Thursday, August 14, 2014

Azio Keyboard

When I bought my new computer, I slowly but eventually replaced every component. With each new component I got, another suddenly seemed in need of replacing. When all was said and done, I had replaced everything but my keyboard. On one last shopping trip I figured why not finish the job and get a keyboard too?

For about a year I have been looking into mechanical keyboards and questioning if I should buy one. A lot of people say that if you are going to use it to interface with the computer constantly, it is worth spending top dollar on a keyboard. However, the $100+ price tags have always scared me off. Especially when you can get a Logitech special for $9.

I have been eyeing up the Das Keyboard and the Code. I particularly like the Code 87 key model. With the built-in keyboard tray on my desk, when I am sitting center to the desk, the keyboard is actually offset slightly left to make room for my mouse. Without the numpad, which I do not use very often, I could center the keyboard with my body. Unfortunately, these keyboards are very expensive, are almost always sold out, and have limited availability in Canada. Finally, I only use the computer at home for a few hours a day.
Nice narrow keyboard

Following my typical methodology, I go to and compare what is on sale that week. I decided to get a higher end non-mechnanical keyboard. I really wanted something with media keys, or the like, because when I have my headphones on for gaming, I have no way to control the volume when a game is full-screen. I ended up settling on the Azio L70 Gaming Keyboard for a really good price.

Azio L70

I got to tell you, I really like this keyboard. It is a lot better than the Logitech $9 specials. It is way heavier and more sturdy. It stays in place nicely. The keys have a much better feel and they press and respond like no other keyboard I have used. I immediately felt like I could type faster on it.

There was just one little problem… This keyboard does not work on Linux. The volume knob (which I love) and the standard keys all work, but the ctrl, meta, alt and menu keys all do nothing. After searching their website, it was confirmed. They do not support Linux at all.

It was not going to be worth it to send it back. Worst case scenario, I would take it to work and use it on my Windows machine. But I thought, what if just maybe, I could write a driver for it? I have never written a Linux driver, or worked with USB, or written in C, but how hard could it be?

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