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Approximately 100 MacNTouch keyboards on hand
Posted: 14 Feb 2007, 19:54
Recently my company (Stenovations) and FingerWorks were in a business venture together in the development of a Steno-Writer “DigiTouch”. The project was nearly 100% complete when Apple bought out FingerWorks. Actually, I should say that Apple bought the technology from them. Well, that pretty much spelled the end of the DigiTouch writer without it becoming a judicial matter. We could no longer manufacture the keyboards or provide warranties without litigation.
The ultimate result is that we have stopped all development and production of the DigiTouch. This has left us with a stockpile of approximately 100 MacNTouch keyboards with an equal number of QWERTY and DVORAK overlays. We still have the capability to perform firmware programming of these boards as well. We also have in our possession hundreds of keyboard enclosures in three (white, red, and black) colors. These enclosures were to house the MacNTouch circuit boards so they could be used as an external USB keyboard or in our case a Steno-machine.
All this being said, I was hoping to join the forum so I could gauge how much effort should be spent in the resale of our stock.
Any input from you FingerFans would be greatly appreciated.
Posted: 14 Feb 2007, 22:35
A few questions:
What would the finished external USB keyboard look like? Do you have pictures?
Can these be used on Linux/Windows as well as Mac?
What would be the approximate price?
Can I get my name on an early signup list?
I would like to get an encosure.
Posted: 14 Feb 2007, 22:46
Do you by chance have any sets of the cables for the MacNTouch for the 15" Powerbook? Although I've made my own from scratch it would be nice to have a set or 2 of the originals. I would also like to get an external enclosure.
Posted: 14 Feb 2007, 23:51
1. I attached a picture so you can see what the external KB would look like. I want to remind you that it is not a perfect fit because the enclosure was primarily made for a steno-writer.
2. My programmers tell me that it is a definite yes to windows and Mac but we are not sure about Linux. To be honest we never tried it.
3. As far as price, I am thinking that somewhere between $250 and $300 is fair. I know that we paid somewhere very close to that for the boards alone. We are trying to cut losses not make money.
4. I do not really have a list but you can be the first one if you want to.
It might be best if I send one of these things to Torben
so she can evaluate the performance.
Friend, I have rooms full of old computers and stuff around this place and it will take awhile to know whether I have one. I know that we do have old FingerWorks stuff laying around here that we were using for testing. I’ll look and ask around for you.
Eric J. Jackson
Posted: 15 Feb 2007, 00:12
If it works in Windows and Mac, there's no reason it shouldn't work fine on my Linux machine.
What is the size of the window where the keyboard surface is showing?
Also, what are the dimensions of the enclosure?
(And for anyone to answer): If someone was to use 2 of these devices in the same computer at the same time, can you do left hand gestures on the left keyboard, and right on the right... does it act as one keyboard? Two handed gestures?
2 in one
Posted: 15 Feb 2007, 04:06
You can do left hand gestures on the left half of either attached keyboard & You can do right hand gestures on the right half of either attached keyboard.
Both work independently, but I not simultaneously.
Thanks so much! The cables I am referring to are seen here: http://www.tycomsystems.com/fingerworks ... cables.jpg
I would be very interested in discussing the firmware programming aspect of things with you.
Posted: 15 Feb 2007, 09:31
I read your post with delight! It's what many of us have been wishing for: you just revealed a hidden stash, and you're not even trying to rip us off with tenfold prices. That is very commendable!
Thank you for the thought of sending me one for evaluation and review. I would most certainly accept such a loan! (I have sent you a personal message with my details.) For the sake of fairness, let me state that I hold no special status on the Fingerfans website; We all contribute alike and I am merely the guy (not gal) who set up the website. (If I hadn't, someone else would, to the same effect.)
I would also be interested in a purchase. As you say you have approx. 100 units, and we all want to get your hands on these, I suggest that you/we open a sign-up list with a public deadline. There should be more than enough for 1 unit per person, after all our community is not all that big. Once the sign-up period has ended, you/we can decide if there's enough units to say 2 per person or such. It would be a pity if people started fighting over this - or if they say I'll take three and then sell them all on eBay for a triple markup...
I volunteer to manage such a sign-up list, as a protected message here on this forum. That way, everyone can see it but nobody can cheat (except me, so I hope that I have your trust which I will honor). Detailed "rules" to be agreed on later, not in this discussion.
The casings seem rather big. May I ask if there is anything in those sections above&below the keyboard area? If a slimmer casing could be made, the units would become more attractive visually and functionally. Of course that would mean production and refitting costs, so this may be a bad idea!
Posted: 15 Feb 2007, 10:11
This is excellent news, especially considering current prices on ebay. I've been looking for a backup keyboard for months but can't justify spending what they're currently going for.
Would you mind re-posting the picture (or a link) the current attachment seems to be broken.
Posted: 15 Feb 2007, 10:26
photobucket.com appears to be blocked by our proxy
Posted: 15 Feb 2007, 17:35
What are the rectangular sections on the top and bottom of the unit in the picture you posted?
Is there a usb cord attached or a plug in the keyboard?
Posted: 15 Feb 2007, 18:44
Dear Forum members,
I appreciate the fact that you realize that I am not trying to take advantage of the scarcity of these keyboards. I have done research in the market value (eBay) but I m very conscious of our company’s reputation and do not want it tarnished in any way. As I said before we are just trying to cut losses from an unfortunate situation. Having said that I need everyone’s help in preventing eBay entrepreneurs from taking advantage of this “new found hidden stash”. I really want to avoid selling to someone whose sole purpose is to resale it on eBay.
Second, I would like to stress that I am not a computer expert but more importantly, I am a business manger of two companies that keep me very busy. So please be patient in message responses and any other expectations of me. Third, these enclosures were specifically designed to house the DigiTouch writer not an external USB (MacNTouch) keyboard. They are not a perfect fit but they are close. I really expected that the demand would be for replacements of PowerBook Touch Stream keyboards as opposed to being external. They are without a doubt 100% FingerWorks MacNTouch keyboards! Please I cannot modify the enclosures without extreme cost to the company. As I said in the first message, “We have stopped all development and marketing of the DigiTouch”.
I will try to answer a couple of questions asked of me since my last visit here.
The case or enclosure as I call it is 12” X 8” X 7/8 at the thickest point. (They are tilted so to speak).
I am sorry about the pictures and am unsure as to why you cannot see them. Perhaps I can mail them to you or someone else could repost the ones already present using a different method or host. I am very hesitant using the company’s servers to host anything other than what they were meant for.
The rectangular sections were meant to hold a Stenovations and DigitalCat emblem.
Yes, there is a USB cord (very common) that plugs into the side. Anyone familiar with MacNTouch would be able to explain that there is a “Sudo” USB connection on these boards that were meant to be very then to pass between the monitor and keyboard housing of Macintosh/Apple computers. We simply used a female-to-female adapter as the termination point of the Keyboard.
Eric J. Jackson
Posted: 15 Feb 2007, 19:10
Torben kindly emailed me a copy of the photos.
Posted: 15 Feb 2007, 19:12
> I need everyone’s help in preventing eBay entrepreneurs from taking advantage of this
Let's see how we can help you with that. We certainly only want to help connect you with actual users.
> They are not a perfect fit but they are close. I really expected that the demand would be for replacements of PowerBook Touch Stream keyboards as opposed to being external.
I am curious to see how you solved this, but given your constraints it seems a lucky shot that you can adapt them without a complete overhaul.
> Please I cannot modify the enclosures without extreme cost to the company.
Understood. I expected as much, but never that any such modification costs should be covered by your company!
> I am very hesitant using the company’s servers to host anything
> other than what they were meant for.
Stick to that and no harm will befall you.
> The rectangular sections were meant to hold a Stenovations and DigitalCat emblem.
It would certainly be cool to have those emblems too, at least the company logo. I hope it would be okay, wouldn't it?
> We simply used a female-to-female adapter as the termination point of the Keyboard.
Still curious to see it. So does it have like a regular USB socket in the rear? That would be very smart!
Posted: 15 Feb 2007, 19:38
> We simply used a female-to-female adapter as the termination point of the Keyboard.
Is it something like Minox's iGesture USB mod
Posted: 16 Feb 2007, 00:17
I wish I could make available the emblems but they are very rare right now. We have this “Laser” (very expensive) that I believe was purchase to make these emblems. I am currently trying to get rid of it as well. It is cool! I guess you could throw a block of plastic in there and it will create whatever you want. No 5 foot 10 blonde-haired women will squirt out of it though.
I will try to explain the USB portion of the circuit board. There is flat harness that is attached to our boards that terminates with a plug that is inserted into a female end of a USB connection. Mounted inside the enclosure is a female-to-female USB connection that is connected internally to the board and makes available an external female connection for a cord. It is very simple really. I could be wrong but I was lead to believe that this is exactly how the MacNTouch board built as well.
Eric J. Jackson
Posted: 16 Feb 2007, 03:10
Ejack83 wrote:Third, these enclosures were specifically designed to house the DigiTouch writer not an external USB (MacNTouch) keyboard. They are not a perfect fit but they are close. I really expected that the demand would be for replacements of PowerBook Touch Stream keyboards as opposed to being external. They are without a doubt 100% FingerWorks MacNTouch keyboards!
Looking at the posted pictures, and looking at the MacNTouch I'm currently typing on, I have to wonder if the sold MacNTouches will also have their edges cut down to fit the enclosures. Is the circuit board under the Lexan surface also cut down?
I only ask because the cut down Lexan surface will mean that they won't fit properly in PowerBooks (and MacBook Pros), in on asthetic sense. They will still fit, but there will be a gap around the keyboard. That said, if people plan on keeping them in the DigiTouch enclosure, there shouldn't be a problem.
I definitely plan on getting at least one (more if possible).
Thank you putting these keyboards on sale.
Re: I would like to get an encosure.
Posted: 16 Feb 2007, 03:29
Minox wrote:Do you by chance have any sets of the cables for the MacNTouch for the 15" Powerbook? Although I've made my own from scratch it would be nice to have a set or 2 of the originals. I would also like to get an external enclosure.
I would also be interested in getting the internal cables with the keyboard, and it would also be nice to be able to buy some extras of these cables.
Posted: 16 Feb 2007, 08:58
Keep posting all those questions about the units, but be patient about the answers. I am talking with Eric about writing a review, and your questions can help me give you all a fuller picture. This will not be overnight of course, expect 2-4 weeks for completion. But keep asking, and keep posting! I will then answer anything and everything as detailed as possible!
Nomaded, I don't think the edges are sawed off at all -- it's just that the enclosure overlaps the touchpad surface a little more than the FW enclosures would. So it's a full board, but from the outside you just don't see the outermost 5 millimeters or so.
But this is exactly the kind of thing I can include in the review, so keep asking - me!
Updated: The review will be posted here.
Posted: 16 Feb 2007, 12:10
Did some Photoshoping:
Posted: 16 Feb 2007, 14:03
The Lexan or circuit board surface area is identical to the MacNTouch. We built the enclosure to house it. All we changed on the circuit board at all is the firmware that transformed the FingerWorks card into a Steno machine. When I pull one of the circuit cards out of the ESD containers, they are still loaded with the QWERTY firmware. I know of no other modifications other than firmware.
Eric J. Jackson
Posted: 16 Feb 2007, 19:21
TorbenGB wrote:Nomaded, I don't think the edges are sawed off at all -- it's just that the enclosure overlaps the touchpad surface a little more than the FW enclosures would. So it's a full board, but from the outside you just don't see the outermost 5 millimeters or so.
Looking at the image that Eric posted, it didn't look like the enclosure was overlapping the edges. But now that I've been told, I can see where it overlaps. I guess I was thinking that the MacNTouches were just dropped into the enclosure, much like what was done with the PowerBooks.
In that case, I am even more interested in being able to get the internal USB ribbon cables that would have come with the MacNTouches from FingerWorks.
Thanks for the clarification.
Typing on a MacNTouch
Posted: 16 Feb 2007, 19:32
Torben, in your review, I think you may want to comment on your experiences with typing on the MacNTouch and how it is similar or different than typing on a TouchStream LP/ST. I only suggest this because I know that I when I got my first MacNTouch, I found typing to be just different enough that it took me a couple weeks to get used to the changes.
Torben should also comment on how there is only 1 additional unmarked key (the hand to the right of the Space key), and how there are some other keys that are missing but are found on the full-sized TouchStreams. Personally, I only find these missing keys to be a bit annoying if I'm trying to hit some key combo that I don't use often enough to program into a gesture.
Posted: 19 Feb 2007, 18:35
You are a dream come true for many FingerWorks fans and I want to thank you for coming here first instead of parceling then out on eBay. You may not make as much in the end but I can guarantee you have a captive market for virtually everything you have to sell and there won't be a lot of guff or hassle involved.
I am not personally interested as I currently have my fill of boards and I wouldn't compete with others to get one but if for some reason you end up with extras nobody else wants, I would certainly take some.
I am fixed on the TS boards but if I needed to I think I could adjust to your setup. Certainly more easily than to something entirely different.
What I am saying is somehow we will absorb whatever you have to sell, if for not other reason than as spare parts as members have discussed recently.
Again, thanks for being a prince.
Posted: 20 Feb 2007, 19:31
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me, I was a dream come true.
Posted: 21 Feb 2007, 16:15
count me in for one or two