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Programmer Goes on Mission to Build a Better Keyboard

Programmer Jeff Atwood has decided that he wanted to make a keyboard -- a keyboard that is perfectly crafted to his needs. In his eyes, no keyboards that were available on the market were perfect, so what can you do but build your own?

"I was indoctrinated into the keyboard cult when I bought my first computer. But I didn't appreciate it. Few do. The world is awash in terrible, crappy, no name how-cheap-can-we-make-it keyboards," Atwood detailed. "There are a few dozen better mechanical keyboard options out there. I've owned and used at least six different expensive mechanical keyboards, but I wasn't satisfied with any of them, either: they didn't have backlighting, were ugly, had terrible design, or were missing basic functions like media keys."

Jeff Atwood then teamed up with WASD Keyboards, and in partnership they made the CODE keyboard. The CODE keyboard is designed to be very minimalistic, yet functional. The keyboard features some very rare Cherry MX Clear mechanical switches, which have tactile feedback, but are not clicky. The choice for these is made because of the natural feeling, yet quiet operation. This should make the keyboard usable in office environments. The keyboard also features white backlighting, which has seven different brightness settings, plus off. To make sure that the keyboard is strong enough to take some serious keyboard mashing, it has even been fitted with a solid steel backplate right between the PCB and the keys. You won't be able to see the backplate with all the keycaps placed, but you'll certainly feel it. Due to the backplate though, the keyboard weighs a hefty 1.1 kg.

Normally, between the Ctrl key and Alt key we would find the 'Windows' key, which on the CODE keyboard is simply left blank. The Alt key can be swapped for an Apple Command key, the normally useless Scroll Lock key can be reassigned as a disable windows-button key for gaming, the Caps Lock key can be reassigned as a tertiary Ctrl key, and more. You can even change the keyboard's electrics into thinking that it is a Dvorak or Colemak keyboard, and then mix and match the keycaps accordingly for a whole new keyboard layout. Cool? We certainly think so.

This here though, is just a small sample of all the little details that Jeff Atwood and WASD keyboards have put into the CODE keyboard. For the full listing, head here.

At the time of writing the keyboard is already sold out, though from the looks of it a new batch might be in the works. The price for ordering one is also on par with other high-end mechanical keyboards at $149.99.

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  • beayn
    But do the letters wear off like every other keyboard out there?
    Reply
  • z0phi3l
    Man I wish it were cheaper, looks like a damn nice keyboard
    Reply
  • whyso
    The ironic thing is that the QWERTY keyboard was designed at the time of typewritiers to minimize typing speed so that the little metal rods would not get stuck with each other.
    Reply
  • GoldenI
    It looks like a really nice keyboard; the price tag is somewhat deterring, however. ;_;
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    11458035 said:
    The ironic thing is that the QWERTY keyboard was designed at the time of typewritiers to minimize typing speed so that the little metal rods would not get stuck with each other.
    And that was still not "good enough" to prevent fast typists from jamming heads.
    Reply
  • expl0itfinder
    I love minimalistic keyboards. I'm a gamer, and I just don't think all the frills are necessary. (With the exception of some extra keys for the MMO gamer.) Also, I love a weighty keyboard. It often indicates fantastic build quality. I think this is definitely something worth looking in to.
    Reply
  • Durandul
    Cherry MX clear? Gross...
    Reply
  • unksol
    11458035 said:
    The ironic thing is that the QWERTY keyboard was designed at the time of typewritiers to minimize typing speed so that the little metal rods would not get stuck with each other.

    They were designed to MAXIMIZE type speed by separating commonly used letters so the rods would not collide. That's just as valid today, you don't want one finger doing all the work. No other system has ever been proven superior, so I can't imagine what you are on about. Even if you believed the Dvorak myth, this supports it (though I doubt you could learn it).

    Regardless there is nothing special about this. Its a backlit mechanical keyboard, of which there are many. And if you need backlighting you're using your keyboard wrong or need to learn to type. the only thing "special" is he picked some rarely used (not actually rare) switches. And he slapped his name on it for a price premium. Even then there are other backlit boards using these switches, and which switches you prefer is personal.
    Reply
  • GoldenI
    It looks like a really nice keyboard; the price tag is somewhat deterring, however. ;_;
    Reply
  • tadej petric
    Im happy with my pentium 3 era keyboard.
    Maybe that guy just switches them too fats so you cant get used to it.
    Also why spend all that money on keyboards (Ive seen them cost upto 350€). You could spend that on better components, while 30€ keyboards will do just fine. Also the visuals seem pretty uninportant for me (except if its really really ugly); I mean, you look at the screen, not at the keyboard (or case for that matter).

    Ill never understand some things...
    Reply