UT47.2 Review

UT47.2 with clear low profile case

When Keyhive announced the UT47.2, I was immediately interested: a hotswap staggered 40% keyboard kit for $38 (group buy price – excluding shipping, switches, keycaps and case) – what more could you ask for?

Clear 3D printed plate and case

I purchased the optional 3D printed low-profile case since I wanted more protection for the PCB than the default kit provided, and I’m more than happy with it. Despite the case and plate being 3D printed, I had no issues inserting switches into the plate, which lined up with the PCB and case perfectly. Assembly was a breeze.

NovelKeys Kailh Box Pink switches

Kailh Box Pink were my switches of choice and after using them for a day, it’s safe to say I’m in love. Box Pink is my new favorite clicky switch. It makes me wonder why nobody is talking about them? They feel like a slightly heavier Box White switch with a much deeper click – similar to how a Box Navy sounds, but softer! I’m definitely picking up more of these for future clicky builds. If what I’ve said sounds like what you’re looking for, give them a shot. You won’t regret it. Great job, NovelKeys!

DSA Granite

After testing out the switches, the next step was putting the keycaps on – which took more time than putting the board together, I kid you not. Major props to Keyhive for the wonderful experience. Keycaps are DSA Granite, which was what I had on my (sold) Vortex Core. They couldn’t have asked for a better new home.

Important!

Flashing the keyboard was straightforward – just remember to set your QMK Toolbox configurator microcontroller to atmega32u2 (something I missed initially), and you’re good to go. I’ve been using 40% boards for a while now so I already knew what layout I wanted on it – there was no need to experiment. For this keyboard, I used a combination of my Planck and Kumo (Minivan) layout. If you’re interested, you can preview it or download the .hex and .json here.

While there is a lot to praise about the UT47.2 – I do have some minor complaints (none were deal-breakers for me, but I thought I’d point out). Firstly, it uses a 1.25u (enter) key on the home row. This isn’t an issue if you’re using flat profile keycaps like DSA, but on sculpted profiles (i.e. Cherry), it’s going to be difficult finding keys for it in the right profile (almost impossible if you want the correct legends). A handful of upcoming keysets will be addressing the need for this extra key. But if you plan to use an existing sculpted keyset with this board, you’re going to have mismatching profiles for that 1.25u key since most 40s kits in the past only have one of those (usually with the Tab legend).

Bought my own rubber bumpons

The kit didn’t come with stabilizers for the 2u space (unnecessary, but supported by the PCB and plate), rubber bumpons (also unnecessary, but something I appreciate) or a USB-C cable. Those are my only complaints.

If you’re interested in picking up one for yourself and missed the group buy, fret not. Keyhive has some extras for sale here ($50) and you can purchase the optional case here ($25) – Keyhive has tons of different designs. SpaceCat also has the UT47.2 on sale here.

Typing Test – quality isn’t that great since it was recorded on my phone, but it should give you an idea of what to expect.

Conclusion: the UT47.2 is one of the best staggered 40% keyboards I currently own. If you’re thinking of trying out the form factor, on a budget and not looking to solder – this keyboard is right up your alley!

This post was written on my UT47.2

The Tiniest Things

I’m the king of procrastination. Believe me, there’s so many things that I wish I would finish and haven’t gotten around to it yet. One of those things was cleaning out my room. Despite starting it in January 2018, I finally finished it last weekend. And if it wasn’t because of certain motivating factors, I bet my room would have stayed unclean for the rest of the year.

What motivated me? Believe it or not – mosquitoes. Yes, those pesky flying blood suckers. Last week I had the worst bout of mosquito attacks in my room. I’d wake up every day with new bites on my legs or arms, and when I was awake, I would notice them flying around the room. Despite my constant spraying of Ridsect every time I went out for the day, and tubs of mosquito repellent I left around my room – they still wouldn’t leave me alone.

I knew that there was one thing left to do: I had to clean my fucking room. And so I did. I took me two days to go through the boxes of stuff I had (things I had been hoarding for over ten years), packing them into trash bags and other boxes. I threw out tons of stuff. I turned off sentimental mode. I didn’t care that it was a book of drawings I did as a kid – they were rubbish anyway, I threw them out. After that, I gave my room a complete wipe-down, getting rid of dust, dirt, hairs, and whatever left that was lying around.

The mosquitoes haven’t completely disappeared – I’m sure there are some left for me to destroy, but the bites have stopped. On the plus side, I now have a clean room and boy, it feels good. Also, it felt great to finally finish something that I started back in 2018. At least this year wasn’t such a waste. The next step is maintaining my room’s condition.

A Silence so Sudden That I Seem to Hear It

“I’m sorry,” said an unfamiliar voice. I looked up from my seat to see Lisa standing in front of me. My mind raced – “What the fuck? She speaks?”

Everybody thought Lisa was a mute because she refused to speak to any of us. Ever since her first day at school, she had never uttered a word. We knew she wasn’t special needs or deaf because she raised her hand during roll call and did the same homework as us.

We’d invite her to join us for lunch, but she never accepted – declining by smiling and shaking her head at the same time. After a few weeks, we figured she was either mute or introverted. Regardless, she was a part of our classes – except when it came to discussions. The teachers would never pick her. I believed they knew the reason behind her silence and refused to tell any of us. We left it at that.

And now, on the very last day of school, Lisa decided to speak to me. Of all people.

“It is time for me to say goodbye,” she continued.
“Wait, what?”
“It’s time for me to go.”
“But I don’t even know you, why are you telling me this?”
“Maybe I’ll see you again.”
“I don’t understand,” I replied. I looked around the classroom – nobody seemed to notice that I was having a conversation with the mute girl. They were in the midst of making plans for the summer, drawing dicks on year books, and snapchatting farewell posts.

Lisa turned around and walked out of the classroom. Immediately, I rose to my feet to follow her out of the room.
“George, where are you going?” my teacher asked as I began to open the door.
“I’m going after Lisa!”

Silence fell over the room as all eyes focused onto me.
“Who?”
“Lisa, the mute girl?”
Everybody was looking at me as though I was crazy. Low murmurs of students whispering to each other began to filter into the air.

The teacher got up from her seat and walked towards me. She put a hand on my shoulder and said, “George, you better sit back down.”


Writing Prompt from Reddit: [WP] Everyone thought that one student was mute, though no one knew why. Today, on the last day of school, she speaks to you.

Gig #119, Gig #120

It’s been a while since my last show. I think I say this too often. Probably. But I’ve finally decided to get onto the stage again, with two shows for the coming week! If you’re on a long raya break, no excuse for you to not show up! Join me for some chill tunes and cool beer. Details below:

PLOY Open Mic #95 ft. Sarah Daniella [Facebook Page]

Time: 8 PM – 10:00 PM
Date: 3rd June 2019
Venue: Ploy at Clearwater [Google Maps]

The PLOY (at Clearwater) Open Mic is our 2nd longest running open mic night which happens every Monday evening just outside the palace! Each installation features one of our finest musicians, with this one featuring…

***SARAH DANIELLA***

SARAH DANIELLA started singing at the age of 10, influenced largely by gospel and soul music. Her love for the blues developed later on as did her love for rock. She blends these influences to create a unique fusion of music.

Over the years, Sarah has been a part of a few musical groups and bands. She has more recently begun to focus on her solo project, Sarah Daniella Music. Joined by Ravi Shankar on drums and percussions, the two of them perform a mix of original songs and familiar standards by acts such as The Beatles, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Madonna and the likes.

She is no stranger to the stage and has performed at events such as Tun Siti Hasmah’s retirement dinner where both Tun Siti Hasmah and Tun Mahathir Muhammad graced the event, Filem Festival Pelajar 2014 (FFP), Multimedia University Convocation Dinner 2012. She has also performed in many other livehouses and performance spaces such as Merdekarya, Pisco Bar, PLOY at Clearwater, The KL Journal and many others.

She sites Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, Etta James and Joan Jett as her biggest vocal influences.

Follow her: https://www.instagram.com/sarahdaniellamusic/

***OPEN MIC***

8.00pm – Juliana Heng
8.15pm – Yan Chang
8.30pm – 2storeyheart
8.45pm – FEATURED ACT
9.15pm – Clement Lee
9.30pm – Andre D. D’Cruz
9.45pm – Dzaim Adzmi

Poolside Open Mic #92 ft. Eloise Lau [Facebook Page]

Time: 8 PM – 10:00 PM
Date: 6th June 2019
Venue: The Swimming Club, KL Journal Hotel [Google Maps]

The Poolside Open Mic is our 3rd longest running open mic night which happens every Thursday evening right on TOP of The KL Journal! Each installation features one of our finest musicians, with this one featuring…

***ELOISE LAU***

Eloise Lau is a folk-pop singer-songwriter who has written songs in the full range of the emotional spectrum, from not wanting to get our of bed to wanting to watch a person burn and fall. An experienced performer, she has graced the stages at both local and international venues – as the only Malaysian representative at the 2013 ChildAid Asia concert in Tokyo and most recently at Urbanscapes2017’s #rediscoverKL. In 2016, she embarked on an ambitious song-writing project as a part of her thesis in her final year of university, which gained recognition from local press. She was also nominated as one of the best College/Uni acts at the 2016 VIMA awards and was interviewed as a featured guest Astro VBuzz which was aired exclusively on local TV. Expect to see more of Eloise Lau in 2018!

Follow her: https://www.instagram.com/eloise.lau/

***OPEN MIC***

8.00pm – Layeena
8.15pm – 2storeyheart
8.30pm – Jenssen Kuek
8.45pm – FEATURED ACT
9.15pm –
9.30pm – Black Plastic Hat
9.45pm – Young & Onn

60 minutes of fame

I spent my weekend being quite productive, I must say. I organized my keyboard spare parts into plastic boxes, and threw out a lot of cardboard boxes and plastic bags. Now I have extra space in my closet for more keyboard stuff.

I’ve mentioned about having thoughts of recording my own podcast in the past before, and while that hasn’t taken off, I managed to do the next best thing: by being a guest on a podcast I regularly listen to! Over the weekend, I took up Don’s invitation to be a guest on The Board podcast and it was a lot of fun. I was expecting a lot of awkward silences and dead air, but conversation flowed pretty well. I had never been interviewed about keyboards before, so that was fun. I get to speak about something I’m interested in.

The audio quality of my microphone is pretty terrible, I should have recorded locally so he could merge the files but it’s listenable. If you’ve ever wondered what I would sound like on radio, feel free to listen to the episode. Thanks again to Don for having me on! I’ll be up for another episode down the road if the opportunity rises again!

I think my body might be telling me to quit drinking. Last night I was out for some beers and I noticed that every time I took a sip of beer, my jaw started to hurt for no apparent reason. It kept happening throughout the night. However, whenever I took a swig of water, my jaw was fine. No pain at all. I’m not sure what the cause is and googling doesn’t give me anything useful. Hopefully it was just something fucky in the air (or drink) last night because it would suck if my jaw hurt every time I drank alcohol.

In addition to drinking beer, I had a lot of water which helped my body immensely the following day – I didn’t have to sit on the porcelain throne for most of the day (something which usually happens after a night of drinking). I guess I know what to do whenever I go drinking in the future. Water = good.

You Had Me at Merlot

If you’re like me, someone who is always on the hunt for new music, you end up listening to a lot of mediocre artists. But once in a while, you’ll encounter an artist that blows your socks off, and makes the hunt all worth it. You sit up and question yourself, how many bands out there are this fucking good and just waiting to be discovered? For me, this happened last week with the band Mike Mains & The Branches.

I was listening to Matt Carter’s podcast, Labeled: “The Stories, Rumors, & Legends of Tooth & Nail Records” when during one of the ad rolls, there was a song by Mike Mains being promoted – Breathing Underwater. I instantly fell in love with the hook of the song, looked it up on Youtube and listened to the song in full, many times.


Mike Mains & The Branches – Breathing Underwater

Coincidentally, the next episode was a feature with the lead singer/writer of the band, so I listened to him talk about songs that inspired him, and how he went about his songwriting process. Towards the end, they shared a bit of the song called Swamp and holy shit, I was blown away. From the poignant opening line sung over the somber piano chords, the build up, to the way Mike (the vocalist) belted out “Everyday feels like waking up in a swamp”. I knew this band was special.


Mike Mains & The Branches – Swamp

After the episode ended, I immediately listened to their latest album and grew enamored with each track. I kid you not when I say every song on When We Were In Love is fantastic. I continued checking out their discography (which stretches all the way back to 2010) and was not disappointed.

While, in my opinion, the band isn’t artistically ground breaking like Dance Gavin Dance (also – completely different genre), they remind me a lot of California Wives, Walk The Moon, and a hint of later Taking Back Sunday. If you’re looking for some chill, indie pop rock, you can’t go wrong with these guys.


Mike Mains & The Branches – Live Forever

Here are some of my favorite songs from the band.

Mike Mains & The Branches – Pouring Rain

Mike Mains & The Branches – Stereo

Mike Mains & The Branches – Stop The Car

Mike Mains & The Branches – Around The Corner

Mike Mains & The Branches – Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

Mike Mains & The Branches – Drifter

Sea of Bodies

When I was younger, my family and I went to a New Year’s Eve party in the city. I can’t remember what year it was but it was long enough ago that I didn’t have a cellphone of my own (remember those days?).

Anyway, for some reason I let go of my mom’s hand in the sea of people at the countdown. Within a matter of seconds, I was lost in the crowd. A tiny young boy, all alone but surrounded by people. I wasn’t tall enough to see past the hundreds of heads around me to find her. There was nowhere to climb for a better view.

I cried my eyes out. Eventually I borrowed a concerned stranger’s phone to call my mom. Couldn’t get through to her phone (there were that many people in the area, the networks were overloaded) so that was futile. I had no idea what else to do. We didn’t agree on a meeting point in case any of us got lost. I didn’t even know the way back to the car to wait for them. I thought I was separated from my family forever. I can vaguely remember what that felt like.

I returned the phone, thanked the stranger, and started wandering around, looking for a familiar face. At this point, fireworks were going off, welcoming the new year. While everyone around me cheered and celebrated, I didn’t revel in their joy. I was just a teary-eyed boy stumbling through the crowd, lost and miserable.

I didn’t know how long it took, but by some stroke of luck, I found my aunt in the crowd. She didn’t even know I was missing! I held on to her until the end of the night when she brought me back to my family. I had never been so happy to see them again.

Because it all ended well, my family didn’t think much of it. To them, I had only disappeared for a brief moment. To me, at that time, it was one of the worst experiences of my life. Maybe I’m being dramatic, but I was just a kid.


I’m not sure why I decided to recount the tale, but it came to mind today as I was making my way through a crowd of people at a night market. Was that incident so many years ago the first manifestation of my disdain for crowds? Possibly. At least it’s not so bad these days. I’m now tall enough to look over other people’s shoulders and I usually have a cellphone with me. I still stand at the back of the hall during gigs – not because I’m too cool to hang with other kids – I prefer the space a lot more.

Jebaiting the audience.

The other day I was just thinking to myself, what makes a story memorable? For me, it’s usually the ones with the most interesting endings. When the conclusion feels like it came out of nowhere, but it really wasn’t – I just wasn’t paying enough attention.

On the other hand, not every story needs to be The Village (remember those What a Twist! skits in Robot Chicken?). They only need to be interesting to me (I included the caveat because what I find interesting might not be to someone else and vice versa – but now when I think about it, that applies to anything creative, so I don’t think I need to mention it in the first place. I digress).

When a story kicks off, it’s meant to draw you in. There are many ways to do this – you could start off in the midst of a high-tension scene (Bullets flew past my head as I dove headfirst into a pile of trash, but what greeted me was worse than the bullets I was avoiding), or a vague quote that entices the audience to continue reading (Sometimes I ponder the meaning of bukkake armpit pickles), perhaps a click bait title (How to Make Money Without Lifting a Finger) – the possibilities are endless.

Once you’ve got them hooked, the next part would be to keep them interested all the way until the end. This part is usually easier than starting or ending (at least in my opinion). Because the story hasn’t come to a conclusion, you have space and time to open and close new or existing threads to keep readers invested – they’ve already gone beyond the intro at that point, so they’ll continue until the end. Unless you purposely write something terrible to turn them off.

Now comes the hard part – an ending that’s sensible yet unpredictable, and not abrupt unless that’s what you’re going for. It can come to an end right after a climactic conclusion, or the story can let the reader down slowly – winding down gradually until the reader is satisfied. Maybe there will be hints to a sequel, prequel, or a spin-off. Maybe the ending could be interpreted differently. Whatever it is, if it leads to discussion, it’s probably a good ending (unless the topic is about looking for plot holes).

A good story will leave you satisfied, like a bowl of good prawn mee (and this is where this story falls apart because I’m horrible at describing how tasty food is). Unlike me, Uncle Keong gets it right – he spins a good tale from start to finish. From the dish’s mouth-watering appearance that draws you in at the beginning, to its perfectly cooked noodles which keep you wanting more, and the delicious residue of prawns, onions and chili at the bottom of the soup – you’ll be satisfied when you reach the bowl’s conclusion.

If I could, I’d give this place a Michelin star, then again, those stars are overrated and would only draw a crowd I don’t want to this place. Thanks to my limited readership, this won’t be a problem. The next time you’re looking for some prawn noodles in Taman Desa, look no further.

Heaven in a bowl

1UP Keyboards HHKB (kit) Review

1Up Keyboards HHKB Kit

After using the Tokyo 60 and Tofu for a few months, I realized that they’re not as portable as I’d like them to be. Even though they’re not heavy like a full-sized keyboard, you start to feel the difference in your backpack – I could tell whether I had one of them inside by the weight of my bag alone. While I have a regular HHKB, its lack of customization (without a Hasu controller) annoys me sometimes, especially because I love using mouse keys when working on my laptop.

I’ve been keeping my eye out for a lightweight HHKB custom keyboard, and when 1Up Keyboard’s Hotswap HHKB Kit flew into my radar, I knew it was what I wanted. Here’s what I ordered: clear plastic case, carbon fiber plate, hotswap Tsangan PCB, and stabilizers. I got my switches and keycaps elsewhere.

Side profile

Firstly, I want to shout out about the purchasing experience on the 1Up Keyboards site. It’s been the best purchasing experience I’ve ever had on any keyboard shopping website. It was so easy to make sure I got everything I needed for the keyboard. There are easy-to-use drop down menus to select what you want, with prices listed clearly and total price updating live. All the options are selectable on a single page, and they make sure you can only choose compatible parts. Even though I didn’t need it, I can see how easy it would be to recommend to people who are building their first keyboard.

Back to the keyboard. It arrived undamaged, in no frills packaging that was sufficient to keep it protected. No complaints there, I also received a whole bunch of stickers to use. I assembled the board with no issues. I have never used a carbon fiber plate prior to this, so I expected it to be extremely flimsy – I was so wrong. Switches snapped in nice and snug. It worked just like a normal plate that was very light.

I put on Box Navy switches with Maxkey SA keycaps on this and was surprised to feel that it was even lighter than my HHKB (I don’t have a scale that’s accurate enough to measure the difference – my test was holding one keyboard in each hand, so I could be wrong). I was very impressed by how light it is. I suspect it would be even lighter with different (shorter) profile keycaps on. Regardless, it met my requirements of a lightweight, programmable MX-style HHKB.

Exposed carbon fiber plate

First thing I noticed about the typing experience was the flex. While it didn’t feel like I was bending the PCB, my keystrokes felt more cushioned compared to typing on a metal plate. Then again, it could have been the effect of a tray mount vs. integrated plate (which the Tokyo60 and Tofu HHKB use). I would probably need to use more plates and mounting styles to come to a conclusion. In my opinion, the switches and keycaps that you use will probably have a more noticeable effect than the type of plate but this is coming from someone who’s relatively new to the hobby. More experienced people would probably tell you otherwise. As to whether this feels better or worse – I’m indifferent. Flex vs no flex is a personal preference, and I don’t have a preference for either.

Typing on SA keycaps on Box Navy is a pretty enjoyable experience. The thick clicks are definitely amplified and people know when you’re hard at work, or gaming. I’ll be trying out different switches in the future (the positives of having a hotswap board) to see if they work better with the flexible plate.

The underglow is BRIGHT

The underglow lights on this thing is bright – especially when paired with a clear case, you can easily illuminate the surface around the keyboard. Fortunately, you can easily disable them if you find it distracting (I only turn on the underglow for photographs as I rarely use it when I’m working). You get the standard RGB modes and colors you can access through QMK, nothing out of the ordinary here.

Programming the PCB was easy – just like any other QMK PCB. However, I’ve been seeing an issue with the board pop up a couple of times on the 1Up Keyboards Discord: my PCB arrived unflashed. This meant, I couldn’t input any keystrokes on the keyboard when it was first assembled. I had to use the physical reset button (fn+b wasn’t working for me) to get it into bootloader mode before flashing my keymap. This isn’t a big deal for most people, but some sort of default layout would have been helpful for those who decide to screw the board into their case before flashing it (you can’t access the reset button without removing the PCB from the case). I’m not sure if it’s an issue for all of the PCBs they sell, or me and the people who complained were only the minority.

Issues: I won’t lie – the silver carbon fiber plate is hideous. I should have gone with black or red, though I can’t expect it will look much better. I’m not sure if it’s possible, but a texture-less version of the carbon fiber plate would have been more up my alley. This is my biggest problem with the keyboard. Yes, you read that right. I love everything else about it.

So was the board everything I wanted? Yes. I set out to build a lightweight keyboard and I got exactly that. And to top it off, it’s affordable (your choice of switches or keycaps will affect the base price). It’s also an in-stock item that you can purchase any time from 1Up keyboards instead of having to wait for a group buy (unlike the Tokyo60). Oh, it also comes with USB C.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with the 1Up Keyboards HHKB and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anybody looking for an easy to assemble, lightweight and affordable keyboard. It is also available in other styles (standard ANSI and Win key-less) if HHKB isn’t what you’re looking for.

Here’s a sound test of the 1Up Keyboards HHKB:

Comments left unsaid

I’ve written about the perks of online dating before, and one of the best things about not being face to face (initially, at least) is the ability to take the time to think of what you want to say before hitting the send button. This aspect also translates to other aspects of online communication – like leaving comments or writing posts on Facebook. Believe it or not, despite all the stupid things I share online, there are a lot of things I’ve stopped myself from posting after second thoughts. As we all know, once something goes online, it’s pretty much there forever (probably more applicable to people with a following, but nevertheless a good thing to keep in mind if you’re worried about any backlash).

I don’t know if it applies to everyone but I have erased a lot of comments and posts I’ve made online before hitting the send button. 99% of the time, I decide it’s not worth saying anything because it honestly doesn’t affect my life or I don’t care about it enough. I just ignore the post and move on. In a few hours, the post will be buried, and you’ll never have to see it again.

The 1%? I share stuff in a private group chat and talk about it there. That way I get the opinions of people I care about and not have to worry about what other people think about my views.

And no, I’m not saying that it’s what everybody should do – far from it. I believe in the freedom the internet provides us, after all, who doesn’t like to laugh at the stupid shit that some people say?

On that note, why do some people insist that you ‘pm for price’? I never understood that and still don’t. It’s a fucking marketplace, people expect to be told the price of an item before they decide if they want to buy it. Why is it private information? Are you going to tell people different prices depending on who’s asking? Are you going to dispute complaints that people may have about the price because it isn’t listed publicly? Why not just put the regular price down and give discounts privately? Why make people jump through extra hoops just to buy your shit? It’s so scummy. I read news about it being made illegal a while ago yet I still see people doing it. If you’re selling stuff, don’t be a dipshit and post your prices publicly.