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.

How I Installed the 2003 Konica Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual IV 35mm Film Scanner in Windows 10

Burden: ~15 minutes

[The Konica Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual IV. ]
The Konica Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual IV

Download Software

First, download the software required for the installation.

  1. Download the Windows XP version of the DiMAGE Scan Dual IV software. (Here’s the home page for the scanner.)
  2. Copy the following content, which I found in this blog post at Fixya, into a text file called sonyscanners.inf
    ; sonyscanners.inf -- Sony (Konica Minolta) Film Drivers
    ;
    ;
    ; Beta driver for Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating
    ; systems for all known Sony film scanners.
    [Version]
    Signature="$CHICAGO$"
    Class=Image
    ClassGUID={6bdd1fc6-810f-11d0-bec7-08002be2092f}
    Provider=%Provider%
    DriverVer=2/19/2011,3.0
    [Manufacturer]
    %Mfg%=Models,ntamd64
    [Models]
    ; USB and SCSI scanners
    "Minolta Scan Dual II" = USBScanner,USB\Vid_0638&Pid_026a
    "Minolta Scan Dual III" = USBScanner,USB\Vid_0686&Pid_400d
    "Minolta Scan Dual IV" = USBScanner,USB\Vid_132b&Pid_000a
    "Minolta Scan Elite 5400 2" = USBScanner,USB\Vid_132b&Pid_0012
    "Minolta Scan Elite 5400" = USBScanner,USB\Vid_0686&Pid_400e
    "Minolta Scan Elite II" = USBScanner,USB\Vid_0686&Pid_4004
    "Minolta SC-110" = USBScanner,USB\Vid_0638&Pid_0a15
    "Minolta SC-215" = USBScanner,USB\Vid_0638&Pid_0a16
    "Minolta QuickScan 35" = SCSIScanner,SCSI\ScannerMINOLTA_#2880___________
    "Minolta Scan Dual" = SCSIScanner,SCSI\ScannerMINOLTA_#2882___________
    "Minolta Scan Multi" = SCSIScanner,SCSI\ScannerMINOLTA_#2883___________
    "Minolta Scan Speed" = SCSIScanner,SCSI\ScannerMINOLTA_#2884___________
    "Minolta Scan Elite" = SCSIScanner,SCSI\ScannerMINOLTA_#2885___________
    "Minolta Scan Elite 5400 Firewire" = SBP2Scanner,SBP2\MINOLTA&DS_Elite5400&CmdSetId104d8
    [Models.ntamd64]
    ; USB and SCSI scanners
    "Minolta Scan Dual II" = USBScanner,USB\Vid_0638&Pid_026a
    "Minolta Scan Dual III" = USBScanner,USB\Vid_0686&Pid_400d
    "Minolta Scan Dual IV" = USBScanner,USB\Vid_132b&Pid_000a
    "Minolta Scan Elite 5400 2" = USBScanner,USB\Vid_132b&Pid_0012
    "Minolta Scan Elite 5400" = USBScanner,USB\Vid_0686&Pid_400e
    "Minolta Scan Elite II" = USBScanner,USB\Vid_0686&Pid_4004
    "Minolta SC-110" = USBScanner,USB\Vid_0638&Pid_0a15
    "Minolta SC-215" = USBScanner,USB\Vid_0638&Pid_0a16
    "Minolta QuickScan 35" = SCSIScanner,SCSI\ScannerMINOLTA_#2880___________
    "Minolta Scan Dual" = SCSIScanner,SCSI\ScannerMINOLTA_#2882___________
    "Minolta Scan Multi" = SCSIScanner,SCSI\ScannerMINOLTA_#2883___________
    "Minolta Scan Speed" = SCSIScanner,SCSI\ScannerMINOLTA_#2884___________
    "Minolta Scan Elite" = SCSIScanner,SCSI\ScannerMINOLTA_#2885___________
    "Minolta Scan Elite 5400 Firewire" = SBP2Scanner,SBP2\MINOLTA&DS_Elite5400&CmdSetId104d8
    [USBScanner]
    Include=sti.inf
    Needs=STI.USBSection
    SubClass=StillImage
    DeviceType=1
    DeviceSubType=1
    Capabilities=0
    [USBScanner.Services]
    Include=sti.inf
    Needs=STI.USBSection.Services
    [SCSIScanner]
    Include=sti.inf
    Needs=STI.SCSISection
    SubClass=StillImage
    DeviceType=1
    DeviceSubType=1
    Capabilities=0
    [SCSIScanner.Services]
    Include=sti.inf
    Needs=STI.SCSISection.Services
    [SBP2Scanner]
    Include=sti.inf
    Needs=STI.SBP2Section
    SubClass=StillImage
    DeviceType=1
    DeviceSubType=2
    Capabilities=0
    [SBP2Scanner.Services]
    Include=sti.inf
    Needs=STI.SBP2Section.Services
    [Strings]
    Provider="Sony (Konica Minolta)"
    Mfg="Sony (Konica Minolta)"

Install the Scanner Software

  1. Run DD4103E.exe, which extracts setup files Setup.exe and ADBSetup.exe
  2. Run Setup.exe
  3. Run ADBSetup.exe
  4. Restart your computer

Update the Driver

Updating the driver requires your having to relax the digital signature restrictions on your computer temporarily, then restarting to ensure the restrictions are re-instated.

  1. Holding the shift key, restart your computer
  2. Click/tap Troubleshoot then Advanced options then Startup Settings then Restart
  3. Choose 7) Disable driver signature enforcement by hitting the F7 key
  4. With the computer restarted, context-click (right-click for right-handed users) the sonyscanners.inf file you created at the beginning of this tutorial, then choose Install
  5. Connect the scanner, turn it on, then launch the DiMAGE Scan Dual4 Utility software
  6. Once you’ve verified that the scanner works, restart your computer one more time