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 Post subject: Mac Users Beware...
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 3:43 pm 
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...the arbitrary key layout on the Deck keyboard makes the product unusable for many Mac users.

I sent an e-mail to Deck technical support on Friday, December 30th, after receiving my new keyboard, only to discover the key layout made the unit unusable. No one from Deck has seen fit to contact me regarding my important questions and concerns, or even acknowledge receipt of my letter, so I thought I would try and get some answers here on the message boards.

Initially I was elated with my new keyboard and keypad, being very impressed with their build quality and, wow, do they look great when they are plugged in. But my delight quickly turned into disappointment when I discovered that the placement of a couple of important keys; specifically the tilde key has been placed where the Apple/Command key should be, and the Apple/Command key has been inexplicably relocated way up on the opposite side of the keyboard in the upper right corner.  A slightly less significant problem is there is only one such key on the board. 

For those of us who work on Macs regularly, we know the placement of these keys is incredibly important in everyday use, in programs across the platform. The use of the Apple/Command key to perform shortcuts is critical in a daily workflow.  Its placement to the left of the space bar and surrounded by the option, control and shift keys allows the user to make command shortcuts with one hand, while freeing the other hand to continue working with the mouse or or any other input device.  The Apple layout of these keys was designed from the beginning for single handed use. Where Deck has placed these keys requires the user to use both hands to make those same commands, forcing an interruption in workflow.  Some may not find this to be a problem, but for a majority of serious Mac users, this will be a deal-breaker.

To the product's credit, in the short time that I played with the keyboard, I fell in love with it. It is a great piece of hardware that I truly would like to keep, but as is, I just can't use it. I'll ask again the unanswered question I directed to technical support:

"Is there any way to remap those two keys, or any other solution to put the Apple/Command key back where it belongs? "

Though the site indicates the keyboard supports the Mac platform, it seems clear to me that it was made for PC users, with Mac people being only an afterthought, or just working on both because of the common USB standard.  The site has a special note for Mac users regarding how to request the special Mac keys, but makes no mention of the arbitrary key placement on the keyboard itself.  There is no mention or disclosure of the keys, especially the standard important ones, being so randomly placed.

Deck needs to disclose this to potential buyers so they are aware of this potential problem before they order.  I suspect you will receive far fewer orders from Mac users if they are aware of this issue, but it seems only fair to warn them of this potential problem.

I really would like to keep this keyboard, so if anyone knows of a way around this problem, I would truly be grateful.

Brett B.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 2:33 pm 
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I am in the process of updating different pages with information such as this. I apologize that nobody has returned your email as of yet so I will try to give this a shot.

As I stated before I am in the process of updating several pages across our site to make it more navigateable and help users find answers quicker. On the current FAQ page you may have noticed this:

Quote:
WHY IS THE (WINDOWS KEY SYMBOL) KEY IN THE UPPER RIGHT HAND CORNER?

Feedback from gamers prompted us to move this key to its current location. We found that having it on the lower row of keys that it accidentally gets hit by mistake. It is less likely to get hit by mistake with it in the upper right hand corner.


We originally created this to be for PCs as you figured out. Later on when more users stated an interest for keycaps with Mac-specific legends we made the keycaps and placed them on the keys that performed those functions on a Mac computer.

I currently own a homemade PC and a Powerbook G4 and I agree that the Apple/Command key is critical to daily usage of a Mac especially because all I have to navigate otherwise is the trackpad (and that can make your hand tired after a while). I personally would not prefer to use the 82 key Deck with my Mac if I wanted it to be my only keyboard for the system.

However, after we released the 82 key Deck and received feedback from our users, we realized that alot of users desired the more standard layout of keys and we made a full-size 105 key board that we call the Legend. It has the standard layout with the Apple/Command (or Windows) key in the normal location.

I would think that the Legend would be more suited to your needs. If you are still dissatisfied with your 82/21 combo (that sounds like what you have) and it is within the 30-day money back period, contact technicalsupport@deckkeyboards.com and you can probably arrange an exchange for the Legend. We're pretty flexible and we try to answer all emails quickly but I'm guessing that we got flooded due to the holidays and just havent gotten to it yet (I don't answer them personally).

Also I had realized previously that not having a diagram of the key layout linked on each board's page was a small problem but just didn't get around to fixing that yet. I will update that within the next week as well.

EDIT 01/06/06 3:09PM : I have added links to the artwork for the keycaps on the 'Your Support' page and I will try to add them to each individual board's page in the next week.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 9:03 pm 
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DeckGuy Adam wrote:
However, after we released the 82 key Deck and received feedback from our users, we realized that alot of users desired the more standard layout of keys and we made a full-size 105 key board that we call the Legend. It has the standard layout with the Apple/Command (or Windows) key in the normal location.


Adam,

Thanks for the reply, and understanding my problem with the 82 key Deck. I did receive an e-mail reply from Cathy V. in your sales department after posting my message here, basically telling me there was nothing that could be done to fix the problem.

I've considered the Legend, but unfortunately it is a bit too wide for the keyboard shelf on my work desk. I did look at the artwork pages you've posted on the site, and it appears to me, and I could be reading the artwork wrong, that the apple and option keys, though in the standard area, are reversed in order from the standard layout. A much more manageable issue if true, but the width is too much.

Do you have any plans to make a Mid-Size keyboard, something in size between the 82 key Deck and the Legend?

The compact size of the 82 key Deck is what led to my purchase in the first place, as I am currently working with an original iMac keyboard. For now I will just have to return the Deck Combo and wait for something more usable to my environment.

Thanks,

Brett B.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:15 am 
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You are reading the artwork correctly, the order of the keys on the bottom row of the Legend is as follows from left to right: Ctrl - Apple/Windows - Alt/Option.

Also we do not have any plans to release a mid-size keyboard at this time but we will consider it for future models.

I do not have my Apple in front of me to test this out, but you may want to look into a key remapping program. A quick Google search brought me to a few programs - namely fKeys and DoubleCommand - which both seem to be decently popular and look like they would work in your situation. If you switched the mapping of the Apple key and the tilde key, then switched the keycaps, you would be able to have the Apple key where you wanted. Just some ideas in case you want to try things out before returning it. I will try to test this out tonight/tomorrow to post results for the rest of the Mac users.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:16 pm 
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I haven't ordered a Deck yet, but a friend is bringing his over tonight for me to test. After reading this post, it made me think of another piece of software; http://www.usboverdrive.com. It's a utility that allows remapping of all keyboard keys. I'll post an update sometime tonight after I get to try it out.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:12 am 
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Ok I brought my G4 Powerbook 1.5gHz to work today to test some things. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing but I have OS X Tiger (10.4.3) and I ran into a little trouble with programs other than the ones listed here. For the most part, programs other than fKeys, DoubleCommand, and USBOverdrive will only run on 10.3.8 so if you have that OS you may be in luck.

When I tested USBOverdrive, the first thing I notice is that it is a trial version and is $20 to buy which isnt bad but not as good as free. I installed it and it couldn't find the Deck 82 key. That is because I couldn't read the website which clearly states under the information section "The USB Overdrive X ... handles any USB mouse, trackball, joystick and gamepad..." and means it does NOT handle keyboards. This won't work but could be handy if you wanna tweak your mouse/joystick.

fKeys has limited functionality and I did not test it because it doesn't remap the Windows/Command key at all. However, it offers only a handful of features which may be useful to you (see those features here). And it only runs on OS X Tiger.

I also was referred to uControl. However, this project is no longer in development, does not work in Tiger, and the homepage reccomends fKeys anyways so I didn't try it.

DoubleCommand has a beta installer that works for Tiger, and older versions as well that appear to have just about the same functionality. It does have more options of switching different keys, but is still not a complete keyboard remapper. It does give the option to swap the CTRL and OPTION keys which is nice because it sets those to the way they are supposed to sit for a Mac. No way to switch the tilde key and the Command key yet.

I'm gonna search around a bit more and try to find other programs or ways of doing this. There's gotta be an answer.

EDIT: I posted a thread over at the MacWorld forums to see if I can get some help from their user base. You can view the thread here.

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http://www.deckkeyboards.com - The best backlit keyboards on Earth
http://www.tg3electronics.com - Parent company of Deck, leaders in custom industrial keyboards


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 Post subject: Isn't remapping built into Tiger?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 1:31 am 
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Hi Adam,

I appreciate your help on the Mac side. I was just about to buy a Legend for my iMac, thinking that I could continue using the fantastic uControl in Tiger. It works great in Panther 10.3.9. Sorry to hear that it's not in Tiger. But I was under the impression that the reason it's not in Tiger wwas that Tiger now has that functionality included in System Preferences -> Keyboard and Mouse -> Modifier Keys. Here's blurbage from macosxhints:

http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20050430015116866

Since I don't yet have Tiger, I can't try this out. I was wondering if you had tried that, and what was lacking in the built-in remapping facility. Is the problem that it only handles "special" keys, and not the tilde, for example? (If that's the case, it would still be sufficient for tweaking the Legend).

Thanks,

David
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 7:34 am 
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Yea the problem is that it only modifies the Caps Lock, Control, Option, and Command. In this case we need to mod the tilde key and there is no option for that.

I'm trying to get in touch with the developer of the DoubleCommand program as that is licensed under the GPL and it seems like the most powerful one thus far. Hopefully he can tell me if it is possible to modify that program's settings to change the tilde. I will post when I hear word from him.

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http://www.tg3electronics.com - Parent company of Deck, leaders in custom industrial keyboards


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 Post subject: This should be obvious, but...
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 2:23 pm 
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I thought I would point something out to anybody to whom this is not obvious: where on Earth would you ever find a keyboard manufacturer who is willing to put this kind of time and effort into helping us individual users?

This is Keyboard Heaven, IMHO.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 3:00 am 
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Yes, I second that Lyle! :D This entire company is incredible for customer satisfaction and service. Even if for some the products may not be right.
And I'm STILL in total obsession with my
ICE 82 Deck keyboard.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 11:17 am 
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Has anyone found a solution to this? I bought my Deck keyboards (82 key and 21 key) several years ago and was using Windows at the time. Now I have switched over to a Mac and find that my 82 key Deck is almost useless with the Command key way up in the right hand corner.

I have googled around to no avail. I really do not want to have to abandon my Deck but without a solution it is useless to me.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 11:21 am 
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Hi Jeff,

You may want to check out this thread if you are using OS X:

http://www.deckkeyboards.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=230

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http://www.tg3electronics.com - Parent company of Deck, leaders in custom industrial keyboards


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 10:21 am 
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Adam,

Unfortunately, that modified version of DoubleCommand does not work properly. I have been down that path and many others with no success. At this point I think that if I want to keep using my Deck I am going to have to explore the possibility of a hardware mod, or figure out how keyboard drivers work on OS X. Alas, my skills are primitive with hardware mods, and I know nothing about the OS X kernel or OS X drivers.

Hopefully someone out there will figure this out as I love my Deck but it is essentially unusable on OS X.

Jeff


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 8:36 am 
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Hi Jeff,

Here is a list from the DoubleCommand site of all the current possible key mapping modifications it can make. I have highlighted the ones that are relevant in this situation:

    Enter key acts as a Command key
    Enter key acts as a Control key
    Enter key acts as an Option key
    Enter key acts as an fn key (partial support, cursor keys only)
    Command key acts as an Option key
    Command key acts as a Control key
    Option key acts as a Command key
    Control key acts as a Command key

    Swaps Control key and Option key
    Capslock key acts as a Control key
    fn key acts as a Control key
    Swaps numpad . with numpad shift+.
    Shift + Delete acts as a Forward Delete
    Disable Command and Option
    PC style Home and End keys
    Backslash (\) acts as a Forward Delete
    Swap function key behaviour on new 'Books
    Disable Capslock
    Enter key acts as Forward Delete


I have also posted a request on the DoubleCommand forums @ SourceForge.net for a Caps Lock <--> Command or Tilde (~) <--> Command feature to be implemented. I am not real familiar with the C programming language which I think DoubleCommand is written in so I can't add to that progress but if any Deck users are C devs you may have found a project.

I also stumbled upon another keymap editing program during my DoubleCommand research called Ukelele (http://scripts.sil.org/ukelele). I will give it a shot hopefully tonight and post back about this; if you beat me to it please post back as all of us Mac users (including me) would like to have this functionality available.

I am also going to revisit uControl (http://gnufoo.org/ucontrol/ucontrol.html) and fKeys (http://www.kodachi.com/software/fKeys/) to see what they are up to. If anyone finds other key mapping software for OS X please post up.

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http://www.tg3electronics.com - Parent company of Deck, leaders in custom industrial keyboards


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 2:08 pm 
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jeffc666 wrote:
Unfortunately, that modified version of DoubleCommand does not work properly. I have been down that path and many others with no success.

Can you be more specific as to the problem you experienced with the modified DoubleCommand? Maybe it's something that I can fix.


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