On GergoPlex (and updates!)

Let's get the updates out of the way:
- JLC fucked up the front BuzzSaw silks so those are going back into production. If you can deal with a pure white front side (the Asphalt texture, not the IKEA stuff) shoot me an email and I'll work something out.
- Ginni, FaunchPad, Gergo, and GergoPlex are working just fine. Orders are being filled right now
- Kailh order came on in, Georgis is going out again
- Sprit restock should be next week. Unless it gets stuck at customs for a month again. Fingers crossed.
- Stickers should be coming in soon and be added to all orders :)

u/ataraxy on Reddit pointed out that there were some major differences between the initial post about GergoPlex and what it eventually became. I thought I'd use this post to explain just what went on there.

So the original idea was to make a bigass flight of XanaDocs and make a big cohesive post about ergonomics. Mostly something I could point people to with sources and all that stuff instead of having the same conversation about why using a TKL isn't a good time or how single-board-ortho is worse than row stagger. That never materialized as things got very busy around here with boards and orders. Maybe one day.

Instead, the project turned in a new direction. Every year (assuming gBoards doesn't tank) I'm going to 'fork' the current iteration of the Gergo line and develop it from there. This is NOT to say that Gergo or GergoPlex will disappear, they will still have their revisions and updates. But this process will allow me to push on with what I feel is the next step in the line (and that doesn't mean fewer keys, Ginni is a thing lol)

Anyway, once I finally found time to sit down and design the board itself I realized a few things since the initial conception and after a year of Gergo.
- Having the inner 1us lead to a _ton_ of wrist motion between the mods and the inner columns
- The weakest finger ends up doing a lot of work
- LEDs add no real value and add complexity to a board. I'd rather have lower costing boards instead of a more saleable board.
- My understanding of augmenting layouts with chording (how much is too much) increased a ton.
- Users will undermine themselves

So let's walk through these. The main issue with having the 1us and the outer mods is that it promotes wrist motion. I heavily utilize those inner 1u mods and a side effect of this is that the wrist is constantly pitching back and forth. It doesn't seem like much but over months this can add up. This leads to the main issue with pinkies, they're very weak! The outer 1.5us are almost exclusively used for mods, and there's a ton of work placed on them (as they're not only responsible for the mods but QAZ and even WSX if the hand is shifted to inner 1us!). This in my eyes is unacceptable.

As far as LEDs, I can't expect a user to assemble a bunch of tiny RGB LEDs and debug that. It also adds cost, complexity and requires PCBA services for these boards. A big draw of my boards is that they're a fun way to work on your SMD skills and get a keyboard out of it to boot. This is half of the fun of keyboards, the assembly and debugging process (whether anyone will admit that is another story), by doing PCBA that disappears to just another kit keyboard.

Chording has been the big development of this year. Some of you may remember ErgoTaco, well that's all Ginni is! The difference is that Ginni can be used (not that any sane person would, but you're probably not sane if you're reading this!). Joking aside, there's been a ton of effort and thought put into chording and how that works to augment the typing experience. I believe that this is extremely important to the development of ergonomics, but a line must be walked between understandability, usability, and ergonomics. Go too far into any one of these categories and bad things will happen. Look at stenography, extremely ergonomic and efficient, but it takes years to learn. Georgi tries to take some of that and package it down for us mere mortals to use via a modified QWERTY engine. Everyone can use a 104 with little to no knowledge, but ergonomics and efficiency will take a massive hit. A balance must be made.

-- Germs Law
The smaller a keyboard is, the more ergonomic it becomes but the complexity of the device skyrockets to the point of impracticality.

Lastly, (and most importantly) users will undermine themselves. If you give me a rope, I'll find a way to hang myself with it. This is the design philosophy of GergoPlex: Just don't give the rope. By actively being user-hostile, the user is left to find a way to manage and adapt. Similar to learning to live without a numrow it comes with time and usage. If this seems a little extreme, I'm not stopping running Gergo anytime soon! I've been typing on this GergoPlex all day, and the first 3 hours were mixed with a good amount of mashing my fingers into a desk. Now that I've stopped doing that it's pretty damn comfy!

So that's what lead to GergoPlex, kind of in a weird way. :)

Anyway, thanks for keeping up with me this year, let's see how GergoNext develops! Stay tuned!

-- Germ

Status Update: Out For Two Weeks!

Been a weird week here for me, I have orders but can't ship right now because I'm waiting on products to get to me. To say it's infuriating is a understatement.

Good news is that all spring orders are cleared and the parts I've been waiting on should be in today (woooo, long weekend!). That means I can resume shipping Gergos (Out of PCBs), Georgis (Out of switches) and start shipping the GergoPlex's, Ginnis, FaunchPads and BuzzSaws (last run had issues and needed to be re-run, hence the discount code!).

Next up: Qlavier group buy! Box of acrylic has been shipped and I'm just waiting on it to come on in

Lastly, I'm taking two weeks off for the first time since I started this train, any orders placed between now and Nov 26th _might_ ship before I leave, I'll be back in action on Dec 14th. This mainly effects builds and partials, Kits, Springs and B-Stocks will ship out quickly still.

Use discount code THEGOOSEISLOOSE for 10% off for waiting. If you're lucky and choose the right products it'll even ship before :)

Needless to say you can always email me if you need to chat, it's the best way to get a hold of me (or Discord, but email is really the best)

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.

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!


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.