August 24, 2020

My first day with the Ergodox EZ keyboard

It is easy enough to unbox and plug in. My old keyboard is a Microsoft Natural, and so far there seems to be no problem with having both the Ergodox and the Natural plugged in together. The Ergodox is USB and the Natural uses the PS/2 connector.

Live training and linux

I am running Fedora 32 linux. To use live training requires some fiddling. I add the following file:
[root@trona rules.d]# cat 50-oryx.rules
# Rule for the Ergodox EZ
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="feed", ATTR{idProduct}=="1307", GROUP="plugdev"
Then I create a "plugdev" group and add myself to it, as follows:
groupadd plugdev
usermod -aG plugdev tom
Then I need to log out and back in again. Because I am not paying attention, I reboot. No harm done.

Now live training connects, but does not seem in synch with my keyboard. It thinks I am on Media 2 layer and tells me to type the Oryx key, but nothing happens. Bah!

Just screw with it

The live training is a non-starter. I may move the keyboard to a windows machine and see if things go better there. Just playing with it and watching what goes on in a terminal window are helping me more than anything. I have yet to find a way to switch to a layer without having to keep holding a key down, despite the diagrams. In fact the default layout diagram just seems wrong. It shows the light control for the shine on a left thumb key and it is actually on a right thumb key as per another diagram. Also holding Z yields Ctrl not Alt. All kinds of errors like this on the web page.

So you are sort of on your own to get going with this thing.

Live training and Windows

This doesn't work either, with exactly the same symptoms. However, a tip online is to (if you are using chrome, as I am), go to chrome://flags and look for "Enable New USB Backend". Actually, when I search for USB, it finds this, and tells me it is a new experimental USB backend for Windows, so of course I didn't find it on chrome on linux. I disable this, as instructed. Now I am told to:
Keeping Chrome open, open the Windows Device Manager,
go to "Universal Serial Bus Devices", and delete the keyboard entry.
I wonder how in the world I find the Windows Device Manager. I use the serach dingus in the lower left and it finds device manager, but then it warns me I will have to be an admin user to make changes. If it isn't one thing, it is another.

So, I just restarted windows. One problem I have is that I find it impossible to type my password with the Ergodox, so I have to plug in a second keyboard. Hey, bootstrapping is always hard. I enter my password with both keyboards plugged in, then unplug the old one.

Live training is still stuck telling me to hit the Oryx key.

Use my windows admin user

This seems necessary if we want to follow the byzantine instructions to get the live training to work. I manage to type my admin password with the Ergodox (there is progress). Now microsoft has some crap it insists that I do before I can use the admin account. So out comes the other keyboard again so I can type the microsoft password. It is all a bunch of useless "link my android device" stuff subsequent to some windows upgrade I did. I say no to everything and finally I am at my windows account.

I launch chrome, and yes by golly I have to also turn off the experimental USB backend for the admin user. I do that. I fire up device manager, uninstall the 3 keyboard devices, unplug and replug the ergodox, and .... Nope.

So live training is just totally broken and useless at this time on both windows and linux. Just for the record, my Windows system is a very recently updated Windows 10.

Day over

So far this has been a nightmare of standing on my head plugging in USB cables, nothing working right, and cursing whoever designed that rectangular USB connector that you can never tell which way is up on.

Enough for one day, back to my other keyboard and get to work on some things.

Have any comments? Questions? Drop me a line!