Unicomp Tenkeyless (IBM SSK) Preorder

cyclone3d

[H]F Junkie
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Aug 16, 2004
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Oh that's nice.. considering that the originals I have seen on eBay are put up for an asking price of 2-4x that much.
 

mlcarson

Limp Gawd
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Jul 12, 2009
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362
I'm getting one of these. I have one of the spacesaver model M's but really prefer the tenkeyless which haven't been available until now.
 

Panel

Limp Gawd
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Nov 24, 2016
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476
I have an actual Model M SSK, but only 4 lower modifier keys isn’t enough, which makes me want to pick this up. It doesn’t look like it’ll be making the March timeline, though.
 
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Mar 5, 2017
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Another delay. From Unicomp's FB page:

Just a quick update on the Mini M development progress. I had forecast we would be shipping by the end of June but unfortunately, we are not going to make it. The good news is I'm typing this update on the first functional model. The firmware is buggy still and not full function, i.e. no embedded numpad among other things, but we're making reasonable progress. There are lots of "distractions" which tend to syphon time away Mini M development, like paying customers that want a New Model M in a European language or Mac version. Or dealing with the latest COVID-19 driven change to the assembly floor and assembly process among all the normal production related challenges. Given the progress made over the last two months, I think we are at least two months away from first production. I hope you can hang in there with us. We appreciate your patience.
 
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This isn't looking too good at this point. Just stop with the CV-19 excuse. My own direct experience with software and hardware dev this year.....we haven't missed a beat. We've been remote since March and no timelines have suffered. Those physically on the floor have not missed a step.
 

cyclone3d

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This depends on where you are located and what and how many draconian measures are being forced on you by the left.
 

mlcarson

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They seem to be in Kentucky. It's not really known as being a draconian leftist enclave. I've been waiting since last January which is ridiculous.
 

toast0

[H]ard|Gawd
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Jan 26, 2010
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I really hate what they've done with the bottom row. Otherwise this would be great.
 

D-EJ915

[H]ard|Gawd
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I really hate what they've done with the bottom row. Otherwise this would be great.
Yeah I asked about that with the new 104/105 and they said they made new tooling and I guess people wanted this way to make the move from 101/102 easier so the keys are in the same spots rather than the typical 104/105 positions. I actually just looked at this and the alt position is better for me but the keys still look terrible with the random sizes lol.
 
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mlcarson

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Jul 12, 2009
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362
They've finally emailed those that did pre-orders on 2/24 with a release date for the Mini-M. That's supposed to be on or before 3/20/21 so they're about a year late. The price has gone up since then and they're honoring the original price but the shipping charge via UPS ground is $22.25 to California. That seems high to me but is close to what I get if go to UPS for an estimate given the size. I get about $20 so I guess it's not out of line.
 

mlcarson

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Well, 3/20/21 has come and gone and I haven't received mine or any shipping indication. I kind of take that back. I just logged onto their site and see a UPS shipping number from 2/26 when I last posted but UPS doesn't acknowledge that it exists. I then dug down deeper into their details and it shows that it actually shipped today and that UPS probably just hasn't gotten it into their system yet so maybe I can confirm actual shipment tomorrow. And it actually shipped and will be here 4/8/21.
 
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mlcarson

Limp Gawd
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Jul 12, 2009
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And after a year, my Mini-M has arrived. Biggest surprise so far is that some of the keys are actually white; my original Model-M had all grey keys. This keyboard has the same key layout as my original model-M (2011 vintage) with respect to the Alt and windows keys which is a positive. The new Model-M has a weird windows alt key layout on the right where as this Mini-M does not. This keyboard is 15.5 x 7.5 inches in size. The original Model-M was 18.0 x 7.0 inches. So the new mini-M is actually larger in depth than the original and only 2.5 inches shorter in length. As a comparison, my CMStorm Quickfire tenkeyless keyboard measures 14.0 x 5 3/8. Unicomp basically puts this keyboard in a rigid frame which is probably 3/4 inch on all sides which adds to the size but makes it very solid. I don't have a scale to put these boards on but it seems like the mini-M might be heaver than the original M.

The original M is still working fine after 10 years so hopefully this one will too. No complaints so far. I like that the USB cable is removable so that it's easily replaced.
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
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Received mine today with all grey keys. Phenomenal solid build. Their new tooling is heads and tails over what they've been using the past 30 years (obviously).
 

mlcarson

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I've discovered some issues which don't seem to occur on your standard cheap keyboard. I've been doing some Linux distro testing and on reboots -- I've run into a the following problems:
1. Keyboard simply doesn't work
2. Keyboard partially works (one of the keys that consistently doesn't work has been "q").

Disconnecting the keyboard from the USB cable and plugging back in cures both issues.
I haven't done enough testing to determine how often this occurs and whether it's just with certain Linux distro's or not. It happened enough where I plugged in the cheap keyboard on a USB hub so that I could test if it was keyboard specific and to have a keyboard to quickly grab to use a boot menu if the Unicomp was acting flakey.
There have been zero issues once the system has booted -- and I believe this was only on Linux reboots and not on clean shutdowns/startups. Thought it was weird enough to mention here. Anybody else see anything like this?
 
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Well, I've run into a rotten problem with mine. When I do a complete shutdown, the next day when I startup ALL keys do not function. If I unplug the cable from the PC USB port and reinsert, no change. If I unplug the cable from the PC USB port and plug it into a different USB port, the keyboard comes back to life. This happens no matter which USB port I use initially.

I'm hearing that the firmware will not be updatable by the end user. (Don't quote me on this.) If I have to send the keyboard in at my cost for an update, I'll be fucking pissed. I expect a working product, especially after the lengthy delay. I'm sure the Q key people would probably feel the same.
 
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Update: A couple of weeks ago, Unicomp e-mailed me a prepaid UPS label to ship the Mini back for a firmware update. I receive it back tomorrow.

On the Model M reddit, customers that are receiving new keyboards with the latest firmware (7.56) are still having the Q key issue.
 
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Messages
545
Any issues?

Still happening. People over on the Model M reddit seem to think it was Unicomp's choice of (cheap) controller. It really is a shame because it has the best typing feel of any Model M I've used. It's too much of a pain in the ass to constantly unplug and re-plug it back in. I'm shelving it for now until (if) Unicomp ever fixes the issue.

I can't recommend a purchase based on my and others' experience at this point.
 

schizrade

Supreme [H]ardness
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Feb 15, 2003
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4,885
Still happening. People over on the Model M reddit seem to think it was Unicomp's choice of (cheap) controller. It really is a shame because it has the best typing feel of any Model M I've used. It's too much of a pain in the ass to constantly unplug and re-plug it back in. I'm shelving it for now until (if) Unicomp ever fixes the issue.

I can't recommend a purchase based on my and others' experience at this point.
Damn. I really wanted this one.
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
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Damn. I really wanted this one.
It's really unfortunate. It has the potential to be one of the best keyboards ever made if they get their shit together. It's completely dumbfounding why they didn't make the code open source and updatable by the end user. It has to be costing them a fortune to UPS the keyboards back and forth for updating.

What is equally as dumbfounding is the fact they kept selling the keyboards while knowing there was an issue. They should have halted sales because the user base with the issue has now grown to over 1000. Unfortunately it sounds like Unicomp is calling this firmware "good enough" and this may be the final version.
 
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An update from Unicomp's FB page:

Here’s a brief update on the status of Unicomp. I know we have many unhappy customers right now. They are unhappy because 1) “I placed my order two weeks ago and it hasn’t shipped yet!” 2) “What do you mean you can’t produce my custom order for 6 weeks?” 3) “My Mini M loses the Q key (or the F1 key) occasionally. What’s up with that?” 4) etc.

These are all valid complaints, and we are doing our best to resolve them. I think a lot of us thought when the Covid vaccines were readily available, things would move toward “normal” quickly. Well, from our perspective, that’s not happening. Our supply chain is nearly broken. For example, we have one order for buttons and cover parts that normally would take 4 months to deliver. It appears it will take 10 months (or maybe more). We continue to build out of existing inventory when possible and supplement by spot orders that we pay a premium for. However, waiting for the spot orders to be filled causes backlogs in some keyboard production. When the delayed parts arrive, working off the backorders causes more delays on all products, even those we have parts for. So, we are continually working off backorders.

Another factor driving backorders is changes to the European Union regulations on collection of VAT taxes. We are working on a method to collect owed VAT before we ship a product. Shipments to the EU are stalled until we complete the installation of that system upgrade.

And to complete the circle, the backorders drive questions about orders placed. Given that we continue to strive to provide an excellent (but challenged) level of customer service, the time spent answering questions diminishes our ability to reduce backorders. This has become a vicious circle of events all beginning with the impact of Covid on the world’s (or at least our) supply chain. Nearly all our customers have been extremely patient and understanding. Please note we share your frustration with the backorders and delayed response time.

And now for the “Dead Q” issue on the Mini M (and only the Mini M). We developed a firmware update that reduces the probability of a Mini M losing the function of the Q key. While many customers were helped by the update, some continue to have the problem. We continue to search for the root cause of the issue. We have collected several keyboards that persistently lose the Q but we still have not found the answer. The research goes on. The theory we are chasing is a timing issue caused by the specific layout of the sense line that the Q is connected to. Why only the Q? Why does removing the power and rebooting make the problem go away temporarily? We’re making progress but still have a way to go.

I report all this to ask for your continued patience and understanding. We are working to resolve all these situations. We give another update as some or hopefully all these issues subside.
 

Cobra

2[H]4U
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Sep 7, 2000
Messages
2,639
Thanks for posting about this. I was about to buy one of these until I found this thread. I can't believe they are still selling these without even a note about this issue. I thought about getting a new model M instead but after getting out a tape measure it just isn't great for my setup.
 
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