Random Notes

Viewing posts for 2018.

Converting IBM Wheelwriter to USB Keyboard

The first part of this post contains background on how I got the keyboard and how I progressed with it. If you’d like to jump straight into the conversion instructions, click here.

Quick link to GitLab repo of this project: Nicd/qmk_firmware

Obtaining the Wheelwriter

After getting my Cherry finished, my brother messaged me that his company was emptying their old office and were throwing away some sort of IBM typerwiter. He asked if I would be interested in taking it instead, to save it from going to the landfill. Of course I was, and so I was soon in possession of a working IBM Wheelwriter 6747-2. The Wheelwriter is an electric typerwiter introduced by IBM in 1984 to replace the earlier Selectric. It has a keyboard with similar construction to that of the famous IBM Model M, using the same buckling spring mechanism. The unit my brother saved for me is from 1986.

I myself had no use for a typewriter, but I was very interested in its keyboard, that seemed to be in perfect condition. All the keys responded properly, so it was just a matter of disconnecting the keyboard and converting it into USB usage. This is how my conversion story started.

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Mebe 2: Elixir Boogaloo

After quite some time in development, I’ve now deployed Mebe 2 on this site, to replace the aging Mebe codebase. The earlier blog engine was written with Phoenix, which while being a great framework, was a bit heavy handed for the engine’s minimal needs. Mebe 2 has the old engine’s Markdown parsing and DB logic, but the web side is totally rewritten. The framework I chose is Raxx, because it’s quite minimal but also mainly because I just wanted to learn it. Alternatives are good.

The new blog engine has proper Distillery releases, so keeping it running and making new fixes and features is a lot easier. It’s still in very early development, though, as it’s missing tests and proper docs et cetera, but I figured I’d start dogfooding it already, as this remake process has kept me from writing new posts. So hopefully in the near future I’ll come out with some new stuff! See you till then!

Restoring a Cherry G80-1000 Keyboard

I’ve always loved retro keyboards. Back at my previous job I used to use a Keytronic keyboard that I salvaged from the university’s trash room. I liked the 80’s/90’s beige aesthetic, the huge keys, and the sound of typing on it. But it wasn’t a mechanical keyboard, just rubber dome. Once I got to type on a mechanical keyboard, I knew I wanted one, but that meant I had to put my trusty Keytronic to the side.

So about a month ago, I was very surprised and excited when I found an old looking keyboard in the trash bin at my current employer.

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