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2021-Q2: State of The Website

Welcome to the 2021 Q2 website update post!

Contents

Site design

The design changes made throughout the last quarter have not been revolutionary, although the changes that have been made have had accessibility in mind. Firstly, you'll notice the navigation bar when viewing from a desktop browser has been populated with links instead of using the same mobile-optimised hamburger menu. A search bar is also extended across the remaining blank space. Secondly, headings have been slightly revised. In instances where the heading area has a cover image, the contrast between the image and text has been increased with thicker text shadowing to make it more legible. The next level of headings' size has now been increased and a bottom border has been added to help compartmentalise sections of pages better (with articles and topics in mind).

The index page then (February 2021)
The index page then (February 2021)
The index page now (June 2021)
The index page now (June 2021)

Social media

At the end of May, I decided to create a Twitter page to help advertise my website, share updates on new content, and share some cool keyboard photos! Feel free to follow @AdmSharksKeebs if seeing that sort of stuff interests you!

My Twitter page!
My Twitter page!

Keyboard database entries

As in the last quarter, part number growth was slower than previous update periods due to work on other types of content. 47 new part numbers were added, 4 less added than during the last quarter. The newest additions are:

Keyboard icons

11 icons were added through the last quarter, namely:

Articles

Figuring out the IBM Japan P/N 69H8533 Numeric Keypad

The only article released during the last quarter was the documentation for trying to figure out the pinout of this unique IBM Japan numeric keypad for the IBM 5535-ZPP laptop. Thankfully, it was a success and I was able to compile a lot of interesting information on the keypad and its host system in the process. From what I've gathered, it is also likely the first serious documentation of this keypad in the West.

Topics

Keyboard Connections

The findings from the P/N 69H8533 article mentioned above were incorporated into the keyboards connections topic. The pinout of its keypad/mouse combined PS/2 port was made into a diagram and the keypad's cable header pinout was made into a diagram further down the page under "Mainboard header pinouts".

Keyboard Tidbits

The first of five new topics introduced during the last quarter was in fact adapted from a feature introduced in r/ModelM Discord's cappybot. The idea was that users could call a command that could output some useful information (ie, a tidbit) regarding keyboards. Given cappybot's data source is shared with the database that powers this site, I decided I might as well make a full list page from them. And that's what this is!

Pre-Model B Keyboards

The next topic is another list-style one that's simply a fun list of IBM keyboards that were designed and built before the heyday of the Model B (beam spring) keyboards. The list only has two entries, but I plan to populate it with more and eventually compile an article from the data.

Should I get an old or new Model M?

This topic is the first of two new topics twinned with a r/ModelM wiki article I wrote. This first one tackles the issue of old versus new Model Ms. As you would expect, it's a pro versus cons weighting sort of thing conducted for the prospect of both buying an old Model M or a new Model M. A brief consideration is given to Model Fs too.

TrackPoint, pointing stick, and UltraNav keyboards

This topic was created to answer one of the most popular questions I get from people in general - what TrackPoint (or similar) keyboards did IBM and Lenovo make? This topic lists all the known applicable keyboards as well as describes the core pointing device technology they utilise.

Which are better - Model Fs or Model Ms?

This topic is the second of two new topics twinned with a r/ModelM wiki article I wrote. This second one tackles the issue of Model F versus Model M. It breaks the subject down into three general categories; technology, construction and usability/familiarity.

Gists

The problems with the term 'mechanical keyboard'

The concept of 'gist' articles was introduced during this quarter, mainly as a way to talk about looser and more opinionated subjects separately from my factual and 'grandeur' articles. The inaugural gist is a discussion on the subject of problems with the 'mechanical keyboard' term, with several solutions to the problem suggested. It's highly inspired by chyrosran22's video on the subject.

Other news

During April, the website received a big upgrade in hosting arrangement that boosted the average page load speed of pages and the generation time for the keyboard icons wallpaper generator. It was quite frustrating to do and led to about a week of intermittent downtime, but it was well worth the effort.