Clearly as later examples like Amazon have shown, auctions don't make sense for most product categories. I believe this is mainly due to psychological reasons.
Decision-fatigue is a real thing. People dislike having to think hard. In a fixed-price sale, the buyer just has to ask themselves one yes/no question: "Would I be happy buying this item for $X?" This is a very simple question to answer. In a sealed-bid auction, people have to ask themselves "What $X am I willing to pay for this item", which is a tremendously more complex question to answer. In fact, from a game theory perspective, you should never put in a bid that you're "happy with". You should put in a bid where you're exactly neutral between buying-vs-not-buying. Otherwise, you're leaving money on the table. This is asking people to make purchasing decisions whose outcomes will leave them explicitly not happy - a state of mind that every person hates putting themselves in.
Couple this together with the fact that the buyer doesn't even know whether they won the auction, until X hours/days later. And during this period of time, they are under a state of uncertainty, which is another mental state that people generally hate.
I think that for very expensive, non-time-critical and hobbyist items, an auction may work great. People may actually enjoy pouring effort into it because it is their hobby. But for any item that people just want to buy-and-move-on, auctions are a horrible mechanism. Perhaps one day when AI assistants make all our purchasing decisions for us, auctions will become the norm, but certainly not today.
It seems that this is a problem the Vickrey auction solves. By charging the price offered by the 11th highest bidder, they are ensuring that everyone pays less than or equal to their bid, and most likely less than.
This works out perfectly if everyone actually bids their neutral point: the winners are all either neutral or happy (most likely happy), the 11th is neutral, and the losers are all neutral or happy (most likely happy).
In practice, people bid at a price that they'd be happy to get it, so actually the 11th will feel slightly miffed that they weren't able to purchase at that price. And of course all the losers will be annoyed that it cost so much. But the former problem can't really be helped, and the latter is baked into basic supply-demand.
Why not including the 11th in the winners? That would solve the "unhappiness" of the 11th bidder; am I missing something?
So it's not really "why not include the 11th in the winner," it's "why charge the 11th bid and not the 10th?" I think the reason is that everyone feels like they have a good chance of it going for less than they bid (and so they feel happy), but it probably also incentives higher bids.
Estate auctions and multi-seller auctions at auction warehouses give liquidity to the assets that would take a lot of time and energy to list and sell individually. Contrary to the scenes of Christie's and Sotheby's in TV and film, many auctions don't come extensively catalogued. It's often just "Here's another batch of knickknacks. Bidding starts at $3" or "Here's four more boxes of books, mostly nonfiction. Will anyone bid $5?"
> Clearly as later examples like Amazon have shown, auctions don't make sense for most product categories. I believe this is mainly due to psychological reasons.
I've always loved eBay as a way to introduce sanity into the prices of old/used items. Especially computer equipment, where "regular vendors" would rather let it sit on the shelf marked at 10x what its worth than actually price it to a level someone would be willing to pay.
Of course for new items, it never made any sense. The eBay prices were sometimes even higher than regular vendors, hoping to catch people in the place they happened to be looking.
Before sales tax was mandated on eBay, it may have made sense to pay a little more than retail but save the amount in tax.
Much better to stage a "Reverse Auction" via Buy It Now + Easy Pricing. People can discover the item over weeks/months, and Watch it. When the price drops every week, they get an email. When it's low enough, they can buy immediately with no bidding or waiting.
Book I read about market design estimated that only 30% of commerce was done in an open market. Relationships, fulfillment, quality, service, returns, etc are all factors too. All those non-price intangibles that the Freedom Markets™ zealots ignore.
However, most people didn't think of it that way or want to do that (believe me I worked there for years), and they didn't like the chance to lose it anyway after waiting (snipers and bid shilling got ridiculous).
Fixed price is easier and you get it quicker. It may be less complex but if the price looks reasonable it's definitely more convenient.
Since you've worked there, I've always wondered: What did eBay think of this? Did they not care because it indirectly benefitted them?
I feel like they could've done much more to prevent snipers and automated programs from putting in a last second bid.
Amazon has seller-side auctions with its third party system. Presumably this results in a little bit of competition to lower prices, but there aren't really enough third party sellers to make it happen.
Treasury bills are probably the largest auction held regularly and they seem to work well. But consumers all place non-competitive bids while the competitive bidding is left to expert financial firms.
If I had to guess I'd say the real issue is people don't understand economics and would rather buy something at whatever price than spend the effort to identify a good price. Certainly my roommates at college never bothered picking out what was on sale, or even looked at the flyer. And I think the rest of the populace pays more attention to the size of the coupon than the price of the item.
A fixed price item is yours once you have paid for it. The amount you have paid is also known and fixed.
In an auction, there can be no certainty for days.
An auction may make sense (to me) for very expensive items, where a 10% difference can affect my ability to pay, but I am not in a hurry. Then the uncertainty can be worth it. Something like a car maybe.
For daily items, it absolutely does not apply. Paying 50¢ less for a tube of toothpaste? Nice, but doesn't beat not having toothpaste in the morning because I lost my bid and the next auction ends in 2 days.
The auction question is more interesting. Auctions are well accepted when there's clear scarcity or uniqueness in what's being sold. With manufactured good, we at least harbor illusions that there's some relationship with cost. But for niche items, that's not really true of course.
Depends on what I'm buying really. I don't really care if an artist has a business plan. Indeed, I figure they probably don't or they wouldn't be an artist. But a manufactured good that I might expect support or replacement for defects for? Sure. By and large, I don't want an artisan laptop.
I feel like this is an outgrowth of the basic human desire to form groups and define an in-group and an out-group; people start a hobby because they are interested in whatever, but after a while there develops an (often arbitrary) right way and wrong way to pursue the hobby, cliques form, and after a while participating in the hobby becomes an exercise in demonstrating that you've bought/made/done the right things and are therefore worthy of being in the in-group instead of the out-group.
I think this is so strong in the mechanical keyboard community because there's not a lot of "there" there; mechanical keyboards are nice to type on, but there's no core competitive activity that they're used for - you're not spending $1600 on a keyboard to improve your typing speed and accuracy 1.2% so you can have a shot at winning the big annual World Typing Tournament in Las Vegas. The mechanical keyboard community feels to me more like the streetwear or sneakerhead community than, say, R/C planes or surfing or whatever.
It's weird, a good chunk of people buy my Georgis  and _don't actually use them_. It's a strange feeling to have something bought only because it's different and to be collected. I think keyboards are to be used, not hoarded personally but in this community it's very common to own at least a dozen boards.
It's very weird.
A big issue moving to a new layout is learning/adapting to it. Georgi uses a chording approach  and is a compactified version of Gergos layout . That makes it harder to learn.
Thankfully Gergos layout is meant for programming/shelling around and is fairly traditional. All I know is that my RSI flares a ton less then it used to! In theory, this applies to Georgi as well.
I'd say buying a mechanical keyboard with RGB lights and nice switches is probably 100X less signalling (several orders of magnitude) than buying a $300 phone for $1100 and wearing gaudy white ear buds.
It's very rare personally that I see other people's setups. It's not like people lug around $300 keyboards with their laptops.
But walk down any popular street in any major city and I bet you can tell who is signalling that they're part of the apple brand.
I'm not sure why you tried to turn a discussion about hobbies degrading into wealth signalling into your distaste for apple products.
It could be that the community hivemind has decided on an orthodoxy and aggressively judges anyone who doesn't conform.. or it could be that we all just have different preferences and enjoy customizing our desks in this way!
Idk maybe some people are buying expensive kits just because they're expensive but that never occurred to me.
My dad thought one of them was really neat looking and was curious how much it cost. I was very reluctant to tell him but he kept asking and obviously was completely shocked when I told him the final cost. He couldn't understand it.
But, he has some expensive hobbies and I likened it to one of those. He couldn't relate to the joy of mechanical keyboards but he could relate to the passion of spending an illogical amount of money on something unnecessary but enjoyable.
Nearly everyone who has disposable income spends more than the average person does on something that they enjoy. That often means that you get something that is very unique to you and your personality. It's an expression of you, and that's comforting, even if it's only for yourself. These things are often entirely emotional decisions with no basis in logic whatever, and I think that's ok (assuming you can afford it).
I don't think many are buying any keyboard or kits just because they're expensive, but the cost might be indirectly related to the appeal -- because they're expensive they're more rare and that may make the buyer feel like they have something that is special and somewhat unique to them (because few others have it). I believe that same thing happens with rare and/or high end watches, cars, etc.
I understand it can feel embarrassing to acknowledge the price of your hobbies but ultimately this is your money and you should be spending it on something that makes you happy (after you meet your personal obligations to family, those less fortunate, charities depending on your convictions, etc).
Just using it as your personal keyboard in normal day-to-day settings isn't nearly the same. Because you're not actively showing it off.
Apple users don't wear white ear buds to signal to one another, they do it exclusively to signal to people who don't have it that the apple user can afford product and symbol greatly in excess of the person.
Same with mechanical keyboards. The signal there is to people using shitty 20$ dell membrane boards, and who see those beautiful machined aluminum boards and custom caps and feel jealous. The signal is about demonstrating you have more than someone else.
When two people who have similar things are showing it off, that's not signalling, that's talking shop.
Or, you know, they're not interested in "signaling" anything, they're wearing them because they're the free ear buds that came with their smartphone and they're listening to music or making a phone call.
Alternatively: Or you know, mechanical keyboard users aren't interested in "signalling" anything, they're just using well manufactured accessories featuring high quality processes and materials.
Or... we just use them because they are there. I use Apple products, also bought a pair of AirPods just a few weeks ago, not cause I want to signal I got money, but because the things are pretty nice to use as headphones. I have 6 pairs of headphones, and while these aren't perfect they fit the overall pro/con situation well compared to even stuff like Shure headphones.
Sometimes a spade is just a spade. Sometimes people really do just buy something for its utility. Even when we may not see it personally. While I'm sure there are BMW drivers that buy them for prestige or signalling, I am also quite sure there are drivers that bought it because they like the overall BMW experience, garage visits included (I can't resist sniping on this for my one buddy).
Just accept that there are Apple users that not only prefer, but are willing to pay the "tax" of not using Android or other phones.
I never argued that mechanical keyboard users were interested in signaling anything -- but I'm sure a similar dichotomy applies. Some are interested in signaling. Some are interested in them because they're good to type on. The analogy only goes so far, though, because mechanical keyboards are an extra-cost purchase, while iPhone earbuds are free pack-ins which most people don't consider to have particularly good fit and sound quality. If I'm interested in a well-manufactured accessory featuring high quality processes and materials, I may buy a mechanical keyboard, but I will probably not stick with the damn white earbuds. If I'm wearing an audiophile brand of in-ear monitors most people won't recognize out in public, am I still doing it to "signal"?
Or, alternatively, since I'm currently on an iphone SE, "oooo, what is wrong with you, why don't you upgrade to a new phone?!"
Another comment mentions functional utility. Put me in the camp that resents the desire for functional utility being misconstrued as social signaling
I think the average $20 membrane keyboard user is looking at these things and thinking, hey, that looks funny, assuming they notice them at all. Most people don't know that it's possible to spend $100, let alone $400 on a set of keycaps.
Try buying earbuds. They are either $40-60 or shit.
If you liked your MBP good for you. I'm not sure why me not liking mine makes you mad.
(And P.S. subjective ideas of good/better are what they are, but no fair objective analysis of price and value would agree with you. A thousand dollar phone is a pure status symbol and owning it has nothing to do with a rational attempt to achieve value per dollar)
Is it really so hard to believe that some people buy the most expensive iPhone simply because it's the best phone available on the market?
I can believe that you THINK it's the best, and worth the money -- that's literally what advertising is for and how status symbols work -- but of course I would reject any claim that any $1000 phone is worth it on the merits. (Example, this 'pro' branded flagship phone comes standard with a bottom-of-the-industry 32GB of space, a laughably inferior specification for 2019 flagships where 64gb is standard and 128gb base is available. That's objectively the worst, not the best).
That being said I don't think in a world where so many people have iphones we can consider an iphone as that much of a signal for anything.
iWatch - This is a niche genre of cools toys where there's 2 viable options. 1 clearly nicer than the other but it doesn't matter because your phone unfortunately dictates which one you get. Yea its a signal but some people like to be early adopters and play with new toys, I don't think those people are buying them for the wrong reasons.
Apple Ear Buds - Headphone jacks are gone on our expensive phones. For a while there were like 2-3 options, all like $200, and they all have like 2-3 out of 5 star reviews because the tech isn't ready for primetime but apple's a POS and lets their products suffer just to be trendy and Samsung's a POS by racing to copy them. So the end result is people that want ear buds need them or a dongle. I don't really consider this a signal, but maybe that's because all of the wireless earbuds are bad and stupid looking. I bought Jabra but I honestly like the Apple ones though because its one of the only times they ever (in a way) chose function over form. They look far more ridiculous than most wireless earbuds.
I wouldn't pay much more than I already have for a keyboard, but I can provide one example of where someone paid a lot of money for a keyboard where he would not have gotten the same thing or a similar thing if he had paid less.
This video is considered the holy grail in terms of what a mechanical keyboard can sound like. An Apex Legends pro (Dizzy) asked him to replicate that exact build and at that point the parts were harder to source. Was it worth it? Still subjective, but to many people mechanical keyboards feel good to use because they like the way they sound.
Librem/PureOS is an option but it's a bit of a nonstarter socially as there are a lot of interactions that take place over proprietary apps where alternatives are either way worse usability-wise or simply nonexistent. I'd love to switch to this platform but... most of my chats are on FB messenger/WhatsApp, my friend and I play scrabble via the scrabble app, and so on. What's the Librem option for that? Leaving open browser tabs and enabling those sites to send notifications?
I think cast iron frying pans are an even more emblematic example of what you're describing. It's a four thousand year old product with no moving parts that's long been mastered, but over the past 15 years they've transitioned into a hobby item with ever-more-expensive niche vendors (Finex, Butter Pat, etc.) selling increasingly souped up versions that fry an egg almost indistinguishably from a basic, well-seasoned model.
Meanwhile there's another subset of hobbyists chasing esoteric vintage cast iron frying pans, often claiming the modern ones can never be as good.
I would recommend the book as a whole, it has a lot of other interesting info in it too.
It is niche, belongs to the oldest softwares, and a true mark of professionalism:)
I actually disagree with that, which is why I'm a bit annoyed at the state of keyboard enthusiast communities. I think that there's plenty of room for improving keyboards, not necessarily for better performance but mainly for more comfort.
Over the past decade or so I've been using more and more "esotheric" layouts and mappings. I'm typing this comment on an ergodox mapped with a pretty heavily customized dvorak layout. And you get get much deeper in this rabbit hole with custom 3D printed keyboards like the Dactyl for instance. I've been working on a custom model in OpenSCAD and I'm looking at buying a 3D printer to experiment, I'm looking forward to using a custom Frankenstein'd keyboard in the future.
So clearly, I don't think keyboards are a solved problem. There's plenty of room for experimentation. What about foot pedals? Palm keys? Integration of touch pads or trackballs in the keyboard? What about weird modifier keys, for instance using shift keys to input ( and ) when not used as a modifier (I've been using that for about a year and I love it). What about adding cameras and some processing so that you can use hand gestures on top of typing on the keys? A compromise between "minority report" style interfaces and a good old contacts, with the strengths of both?
But I agree with your overall point: it seems like the bigger hobbyist communities around keyboards these days are about collecting and making fashion statements, not hacking keyboards. Just look at https://www.reddit.com/r/mechanicalkeyboards , if you like pictures of keyboards and keycaps (and ridiculously overcomplicated cables) it's amazing but beyond that it's mostly boring old typewriter layouts and qwerty. That's a bit disappointing IMO, but I guess it's just not for me.
It sounds like you've gone down the rabbit hole with this. Could you tell me a bit about where you've landed especially wrt layout and custom programming?
Computer-building has turned into this, at least if r/pcmasterrace is any indication. It's positively infuriating -- 99% of people's posts are bragging/validation, there are cliques/cargo cults around 144hz, LinusTechTips, RGB, and watercooling, and I cannot remember the last time I saw an in-depth technical discussion about anything there.
I personally think humans' need to form cliques and ingroups is its worse trait; it has transformed a deeply technical hobby that I love into yet another bragging and dick-waving contest :(
This is where I disagree. I had severe hand and arm tendon pain for years, and finally dove into ergonomic mechanical keyboard options. It solved my issues, and I no longer feel the pain after typing all day.
I easily spend $350+ for a keyboard, and it's a very practical, life-changing decision, which involves a non-rectangular, non-RGB keyboard.
For reference: https://ergodox-ez.com/
I'm personally a fan of the MS ergos with the wrist wrests and have mixed feelings about how that design doesn't seem to be getting replicated anywhere
Well, it is $1600 for a keyboard that you are using 8h a day for the next five years vs a $5 Latte that you are enjoying the next 4 minutes. You do the math.
I just ordered a "new" keyboard. IBM Model M, space saving version. With below USD 200 a steal!
> the purpose of the hobby has transitioned from primarily "making/using the thing" to "obtaining and displaying ever more extreme versions of the thing to impress other people who know about the thing"
What do you think the difference is between "status signaling" and "impressing other people"?
Buying more extreme custom keyboards, by contrast, demonstrates knowledge and wealth, and it's a difficult-to-fake and costly signal of wealth — though much less so than, say, a Honda Accord or a Learjet. But wealth isn't the same thing as status, and attempting to signal wealth with something that costs US$500 or US$1000 is pretty much going to backfire unless you're in like Nigeria or something. It's like a hacker equivalent of putting spinners and tinted windows on your car — these are not features that distinguish Bugattis and Lamborghinis from quotidian BMWs.
Anyway, so I think that if it's impressing anybody, they're either poor or they're keyboard aficionados who are impressed with the refined taste that demonstrates your profound knowledge, not your elevated social standing or your wealth.
As for the guy who misread "signaling" as "virtue signalling", honey, bless your heart.
- Status signaling is the only way of impressing other people.
- Signaling is sending any message by any means. Signals that are difficult to fake are more effective than signals that aren't. But easy-to-fake signals are obviously still signals.
- Status is anything that impresses other people. Money, strength, talent, and character are all forms of status that are valued differently by different groups. If you're very strong, then you have high status among groups that respect strength -- as long as they know you're strong. Which is why you have to signal it.
You appear to have confused the concepts of "status signaling" and "conspicuous consumption".
> In biology, signals are traits, including structures and behaviours, that have evolved specifically because they change the behaviour of receivers in ways that benefit the signaller.
In other words, they are communication.
> When an alert bird deliberately gives a warning call to a stalking predator and the predator gives up the hunt, the sound is a signal.
Because warning calls are costly and difficult to fake? No, warning calls are faked all the time, to frighten other animals.
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_status :
> Social status defines being liked. Some writers have also referred to a socially valued role or category a person occupies as a "status" (e.g., gender, race, having a criminal conviction, etc.). Status is based in beliefs about who members of a society believe holds comparatively more or less social value.
> In a society, the relative honor and prestige accorded to individuals depends on how well an individual is perceived to match a society's goals and ideals (e.g., being pious in a religious society).
> a teacher may have a positive societal image (respect, prestige) which increases their status but may earn little money, which simultaneously decreases their status.
This all amounts to... strong support for exactly what I already said. Did you read these articles before citing them?
To be fair, there's nothing really wrong with this, since it is just a hobby for most people involved, and these sorts of products really often are just making something you want to exist and selling a few more to meet minimum order quantity.
It is a market, but a lot of the participants have motivations other than profit-maximization.
If you want to see the full range and get a sense of what this is about:
1.6K seems a bit steep. You can find most kits in the low 00s
However mechanical keyboards are popular with gamers and more about collectibles / art than anything, so price becomes less relevant.
If you're after ergonomics and efficiency Keyboard.io and Ergodox offer decently priced pre built split keyboards.
I personally find the keyboard.io camera mount genius - take a look at a few setups here https://community.keyboard.io/t/what-does-your-rsi-helping-s...
A big part of mech keyboards are they designs and sadly both keyboard.io and Ergodox aren't the prettiest.
I'm curious why there's no companies producing economic split keyboards at scale and with a clean look.
Edit: the link above to https://www.dygma.com looks nice and simple, closer to what I'm looking for. Although it's still bought into the annoying RGB-everything trend.
The board is also microcontroller powered and runs an open source OS that takes modular plugins. You could set your own static or dynamic lighting pattern. I goes you could also paint or stain the case if you wanted.
A lot of the switches are angled poorly and they key caps are too large for the switches. This results in your finger not pressing the switch straight down or directly in the center. This made every key press need a different amount of force to actuate.
The keycaps were custom made for the layout. They felt like they picked the cheapest possible plastic which resulted in them having a lot of play. But since they were custom there was no hope of replacing them.
The board was also very "hollow" so it the keys just drummed, rattled and echoed about when typing instead of just resounding a punctual click.
Also, the thing is so massive. It takes up sooo much space.
They have their own firmware instead of just leveraging something that already exists like QMK. Which is fine for the most part, but I prefer to have all my keyboards running the same firmware.
TL;DR It's a $400 keyboard that feels worse than a $60 keyboard.
A typical group buy for a popular case sells out in minutes or days time after time. Clearly some of the exclusivity is artificial.
An aluminum case that costs $300 is often 99% as nice as one for $1000.
There are designers lauded as geniuses that make cases that are almost identical to generic ones. It might have some kind of logo or inlay or a different color of anodized aluminum. Aftermarket they'll be worth insane amounts of money.
And with keycaps pretty much the entire thing is artificial exclusivity. $300-400 aftermarket for a set of keycaps is not unheard of.
There's nothing wrong with any of this, but as a happy participant I have to say the diminishing returns show up hard and fast in this hobby. Its all about fashion.
My $60 GMMK, with 20 minutes of easy modifications, a $30 set of keycaps, and a $90 set of healios switches was the smoothest linear keyboard I've ever used.
If you want clicky, the same setup with a $30 set of Box Jade switches will get most people the best keyboard they've ever used. Mx blues feel like rubber domes afterwards.
Interesfing article that talks about some of this. I recommend reading it.
Why did I pay $600+? I wanted an Ergodox split keyboard with helios switches + backlighting, to see if my wrists would feel better, and I didn't think I was ready to build a kit that required soldering.
My Keycaps cost 170 of that. They are modelled after the Space Cadet keyboard from an old LISP Machine. This was uneccessary obviously but I liked them.
Of course that's true with lots of things. Cameras, audio equipment, video gear. Whenever I go into B&H Photo in NYC I'm always struck by how quickly the prices go up as you transition from pretty serviceable amateur gear to the pro stuff.
On the other hand, the farther you get up into production trades the more money is riding not just on your performance but on the performance of the people that are relying on you.
If I'm making a short film with my buddies for fun and I get a technical problem that prevents to director from monitoring the shot on a screen, oh well... if there are 30 people in the production and everyone is held up for 5min, that gets really expensive fast.
Better/faster autofocus (usually), fully weather-sealed body (!), larger sensor (depending on what you need), dual-native ISO, etc etc
Plus other features that are technically still convenience, but can matter a great deal to a pro.
- Example1: Panasonic G85 has a couple reconfigurable buttons, but on the GH5 nearly every physical button can be configured to whatever setting you want.
- Example2: Dual memory-card slots for instant backups (some prosumer cameras only have 1 slot)
However, I agree that many salespeople will try to sell pro gear to a hobbyist when they really don't need it.
And high end audio - turntables for $650k, etc.
But honestly I'm being cynical for no reason here. Those guy can spend money on whatever makes them happy. I am in no place to judge.
Shameless plug: I have a YouTube channel exclusively for the hobby - https://www.youtube.com/MrKeebs
and now provide a link, please :)
Here's the link to the keycaps alone with better pics. Unfortunately only available aftermarket now.
And here's the original:
There's a bunch of extra function keys that extend the modern standard of CTRL-ALT-DELETE and supposedly enabled 8k command combinations that were useful for lisp machines. However, the later versions of them didn't have the same color scheme and dropped many of the additional keys for simplicity.
This is a chinese site, but very reputable. There are other places that stock the same set:
Wow. Thank you.
I flirted with the "mech" community for a while a couple of years ago, and ended up with two boards:
A KBParadise V60 with Gateron Browns that I use as my primary keyboard for my desktop. That's mostly a gaming machine for me, but I do code on it quite a bit.
A bluetooth keyboard with low-profile Gateron Blues that I used with my iPad 6th Gen for coding (I use Blink to SSH/MOSH into a VM). That was a good keyboard but the feet broke off, then I upgraded to an iPad Pro and the Apple keyboard cover. It was collecting dust, so I gave it to my 11-year-old.
The GMMK looks like exactly what I was really looking for, for desktop use. I've got some research to do :)
I run Windows 10 on my desktop at home when it's in "gaming rig" mode, but ArchLinux when I'm hacking on something. I have Manjaro on my personal laptop and macOS on my work laptop. Firmware mapping is definitely a requirement for me.
In fact, my experience is that what firmware a keyboard uses isn't always clear. My KBParadise V60 is almost perfect for me. I'd like a numpad sometimes, but I can always get an external one. The bigger problem is that keymapping can only be done through some DIP switches on the bottom or via flashing the firmware. The firmware isn't open source and is fairly obfuscated from what digging around I've done on it. the arrow keys are mapped to a cross arrangement on the right side of the keyboard, and I'd much prefer to use hjkl. I've not found a reasonable way to do it on that keyboard that doesn't require configuring it on every device I use.
I find the niche fascinating, and regularly think about selling keycaps as a sideline - definitely agree with the notion that a lot of the designs people crave are rather quite simple. Or very similar to off the shelf ones.
Fashion is the interesting one, since the keyboard is one of the main interaction points for pretty much all knowledge workers today, it'll only continue to grow as a market (which might lead to more downmarket options?)
Have you ever tried the "Falcon" Z-77 keyboard? It's been rebranded/knocked off by several Chinese manufacturers (different brands all have the same distinct falcon logo in the top middle of the keyboard) and is available on Amazon for around $30.
I bought one (the HUO JI version) after encountering several reviews from folks saying it compared favorably with their $100+ boards. I'm quite happy with it, and it's hard to have any idea if I'm missing out on anything and, if so, what I'm missing out on.
I'll give a few recommendations, cheap and expensive.
First thing you should know is most of the expensive sets are abs, but abs eventually gets shiny and PBT does not. The material itself doesn't really dictate the quality beyond that. Some people prefer the naturally more textured feel of PBT and some people love the smoothness of ABS. I can tell my GMK abs keycaps that I spent $170 for are more lovingly crafted than my $30 PBT pudding caps or my other set of white backlit caps that cost around $40, but when typing on them I honestly couldn't say I have a preference.
Some people find no-name chinese sets that are made of good, thick plastic that are almost comparable to more expensive sets. Generally thicker keycaps are better made.
In general though, for the real high end stuff, a company called signature plastics and another one called GMK make most of the sets. They are about $100-200 in group buys. They sell small run sets on a bunch of different websites. The way you buy them is basically keep watching /r/mechanicalkeyboards or /r/mechmarket for a while until there's a group buy for one you like, then you put up money. There are some of these sets readily available on a bunch of different vendor sites, but they change all the time because of the limited nature.
Basically what you are paying for is double-shot abs or whatever other plastic they use, basically there's an inner layer and outer-layer melted together in a way where for the inner color only the character shows through to the top. It makes the keys last pretty much forever without the character wearing off (contrast this with my 2016 alienware where the WASD started wearing off in 2 weeks).
There are cheaper sets that are double shot, but there are less options for color and there's a small difference in the fit and finish. You can get a decent set of backlit keys for about $30. You can get a slightly better set for $40-60, and then there's the $100-200 sets that while, aren't a life changing experience to type on, have more options for how they look and they do have a high level of craftmanship that you can really only notice when you are inspecting the inside/outside of the key before you install it.
Some people obsess about the perfect accuracy and design of the individual characters on the keys, but I don't find that to be a big deal, but the more expensive sets do a better job of this.
As to what you are missing out on? Well, my first kit was a solid aluminum case and I filled it with a layer of some rubbery heavy stuff that I can't recall the name of, but the end result was a keyboard that's like 5-6 LB and it feels absolutely solid and absolutely amazing to type on. It was about $300 with a cheap set of keycaps. My newer more expensive one has a plastic case but I bought it for ergonomic reasons. Plastic cases can be very high quality though (this one is) and feel very good. However, if they made a version of this out of a solid block of aluminum like they do with more traditional keyboards, I would like to get one because there's still a noticeable difference in solidity and quality.
This is one of the cheap sets I liked. Its sold through but it pops up every once in a while, if you don't want to wait I think amazon has an almost identical set that could very well have even been made in the same factory for a different brand:
Here's another set I got that I really liked. The bottom edges felt a little rough, but once they were on the keyboard they were amazing:
I encourage you to check out the mechanical keyboards subreddit's sidebar, there's a ton of information for helping people pick stuff out, that's how I got into it.
The other major factors that describe profiles are height (hi-profile keycaps are taller than low-profile keycaps) and sculpting. With a sculpted profile, the keycaps on the top rows of your keyboard will be tilted towards you, the keycaps in the middle will be flatter, and the keycaps in the bottom row will be tilted away. Many people find this more comfortable than a flat profile (keycaps from any row of the keyboard are shaped the same), but others find flat profiles feel equally nice, and if you're using a layout like Dvorak or Colemak it's easier to switch your keycaps around to match (with a sculpted profile you'd have to buy an entirely separate kit with the alpha keys in the correct location). Hi-profile keycaps will be taller and, if they're sculpted, are generally sculpted more dramatically sculpted than low-profile keycaps. Sculpted keycap shapes are generally described by row number, with Row 0 or 1 used for the F-row and Row 4 or 5 used for the spacebar and modifier key row. (Numbering systems are not standardized, but R3 should always refer to the home row.)
Of the spherical profiles, SA and MT3 are hi-profile and sculpted (except for a few SA sets, which use all-row-3 keycaps and are therefore flat), and DSA and XDA are low-profile and flat. Low-profile sculpted spherical sets are rarer -- MDA profile was recently developed to help fill this niche, but you will have trouble finding an MDA set outside of group buys.
In terms of actual recommendations? Budget-priced spherical sets are unfortunately thin on the ground; they haven't really left the high-end group-buy-only enthusiast market, whereas there's a lot of cheap OEM profile sets with a variety of aesthetics. I own and like the Matt3o Nerd DSA set , which is currently in stock and costs $50. (Signature Plastics keeps some DSA sets in stock on pimpmykeyboard.com, but they're all $80-$100.) For a sculpted set, look at Maxkey SA sets on kbdfans.com (also priced at around $100, but it's a slightly better price than Signature Plastics' SA sets).
i have traded countless things to acquire keycaps that would sell for $250+ each. one keycap! brobot caps are especially rare and i frequently see people buying them for $500 each
i actually think artisans make sense to be so expensive since there is a level of artistry and rarity that most boards do not have. some of the rare korean boards are super rare too though and easily sell for $1000.
(sent from a Lyn Whale with GMK Olivia!)
I can understand how valuation tied to rarity, but people paying ~$500 for a single cap implies that there's significantly more to it than scarcity. I know that if I try to search for an answer I'll get a bunch of cruft given my lack of knowledge of what question to even ask, so I'm hoping you can provide some background for a n00b :)
Thank you in advance!
Frequently people do it with the escape key and the space bar. They sell out fast and for certain designers I've seen the prices go up from $70 during the group buy to hundreds.
Here's one I wish I got so I could keep and use it. I missed out though and I refuse to pay $400 for a space bar.
They are legitimately a work of art though.
Granted each one is built by hand so the artisanal craft is easy to appreciate.
But exclusivity is there, because these shops are building less than a dozen bikes per year. If you got your hands on one, wow it will turn heads when you roll up to the bier garden at the CX race.
If I had the discipline to keep my hands up with a regular keyboard I might have the same results.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it will take longer to tell for sure my wrist pain comes and goes.
I don't have tendonitis, however last week I was typing with the top of the keyboard much lower than the bottom and there was a feeling of relief in my hands. Just putting this out there.
Does it work?
On a side note, I wish I could buy a split keyboard for $30. Are they much harder to produce?
The other big difference is that while the keyboard is split, it is still one piece whereas mine is actually split.
And finally, the ergodox-ez is ortholinear, so instead of key rows that are staggered, the rows of keys are mostly straight vertically, which is supposedly more natural.
At $40ish dollars, it might be worth trying one of the microsoft options.
My keyboard could have been purchased for about $300 without backlighting. It comes with a bunch of different options for the switch, I just swapped mine out (the sockets are hot-swappable so no soldering). I paid more for backlighting because its also got up to 32 programmable layers and you can assign a different color so you know what layer you're on.
There are some slightly cheaper mechanical options. There's a recommendation threat / question thread in /r/mechanicalkeyboards on alternating days where people might be able to help you find something cheaper. I don't know everything so I might be missing a great option for you that doesn't cost a fortune.
One last note, they are not much harder to produce, its just that no one is doing it at scale yet. They are still trying to find the perfect design. Ergodox is one version, there are lots of other split keyboards like iris, artreus62, etc. I think the ergodox is pretty good, but people with small hands might not be able to hit all of the buttons. There are 6 buttons per thumb. Honestly, if I try to use any but the bottom 3 per thumb I have to move my hands significantly, but I assign those to stuff I don't do often. There are other people making smaller keysets, or changing the position/layout to optimize for their use case. If anything ever definitively catches on we might see a mass produced version.
I'm able to reposition them so that I sit up straight and no longer have my wrists cocked at a weird angle. The ability to move them throughout the day means I can change where each half is and how angled they are depending on how i'm sitting (leaning back i'll move them more parallel, sitting forward i'll angle them more "outward", etc...) I also "tent" my split keyboards, so they are at like a 15 degree angle with the inside being the "tallest".
That alone have stopped the carpel tunnel pain I was starting to get while using "traditional keyboards".
But aside from that, the crazier "custom built" keyboards tend to run firmware that allows pretty insane customization to the keyboards which I genuinely can't see myself ever going back. Things like being able to make a dedicated key to commit my work in my editor, what I call "physical bookmarks" which are keybindings that will open websites or apps on my PC, and being able to move around the keys and add layers for various things (my left-alt key acts as left-alt when held down, but presses escape when tapped).
It does come with it's drawbacks though. I have a hard time transitioning back to a normal qwerty keyboard now, and that means I take my split keyboard with me when I travel if I'm expecting to use the laptop significantly. It's not that I can't, but that my muscle memory is really ingrained now and I end up making a lot of mistakes.
$30 is going to be really hard to find a split keyboard for, but if you are willing to get your hands dirty and do some soldering and flashing of components, you can pickup the parts for a "DIY" keyboard kit for probably around $100 if you do your homework. Something like  is about $20 for the PCBs and diodes, $20 for the mounting plates, and then you'd need to find some cheap-er switches and keycaps as well as 2 ~$9 controller chips. It's not off-the-shelf for that cheap, but it's doable.
If only they had "RUB" or "RUBOUT" written on them like the old timey keyboards did.
search box jade switches and you should get something.
Not using a Hello Kitty keyboard at work, but a pretty old IBM one that came with the hand-me-down workstation. I think it has to be at least 20 years old and I would be surprised if it cost more than $20 when new. I've went through 4 computer upgrades that came with new keyboards since, but I hated all of them. This one works and doesn't give me RSI, so any change is a risk as far as I'm concerned ;-)
Unicomp keyboards are great, they get too much flack IMO. Yes, they seem to be coasting at times, but I'd rather them coast than be gone.
Some of them are worth hundreds, but people still find them all the time at flea markets and yard sales for a few dollars.
You'll also find a ton of "specialized" Model M and other IBM keyboards that were designed for certain tasks - tons of extra function keys and strange layouts.
What you have to avoid (or look for) is to make sure they aren't the "silent rubber dome" kind - there were many Model M keyboards that used cheaper (but quieter) switches. Or that might be what you want. They are still (usually) good keyboards with a lot of life left in 'em - but if you want the real sound and experience, then buckling springs are where it's at. I haven't been able to find another kind of mechanical keyboard outside the Unicomp that comes close (and the Unicomp is a identical beast - I own one and two other original Model M keyboards - they all feel the same).
There are also a lot of different kinds and makes/models of the Model M - and then you have the whole Lexmark series of Model M (and the various different IBM logo labeling).
One of my Model M keyboards is a bit unique from what I understand: It's a Lexmark, with the blue tilted IBM logo in the corner, but it has the flow-thru slots and tray under the keys. From what I understand, Lexmark supposedly didn't make the flow-thru model. I don't know if mine is a unicorn, or if the collector market is confused or what; I suspect the latter.
Oh - one other thing: Connectors. The Model M was made with a variety of cable end connectors, and is another thing you have to look out for. You may have to rewire or buy/build an adapter (and it wouldn't surprise me to find that there were also different controllers in the keyboard itself, not all being able to communicate with a regular PC).
Healios is the name for their silenced linear switch. Its the quietest and smoothest linear switch I've ever tried. They are about $1.50 a switch though, mx's are like a quarter and Box Jades are about 35 cents. IMO they are worth it but some people try MX silenced reds and like them better at a fraction of the cost.
I bought a switch tester with 25 different switches that I thought I might like and then used it to decide what to get.
Healios is sold out on the company site right now but the 67g version of these (roselios) is identical IIRC. I have a mix of both on my keyboard. These were just done with a different color plastic stem for a charity event: https://zealpc.net/collections/switches/products/roselios_sa...
There are other places that likely have healios in stock.
When they did a survey of /r/mechanicalkeyboards the most common favorite is Brown, Blue was up there too.
/r/mechanicalkeyboards and /r/mechmarket area great place to go to further investigate the hobby. Be warned I can't be held responsible for anyone's wallet.
I haven't been able to find anything like that; even the stiffest and clickiest and tactilest cherry key switches I've played with don't come close to the feel.
I'm not sure where Unicomp gets theirs - likely make them in-house would be my guess.
I currently own two original Model M keyboards, and one Unicomp Classic USB (it was given to me as part of my severance package from a former employer because nobody else wanted it after they downsized me - so they stuck it in the box of my things they shipped back to me).
But I can't find keycaps for any of those that are "all black" (which I'd like for my Unicomp - which is a black case design - but greyish keycaps).
So a "standard" switch, with keycaps - but with the same feel, etc as an original buckling spring switch - that's what I'm looking for (under-key blue glow to match my case effects would also be a nice thing - but baby steps).
Most modern mechanical switches have their own sound. MX Blues and knockoffs sound like MX Blues, the Box Jades I described have a really really nice clicky noise and IMO the best tactile clicking feeling. You could try them next to a buckling spring keyboard and you may or may not like the buckling spring feeling and sound better.
I've used both vintage buckling springs and box jades and I like Box Jades better.
They sell switch testers with lots of different switches on them, if you want something really obscure like a modern buckling spring you might have to buy a few of the switches separately, but then you could test them alongside the others.
Not hard to do, and it changes the sound/feel of them in a way a lot of people appreciate.
I second the GMMK ( https://www.pcgamingrace.com/products/gmmk-full-brown-switch ) as a good way to try out switches and keycaps. The board is fairly cheap, nicely built, and has hot-swap switches that allow you to try various switches without soldering...
It sounds like a lot but I am not a particularly handy person and I did it right the first try. I just had to use a brush to remove a little excess lubricant on one of the stabilizers because it was sticky. On my GMMK keyboard where I was going for silence, the different before and after the stabilizer mods were incredible. It sounded cheap and rattled a lot, even though the keys still felt good. Afterwards it was near-perfect.
There are two primary things that make noise. Some noises are good and some are bad. If your keyboard makes rattling noises when you type, that's considered a bad noise and likely caused by stabilizers. Stabilizers the the extra things you see under the larger keys on a keyboard like the spacebar and shift. Different keyboards have different numbers of them.
The other thing that makes the noises are the switches. Some people want clicky noises, some people want silence. The case and the keycaps can alter the way your switches sound too. If you want it quieter there's some rubbery sound-dampening material you can buy to line your case with, some people use other materials. Basically the more empty space there is in your case the more potential for noise.
So if you want a silent keyboard, you use that lining material, you use linear switches that are designed to be silent, or you buy regular linear switches and silence them yourself using little rubber rings. Definitely mod the stabiliizers by taking them apart, cutting these extra little plastic feet off like the linked article, optionally placing a small piece of cloth bandaid under it, and relubricating it after wiping the original lubricant off. Some people go so far as to open and lube the switches, but that's not a 20 minute job. Everything else I described is fairly quick, but it will probably take more like an hour the first time you do it. Its easy though. As a further step, some people buy better stabilizers, authentic GMK stabilizers that screw into the circuit board. However, when I modded my GMMK I used the stock ones. Some people don't like them but it seemed decent. My space bar was kind of noisy but I skipped the bandaid mod for this which would have likely helped, otherwise it was super quiet.
If you want a clicky keyboard, you buy clicky switches. You still want to get rid of the rattle noises so you will still need to clip, lube, and optionally do the bandaid mod for your stabilizers, upgrading to better stabilizers if you want to do it. Lining the case is more optional. If you do want to line the case, its always a good idea to research whether there's even enough room in your specific case to do it. I did not try it with my GMMK.
Link to stabilizer and band-aid mods.
There are some people that get into extreme keyboard modding. Some people try to stick little pieces of foam in the hollow parts under-neath the keycaps to minimize noise, I haven't gone that far.
Here's an example of what's possible to with a little bit of learning. Note that this guy is one of the best and he may have also used other techniques, there's probably a full stream of him making this keyboard or one similar somewhere online.
Here's another one that ended up pretty good. I think he describes his process.
I do have a soft spot for the Vt100
There isn't? Deliberately understocking so that some of your users miss out and the rest have to pay more seems like it's all bad for the users, even if it's making money for somebody.
Fundamentally these aren't utilitarian items, they're luxuries, and the market behaves as such. Limited editions are totally normal in the art world.
> The hobby intentionally does nothing to try to improve [the drawbacks of the small scale] because the exclusivity drives prices up to an insane point. [...] There is nothing wrong with any of this.
If it's still worth it for you, that's fine. Or if you figure that selling a few blinged-out "designer" models at ultra-premium prices helps support the main product, or if you don't care either way because you don't buy the top models, or you admire the designer's business savvy, or any other thoughtful reason that hasn't occurred to me, that's all fine.
But describing that situation I quoted above, and saying "there is nothing wrong with this," is pretty debatable! And I'm getting downvote-bombed for politely debating it. Hacker News is weird sometimes.
"There is nothing wrong with this" in contexts like these usually means "nothing morally wrong".
Although, if its gonna happen, I am very happy that its happening to a luxury product and not something my friends and relatives that make less than a 3rd of my annual income desperately need to survive.
The emergence of row-staggered 40% boards is a particular disappointing anachronism. Don't think ortholinear boards can compete? OLKB boards usually sell several thousand every time a group buy runs, and the OLKB main store has a several-month long wait list. People who buy keycaps for these can end up spending $140 for 140 keycaps, 48 of which they'll ever even use... $200 minimum if they don't want Qwerty. The demand is there.
People dream about that old GITS typing scene, but we'll never achieve it when our instagram influencers are always hyping this kind of stuff. Japan at least has the right focus - Corne, Helidox, Lily58, Biacco42, and NumAtreus were all created in the past couple of years, with countless more coming.
Ehh. There are a lot of good reasons to have layouts that are fairly common across all the equipment you'll use. From what I've seen, while there may be some advantages to different layouts and configurations, very few things are so compelling as to warrant a wholesale change outside of some niches like court stenographers for which specialized training is justified.
My own attempt is at https://github.com/dancek/dactyl-keyboard/tree/less-aggressi... . While I only have the left half built, I'd say that measuring fingers and tuning an ergonomic layout to your preferences works well. I don't expect to see a production keyboard as ergonomic. Ever.
N.b. the amount of work needed for this build is pretty ridiculous. There's a reason that keyboards are usually flat.
There are ergonomic variants of keyboards on the market. There is no viable alternative to the way how we measure time.
From what I have seen lately, the focus has been on eliminating the "stagger" of the keys and going more in a grid (but still keeping the mostly QWERTY layout - though some are experimenting with other layouts, too).
You have a few brave souls doing split and ergonomic styles, too. Then you have others who build specialty "keyboards" that are closer in scope to a 10-key with additional do-dads, mostly meant for games or other "macro" tasks (Photoshop and DAWs for instance).
Of course, there's also the people playing with chorded keyboards and such - but they've always have been fairly fringe (seeing as most of the time the purpose of such "keyboards" are for custom AR rigs and other wearable systems).
I mean most of the enthusiast keyboards allow you to program the keyboard so you can make the layout whatever you want.
Personally I won't buy any keyboard that isn't just a standard ten keyless because I
1) Don't want to have to remap my vim keys
2) Want other people to be able to use my keyboard
3) Want to be able to use other people's keyboards
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PLUM_keyboard#/media/File:PLUM... - Ortholinear keyboard (notice that key columns are aligned, unlike your normal Qwerty keyboard)
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maltron#/media/File:Maltron_Du... - Ergonomic keyboard, much more funky layout
As for Vim, I won't lie and say that adapting to it with Dvorak has been easy, but it's more doable than Colemak/Workman/Norman/CarpalX.
My Mitosis has a really great layout but I paid more for non-legended caps so I could get the profile I wanted.
Other people with unusual ergo layouts go with non-sculpted profiles like DSA or SA R3 which I cannot stand.
Or you can go ANSI and get wonderful profiles like MT3 and DSS.
The compromise is to go with a standardized ergo layout like the Ergodox, which I regard as very suboptimal… its popularity stems from its availability and its availability stems from its popularity.
Very much this. I'm very fond of Kailh Chocs and use them in many of my designs , while an excellent switch you have exactly two colour options White Blanks and Black Blanks. If that wasn't bad enough they're different sizes then regular MX so if you don't have a board _specfically_ designed for them you end up with gaps in the caps. It sucks because there is only so far you can go with low travel MX and good luck convincing someone to switch that's using 150$ of the latest GMK.
I really have a hard time explaining to people my purchases because it is just something I like for some reason. I love the customization and I liken it to having a project car... something I am saving up for right now.
I have also attended meetups and met a ton of great people through the hobby, so it is not just all throwing money around there is a social component.
Happy to answer any keyboard related questions!
It's a really strange hobby. A bunch of people who really value and love keyboards, the thing that sits between a human and a computer, a tool that many (developers, writers, gamers) use every day for hours on end.
Similar to how someone might invest in a nice knife if they love cooking, luxury-priced tools are quite a common category you see in hobbies.
The community is nice, and the pursuit of "endgame" continually drives supply, demand and the prices that go along with it up consistently. Next year, I wouldn't be surprised if we see several new $1000+ keyboards playing around with new finishes, materials and designs that cater to the high end of the hobby.
You can't forge carbon. It's not malleable. It shatters if you try to forge it. Are you making a joke about people being gullible, or are there some exotic solid-state physics involved here that I don't know about?
Oh, apparently you mean molded plastic with a chopped carbon-fiber filler? Heh.
And this is the keyboard!
A keyboard cannot possibly need the tensile strength, so why not just use plastic?
If I did need a stronger keyboard, I'd rather have it reinforced with steel. That would have the extra benefit of keeping it in place.
That probably also helps explain how we break keyboards.
SF developers making $100k or two a year just aren't in the same money league of the audiophiles spending $thousands on speaker wire.
EDIT: I'm not mad at any of the above groups I've mentioned; everybody gets their kicks from something, as well they should. I'm just mentioning what I see.
Audiophile are buying it for better audio, but the quality isn't actually better.
Keyboard enthusiast buy it for different materials, finishes, color scheme, sets of switches, sets of keycaps, etc... They all can be done in a better or inferior quality.
I wouldn't agree with it because it's mostly defining the object by its aesthetics features.
As a disclosure, I own expensive audiophile gear, but, again, for the aesthetics primarily. I would be much happier with audiophiles if they just said they like the aesthetics.
If you wanted to test, it should be on equal footing. A $200 keyboard with the same switches and modifications as a $2000 keyboard. Same keycaps as well.
If we're talking kits, honestly you might even want to use the same board and just have the case be different.
Even with all that, there's a good chance they will be able to tell that the keyboards are different, simply because the acoustics of the cases are going to be different. They just won't be able to subjectively measure the quality.
$200 might be too low though, I think the realm of it not being noticeable is probably closer to $300-400+.
1. Switches (can be lubed or spring swapped to customise feel)
2. Plate (holds switches together, can be aluminium, carbon fiber, brass, polycarbonate and more)
3. Case (heavily affects acoustics)
4. Foam (put in case to affect acoustics)
Of course even a non-audiophile can notice the difference between $30 and $200 headphones, but I wonder how many people could tell the difference between $2000 and $60k headphones.
However, each keyboard case + switch + keycap setup is going to feel and sound slightly different. So it isn't really an objective improvement but they will likely be distinguishable from one another. Some people are into it for the way it sounds.
Its not necessarily that more expensive switches = better experience, its more about getting exactly the type of switch you want. IMO the best switches I've ever used were $30 for a 61 key compact keyboard's worth.
This sounds pretty much like what headphone audiophiles say.
> However, each driver + housing + amp setup is going to feel and sound slightly different. So it isn't really an objective improvement but they will likely be distinguishable from one another.
Brands like Sennheiser have a very different sound from Audio-Technica which have different sound than Campfire Audio etc etc. Which is "better" is very subjective but there is a difference between say a pair of Sennheiser HD650 and Beyerdynamic DT1990
IMO, people that spend $2000 on a keyboard are overspending, but they are also aware that its a fashion accessory.
On the other hand, nobody is claiming that a fancy keyboard makes for a better typist or a finer writer. The aesthetics are what they are.
I wouldn't really consider nice headphones to be a prime example of audiophile gear, tbh.
The question as to which was more accurate, or which you prefer is an entirely different one.
Now I could never tell any difference between £5 standard interconnect and £100+ directional silliness, or beyond QED standard £1/m speaker cable. Needless to say I never bought any of that. So I've never understood the appeal of lunatic territory with £5k mains cables that look more suitable for mooring a ship.
If you want to spend money on speaker wire because it looks good, and fits your room decor, or glows, fine. If you think the results sound better, you deserve all the mockery you get.
Perhaps people shouldn't have started paying nerds a good amount of money to do super nerdy things. I don't know what to tell you.
I'm under no illusion that I needed $170 colored pieces of plastic on my keyboard when the keyboard came with a perfectly good set that wasn't as pretty.
I'm really cheap in most aspects of my life though. I know people that buy new motorcycles every year or so or put a bunch of time and money into customizing a car. Lots of people that make a third of what I do think nothing of spending $300 in drinks at a club on the weekend a couple times a month. Computer bougieness seems like a bargain. And I'm even a cheap bastard about that most of the time. I refused to upgrade this GPU generation because the prices almost doubled.
I've got discount pitchforks. Get your pitchforks. 3 for $5.
(yeah, cue "por que no los dos?" but still!)
But even if DVORAK was superior, mastering it comes at significant costs. Chiefly, switching to a custom layout with function keys and stuff doesn't reprogram most basic typing, so you can jump on someone else's conventional keyboard pretty easily. If you reprogram yourself to be a DVORAK master, you are looking at some serious potential hindrance in flexibility since we live in a qwerty world.
There's a lot of debate on those layouts and their usefulness. There's people that swear it saved them from RSI and there's people that say nothing can be proven about the health benefits of any alternative layout. There are a lot of people that switched to an alternative for a few weeks, months, or even a year and then went back to qwerty. I've stuck with qwerty so I don't have a lot of knowledge on the subject.
For a keyboard, the signal delivered to the computer (the thing that really matters) is the same. It's the same freaking 'A' that gets delivered whether you type in a $1 keyboard or the $2000 keyboard. Most prolific writers or software programmers (for whom the keyboard really matters) produce amazing and impactful artifacts with regular keyboards.
However, the type of switch you use can have an impact on all kinds of things, the speed at which you can type, the accuracy of your typing, your long term health, etc.
Certain types of switches are also better suited to specific activities. For example, linear switches can usually be pressed faster, which makes them very slightly better for gaming. There are even gaming oriented linear switches that have reduced key travel to further increase speed. The speed impact is going to be near non-noticeable in its impact on game performance for everyone but elite gamers, but anyone is going to be able to tell that certain switches fatigue their hands less than others.