The Lofree Mechanical Keyboard — An Awkward Layout

The Hong Kong-based start-up lofree is manufacturing a typewriter-inspired mechanical keyboard that was recently crowdfunded at Indiegogo. I purchased one for $79. It arrived on 12 June 2017.

Keyboard Layout: Numeric and Function Rows Misaligned

The main video on the campaign’s homepage claims — at time 0:48 — that the lofree keyboard “features the exact same keyboard layout as Apple’s Magic Keyboard.”

This isn’t true, and many people have expressed their discontent about this in the Comments section of the product’s Indiegogo page.

The numeric row and the function row of keys have been shifted to the right by a key, effectively forcing touch typists to re-learn how to type.

Number row highlighted in original lofree keyboard layout
Highlighting the original, misaligned number row on the lofree keyboard.

If you’re willing to re-learn the layout and this will be your only keyboard, then stop reading. For the rest of us who use multiple machines, however, the layout is unacceptable.

Keyboard Layout: Fix

Lofree advised me (and others) to use Karabiner to fix the keyboard layout, but Karabiner doesn’t work in macOS Sierra. Thus, I set out to create a layout that works in all modern versions of Mac OS X.

My fix is available on GitHub.

The layout re-aligns the numeric row back to the standard position, not the function row. The back tick/tilde key, now a dead key, is placed to the left of the delete, and the toggling you’d get with command + ` (back tick) is converted to a three-key combination: command + control + 1.

Shifted number row highlighted in lofree keyboard layout
The number row shifted back into the traditional position, with the back tick key, now a dead key, positioned to the left of the delete key.

As for reliability, I’ve used the layout for two weeks in Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan and macOS 10.12 Sierra without incident.

Fix Your Hercules Guitar Stand for About $1

A Hercules Guitar Stand

After years of use, the grip on my Hercules guitar stand broke. (A link—with a picture—to a forum post on the matter by other owners is here.)

The Grip of a Hercules Guitar StandI contacted Hercules about a replacement, and they said they don’t sell parts. They advised me to buy a new stand, of course.

Instead of spending upwards of $30 on a new stand and placing yet one more thing (that’s only 0.001% broken) in a landfill, I did some research.

Using a pitch gauge, I found that an M5—0.8 × 20 mm screw will keep the neck of the stand in place. Home Depot carries the screw for $1.05. The SKU is 887480028287 and the screw may be found here.

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A M5—0.8 × 20 mm screw

The trade-off for using this screw is the forfeited ability to use the stand’s one-handed adjustable feature. (To adjust the height, I will need to unscrew, re-position, and re-screw the stand’s neck.) No matter, I never used the adjustable height feature.