~pepe/pan.earth

45a69985f4ac6d304ba2ca66552f9d8f89def28e — Josef Pospíšil a month ago c94fcd1 master
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{:author "pepe"
 :title "Enter the Knight"
 :description "I have new keyboard"
 :date "2021-10-09"
 :template "/templates/blog"}
---

This post is another love letter to the piece of technology I like a lot. Not
so hot passion, definitely not that long time spent together, yet I need to
write about it. And on it.

## X-Bows Knight

As you may already guess, this post is about the keyboard—concretely the
@link[https://x-bows.com/collections/keyboards/products/x-bows-knight-ergonomic-mechanical-keyboard][X-Bows Knight].
I have been using it for only a couple of weeks, but I am
already almost unable to use any other keyboard. It is not flawless, and I
already spend some time emailing the producer support, yet there is no rose
without the thorn, and positive sure reigns my feelings about it.

## Little history

When I switched to Linux, I wanted some ergonomic keyboard, as Apple ones are
anything that, and my wrists started to complain from time to time. After a
short search, I have settled for the Microsoft (oh the irony) Sculpt keyboard
mouse combo. It is a good product for a fair price. In the passing time, I
have bought one for my wife and my sister too. One of the reasons I liked this
keyboard a lot was the option to use a wedge-shaped part, which can revert the
slope of the keyboard. In other words, the keyboard tilts away from the user.

I also improved my touch typing, as the separate parts for each hand dictate
just that. My wrist felt much more relaxed, and overall basic functionality
was fine. The only thing I was missing was a better chance to configure the
keyboard. I have become an avid user of the Sway window manager, so I needed
to squeeze the maximum number of shortcut key combinations so that the mouse
could rest. And I was not into using something like keyd.

## Enter the Knight

Then one night chatting with the best computer friend, we touched the issue,
as I was almost ordering the Ergodox keyboard, I have found lately. He
told me that he bought the X-Bows Knight and, except for the problems with
customs during the Covid, is very happy he did. And that he just received a
promo email about the new version of the keyboard they started to sell (not
deliver, though), which uses QMK software for configuration. I immediately
went to the product page and bought one. And I started to wait.

After a couple of months, I received an email that keyboards started to be
delivered and should await mine. And in another couple of weeks, the delivery
service messaged me that they had something for me tomorrow. I was not at
home, but the agent who received it from the messenger (aka brother-in-law)
confirmed that package size and shape hints on the keyboard.

## Flash uaaa

I unpacked the keyboard, connected it, and it started the light show
(literally). I tamed the light for one consistent color and started to use
it. And I was happy from the start.  In the evening, I showed it to my wife,
and she was not that enthusiastic about it as I was. So I decided to show
her the magic: QMK configuration and flashing. I removed caps and put escape
on it, switched the left alt and OS key (my mod Sway key), and disabled the
Enter key on the right side. I downloaded the compiled software and used the
Windows version to flash it. But something seemed odd with the new software,
so I decided to put the default configuration from the QMK. And the light went
off. I started wev and found that the keyboard is connected and responding
(good), but it works only as part of the numerical keypad in the left top
corner. And definitely, there was no binding for the DFU mode, which is
needed to flash it again.  So I wrote to X-Bows support about another way
to enter DFU and received an answer requesting a demonstration video showing
the malfunction. I replied I was unsure what I would put into the video and
told me about that reset button. In the second reply, I received the guide, I
removed all caps, all switches, half of the screws, a box with the motherboard,
screws on it, and voila, I saw the small switch button. I powered the keyboard
while holding it, and in DFU mode, it came up in factory settings. Hurray!

## Usage

So I again configured QMK software, booted Windows, and flashed it. Everything
is ok from that moment.  I started small with not too many keys changed
at a time, but after a couple of flashes (uaaaa), I have a pretty unique
setup. The whole bottom line of the keys is changed. Left space is left alt
when held; right space is right alt when held. Bottom ctrl is open paren when
tapped, and bottom shift is closing paren when tapped (@link[why-i-will-stay-janet.html][I will stay Janet!]).
And so much more. I am already at the place where I have a tough time using
any other keyboard.  One of the keyboards' features is choosing the type
of switches when you buy one. I chose the brown silent, and I find them
very comfortable. I have never paid attention to this on my old keyboards,
but now I feel the difference when sitting by the MS Sculpt.  I also very
much like the RGB color of the backlight. You can have not only color and
shade you like. You can have an effect where light is pulsing, rotating,
and swirling, even in the reaction of your key presses. Not that I use this
feature, I settled for nice reddish amber color for that night's oil burning.
On the minus side, I would like to mention that it is not easy to make a
slope in the other direction, as is possible with the MS Sculpt, but I am
already designing a custom 3D printed wedge for this purpose. Also, the
wristband bought together with the keyboard is not to my liking, but the
cheap one I ordered separately from local amazon is perfectly ok.

## Finale

As I already wrote, even after a couple of weeks of using this keyboard, I
am delighted with the buy, and I highly recommend it to friends and random
people. I think it is outstanding value for the excellent price. And they
even released the cheap Lite model without the QMK support tho.