I had a similar issue, where I wanted a large amount of extra keys for macros/hotkeys. I bought a planck kit from olkb (https://olkb.com/planck/) (which is just one of many keyboard kits that will run the QMK firmware (https://github.com/qmk/qmk_firmware)) built it and rewrote the keymap to output my special keys.
Later I went on to wire up a couple simple industrial style footswitches to a cheapo arduino pro micro clone and put qmk on there.
A few other interesting and smaller keyboard kits can be found from vendors like https://www.1upkeyboards.com/ (the sweet16 macropad/keypad) and https://keeb.io (the chocopad or just half of any of their "ortholinear" split keyboard pcbs.
I've pondered getting one of those pads used to drive music software. The Elgato Stream Deck mentioned elsewhere in this thread seems quite interesting (to look into when I have more time). Any other pointers?
Also related: I'd really like to try a wireless chorded keyboard for mobile use.
Search above in another comment by me and find a few vendors for keyboard kits that run qmk firmware...
This is what I use personally
I have it binded on windows, to keys that are not on the keyboard. F13,F14....F24 & modifiers CTRL, SHIFT,ALT etc with my own left-to-right and top-to-down naming convention. This makes it easier to manage what my macros are overall
Then I run a seperate program, if you run macOS, this would be applescript, or something easier like automator / keyboard maestro. Phrase express works as well.
- For windows, I use phrase-express to work off these keys
- Linux IDK what they use here unfortunately
The macropad I linked uses internal memory for saving for what keys you bind to it. Its way better than the alternative xkeys IMO and better cost. One reason why I say this is because genovationPad keys have more of a cherry MXbrown key feel to it, whereas xkeys feels very awkward on my fingers. Xkey's response rate on the key-up process was very slow and tedious IMO.
I backup all my genovationPad docs on a dropbox folder. The documentation is not the greatest even with youtube, their website, any docs I could find etc. But I gave them a phone call, and the tech guy over there was super helpful. I gave them feedback too on future improvements and they took it seriously.
Also, printing out my own picture icons on genovationPad was WAY easier to deal with than Xkeys. Its just a microsoft word doc, dump an image, print it out, slide it in the cap, done. I think they even included this doc right in the CD it came with.
Xkeys required extra accessories as well, I tested both for a good week before returning xkeys
Other things that may interest you - You can look into foot pedals use for racing games as a form of input control. This would be binded on a keyboard key as well IIRC, for windows I use F13
As a side note, I also use my genovationPad as my todo-list stickynote tracker. I just shove a bunch of stickynotes inbetween each row of keys. The rows in the back are low priority, the ones up front that get in the way are high priority.
The only keys I really use on a daily basis on windows are these:
- WIN + ←
- WIN + →
- WIN + ↑
- WIN + ↓
Mostly for resizing things around my triple monitor setup quickly
Audio controlers for Lightroom:
You mean something like this keyboard from long ago:
Note the left side rows and above the QWERTY area.
That top row can be configured to send just F-keys, or Shift+Fkey, Control+Fkey, or Alt+Fkey. It defaults to Shift+Fkey.
Very good keyboard (source: typing this on one of the exact model pictured at that URL), somewhat hard to find now that it has been out of production for about 20 years.
I believe there were some old terminal keyboards that also had a second row of function keys, F13-24, but it's been a long time since I saw one of those.
Hmm, it's possible to do this with any keyboard. Find a key that you never/hardly use and bind that to running the command which toggles the layout.
Thanks for the inspiration.
I wrote some Windows software to do this a few years back:
The connection for the pedal is TRS, with one button being ring, another sleeve, and the last both—so it ended up being useful for only two commands as the last button would be ghosted by pushing the other two simultaneously.
I used the pedal for left and right leaning and with melee in the center, but with the ghosting, I ended up dropping melee and just stuck with using it for only leaning.
I used an Arduino Pro Micro which supports acting as a keyboard and just soldered a TRS socket so I could just use a regular TRS cable to hook up the footpedal.
It’s a bit satisfying once you get it working and the project didn’t cost too much—maybe about $20 (found a cheap used footpedal) and enough games use “q” and “e” binds that I get to use it a bit.
yes emacs is more than that, but with f1-f12, ctrl,shift,alt and their various combinations to the alphanumeric keys, it seems a bit overkill to me.
If you still need more keys, you can also get a JP keyboard with extra modifiers conveniently located next to the spacebar.
There's a tomscott video on it
Checkout Teran van Hemert (linustechtips editor) for some potential ideas too. He's got crazy macro schemas, I've used a couple of his and there great. All windows based as well though. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLH1gH0v9E3ruYrNyRbHhD...
Mac, I can only assume its something you would write in applescript. But maybe you find some interesting ideas there. I found something called "http://www.orderedbytes.com/controllermate/" that might be of interest to you
Adding a second keyboard and using the Russian layout is a cool method to use a 2nd keyboard that doesn't just duplicate the keys of the first, and likely has more fun applications than just adding more shortcuts to your text editor.
I'm trying to build out more ergonomic bindings since emacs-pinky is starting to haunt me at times. I have key-chords setup for very common things like jump to beginning/end of line ('jk' and 'kl').
Emacs is a differenet story... By default it uses a lot of alt and ctrl key combinations and also makes heavy usage of the arrow and home/end keys. Of course, there is a vi mode for emacs (evil; this is what Spacemacs uses) to take advantage of vi keys in emacs. But I believe that most emacs users just stick to the alt/ctrl shortcuts.
After seeing the article I've thought about doing something similar, but dismissed it exactly because it would take my hands out of the keyboard.
Control is more common than Alt, and with the usual swap with caps lock (as on old keyboards) it is still on the home row for the left hand.
(setq mac-control-modifier 'super)
(setq mac-option-modifier 'meta)
(setq mac-command-modifier 'control)
I also never use C-c or C-u prefixes, or other emacs-isms. Everything is a single combination, which is fundamentally simpler and more ergonomic.
For rarely-used commands, I just `M-x the-command`. Better than assigning complicated or easy-to-forget shortcuts.
(setq mac-function-modifier 'hyper)
(also some are redundantly rebound, like left-key to left-char. I do it for... reasons)