Mechanical Life

October 22, 2021

So, I finally gave in and bought a Mechanical Keyboard. Just to be upfront, I never really liked the idea. I felt like the keys with a lot of travel just trip me up a lot. This is probably because I was using a lot of bad/cheap keyboards until got my hands on laptops. And then I just started liking the low travel keyboards.

The first time I worked next to someone using a proper mechanical keyboard was quite late into my career and I found the noise to be super annoying. That, in the backdrop of this Buddhist idea of “putting oneself in another’s place” (Dhammapada) I have come to believe that it’s simply not right to use a loud keybopard around other living beings.

Anyhow, now I’m working from home and my friends were talking about mechanical keyboards on twitter. Then I found myself checking out some videos and learned Royal Kludge provides good bang for buck. Then I just went ahead and got their 60% model, the RK61. That’s because I always liked compact keybaords. Did not really have an idea of the usability aspects but I liked the aesthetics. So this is admittedly a form over function buy.

The first impression when I got the keyboard is that it feels heavy in a good way, does not feel cheap. It actually feels good to type on. As in, the key presses feel nice. I still feel tired midway of the travel BTW ;). (Years of being happy with typing on “glass” does that to one, I guess). Also, for the record: I got the brown keys because I’m not a monster.

My first struggle was with putting it in Mac Mode

Fn + A - Win mode Fn + S - Mac mode

It felt like putting the keyboard on Mac mode breaks the whole thing but I figured I just have to swap Alt and Win Key keycaps for the Mac mode.

The next challenge was certain keys just stopping to work. I did reset the keyboard (press and hold Fn + Space) until I found out Fn + Left Ctrl toggles the combination keys.

It was quite difficult to find out what would be the option button for Mac OS though. Turns out the Menu Key works as the option key in the Mac mode.

One more thing that kept me tripping over is the three states of Fn + Left Ctrl. This is better explained along with more key combos here. Even though I know about the 3 states, I still can’t get it right becuase there is no indication to it. I have hastily tried to guess the state by pressing some keys but never succeeded. Sometimes I just give up and power cycle like a loser.

To power cycle, Wired: Unplug and plug back in Bluetooth: Use the on/off button

And last, the /? and `~ are not directly accessible. Of these, /? still gets me everytime. I think people use software to remap these keys but that’s not my thing. So I’ll hope for the muscle memory to kick in or just wait till I get annoyed enough to switch to another keyboard.

On backlights, I don’t know if there are models with less fancy backlights but this one has carnival-like backlight modes. I’m happy to say that I have found ones that do not feel murderous to me.

In conclusion, I think it’s a good keyboard at a good price. Just don’t be me and make form over fuction purchases. This probably suits better for gaming than programming but I don’t know about gaming to be sure.

PS: Manual? I don’t have any Italian friends.