The L Word (@heimp)
4. Power Rangers = Real Life (Transformers + Voltron + G-Force + Thundercats) (@garyb311)

Thanks to Everyone for Playing!

Friday, April 3, 2009

New Pop Culture Game!

"TV/Movie Formulas"
Describe a TV Show or Movie based on other TV Shows or Movies (as a formula)

HASHTAG: #mediamath (add this to a tweet to play along)

Dollhouse = ALIAS + Brainstorm + The 4400
Now And Again = The Six Million Dollar Man + The Prisoner + Once And Again
Bones = The X-Files
+ Crossing Jordan + Moonlighting
Life On Mars = Law & Order + Quantum Leap

Justice =
Boston Legal + Jackie Brown
Reaper = The LOOP + Buffy + My Name Is Earl
House = ER + CSI + Grey's Anatomy + Monk
Tru Calling = Buffy + Six Feet Under + DayBreak

Harsh Realm = Altered States + eXistenZ
The UNIT = The A-Team + Desperate Housewives + MacGyver
LOST = Survivor + Big Brother + Swiss Family Robinson + The Prisoner + Rashomon
ALIAS = Felicity + 24 + The Unit (+ MacGyver + The DaVinci Code)
The Wire = The Sopranos + New York Undercover + Law & Order

Wonderfalls = Northern Exposure + Twin Peaks + The L-Word + Eli Stone
Twin Peaks = Six Feet Under + Deadwood
30 Rock = Studio 60 + Sports Night + The Office
Buffy The Vampire Slayer = Kolchak + Xena: Warrior Princess + The X-Files
Battlestar Galactica = Space: Above & Beyond + Star Wars + Earth2 + Solaris + The 4400

Fun, huh?

With this game, shows people have not seen or forgotten about bubble up next to similar shows, generating an implicit recommendation. Of course there's no one right answer, but describing things in terms of other things is a great mental exercise

Older shows like Now and Again can resurface - leading fans of derivative shows back to (some of) their original inspiration. Sharing these little allusions helps people find new shows to watch (based on shows they like) and the simple concept is well suited for Twitter (and us obsessive pop culture fanatics)

-SuperFan David from New York (@batchout)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Browser Toolbar Icons

I love the Firefox Browser Toolbar, especially afterI added the MiniFox Extension last year. It tightly packs the icons together. These Icons have no title to save space, and are "highlights" of the category menus, which are not shown when the browser window is small. They do however pop off of the right triange of the browser window in a vertical system menu.

hen my browser is maximized (or simply full width), the rest of the Browser Toolbar is shown (with Menus)

These Menus are in the same order as the icon groups. To the far right there are dedicated bookmark menus for Google, Wikipedia and YouTube (to classify new bookmarks.

Finally, the Sub-Menus at top level are as follows:

And that's a peak at my browser's quick list of favorite sites.