A Keyboard Timeline

  • July 9, 2003: I purchase the FingerWorks TouchStream LP, for a total of $343.89 including tax and shipping. I purchase the one with QWERTY printing on it, figuring I’d learn to use it first and learn the Dvorak layout later.
  • Vague Time after that: I do learn to use it, and I fulfill my life goal of learning Dvorak.
  • September 23rd, 2004: I lose connectivity between the halves (the right half plugs into the computer, and the left half connects to the right half through a ribbon cable that’s not designed to be user serviceable), so only the right half of the keyboard works. Presumably, they didn’t test people folding the keyboard and bringing it back and forth to work often. However, I sent it back and they fix it, although it’s annoying to deal with not having it in the meantime.
  • Q2 2005: FingerWorks goes out of business, as Apple gave the owners a deal too good to pass up. Apple hired the brains behind the operation and bought up the IP, which they’ve since slowly been putting to good use (from the iPod wheel, through to the iPhone/iPad and Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad).
  • February 15th, 2007: Once more, the left half of my keyboard doesn’t work. I think that it’s more than the ribbon cable this time, as I think I shocked it with static electricity before it died. So, I sadly put it away hoping to fix it one day, and get used to working with terrible mechanical keyboards and mice again.
  • October 20th, 2008: I try fixing a broken Dvorak-printed TouchStream keyboard (that the owner had managed to remove the ribbon cable from) by buying the ribbon cable and putting it in. Amazingly enough, I’m successful, and manage to purchase the keyboard from the owner for $200. (Fully working ones have been going on eBay for over $1,000, and a couple have gone over $2,000.) Happiness ensues.
  • November 13: 2010: I finally decide to try seeing if I can repair my old keyboard, and see if it’s just the ribbon cable. I extract the cable out and test it, and not all the wires have connectivity. I order a new cable.
  • November 17, 2010: Cable arrives. I insert it. Amazingly enough, the keyboard works and passes diagnostics completely. I now have a working TouchStream at home and one at work. I feel thrilled that it all works, and somewhat silly that I hadn’t tried it much much earlier.

I know that I could get well over $1,000 if I sold one of them on eBay, but I just can’t imagine selling one. They’re just so wonderful to use, and I spend a lot of time in front of a computer.

Keyboarding bliss

My Touchstream LP broke almost two years ago, and I’ve been quite unhappy with needing to type and mouse the traditional way that whole time. However, someone at work had one that had been broken for a while, but only needed to replace the ribbon cable between the halves. I bought the cable, it arrived this morning, and we managed to eventually install it. It’s shorter than the one that come with it, so it’s barely making contact and the halves are too close together. But, the keyboard works great. I’m suspecting I can make arrangements to buy the keyboard.

Now, I think the issue with my broken Touchstream isn’t just the cable, but I may try to confirm that to see if replacing the cable is all I need to do with mine as well.

Quote of the Day

“I wish manufacturing had continued or shutdown had gone smoother, but if we all cross our fingers, maybe the basic technology will not disappear forever” — Wayne Westerman, inventor of the Fingerworks Touchstream keyboard which I can’t work without anymore. (Quote Source)

The company, alas, is now out of business. Rumor has it that it may have been acquired by HP, but the evidence is tenuous at best. Hopefully, whoever bought them out will bring back better and greater products sometime soon.

Upcoming weekend

I seem to only be updating this thing on weekends now. During the week tends to be fairly unnoteworthy, but here’s a couple highlights of my week so far:

  • Got stuff accomplished at work
  • Fingerworks released new firmware for my keyboard, which includes XWinder support under Windows 2000. Much happiness!
  • We received word that our Costa Rica trip is now fully sponsored and paid for. We have all the money we need. Much happiness again!
  • On Thursday, I attended the Magic Online Birthday Party, during which I entered two 8th-ed drafts and got to the semi-finals in each one. That means that I paid 3 packs to get in and won 2 packs in each of them, so between that and the cards that I drafted I think I about broke even. It was fun.
  • On Friday, I went over to the in-laws with Jessi and we had supper with her parents. We then went to Prof. Yang’s house (she’s one of Jessi’s professors) and watched Crossfire, a 1947 murder mystery movie. It was quite enjoyable, although I found it difficult to keep track of the many characters.

Plans for the rest of this weekend:

  • We’re going back to the in-laws to go Garage Saling with them. We’ll spend the morning looking for treasure amongst things people no longer want.
  • After that, we’re going over to my parents’ for lunch. We’re celebrating Jessi & me’s 1st anniversary, which is coming up on Monday.
  • At some point, I need to work on my homework.
  • I’d like to finish setting up my home network for VPN connection to work. I established a connection yesterday, but I want to get DNS and my firewall rules set up.
  • I’m going to be giving a 10–20 minute talk at Campus Ambassadors on Tuesday. (7:00 at Dowden Hall). This weekend, I have to figure out what I’m going to talk about. I’m currently leaning toward something on evolution (and evidence against it as commonly taught in schools), but I have to figure it out more specifically. People are welcome to come to it if they’d like.

More long-term plans:

  • Looking at the calendar ahead, we have one free Saturday in July. Or are we doing something on the 17th that isn’t on my calendar yet?
  • July 3: Independence Day party at my parents’ place
  • July 10: Wedding shower for our friend Jen from CA
  • July 10: LAN Party at Adam’s
  • July 24: Jessi takes her teacher’s test
  • July 31: We leave for Costa Rica. We plan on being back August 9.