Tag Archives: Keyboard

The Switch to Linux: Day 1

This post is not only going to be brief, but also rather uninformative. My brand new ASUS ux305 arrived in the mail today and I spent a majority of the day playing with it. The laptop is beautiful. It has a very high quality build and feels extremely similar to the Macbook Air. One of the things I loved about the two months I spent with a macbook air was the keyboard. Well, I must admit, ASUS has done a great job at matching the quality of that keyboard. The size, the battery life, the weight.. everything about this laptop is perfect.

The first thing I did was go ahead and install Linux on this machine. My distro of choice is Arch Linux, so naturally I decided to put the Arch install .iso onto a flashdrive using Rufus. I then stuck the USB drive in and rebooted into the BIOS (Which is the del key for the ux305). Once in the BIOS, I noticed that it did not immediately detect the flashdrive as a boot device. No worries, I added an entry to the BIOS boot menu and pointed it at launch.efi on the flash drive. Everything went smoothly from there.

I simply followed the beginner’s guide, noting that I was setting up things for a UEFI system. This meant that I needed to do a few special things such as use GPT for my partition tables instead of the MBR I used on all of my other machines to allow for dual-booting.

Everything went great until I was required to install a bootloader. For some reason, the first time I installed gummiboot, I could not boot into Arch Linux because I was missing the file varlinuz-linux. I then tried to install GRUB. Same issue. I went ahead and cleared the partitioning scheme and formatted the drive and started all over again. It worked after that. I’m not entirely sure what happened, but if you encounter the issue, it can be solved by clearning the drive and recreating the partitions.

Now that ArchLinux was installed, I had to choose my software. I decided to go with Xorg for my display (Using the open-source intel video drivers). I also tried lightDM as my display manager; however, I did not like the look/feel of it, so I decided to resort to SLiM and its archlinux-simplyblack theme. I also tried to use bspwm and awesome window managers; however, I failed to find them as suitable replacements for i3 and went ahead with my tried and true i3 setup. After that, everything has been going smoothly. I will post more details later about the specifics of my setup. I am too tired to post it now.

The major problem I encountered during this install was connecting to the internet. For whatever reason, during the install process, I could not connect to the university WiFi. I used the wpa-configsection example for netctl, but couldn’t get anything to work for my wireless adapter. I ended up just using the USB to Ethernet adapter that came with the laptop in order to get a stable wired connection to complete the install. Maybe this is what contributed to the missing linux kernel file during the first boot-manager install. After I finished installing, however, the netctl profile I created worked no-problem. I guess there were just issues while using the install USB. Again, I’m not really sure why.

So far, it looks like I will for sure be sticking with Linux this time. I hope.

CODE Keyboard: First impressions

Let me preface this post by saying that I am by no means a typer. I have never really took time to look into what keyboards were good, what keyboards I liked the best, or what keyboards allowed me to type the best. To further prove my point, all of my previous typing was done on the Microsoft Sidewinder X4, a keyboard that I am almost positive lacks merit in the land of keyboards that are “typing” boards.

The world of mechanical keyboards has interested me for quite some time now. Their clicky nature, their claims for faster speeds, the way that they feel while typing. Everyone always had good things to say about mechanical keyboards, and I’ve never had one. Thus, it only made sense that I got one. Following the recommendations of a few friends and of Jeff Atwood himself, I decided that I would go ahead and get the CODE keyboard without a number pad and with Cherry MX clear switches. What this meant, I had no clue. I was more than excited to get started.

I have been using this keyboard for about a day. So far, I love it. Typing feels great, the sound is very satisfying, and the amount of tactile feedback really is incredible. There is no question as to whether or not I hit a key or I just kinda-pressed it. The keys actually depress as you press them, and I think that’s awesome.

The CODE with LEDs turned off.

The CODE with LEDs turned off.

Build Quality

As far as the keyboard itself goes, it feels great. It’s a little on the heavy side, but I don’t think that anyone ever expects a keyboard to be comparable to a feather. After all, all it really does is sit on the desk. The material feels solid, the keys look beautiful, and the paint gives the keyboard a classic look when the LEDs are toggled off, but a beautiful modern look when the LEDs are toggled on. In fact, when I first opened the box for the keyboard, I was a little underwhelmed. Without knowing what it was, it looked just like a normal keyboard. However, as soon as I held it, flipped a couple optional switches, ran the USB wire in its dedicated slot, and began typing, I knew this was no ordinary keyboard. It felt great. It still does.

The Sound

One thing that always interested me about mechanical keyboards was their sound. They sound as if you’re actually typing. Because of that, I was very concerned when picking out a keyboard. Now, I know nothing about the different color switches and which ones are loud and silent and soft, but I wanted to make sure that the keyboard I got had a satisfying sound, while not keeping my roommates awake. This keyboard (with the help of the MX Clear switches) does exactly that. It definitely isn’t too loud, and actually doesn’t require the keys to “click” in order for them to be pressed. The most noise is produced when the keys are fully depressed. However, while typing one will quickly realize that isn’t necessary. A keypress is registered about halfway down. Thus, there is no need to actually “click” the key. Not only does this provide a non-irritating sound profile, but it also gives the typer a little bit of control as to whether or not they want to be a quiet typist or the most annoying computer user in the library (of course, this means that you would have to bring the keyboard with you to the library).

The Feel

So many people raved about this keyboard because they felt “pleasured” to type on it. It was relaxing and it felt great. Honestly, as someone who is not a typing enthusiast, I don’t feel much “pleasure”. So far, I find that it is actually fairly tiring typing on this device. Now, keep in mind that I come from the world of chiclet laptop keyboards, so I definitely do not appreciate the levels of effort required to type on such a well-built device; however, all of the wild claims about this being the “best feeling” keyboard ever made do not resonate with me. As of right now, at least, I do not feel anything special.

Of course, I am not trying to say that the device doesn’t feel good. It feels good. I enjoy typing on it because of its sleek design, it’s clicky-clack nature, and it’s beautiful LEDs. However, I do not think that I would find myself carrying this keyboard around because using anything else would be an abomination and a sign of disrespect to my fingers. If anything, my fingers will need a bit of a break after typing on this device for so long. However, for a typing enthusiast, I can definitely see how this device has potential to feel great. I just don’t notice anything super outstanding.


The CODE with LEDs turned on.

The CODE with LEDs turned on.


Overall, I am very pleased with my purchase. Keep in mind that I have only been using it for a day, so I can’t comment on much, but I am not suffering from any buyer’s remorse, which is always a good sign. If anything, this keyboard is making me want to type more and learn how to actually type properly (I currently type in a strange fashion where 75% of the keys are typed using my index fingers. I will work on changing this soon!) There will be more comments to come regarding the CODE keyboard!

I Dislike The Mouse


My Desktop

The above picture is a screenshot of my Linux machine. What is unique about it? Well, everything is controlled by the keyboard. I have a tiling window manager (i3) and do all of my text editing in vim. What does this mean? It means that I rarely touch the mouse.

I grew up using Windows. It was my primary operating system for the past 10 or 11 years. I got very used to it, its semantics, and using the mouse+keyboard combo in order to navigate around my Windows machine. There was nothing wrong with it. As I got more into computers, however, I got bored of using Windows. There’s nothing wrong with the operating system – I just got bored of using the same thing for 10 straight years. Because of this, I installed Linux.

When I first install Linux, I tried to emulate my Windows experience as much as possible. I installed LXDE as my desktop environment and Openbox as my window manager. I used these just like I used Windows.

As I used Linux more and more, though, I realized that most of the power of Linux was not in the interface, but rather, the terminal. This led me to be in the terminal a lot more than I ever was. I no longer needed a file manager as I did all of my file operations in the terminal. I no longer needed desktop icons because I launched everything in the terminal. Eventually, I no longer needed my mouse to switch Windows, as I just used keyboard shortcuts. I no longer needed my mouse to open terminals because I used keyboard shortcuts.

What did I need my mouse for, then? I decided to experimentally ditch the mouse entirely and switch to a tiling window manager that allowed me to manipulate my windows and their positions by just using the keyboard. At first, I used Awesome. However, Awesome felt very static. In order to move windows around, I had to switch the layouts entirely. I wanted something more dynamic, so I switched to i3.

It definitely took some getting used to. I had to train myself to not reach for my mouse every time that I wanted to do something. Eventually, however, I got used to it. Once I did, it felt awesome. It made me feel like a whole new breed. I was able to rearrange windows, launch applications, and do everything from my keyboard. Not to mention that when my mouse isn’t around, it has the added bonus of keeping people from using my computer since they don’t know how to use things.

As I practiced more and more, I felt that I was getting faster and faster. In fact, I felt that I was doing things faster than if I needed to reach for my mouse. Need to listen to Spotify and type some notes at the same time? Easy.
<WINDOWS>+3 – Switch to a new Desktop
<WINDOWS>+D – Open the app-launcher
‘spotify’              – Launch spotify
<WINDOWS>+B – Open the next window to the right of Spotify
<WINDOWS>+<ENTER> – Open a terminal window
‘vim notes.txt’   – Launch vim and write some notes
Of course, this is a lot of steps, but they can be executed very quickly without reaching for the mouse to resize the windows in order to get the right proportions between the vim and Spotify windows.

Of course, as time goes on, I will only get faster and faster. However, this experience has made me realize that I really dislike using the mouse. Of course, this experience is only on my laptop, where I often find myself reaching for my touchpad because it is easy to reach with the keyboard so close. However, I plan on getting a new Desktop soon and installing Linux on it with my i3 setup. I am excited to see how everything will end up working out on my setup with two monitors and so much screen space. I will report back.

If you’re wondering whether or not you want to take a shot at using a computer without the mouse, try it. It’s a great experience and it looks super awesome whilst doing it.