There is no number pad. Generally, to get the most out of the Miniguru it is recommended to touch type. Touch typing gives easy access to the numbers on the number row. If you really need a numpad there are at least two possibilities: Load an alternate layout which puts a numpad on layer 3. Or get a USB numpad and connect it to the Miniguru's USB hub when you need it.
With keyboards, these acronyms refer to the physical layout of the keycaps. ISO layouts are mostly used in Europe, while ANSI layouts are used in the United States. The basic differences are:
ANSI layout: 61 keys, no keys between letter keys and left shift, two keys between L and Enter, horizontal enter
ISO layout: 62 keys, one key between letter keys and left shift, three keys between L and Enter, vertical enter
There is no difference in the physical layout. The Miniguru uses the same number and key positions as a regular keyboard. The factory keycode layout creates different keycodes for a few keys: The `/~ key in the upper left has been replaced by Esc (the original keycode has been moved to the second layer). CapsLock has been replace by Control. The Swirl keys have been placed to both sides of the space bar to allow thumb-activation of the second layer. This required some new key positions in the space bar row. See layout for factory layout. A standard alpha layout can be loaded into the firmware but at least one key has to be reserved as a Swirl key if a second layer is required.
Because with JKLI the cursor keys are still on the right, similar to a regular keyboard. Most customers will be used to that. This is especially important for combinations with Shift, Control and Alt which are usually pressed with the left hand. Switching to the Miniguru will require minor re-learning for cursor navigation. To make this easier, the left hand tasks haven't been changed beyond the required Swirl key press. We plan to supply alternate layouts for those who want their cursor controls on the left-hand side of the keyboard, for example using the WASD keys for basic cursor navigation. Because the Miniguru is programmable, alternate layouts can be easily stored in the firmware of the keyboard.
Usually, when touch typing only the right thumb is used for the spacebar. With the Miniguru, the formerly unused left thumb activates the second layer and the right hand presses the cursor keys. Basic cursor movement is on JKLI, very similar to the inverted T placement found on a regular keyboard. Home/End, Del/Ins and PgUp/PgDn are placed around the basic cursor keys. Because it's so convenient to reach all cursor keys without major hand movement, there is no real learning curve.
Colemak and Dvorak are alternate layouts arranging the letters more conveniently than Qwerty does. For example, the Qwerty home row does not include letters that statistically are used very often, like the letter E.
Just for convenience. The traditional Backspace is kept. Swirl+Backspace is Delete because it's easy to memorize. Swirl+M is Delete close to the home row. Swirl+Space is Backspace because the thumbs rest on those keys anyway.
The Miniguru comes with extra large rubber feet. If the rubber feet are too small they sink into the gaps between the netbook keys. When this happens the keyboard's bottom will rest on the notebook keys resulting in a sliding keyboard. It's also difficult to move the keyboard around on the notebook because some feet may sink into the gaps and some may not. With large feet all this will not happen.
The power plug can support the USB hub in the rare case full USB power is needed on the hub ports. The power that can be drawn from a single USB port is limited. As the Miniguru connects through a single cable to the host system, everything attached to this cable is limited to the power of the single USB port on the host. Which is the keyboard, the built-in hub and everything connected to the keyboard's USB ports. This means that the USB ports on the keyboard under no circumstances can provide the full USB spec power to those ports. If you need full USB power on the keyboard's ports you need a power adapter to supply the additional amps. This is a rare case and not considered standard operation. For standard operation no additional power supply is necessary.
No. The footprint of the Miniguru is as small as the alpha part of a regular keyboard. It can't be smaller without reducing the size of the keycaps. And a bezel would make the footprint bigger than necessary.
The Miniguru uses mechanical switches which are generally considered more comfortable because they do not require to be "bottomed out" to make contact. Also, because it is so small it is easy to move it around on the desk allowing for easy changes in body posture. Beyond that, the obvious rules apply, like taking brakes during repetitive tasks.
Blue Cherrys are clicky and tactile. Clicky means that the switch gives an audible "click" when the contact is made. Tactile means that on the way down the user feels a little "bump" when the contact is made (a tactile sensation). Both the click and the tactile sensation give feedback on whether the contact has been made and the character was created. This helps in typing without bottoming out, which is generally perceived as very comfortable. Blue Cherrys have a 50cN actuation force. They are also the most popular switch.
Brown Cherrys are tactile but not clicky. They have 45cN actuation force. This switch is quieter than the Cherry blue while still giving feedback about actuation.
Red Cherrys are linear, meaning they're neither clicky, nor tactile. There is no feedback whether the contact has been made. This can be an advantage for example in gaming where the same key is pressed repeatedly with short travel around the actuation point. 45cN actuation force.
A rubber dome switch which is used on most regular keyboards today needs to be bottomed out to make contact. Some rubber domes allow a little travel beyond this point but it requires considerably more force. A mechanical switch like the Cherry MX actuates after about 50% of the travel so it's not necessary to bottom out.
This depends. The most popular switch, the Cherry blue is clicky and tactile. It gives the most feedback when the switch has been actuated. Under some circumstances the noise the click generates is not tolerable, like in quiet office environments. The Cherry brown switch does not click while still giving tactile feedback. The Cherry red does not give any feedback at all about actuation. This may be desirable for example in gaming where the same key is being pressed repeatedly many times.
A Cherry switch has a black case and a colored stem. The stem is what the keycap connects to. The stem color indicates the properties of the switch. Blue means the switch is clicky and tactile. Brown means it is tactile. Red means it is linear (neither clicky, nor tactile).
This is when the key reaches the end of its travel. For a rubber dome on membrane switch keyboard bottoming out is a necessity for the switch to make contact. A mechanical switch like the Cherry MX actuates after travelling half of the way down so bottoming out isn't necessary to make contact.
There are situations when keycaps without symbols can be better:
1. You learn touch typing but can't stop looking at the keys.
2. Alternate layouts like Colemak or Dvorak. Keycaps from different rows have different slopes. This makes re-ordering keycaps between different rows difficult. With blank keycaps every layout will work.
3. It looks cool.
4. Nobody will use your computer.
One of the main features of the Miniguru is that the hands can stay on the home row all the time. The pointing stick is the only pointing device that is integrated with the alpha part of the keyboard. No need to leave the home row for pointing. If you still hate it you can order the Miniguru without one.
No. The factory layout will be fine in most situations. In some cases it may be convenient to make changes to the factory layout. For example to store often used shortcuts. Or a different layout, like Colemak. Programming allows to store these changes in the keyboard's firmware. Meaning they're instantly available when the keyboard is plugged into another computer, for example.
Any changes made to the keyboard's layout will be permanently stored in the Miniguru's hardware. The new layout will be instantly available, even when the Miniguru is plugged into another computer. No additional driver necessary.