Pok3r, lat3r

April 12, 2023

Pok3r keyboard Pok3r keyboard

The Pok3r sits in the interesting spot of being my very first slightly customizable mechanical keyboard, but also the one which was too hard to customize for its own good. I lent it to a keyboard-curious friend right before the pandemic hit for real, and so it took me a few years before it made its way back to me a couple of weeks ago. But now it is in my home again, and because the Mac mini needs a keyboard attached (for latptops I currently mainly use their builtin keyboards) I try to rotate what I use there a little bit.

While my other keyboards are a lot more special in how I have them set up, being able to set them up myself also means that they share my way of thinking and moving my hands. The Pok3r, shackled to its own strange and fumbly customization system, has weirdness completely unique to itself. To start with, this odd layout with generally a lot more keys than my other layouts. But, there are no arrow keys, and the standard modifier keys are not all available on both sides of the space bar. It is kind of neat to have a row of number keys, but it is so far away from the home row, who ever goes up there? Even more noticeable, my mind has clearly got used to the leftmost and rightmost columns having fewer keys on a small keyboard, because I keep missing the shift key with my fingers.

All of which is a bit of a shame, because the Pok3r still feels surprisingly great to type on. The clicks may be a tad too loud for long-term use, but boy is it satisfying to typ e with it. The keyboard is still as solidly built as ever, sitting completely still where I set it down.

Click, click, click.

Mmm …

I did look briefly into whether anyone had managed to get QMK - the open firmware I use for my other mechanical keyboards - flashed onto the Pok3r. There was some information out there, but it seemed a bit too undocumented and dangerous even for a rarely used keyboard. Even if I seldom use it, I do prefer it to work rather than being bricked.