May 26, 2014

New WASD Keyboard

I'm happy to report that I temporarily kicked my keyboard (and keyboard-related accessory) acquisition disorder. Indeed, I hadn't spent a dime on anything associated with keyboards for more than a year. Until . . . one day at work, after gleefully hammering away on my Filco (which is outfitted with "clicky" blue Cherry switches), a co-worker subtly hinted that my keyboard was too noisy. My response of "That's nothing, you should hear how awesome it sounds without the sound-deadening Shore 40A durometer o-rings installed!" fell on deaf ears. This news bummed me out a little, but also got me thinking about a return to the quieter "tactile" brown Cherry switches. Keyboard Acquisition Mode: ON.

If you are interested in the backstory, read THIS, and THIS, and THIS, or search for posts tagged with the "keyboard" label.

I didn't really do much research before deciding to acquire a "blank" keyboard with brown switches from WASD Keyboards. "Blank" in this context means "sold without any keycaps and shipped in a nice understated box".

Blank keyboards are really intended for keyboard geeks who already own a set of replacement keycaps and are not interested in boring unattractive stock keycaps. So, inside the box you will find this:
Brown Switches, Duh
The box also contains everything needed to install the keycaps and get the keyboard up and running. In the following picture you can see a keycap puller, a USB cable, a USB-to-PS adapter, clip thingies and lube for the keycap stabilizers, and instructions.

Swapping out my keycaps was very easy, but really time consuming. The finished keyboard is shown below. I like that the chassis is void of branding and stickers. It's just basic black.

I kept the sound-dampeners on the keycaps that get the majority of day-to-day use, as a peace offering to my acoustically hypersensitive coworker. The brown switches are definitely quieter, and typing on them is buttery smooth. I actually prefer the fingerfeel of the brown switches over the blue switches.

Again, the keyboard has no labeling or branding on it. It does, however, have two pinhole LED indicators for Caps Lock and Scroll Lock. These indicator lights are subtle, which I prefer over larger LEDs that tend to emit a blinding amount of energy.

LED Indicators
The brown stems of the switches can be seen through the clear keycaps. Meh, the brown color is ugly in comparison to the bright color used for the blue switches. Moreover, I still prefer the clicky noise that the blue switches generate. That said, the typing feel and muffled sound of my new keyboard are perfect for my workplace environment. Accordingly, Keyboard Acquisition Mode: OFF.

May 8, 2014

Diamine Ink Cartridges (Sample Box)

This will be a short post to let all five of my regular readers know about these super convenient ink cartridge sample packs that are offered by Diamine. Fountain pen junkies are familiar with Diamine ink; most people highly recommend Diamine, and their ink is available in a billion colors. My son and I have a few pens that accept standard international ink cartridges, and Diamine offers their ink in that type of cartridge.

I was looking to buy some sample sized bottles of Diamine ink, but luckily found this cartridge sample pack for sale on Amazon:

I don't recall the name of this specific sample pack, but Amazon had a few different packs for sale. The box contains 18 ink cartridges in 10 different colors. There are two of each color except for Maroon and Dark Brown (only one of each in the box): Black; Blue/Black; Emerald; Claret; Turquoise; Royal Blue; Imperial Purple; Maroon; Monaco Red; and Dark Brown. For less than ten bucks, this is a great way to try out different inks if you are willing to live with unusual colors like Claret and Imperial Purple.

Although some of the cartridges arrived with a color-identifying sticker, most of them were void of any indicia other than a colored end cap. It would have been nice to have the stickers on all of them to eliminate the guesswork, but with appropriate medication I'll be able to live with the inconvenience.

My plan is to identify one or two favorite Diamine inks (perhaps after buying a different sample pack) before buying any bottles. At that point, I'll ditch the cartridges and fill my ink converters with bottled ink. At the rate I'm marching through this sample pack, though, I won't be purchasing a bottle for at least a year!

Anyway, if you own a fountain pen that takes standard international cartridges and you're looking to try different ink colors, then take a look at these Diamine sample packs. If you decide to acquire one, say a prayer to the color-identifying sticker gods before you hit the "Buy" button.