Vortex Core Update (and typing tests)

Just thought I’d post a small update since Vortex posted new firmware for the Core that enables custom remapping via its online layout editor. Thanks to it, I’ve got the keyboard bound to 99% the way I like it.

My previous complaints about not being able to reassign the Fn1 keys and having too many unused keys rebindable have been solved. My only gripe is that I can’t move the default Fn key – I can only assign another key to work as Fn, so I now have two Fn keys instead of one. However, since it’s not that much of an issue I can live with it (I still hope they will fix it in a future update though).

Currently, my Vortex Core has the following layout:

For those of you interested in using this, here’s my layout file for you to flash onto your Core.

On a side note, I’m done with 100% keyboards – I’ve replaced my full-sized SteelSeries Apex M500 at home with a Plum Nano 75. I wanted to give Topre clones a shot and the Plum Nano 75 seemed like a pretty good idea.

For a Topre-clone, I would say it’s far from the stock experience of real Topre (comparing vs the HHKB). I bought the 45g dome version with additional 20g springs and it still feels linear as hell. I can’t imagine what the 35g dome version would be like. I might replace the domes in the future for more tactility, but I’ll stick with it stock for now. Typing on it sounds quite nice – it’s a very ‘ploppy’ sound. It’s hard to describe but you can check it out on my typing demo:

I love its form-factor. The function row over a standard 60% body is perfect for keycap compatibility. The only thing that would make it better would be a HHKB-style bottom row, ala the Eve Meteor.

I appreciated that the stabilizers came lubed with the board though. No rattle at all, and the build quality of the board was solid. The stock keycaps leave a lot to be desired (in terms of appearance). Fortunately, it has MX-compatible stems so I swapped them out with some Tai-Hao Black on White ABS keycaps (costar stabs were a pain in the ass though). The cable channel can be annoying if you unplug it often but since I’m leaving the board on my desktop at home, this isn’t an issue for me.

I bought the non-Bluetooth, non-RGB version so I can’t comment about those features (who needs them anyway?) but overall, I’d say get the Plum 75 if you’re a fan of the form factor and intend on replacing the domes if you’re not a fan of linear typing experiences. Avoid it if you’re looking for an alternative to real Topre – get a real Topre keyboard instead.


After recording the typing test for the Plum Nano 75 I decided that I would make typing test videos for my other keyboards as well, so if you’re interested in hearing how my other keyboards sound, here they are:

HHKB Pro 2

KBD Fans HHKB

Vortex Core

Hair by Hair

You know what else takes as long as waiting for your keyboard parts to arrive?

Me growing a beard. Actually I think I’m going to receive all my keyboard parts before I grow a decent beard.
It’s been a few months since I started using Minoxidil and I don’t think it’s making a big difference. However, I am only on my second bottle, so I didn’t really expect anything so soon. I definitely have noticed a few additional hairs on my face, but they are countable and I am still nowhere near being a poster-child for beard Instagram.

Regardless, the journey must go on and I shall continue using Minoxidil until I run out of it. Here’s to a better beard future.

On the other hand, the hair on my head has been growing quickly and is showing no signs of slowing down (woot). I am constantly being nagged by my mom to get a haircut though. I dread going back to the days of styling my hair every morning before going out. But I also don’t think I’d look good with a shaved head. Decisions, decisions.

If only there was a way we could control where the hair grew on our bodies. Or at least swap our hair follicles. I’d probably trade away hair on my pubes and armpits for hair on my face. That would be a pretty good deal. I’ve probably got way too many pubic hairs.

Friends We Don’t Deserve

There’s something comforting about having a dog on your lap while you type away in front of your computer.

It’s like having a living, breathing teddy bear. Sometimes I wonder what she’s thinking about. Is she day dreaming? Is she asleep? Any slight movement I make wakes her up, so I can’t really check if it’s the latter but her steady breathing pattern hints at sweet dreams. Do dogs even dream? I’m sure they do. What do they dream about? Freedom?

And then I start to wonder, does she think about what I’m doing? Does she wonder if it’s trivial or important? Am I saving the world or just typing random shit on a public diary?

Does she enjoy lying on my lap? Does she enjoy it or find it boring? She’s not complaining – not that I would know if she was unhappy, I can’t speak doggo. I would love to be able to read their minds though. Or understand their barks. I think it would be an amazing ability to have. It could also lead me down a pretty interesting career path. Also, I’d be able to tell stories that dogs want humans to know.

Do dogs want us to know anything? Maybe not. Why should they care? Why do dogs care so much about people who essentially enslave them for their own selfish purposes? Actually, do we even know if dogs really love humans (I’m almost certain they do) – for all we know, they’re actually the most manipulative creatures in the world, getting us to do their bidding. And people who abuse dogs are actually saving the human race from being overrun by our four-legged friends? Just kidding, I don’t believe that at all. Dogs are our best friends we don’t deserve. So we try our best to make their lives as luxurious as possible.

Royalty

Just a song I wrote a few months ago. Finally finished it and recorded a rough demo on a productive Thursday night. Enjoy

Royalty

on your bed you lie like royalty
in your mind you wish that you were free
all the luxuries meant for a king
but are you truly?

when you trade your air for water
all our words fall upon deaf ears
you look forward to be released
follow the bright light

watching over you like guardians
just like statues we wait
as the waves crash all around us
behind a glass display

tethered to a bed, is it living?
lines on a graph, numbers falling
your whole being reduced to
beeps on a machine

(take my lungs, I didn’t treasure them anyway)

when you trade your air for water
all our words fall upon deaf ears
you look forward to be released
embrace the darkness

waiting for the full collapse
your last dying breath
we mutter empty words to comfort ourselves

it’s all up to you now
it’s time to say goodbye
we mutter empty words to comfort ourselves

Too Young To Die

“Oh, he/she was so young.”

What is that supposed to mean?
Is there an age we’re supposed to die at?

Is any age ever a good age to die?
Can someone be too old to die?
Or is that just the default response for someone to say whenever they find out the age of someone who passed away?

Isn’t it all relative? What if the person who passed away did everything he/she ever wanted to do before passing away? Would that a good age then?

What if they didn’t die, and spent the rest of their life accomplishing nothing else. Would they be at a better age to die then?

If someone was too old, would the correct response be “I guess his/her time was up”?

There’s no right age to die.
People just die.

“I’m sorry to hear that.” is sufficient.

There’s really no need to add anything else. It doesn’t make people feel any better. Really.

A Slight Update

In case you’re wondering why I have a new layout – my blog was recently hacked/hijacked (not sure by who, or how – but some fuckers injected some code to redirect visitors to other sites. I’m not sure when it happened – but I think it’s probably due to some security issues and me using an old-ass outdated theme. I may or may not have fixed the problem – if you receive any warnings or get redirected please let me know.

I spent a few hours today trying to locate the injected redirection code but thought it was more trouble than it’s worth – in the end I decided to just replace all the recently modified files with the default files from a fresh installation of wordpress. The security plugins on my blog are still detecting issues, so this weekend I’ll work on doing a full wipe and reset of this blog to make sure this place is free of any shenanigans. Don’t expect any new updates until I get the problem fixed. Hopefully it will be a walk in the park.

The Wait

If there’s one thing I’ve learned after joining the mechanical keyboard community, it’s that you need a lot of patience for this hobby. If you think spending about an hour changing keycaps on your full-sized keyboard takes up a lot of time, think again. Even the amount of time you have to spend desoldering (not that I do it) a full-sized keyboard feels like a few seconds compared to the amount of time you spend waiting for parts to arrive.

If you’re not ordering ready-made parts or a pre-made build online, expect waiting for months (and sometimes even years) for them to arrive. While I’m not an advocate for preordering (especially when it comes to video games), you don’t really have a choice in this hobby if you want to delve deeper into the custom scene. Sure, things take time to be manufactured and shipped – I understand it completely. That doesn’t make it any better though!

It’s been a few months since I’ve put down some monies for my upcoming build and only one part of my build is on its way to my house (switches). I still have to wait for the board and keycaps. Once they’re in my possession, it’ll probably take less than half the day for me to assemble it. I can’t think of any other hobby that involves this much waiting. Maybe growing plants would be something similar. Even then, it doesn’t take as long as waiting for a group buy to deliver. But in the end, you’ll have something pretty to show off to other people.

Fortunately, I already have some nice pre-built boards that I can enjoy in the meantime. I can’t imagine what my daily life would be like if I didn’t already have them to keep me satisfied. I probably wouldn’t enjoy writing as much as I do now.

Sometimes I don’t use copy and paste when working just so I can spend more time typing.

Also, I recently discovered Windows + M minimizes the window that is currently open. How cool is that? I’ve been using Alt + Space, N to minimize windows for years. And I learned this on accident.

Anyway, I think patience is something I have. Sometimes I do wonder – if there was a fee for an accelerated option, would I take it?

One of the best solutions to the problem I’ve heard is that you should keep buying stuff all year-long. Then you forget about what you’ve purchased and every time you receive a package in the mail, it’s a nice surprise. Unfortunately, I don’t have the funds to do that, yet.

Back and Forth

The other day I was told off by my mom for shaking my legs. While it’s not something I do all the time, I realize I do it a lot when I’m listening to music with a good drum beat. My legs automatically bounce as though I’m the drummer of the song (even though I have no idea what I’m doing). It’s strange. Anyway, I wanted to figure out why it’s something that my mom has been against since I was a young boy. Turns out there’s a lot of history behind why leg shaking is considered a bad habit (I’m shaking my legs as I write this out, Dance Gavin Dance is playing through my earphones).

In Asia, shaking your legs means you’re being idle and have nothing to do in India, while in Japan it’s something the poor people do (they call it the poorman’s leg). In Chinese culture, if you believe it, you’re shaking your wealth and prosperity away. I didn’t find any scientific reasons that were twisted into grandmother stories. But, for people who shake their leg constantly, it turns out that there’s something called Restless Leg Syndrome. Apparently people who suffer from it have difficulty sleeping (not me, of course). That reminded me of the time when I learned about attention deficit disorder (back in the day, we’d just get punished for not paying attention in class – not prescribed Adderall).

Long story short, I haven’t stopped shaking my legs, but I’ve been more mindful about doing it around my mom since it bothers her. I mean, how do you stop yourself from moving your legs when you’re listening to this jam?

If I could, I’d jump around all the time.

I knew someone who used to shake their legs constantly. But it was an audible sound because it would make the chair squeak. Now that was annoying. Also, it made some other appendages bounce, which was distracting, to put it mildly. I stop shaking my legs if I notice that it’s distracting other people because I can be considerate at times.

Anyway, Dance Gavin Dance’s Artificial Selection drops next week and I can’t wait.

Return of the Rambles

While i’ve been taking breaks from writing daily, I haven’t been extra productive with the extra time I have. Instead, I’ve been using it to game, watch shows and so on. Not the best use of my time, but hey – it’s my time and I can do whatever I want with it. I finally started watching season 2 of Attack on Titan, finished watching Look Who’s Back, and caught up on Riverdale.

Which reminds me, I think it’s time I finish writing new music and start gigging again. It’s been awhile since my last show, I think my guitars are collecting dust at home. Time to go out and damage my vocal chords again. I miss it. However, I don’t want to play the same old songs over and over again, which is my excuse for not performing. But I haven’t been using my free time to write new songs, so I’m stuck in a loop where I’m not making any progress towards my goals. It’s time to change things up a bit.

Other projects I’ve said I wanted to do this year but haven’t done anything about: make my first game, turn my story into a graphic novel. Did I want to do those things because at my previous job I didn’t have the ability to be creative and now that I do, I don’t feel like I want to spend my free time creating again? Am I just making excuses for myself? Probably. I should get around to doing it. At least I haven’t let up on some of the other things I wanted to do this year. I’ve been slowly cleaning my room. I’ve sold off some keyboards that I don’t use anymore. I’ve sold off a bunch of old books, though I have a whole lot more than I plan on giving away. Gonna do the same with my old clothes I don’t wear anymore.

Solo was an alright movie. Deadpool 2 was better (I enjoyed it more than infinity War). Looking forward to Antman, Venom and the Spiderman animation later this year.

Post Malone’s latest album is great, so is CHVRCHES’. Stoked for Dance Gavin Dance dropping next week.

Not sticking to a writing schedule feels strange. It’s like I have no direction about what I want to write anymore. But writing is better than not writing, so you’ll just have to put up with my incoherent ramblings until I’m back on track.

Cash In, Cash Out

The other day when I was taking cash out of an ATM/cash deposit hybrid, I thought to myself, “What an awesome invention.”

No, it wasn’t the first time I had ever used one in my life, but it made me realize what a great idea it was. People take money out all the time, and people deposit money all the time too. Why not just let the cash swap hands with the machines as the intermediary?

Obviously, this system only works in places where there are enough people depositing enough cash, but in my experience it’s been pretty good so far. Banks don’t have to worry so much about refilling their regular ATMs with cash and people don’t have to worry about not having any cash to withdraw.

A simple but elegant solution to machines not having enough cash at all times. While we slowly progress towards being a cashless society, I’m thankful we have these machines in the meantime.