Why Do Keyboards Matter?


Wada (creator of the Happy Hacking Keyboard): because keyboards are accessories to PC makers, they focus on minimizing the manufacturing costs. But that’s incorrect. It’s in HHKB’s slogan, but when America’s cowboys were in the middle of a trip and their horse died, they would leave the horse there. But even if they were in the middle of a desert, they would take their saddle with them. The horse was a consumable good, but the saddle was an interface that their bodies had gotten used to. In the same vein, PCs are consumable goods, while keyboards are important interfaces.

The HHKB shirt says: 「馬の鞍」- saddle of a horse.

Simplest Document Setup for a Logo

My goal is to create a logo. It doesn’t have to be a Paul Rand quality logo. Instead, I just gotta like it. Adobe Illustrator (AI) is a fine tool for the job.

AI is flexible. Working in it feels more to me like programming than illustration. Don’t get me wrong though, it is a tool for designers, and, I am not. Although every Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) application includes at least one built in JavaScript interpreter, I am not talking about programming here. Instead the similarities between programming and illustrating are that

  • You are working in your cognitive space with the computer as the meta-medium
  • Creativity ebbs and flows, it is critical
  • So too having a plan is critical

My plan follows.

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Techne (Emacs Friendly Keyboard): Operations Keys

The most important keys on any keyboard for an Emacs user are the Operation Keys (I made up that term). Without them Emacs would be useless. For Techne (the new name for my Emacs keyboard project) I decided to use symbols instead of letters for them.

The operations cluster is on both the left and right side of the keyboard. Yes, that is a full twenty keys just to make life happier in Emacs! I love keyboards so dedicating twenty keys to a critical task is perfect for me. These sections live on a eight row by sixteen column layout so there is plenty of room. It’s bottom left corner is position (1,1) (Row, Column) increasing as you go up and to the right (ala Cartesian coordinates). In the table I wrote the key name and then the symbol. The picture only includes the symbol.

Legend: C# (column number)

Row Four Five Six Seven Eight
Two Hyper ⬖ Super ⬙ Meta ⬗ Control ⬘ Space ⭕
One Alt ⎇ GUI ⃟ Ultra ◆ Shift ⇧ Enter ⎆


Ultra is: C-m-S-H. Emacs can handle that including the Shift modifier along with it. In case you haven’t encountered it yet, here is how to get all of the Emacs modifiers on a modern USB keyboard.

My symbol choices started with Sun’s meta symbol. After playing around with that, reading Xah’s page on Unicode input symbols, searching for and comparing symbols with PopChar and playing around with a ton of combinations I ended up here. It is nice because it settles on the diamond theme.