The "New Toys" Thread

Perc

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Aaand I just realized I ordered a keyboard with red switches instead of brown. Red are linear all the way down, while brown has more of a tactile feel. Good thing I ordered this from a local company where a friend works. I'll fire off a message first thing monday morning and ask if he can un-f my f-up.
 

RdKetchup

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Begun, the Enter Key wars have. ;)

That Enter key configuration always bugged me and I can't type for crap on them.

I just realized my external keyboard and the laptop built-in one use a different enter key.

IMG_20210917_162937.jpg
 

NecroJoe

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I like a big return/enter key, unless it's a keyboard with a number pad, which has its own enter key. Then I don't care either way. Both give me an "easy" target to hit an enter key when my hands aren't already hovering over the keyboard. With the number pad, it's the big key in the corner, and it's easy to hit. Without that, then I like a larger target to hit, since it's between other keys.
 

Matt2000

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Probably a good time to mention that I received the keycap grab bag I ordered from PimpMyKeyboard/Signature Plastics and my main aim was to see how I liked the SA profile keys. If I would get enough keys to actually fill a keyboard would be a gamble. Well it turns out that I got a ton of SA profile keys along with lots of others like 57 clear DSA profile caps.

I was able to cobble together a full layout where only a couple of the keys are technically wrong. It makes a great noise with the Cherry Browns on my MK750. The enter/return key was the trickiest thing as I didn't get any SA ISO keys. This little shift/tiny space bar is fine and I almost never mis-hit. I'd switch to ANSI if the symbols didn't move around. There are some profile changes in this setup I have (some normal sculpted SA and some flat SA) but it isn't bad at all to type on and fortunately my touch typing has improved dramatically over the last 6 months so I don't mind having blank keys. It's even fine for gaming...



...which brings me on to the RTX 3080, which has been in since Monday and is brilliant. It exposes the limits of the CPU in games like MS Flight Sim but I knew it was a fine balance and whatever I upgraded would show the weakness of the other. Out of the blue a friend gifted me Deathloop and I've been playing that all week, I thought it would be too much action for me to handle but I'm having a great time with it. The 3080 handles it maxed out in 4K with no issues.

I don't think I mentioned the thing on the far left either, that's a Gentles 440 LANC controller specifically designed for the Atomos Ninja. It allows me to start and stop recording without having to jab the screen.
 
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Perc

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Got a new clock radio. One that has the googles in it.

View attachment 3562439

Returning this today. I really liked the idea of a basic (and compact) alarm clock that never drifts and always shows the weather, but every time there's a slight network hiccup the :censored:ing thing lights up, shows a "Reconnecting..." animation and announces loudly via the Google assistant that EVERYTHING WILL BE OK. Can't remember the exact words.

Seriously. You know fully well your customers will be sleeping next to this device and you decided this was a good idea?
 

Perc

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This isn't a toy, it's a tool. I'm spending a lot more time in front of the computer than I used to and a lot of the time I'm hammering out parts numbers on the numeric keyboard. My cheap Logitech wireless didn't cut it anymore.

Enter the Varmilo VA109M Charcoal, which would have arrived today if I had pulled the trigger early enough in the morning but alas I have to wait until monday after work. It looks very basic and is apparently backlit. I don't care since it isn't going to be used in a dimly lit mancave. The important thing is it has Cherry switches and the basic PC layout I need for the software we use.

I actually paid for it myself because I just got a new job (or rather: the job was changed under me, our company was sold) and I don't want to approach the new boss asking for a €140 keyboard after two weeks on the new job.

View attachment 3562569

This is awesome and now I’m considering one for home too. The market for ISO/nordic Mac friendly mech keyboards isn’t exactly huge (mac users are all on macbooks at starbucks) so it seems like Keychron is the only option. They’re using Gateron switches which seems to be a Cherry clone. I just have to decide between a numpad and normal arrow keys because apparently i can’t have both.

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killpanda

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I made a keyboard with a similar layout as the second one (one big block of everything) for my wife, and her main complaint, which I do kind of share, is that it's super hard to locate where you are on the keyboard and find the arrows, numpad, etc. without looking. Hers is an ANSI layout (horizontal enter key), so maybe that plays a part in it, but I just thought I'd let you know :)

IMG_1461.jpeg
 

NecroJoe

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Oh, man...that (lack of space, not the enter key) would drive me bonkers. I use that negative space in my no-look wayfinding for the arrow keys.

My ideal keyboard setup would be to have arrow keys and no number pad, and then a separate number pad to the right of my mousepad.
 

gaasc

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The arrow keys without any separation from anything else annoy me in a very specific way.
 

leviathan

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new screeens.jpg


Not sure why this took me so long, but I finally realized that my setup with the ultrawide screen is awesome for games and movies, but for actually doing any work it pretty much sucks. I much prefer to run multiple windows in full- or half-screen, and also we do a ton of work in remote pair- or mob-programming with active screen sharing, and using a 21:9 is a problem for that for multiple reasons.

So I decided to return to my tried-and-tested setup of 3x identical 16:9. However, this time around 1080p wouldn't do, so I decided I wanted three 27" 1440p screens instead. Why not 4K - price, gaming (no way my old 1060 will run anything at decent FPS at 4K, but 1440p is just about doable, as proven by the ultrawide), and my reluctance to use DPI scaling in Windows are the reasons.

The choice came down to a few models, but ultimately I went for the ViewSonic VX2718-2KPC-MHD. VA, 27" 1440p, curved, 165Hz, 1ms (claimed) response time - what's not to like? At least that's what I thought when I got one and tested it as a secondary screen for a couple days, before getting two more. However, running them for all displays for a day quickly surfaced some issues. Basically, here's a list of what I like and what I don't like:

- (++) 3x 1440p was the right call, especially for work in remote meetings it's an absolutely awesome setup that I fully intend to keep.
- (++) VA panel contrast is great, the black is almost AMOLED-"true". Colors and overall image quality are pretty decent too on these.
- (+) 165Hz mode works, and the smoother mouse movement and scrolling is noticeable, although not quite as much as I expected / as much as I like the 120Hz on my phone, mainly because...
- (-) "1ms" on these screens is a bad joke. Actual response time, especially black-to-white and changing colors, is horrendously slow, and doesn't really improve with any of the available settings. There is a "1ms" mode even, but that is straight up unusable since it dims the brightness all the way down and disables the slider. Scrolling white text on bright background, there are really bad color artifacts, the text becomes orange/red for a moment - it's pretty noticeable and annoying, and I am certain none of my earlier screens had that, even old 1080p AOCs with nothing it terms of especially fast response times or anything. Even in games, simple shit like Stardew Valley, things that slowly scroll around the screen leave this colored "sheen" similar to the text scrolling issue... it's bad enough that I wonder if I'm missing some obvious setting somewhere, how tf is this supposed to be a "gaming" monitor and what is 165Hz good for if the response time is this bad.
- (-) There is noticeable backlight bleed on the right edge of all three screens. It's not visible when the screen is black, but with any color it's definitely noticeable, and annoying.
- (-) Viewing angles are not ideal, when viewed from above standing up in front of the desk the picture already begins to degrade slightly. Not an issue sitting down though, horizontal angles are decent, so not a show-stopper.
- (+) They properly auto-switch inputs! I know it's probably a normal expected feature of a modern screen :D but the LG Ultrawide needed manual switching, or at least a confirmation of an auto-switch every time. Relevant for me, since I switch between the private desktop and work laptop several times daily, and while it was tolerable to manually switch one display (the ultrawide), manually switching three would be unacceptable.

So now I'm a bit uncertain on how to proceed. I have a month of return window for these from the store I got them from, and at the moment I'm likely to make use of it - unless I get the response time issue handled somehow. If I were to do that, I'd of course need another 3 27" 1440p screens to replace these... there are some options out there, I'd probably forget the VA experiment and get back to tried-and-true IPS. One of the best options is the LG 27GN800 - although if it has the same input switching issue as the ultrawide did (and I think all LGs are like that), it's something of a no-go for a triple setup.
 

leviathan

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Not terribly surprising, the displays from the above post have vacated the desk, one of them has already been shipped back to the seller, and two more are about to join it. The reasons are mainly outlined above - after about a week of use, I figured that both the edge bleed and reaction speed / color-ghosting-when-scrolling-or-gaming issues are something I don't wish to live with.

However, another reason joined the above issues, and it's an unexpected one. It's this:

IMG_1514D.JPG


Over 3 months after the initial order, my new work laptop finally made it. MacBook Pro 16.2" with an M1 Max and 64GB RAM. It's a beast and I love it. Ok, maybe it's slightly overweight, but I'm willing to forgive that for all the awesomeness.

Unfortunately, after connecting it up to the home office setup, I realized that MacOS font rendering on non-Retina screens is extremely horrible. I kinda knew this from before, but it becomes really apparent when there's the crisp laptop display sitting right next to external monitors - imho the difference is night and day. So, since the screens were on the brink of going away anyway, I decided to accelerate the process, but switched up the requirements for their replacement: now I wanted 3x 4K screens.

Fortunately, some decent options were available at very similar prices to the 1440p/144Hz displays I was looking at anyway. I gave up on 144Hz, since a) those in 4K are extremely expensive and b) my paltry 1060/6GB has no chance in hell of exceeding 100 FPS on a 4K screen in anything worth playing, except maybe CS 1.6 or something ancient like that. In fact, I doubt it'll produce decent playable FPS on 4K at all, but since I rarely game these days I decided that's the downside I'm going with.

From the available options, I chose the AOC U27V4EA. I've had good experiences with AOC screens in the past, and this seemed like the spiritual successor to the I2369VM that I ran 3 of before: budget screen in its class, decent IPS panel with good colors and OK contrast, very simplistic design, very little in terms of ergonomical extras that I don't need anyway. Again, ordered one first, and ran it for a day as the main screen this time to hopefully catch issues before getting all three. After a day, ordered the other two - yeah, maybe I'm a bit impatient, but I was also very impressed by the picture quality in stark contrast to the two remaining VA ViewSonics off to the sides. Both on macOS and Windows, the extra resolution is just very nice to have. And the picture of this IPS panel is also much more to my liking in direct comparison. Can't put my finger on what it is exactly, but I just like it more I guess.

So today the other two AOCs arrived, and I think I'm happy:

IMG_1530.jpg


Yeah, it looks very similar, but the difference up close is huge. Also yes, I lost the curved form factor. It's a bit of a shame since I think it works really well in a setup like this - but ultimately it's a gimmick, and not really a factor in the decision here.

So now I only need to figure out the logictics of wiring the screens and the USB hub to three input sources: my desktop tower, my company Macbook, and my current project HP laptop (the Dell on the left is the old company laptop that's going away now). The Macbook not supporting DisplayPort MST is really making things a bit complicated here... but I'll figure something out, now that appropriate hardware is present and accounted for.
 

gaasc

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As my resume ends up in no end of job listings and company databases that are shared with "Advertising partners", I decided I may need a "work" phone again...and this was the least shitty one in my budget.

Now to self-debate the hypocrisy of installing TikTok on something I bought because I didn't want a Xiaomi
 

NecroJoe

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Has anybody used a Google Voice number for work stuff? I got real tired of carrying around 2 phones.
 

Hok

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Has anybody used a Google Voice number for work stuff? I got real tired of carrying around 2 phones.
I just have a phone with Dual Simcards. So I have one phone with two numbers, work and personal. No need to carry 2 phones, which I also got tired of.
 

Matt2000

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At work we're planning to get a Teams phone connector so we can get rid of our crappy Mitel system for internal phones and then use any device with an internet connection for work calls.

It'll be great because I don't currently have a work phone, the crappy system tries to route calls through to my personal mobile even though it shouldn't and I never know if something is a work, personal or scam call. I'll just be able to close Teams when I don't want the work calls coming through.
 

eizbaer

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Best of luck with that, honestly. I’ve experienced one of our service providers do that. They’re our phone & internet provider, so they should know what they’re doing. Not reachable by phone for a week before they got it to work 🤣
 

Perc

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We use Mitel. I've had less than stellar experience with the iOS app but the desk phones are fine. The Windows and Mac app works, I guess.
 

Matt2000

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Our phones are mostly the 5224 and they've been there since I started in 2008. It wasn't so bad when everything was controlled internally with the equipment in our server rack, I was forced to learn all of the configuration options and there was nothing we couldn't do.

Rather than buying new equipment, management decided that we should adopt a cloud solution that lost us all direct control of the configuration. The service company was terrible and has only got worse, if their system has an outage all of the phones reboot and drop the pass-thru connection to the computer. Plus the IP phones we have are all 100M so they're becoming a bottleneck as we upgrade the equipment and cabling in the offices.

Windows App works fine though when the system works.
 
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Matt2000

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With only a CD player in Geoff the Freelander and no aux in like I have in the Mazda, I considered getting a cassette player or going back to the old technology of an FM transmitter. Turns out that putting in a cassette player would be a massive ballache so got one of these transmitters:

1645303621483.png


This was one of the few Amazon sold that didn't look awfully cheap and was pretty compact, while still having a QC 3.0 port for a Magsafe charger. The RGB thing is a gimmick but it doesn't look that bad really when just set to blue. It can also be turned off.



Sound quality is fine, it came pre-programmed to 107.7MHz which is clear in my area. The phone needs to be on max volume and the radio still needed to be turned up a bit, no noticable background hiss though. I'd read complaints about a similar unit being mono and can report that this was definitely in stereo but there is some bleed between the channels.

Price and simplicity outweigh any cons though so it'll be staying. It can also play from a USB or microSD card but I don't need that feature.
 
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