Weather Update: It's Raining

Howdy again!

Got a few updates on what's going on over here, let's start with the fun stuff.

Prototypes for Ginny, FaunchPad, GergoPlex and BuzzSaw have been submitted! So get hype for those, I'll post more about them once I have the protos but here's the short
- GergoPlex: Choc only Gergo with 36 keys
- FaunchPad: SMD 2x4 macropad
- Ginny: 10key split ergo with chorded qwerty
- BuzzSaw: Choc Alice clone that can be snapped apart and turned into a split 40%

So those are going to be fun!

Shipping Updates:
- Springs have been at the border for the past month, so that's bullshit.
- Still waiting on PCBs for Georgi/Gergo
- Still waiting on Chocs to arrive

Turns out that around National Day in China there's a 7Day holiday that pretty much shuts everything down. So the PCBs almost made it out of China before that and Kailh is just processing my switches now. So that's lovely. I learned about CNY last year, but this came out of left field. At least I know for next year

Qlavier Groupbuy: The hardware is now in Belgium. So should be receiving a big ass box pretty quick here.

Upcoming:
I'm looking forward to stocking the four boards I mentioned, but I'll be on holiday between Nov 26th - Dec14th, during this time I'll have a big-ass notice on the store! Going to Japan to fuck around so that should be fun :)

What's New, What's Happening

Morning all!

It's been a busy few weeks around here at gBoards so I figured I might as well let you in on what's going down.

Qlavier Groupbuy: Half the problem with communicating about groupbuys is there's periods of time where nothing is happening. This is one of those times, still waiting on a bunch of hardware to make it to him before I can get my mitts on the cases and start shipping. Needless to say I'll keep you posted here :)

Gergo Ready: I've gone ahead and managed to get a bunch of 1.5u and 2u choc caps in White and Black. Now that I have those, fully assembled (and non-gaptacular) Readies can be produced. As these use the same bits as Georgi and I'm only offering them with 12g chocs! Downside is that the switches are more expensive and I have to swap them by hand. But if you want to try the low-pro ergo life there's a option for you. (Alternatively: Buy a Kit, Mod Kit and source the switches elsewhere + 1us to save some cash!)

Store Delays: The main reason I'm writing this post! As some of you know I work at a hotel with fairly minimal staff. As such, when someone leaves or is ill we band together to run the thing. There's not enough people to adopt a 'not my problem'  attitude, we make sure the place runs.  Recently one of our night auditors quit and we started looking for a new one, in addition staff have been ill and I've been busy with orders. This means that the last two weeks have been 50+ hours for me before I even get to gBoards.

The truth is my job is making sure buildings don't burn down, this gives me time to work on my own products/designs but I can't actually do builds or pack orders when I'm sitting behind a desk!

I've talked to my manager and we've since hired two auditors instead only one. With this I'm cutting my time back from 5 shifts a week two only 2. This added time will allow me more freedom to actually run the damn store. So in a week I'll be more then free enough to clear the backlog that's been piling up, hurrah!

The Future:
With this change comes something I've been trying to do for the past few months. new projects! With the limited time to actually fulfill orders, making more for the workload didn't make sense. So here's a few of the things I'll be banging out once everything is cleared. (If you're waiting to order, don't bother. These aren't getting timelines apart from "Soon^TM")

Gergo: Psyche (rev4). A minor update to Gergo that fixes some small issues and refines the design more. Add some stabs, clean some routing, minor footprint fixes. Nothing major compared to Protocol.

Ginny: A 10key chorded keyboard! Reception of Georgi was better then expected so why not take the idea to it's logical conclusion. 10fingers, 10keys, 0motion. Based on the same engine as Georgi

The Ergo Post: Because it's been months and GergoPlex needs to be sorted and it's reasons explained.

GergoPlex: A stripped down, user hostile and crazy ergonomic keyboard that makes you use it the 'right way'. Probably going to take after the MiniDox to be honest. SMD, dirty silks, you know the drill. Check the previous posts for more info.

DennyTom Engine: DennyTom has been working for the past few months on what can only be described as the steno engine to end all steno engines. It's amazing, blows Georgis firmware out of the water and put simply is a testament to what one man on a mountain can do. This will be the firmware running on ButterStick, Ginny and Georgi. Quite honestly, this is better then anything the Neutrino Group could have dreamed of. (Speaking of, if one of them reads this I'd love to work on keyboard design with you!)

So yeah.

Thanks for your patience with orders as gBoards enters a new era of keyboarding! There's been kinks ironed out along the way and it's only getting better. I'm not ready to jumping to this full time, but we're pretty damn close.

Also, running to Japan in December for two weeks. If you want to meet up and grab some drinks or fuck around: Hit me up!

In other Choc related news:
CorruptedCaps is now running beautiful Kailh Choc artisans and MKUltra is selling pre-coloured Chocs! Go give them some love if you want to spice up your board :)

Long Time No Update

Holy hell!

There's been so much new stuff I've been wanting to work on but the stores been busy as hell. Hence why GergoPlex is taking so long (the other reason being, I need time to congeal my research and not just rush a board!).

Either way it's been chooching along fairly well, backlogs are reasonable and being handled (worst case email me!) and the Qlavier groupbuy is progressing well.

As of right now the cases have been cut, just waiting on some mounting hardware before that big box of acrylic ships it's way to me. On my end I've already recieved the PCBs and have been building them up for kitting together :)

Apart from that Gergo seems to be doing well with only minor changes required for rev4: Psyche, nothing functionally different. If you have anything you can think of to add to the PCB please get in contact with me!

With all that being said, I just wanted to say that this has been a crazy experience for me. Thanks to all of you for supporting me in this weird endeavor. I didn't expect it to turn into more then a personal board but it's doing something. Even the memey shit like ErgoTaco and Butterstick or the Stenography boards (Did you know: There are a few people using ButterSticks as their main keyboard? That's nuts!)

Keep being weird and stay tuned!
 -- Germ

Logistics & Updates

Howdy everyone,

The terrible connectors are finally dead. I've replaced the MiniUSB & TRRS with proper through-hole components. Jacks ripping off has been a issue and this solves that problem. Thank God.

That being said, I have a bunch of orders that are currently waiting to go out on cables and a few more waiting on caps. So that's no fun :(

If you haven't heard I'm running a sale on B-Stock Gergo: Protocol and Buttersticks. Turns out I fucked up the footprint for X switches so they're almost perfect, but not quite. You can get the newest boards at a discount over here (kits only!)

I've been giving much thought to Gergoplex as well. If you've seen the design before, forget about that. I'm going to be publishing a massive post (possibly a Xanudoc) on ergonomics. The post will be separated into the following sections and conclude with the GergoPlex's final design.
  • The Hand And It's Interactions (Analysis of keyboard functionality and ergonomics overview)
  • Historical/Cultural roots that lead to specfic design descions.
  • Current ergonomic solutions overview
  • Ergonomic/Mechanical/Manufacturing tradeoffs
  • Re-contextualizing the keyboard/Future of Gergo
So taking everything I've learned over the last year and adding in fun developments to make a improvement. Hopefully without going full datahand.

I'll keep you posted!

-- Germ


Introducing Gergoplex!

Wow, long time no updates. I'm still active around the communities and building/shipping boards though.

As far as the backlog goes, I'm caught up to May 05 (with the exception of two orders), and am on track to have it cleared out fairly quickly here. Thank you for your patience!

I have a new board in development, Gergoplex! It fixes a few connector issues with Gergo/Georgi, shaves off a few keys and moves to using only 1us. As well as having per-key RGB and backlighting and support for MX/Choc/Alps/X.




I wasn't a fan of getting rid of the 1.5s, but a major complaint of Gergo was sourcing them was a issue. This board is a similar to crkbd/helidox/corne with one major advantage.

Gergoplex will only be available as a assembled PCB. All that's required is to install your switches and caps. As is tradition, as case you don't need will also be available for purchase.

The major differences between this and crkbd are the lack of OLEDs (this frees up space for some extra keys), a single onboard controller (no dual MCU or promicro nonsense), ErgoDox style expander design and entirely assembled.

Stay tuned!

20% Off Storewide, Butter Stick, Shipping Updates and Fun!

Happy Easter! there's still 24hours to get 15% off your order over in the store of 80$ or more. Use discount code EASTERKEEBS at checkout.

Now with that out of the way, Georgis firmware has finally hit v1: Stenoknight. Many thanks to the beta testing crew that broke their devices in weird ways to get us here, the amount of changes between v0.01 and v1 has been insane (with 95% of the work going into QWERTY mode, there's even layers now!). Now that stable is here I've started shipping out the units (over 30 in this last mailbag!) so expect those to be hitting your mailbox soonish.

Also releasing Butter Stick, the 20% fullsize ortholinear keyboard. It's ridiculous and based off of Georgis firmware. Crazy how a little bit of software opens up some strange use cases.

Stay tuned for more crazy shenanigans!
    -- Germ














Opensourcing gBallin, gJumper and gInterface!

So with gBallin failing and being taken out of production, I've opensourced the designs (As will happen with any boards I'm not running again). You can take a look at that flaming mess over at https://github.com/germ/gergo-trackball

Also! There are now footprints for the gJumper underswitch I2C contacts and the module interface for Gergo (and other boards). So if you want to make something fun, here you go!

https://github.com/germ/germ-footprints

Stay Tuned!

Good News, Bad News



First up: Let's recap the status of everything

Gergo: Kits are shipped, Partials/Readys are being assembled and shipped
Georgi: FW Working, beta units released, waiting on that to finish but results are good!
ErgoTaco: Hardware working, FW issues but boards are built.
Butter Stick: Waiting on boards to come in.

So this is a post I was hoping to not have to write, but supply issues are what they are.

So the Pearl was released 12 years ago, a time where phone UIs were grid like and web browsing was mostly moving between fields and light scrolling. As such when they reached for a navigation device, they settled on the Panasonic part I've been using. When you try using it as a general purpose mouse, it's horrible. The sensor resolution simply isn't there. It's a great idea but the execution falls flat. Initially I hoped this could be worked around in software but it's obvious this is a hardware problem. Also this is a obsolete part and supply is drying up. My current source just stopped being able to acquire them for me and I only have a handful left. This is what happens when you design on obsolete parts.

Now lets talk about the backlog, I can get a board put together and tested in about 20 minutes, that's actually not too bad! The trackballs take about a hour each. That's pretty fucking bad. Oh and there's a 20% of chance of having the ball get gummed up and throwing the whole thing out. I work two jobs and have this keyboard grind going on, these trackballs are holding me back hard.

So it's being killed off, a little due to supply, a little due to assembly pains and a lot to do with it sucking. 

That being said, I've started work on a Joystick module and a TrackPad module these should hopefully be ready in a month or two, watch the blog for updates. In addition, I'm publishing footprints for the interface for both the switch I2C connects and the gBallin. The hope here being if someone wants to design a small board, they can! There will be a post on this in a few minutes.

What about existing orders? Glad you asked. With any order that came bundled with a gBallin a discount code for a free module with shipping will be provided. The hope here being you want something that works well as opposed to a hunk of shit (and you can always whack a MX switch in there in the meantime).

Thanks for tuning in!

Man, fuck trackballs!

I mean I love them, but they take forever to ship.

Good news is that my latest order finally came in so the giant pile of mostly assembled Gergos can start finding their way into the post.

Georgi firmware is mostly working and there's a open PR for QMK, devkits are getting put together and shipped out this week.

All of the documentation for that is now mostly available over at docs.gboards.ca. Give that a check if your curious as to how Georgi is going to work!

Also there's now cases for Gergo avalible in the store after some time with a big ass laser cutter!


ErgoTaco respins are in after I pulled a big brain move with the connectors. Thank god. Now I caStay tuned! n start getting those out.





















Stay tuned!
-- Germ

Georgi, Gergo updates, All That Good Stuff.

Someone pointed out that it's been a while since I whacked out a blog post so I figured I'd whack one on out!

Let's start with the fun stuff, meet Georgi the 20% Pocket/Steno keyboard! He's a little bit of a weirdo but packs one hell of a punch.


It's a affordable keyboard that aims to be a lowcost ergonomic stenography board, or a QWERTY board with crazy chording. Shipping fully assembled, spring swapped (6g!) and ready to use. I've gone on about it a bit in this Reddit thread , so give that a read if your curious as to what that little guy does.


Here's a WIP layout, and the super wonky code that makes it chooch. Neat stuff in the pipe anyway. Oh and this guy just sold out a few hours ago, the ErgoTaco.

It's a split ergonomic taco with HASL!


Working nights is a great time to design keyboards, whacking them together is another story!

So now that the fun stuff is out of the way let's talk about that backlog. I am working through a ton of orders at the moment and run into a problem. Sourcing those damn trackballs is taking too much time and they are flying off out of my hands extremely fast. Normally that's a good thing but right now I have only a hand full of balls and Gergos to ship. I've removed the gBallin' standalone from the store, to prevent running out of the damn things.  Just to be clear here they still come on Gergos and if you need replacements I will sell them.

Oh! And I somehow ran out of keys before my damn order has arrived for the Readys. So that's great.

So once again I'm waiting on stuff to arrive, I still have everything for a good number of Partials and Kits and I can get the rest of the boards set up and tested before hand. At least that way I have a giant pile of tested boards ready to fire into the post.

Gergos are starting to appear in the wild however and it's nice to see. I only wish I could get them out even faster. Running a one man show is bullshit.

Trackballs, Finally!

This has been my first Chinese New Year, holy hell do those guys know how to throw a party!

Eitherway, my trackballs that I've been waiting on for forever have finally reached Canada. I should be able to get back to shipping out trackballs in a few days.

Thank god, it's about time.

Georgi: 75$ Fully Assembled 20% With 20g Chocs

Holy! It's been a busy few days!
Check these out!





If you haven't heard I've been working on a economical keyboard for use with plover. It's small, compact, modern and ready to go with 20g Kailh Chocs. Blue PCB and either white or black keys. Fully assembled, tested and loaded with a firmware.

Form factor will be similar to the black Gergo in those images (same depth, different pcb size) with the USB connector on the left hand side. Artwork on the back is a dithered tesselation of birds. The switches are Kailh Low Profile Linears, spring swapped out for 20G Chocs from Sprits store! These are literally lightest spring available for chocs (Spirit is working on pushing that bar even lower!).

With a boatload of help from Stenoknight, Thomas Baart, Ted The French Wizard, Charley and everyone hanging around the Plover discord server this wouldn't have been possible. Extra thanks to Ted for printing a billion keyboard designs all week and helping me lay this out for stenographers! If you're interested in joining the preorder you can find [all that on my store!](https://www.gboards.ca/product/georgi)

But Georgi is a little bit different then your typical steno board, it has columnar stagger. is optimized for height, uses a split design and uses QMK. As with any design there are tradeoffs, so I thought I'd explain them here.

QMK: This firmware has been widely accepted by the keyboard community and has every feature under the sun. It's already used by SOFT/HRUF, supports Gemini and Bolt and is in all respects, fantastic. If you want to change anything with your Georgi, you can do it! We're working on getting web config support going for even easier customisation.

Columnar stagger: Many ortholinear boards have adopted a slight vertical stagger to accommodate the natural stagger of the hand. This is a very ergonomic setup even though it deviates from the proper ortholinear grid used by most steno boards. This layout has been adopted by many DIY boards over the past few years and it is a proven design. The stagger is slight enough that it does not interfere with pressing multiple keys. The TDSZ keys are not staggered for easier tapping.

Dimensions: Because a majority of plover users are using it for non professional use (I think, I'm still getting into steno sorry) having a traditional layout is less  important then comfort and size. Georgi is tiny and will literally fit into your pocket! To facilitate a fallback QWERTY mode, easier configuration and a as yet to be designed case the layout is symmetrical, this also gives a few extra keys to play with for QMK. The lack of a number bar is replaced with a thumb key (much like the TinyMod).

Keycaps: Instead of using G20 caps or custom laser cut toppers, Georgi uses Blank Choc 1us. In addition to bringing down the price these caps are very very square. We've brought them in to reduce the gaps even more and inverted the upper row as there's a very slight lip. The availability of commodity parts is a good feature for longevity.

Switches: Stenography requires light switches, I've been using 20g springs from Spirit since before I undertook this project, it's good to see that the community has started adopting and learning to spring swap! The downside is there are no commodity chocs under 50g, but thankfully Spirit carries 20g choc springs. **As such every Georgi comes with their springs already swapped out and ready for steno**. We're also in talks with Sprit to try pushing that even lower, he is eager to begin testing 5-15g chocs! Georgi is also compatible with MX and ALPS switches if you have a personal preference that you'd like to install. Due to the current offerings of caps, Georgi is designed to use many 1us in place of other sized keys.

Cost: While you can do steno with many boards, I though having another option focused on being low cost would be good for those exploring steno. This has driven many of the design choices made. As opposed to a kit instead this is ready to use with a sane default firmware to increase the audience that has access to it.

Split Design: Like any split board the sides can be moved around, twisted, tented, rotated and all that fun stuff. This increase the ergonomics of the whole device with one downside. Instead of having a single column for *, you now have four different options (by default all of them).

Let me know any questions you might have, It's being sent off to fab shortly but will be available for purchase with my other boards for the future.


PREORDER HERE


Georgi: It fits in your pocket!
-- Germ

A note about trackballs.

If you've ever dealt with shipping early stage hardware, you know all about delays. If you look at a product like the UHK, you'll see up to two years of lag time in fuffiling orders!

Why are these delays so common in Hardware? It's hard to get things right! Look at Gergo, a minor fuckup added three weeks to my expected ship date as I had to get another set of samples to verify my design before getting the production ready units! But at least we're shipping now.

Let's talk about trackballs, right now I have a handful of these guys left and my supplier is taking their time getting the rest of them to me. But until they're in I have to ration them out. If you ordered just a bunch of trackballs or a Gergo with multiple balls, your order will be coming in once those balls arrive. The reasoning is simple, if I fulfill a single order of 5 trackballs, that's 5 Gergos that could have shipped. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few :(

That being said I'm working to get these out as soon as I can!

-- Germ