Illustrated Kristina with an IBM Model M keyboard floating between her hands.

Keebin’ With Kristina: The One With The Pocket Cyberdeck

When you find something you love doing, you want to do it everywhere, all the time. Such is the case with [jefmer] and programming. The trouble is, there is not a single laptop or tablet out there that really deals well with direct sunlight. So, what’s a hacker to do during the day? Stay indoors and suffer?

Image by [jefmer] via Hackaday.IO
The answer is a project like Pocket Pad. This purpose-built PDA uses a Nice! Nano and a pair of two very low-power ST7302-driven monochrome displays. They have no backlight, but they update much faster than e-paper displays. According to [jefmer], the brighter the ambient light, the more readable the displays become. What more could you want? (Besides a backlight?)

The miniature PocketType 40% is a little small for touch typing, but facilitates thumbs well. [jefmer] added those nice vinyl transfer legends and sealed them with clear nail polish.

All of the software including the keyboard scanner is written in Espruino, which is an implementation of JavaScript that targets embedded devices. Since it’s an interpreted language, [jefmer] can both write and execute programs directly on the Pocket Pad, using the bottom screen for the REPL. I’d sure like to have one of these in my pocket!
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Inputs Of Interest: The Svalboard Could Be Your Salvation

You know, sometimes dreams really do come true. When I told you about the DataHand keyboard almost four years ago, I never imagined I’d ever get to lay my hands on anything even remotely like it, between the original price point and the fact that they really, really hold their value. But thanks to [Morgan Venable], creator of the Svalboard, I can finally tell you what it’s like to type with your digits directionalized.

If you don’t recall, the DataHand was touted to be a total revolution in typing for RSI sufferers. It debuted in 1993 for a hefty price tag of about $1,500 — pretty far out of reach of the average consumer, but well within the budgets of the IT departments of companies who really wanted to keep their workers working. You want minimum finger travel? It doesn’t get more minimal than this concept of a d-pad plus the regular down action for each finger.

The Svalboard aims to be the new and improved solution for something that barely exists anymore, but still has a devoted following. Although the DataHand was built on a gantry and adjustable using knobs, the smallest fit possible on the thing is still rather big. Conversely, the Svalboard is fully customizable to suit any size hand and fingertip.

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