Trouble with my TS LP

Comments specifically about the keyboard devices.

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Trouble with my TS LP

Postby The00Dustin » 16 Sep 2011, 00:12

The TS LP that I use at work has been giving me little bits of trouble for a long time. I never really thought about it, but I don't have near as much trouble with the one I use at home. Anyway, recently, the normal 5x palm touch and unplug replug procedures didn't help. It is only the left side, so I brought it home and changed the ribbon cable. Unfortunately, that didn't help either, and now it's not just dead, but also ugly (doesn't sit right on the tent stand and has a white ribbon cable instead of the FingerWorks wrapped one). My problem is I get sporadic data from the left pad. I can type and not get any of my key presses, or get totally different key presses, and I get phantom keystrokes and gestures as well. There is no radio interference, as it has been in the same place for quite a while, and I put it away thinking that may be it the first time it happened, getting it out later with the same results. I then tried it at home where my other one works fine and got the same behavior. This happens within a couple of minutes of plugging the thing into a computer. I'm not sure what I can do about it, if anything, but I wanted to post here and see if anyone else has had a similar experience or has any suggestions for resolving the issue. If you can help, please do.
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Re: Trouble with my TS LP

Postby nomaded » 19 Sep 2011, 18:24

In my experience, cleaning the surface should help. I'm not sure if it's stray static or it's just grim on the surface, but when I have these problems, even vigorous scrubbing of the surface with my tshirt helps.
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TouchStream Mini - February 26, 2002 - Sold
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TouchStream MacNTouch (silver) - December 1, 2004 - In storage
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Re: Trouble with my TS LP

Postby dongadoy » 19 Sep 2011, 19:36

Yes, clean the surface even if it looks clean. I thought my keyboard was toast when it was acting odd, causing havoc on my computer. After cleaning it was working like new again. I have no idea what invisible particles were on the surface; but I'm glad it started working again.
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Re: Trouble with my TS LP

Postby The00Dustin » 20 Sep 2011, 00:19

I'll give that a try. Hopefully I'll subsequently wish I tried it first. Also, since I believe I failed to mention it in the original post, it passes all diagnostic tests even when it is acting erratic like that (while the problem that is often solved by replacement of the ribbon cable includes a large dead spot). Anyone remember what the recommended cleaning agent was back in the day? Seems like it was pine-sol or something off the wall like that, but I don't remember exactly what. I tried a quick search and didn't find anything to confirm that guess, and it seems like the cleaning discussion may have even happened on the original fingerworks.com forum, but I know I'm not the only long time user around here.
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Re: Trouble with my TS LP

Postby nomaded » 20 Sep 2011, 00:34

Way back when, on the old forum, someone suggested some guitar cleaner and I bought a couple bottles. They work fine. I also recall people suggesting Lysol - I mostly remember it because Euro users didn't know what it was.

I would suggest spraying some on a rag or wad of paper towels, and then wipe the surfaces, as opposed to spraying directly onto the surface.
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TouchStream Stealth - March 18, 2002 - Windows 7 Ultimate (home)
TouchStream MacNTouch (white) - July 23, 2003 - Retired
TouchStream LP - March 31, 2004 - In storage
TouchStream MacNTouch (silver) - December 1, 2004 - In storage
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Re: Trouble with my TS LP

Postby jmadison » 20 Sep 2011, 14:03

I also find that rubbing alcohol works well. I'll get a wad of tissues or a cotton ball wet with rubbing alcohol, and gently wipe down the surface of my TS. It does a good job of getting any kind of buildup or stickiness off of the surface, especially in the corners and edges, where dust tends to gather.
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Re: Trouble with my TS LP

Postby The00Dustin » 23 Sep 2011, 01:32

Well, I cleaned the surface of the pad and it wasn't as bad. It's still not really useable, because I get sporadic keypress detections from the left side and phantom keypresses and phantom heel tap (I use the heel of my hand, it seems like the correct use might be the side of the hand, but heel works better for me) gestures. They just happen less often. I also noticed what looks like a dent above the insert key between the corners of the CTRL & OS keys. I've never noticed this before, so presumably someone dropped something on it when I wasn't in my office. Unfortunately, I'll never know who/what. I wouldn't think that would cause the issue I'm having since the unit detects touch based on conductance as opposed to pressure (and also considering that it consistently passes the diagnostics with flying colors), but it wouldn't be prudent to leave that information out now that I know about it. Anyway, the phantom keypresses that I get most are the keys directly above left shift in the two left rows, and the keys that don't pick up most are the keys toward the right of the pad on the same two rows. I'm not even sure how one would go about repairing the thing since there are no problem indicators. Anyone else have any thoughts?
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Re: Trouble with my TS LP

Postby TorbenGB » 02 Oct 2011, 20:24

One thought I do have is to keep a sharp eye out on eBay. There seem to be more auctions lately, and with lower prices.
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Re: Trouble with my TS LP

Postby The00Dustin » 02 Oct 2011, 20:45

I've been checking e-bay, but like I said, it died less than a week after the most recent auction, and I think the dvorak model is rare, so I might end up stuck on a typematrix or a maltron or something. :/ I know it's very easy to switch between programmed layout, but I have to look down at the keyboard every now and again when my brain ceases to function for a moment, and as it isn't functioning in that moment, I don't think a sheet of paper beside the keyboard/on the monitor would be helpful. I also don't believe a sheet of anything laid over the keyboard would work well for me, as I have enough gesture trouble and wrong key detections the way it is (though a touchstream is still way better for me than any other option, mind you).
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Re: Trouble with my TS LP

Postby nomaded » 04 Oct 2011, 00:16

One of the things that I did while learning to type Dvorak on my Touchstream was to print out the alphabet and some symbols from a Brother P-Touch labeler, cut down each letter to small square and then stick them to one of the corners of each square. I actually did this to a few different keyboards while I was still learning the layout. At this point, I can touch type Dvorak, and if I look at the QWERTY layout, my brain automatically does the translation of the keys from QWERTY to Dvorak.

The P-Touch labels were thin enough that gliding over the Touchstream didn't encounter too much resistance. After a couple years, the labels did start to peel a bit, but by that time, I was comfortable enough to remove the labels, and use a little lysol to help remove the small amount of residue on the surface.

The other choice is to grab a silver Sharpie and carefully write the letters in the corners of each key. The benefit here is that they Sharpie ink will wear away over time as you type and glide over the surface. It'll really come off if you use a little rubbing alcohol.

At this point, pretty much all my keyboards that I use on a regular basis have QWERTY printed on them, but are configured to be Dvorak.
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TouchStream Mini - February 26, 2002 - Sold
TouchStream Stealth - March 18, 2002 - Windows 7 Ultimate (home)
TouchStream MacNTouch (white) - July 23, 2003 - Retired
TouchStream LP - March 31, 2004 - In storage
TouchStream MacNTouch (silver) - December 1, 2004 - In storage
Stenovations Digitouch (dvorak) - 2007 - Windows 7 Ultimate (work)
Stenovations Digitouch (dvorak) - 2007 - In storage
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Re: Trouble with my TS LP

Postby The00Dustin » 04 Oct 2011, 01:05

I bought my first Dvorak LP from FingerWorks directly, I've been typing Dvorak ever since. I can touch type Dvorak and Qwerty fine, but sometimes my brain mixes the layouts together and I have to look to find anything. My point here is that I'm not going to learn it better, I just can't always think straight. I guess the silver sharpie would work. I'd just need to use a black sharpie to cover the Qwerty first for good measure and then try my darndest not to let it bother me that it's not a proper Dvorak keyboard (OCD or something).
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Re: Trouble with my TS LP

Postby jmadison » 04 Oct 2011, 16:11

When I bought my Touchstream keyboard, I was a proficient touch-typist in Qwerty, but had never tried Dvorak. So naturally I bought the Qwerty model. After using it for a while, I decided that I wanted to learn Dvorak. I switched all the computers that I use over to Dvorak mode for a few months while I learned. Eventually, I quit switching everything except my TS.

So, now I have this funny mind-separation thing going on: When I type on my TS, it's normal and easy to just touch-type in Dvorak. But, whenever my fingers feel physical keys, I naturally just start typing in Qwerty. In fact, I have both my TS (in Dvorak) and a standard Logitech Qwerty keyboard in front of me at my desk. Somehow my brain adjusts when I use one or the other.

It's really convenient for me, because it's easy to just sit down at any random computer and type Qwerty. But, most of the typing I do (like right now) is at my desk at work, on my TS using Dvorak.

The only time I find my mind & fingers get confused is whenever I try to type on one of the low-profile keyboards, like some laptops have. It's like feeling the super-flat keys switches my brain into Dvorak mode.
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Re: Trouble with my TS LP

Postby The00Dustin » 05 Oct 2011, 01:25

Yes, my brain works the same way in general, just with an odd blip every now and again. Sometimes I'll be on a regular keyboard, try to type in Dvorak, know what I did, and then just switch. Other times I'll be on a TS, try to type in Qwerty, know what I did, and then just switch. The problem is that sometimes I'll just forget how to type, either my mind will go blank or totally jumble Dvorak and Qwerty together and leave me outputting total nonsens. Regardless of what happens up there (or why), I then have to look, it doesn't matter if it's the TSLP or a regular keyboard, I want the right layout on it.
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Re: Trouble with my TS LP

Postby jmadison » 05 Oct 2011, 15:08

Yeah, I'm with you on wanting to have the right layout on it. My biggest trouble comes with the lesser used characters, like the - / \ { } [ ] | and stuff like that. I do a [little] bit of programming, and the special characters are just not in my head the same way that the alphabet is. So, I still keep a printout of the TS with the Dvorak key mapping sitting on my desk so I can reference for the times my fingers just can't find the right key.

I've wanted to purchase a Dvorak TS, but just haven't tried real hard to do that yet. I should probably do the silver sharpie trick and see how I like that.
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Re: Trouble with my TS LP

Postby nomaded » 07 Oct 2011, 00:28

Back when I was learning Dvorak, as I said above, I had cut out little P-Touch stickers of the alphabet and the changed symbols. After I learned the alphabet, I removed most of the stickers because I didn't need them anymore (and they were already coming off), but I kept most of the symbols is the upper right corner. But eventually I stopped needing those too.

These days, whenever I interact with a new keyboard (such as a desktop keyboard at a new job, or getting a new MacBook Air), I don't bother with stickers or any sort of visual indication of the Dvorak layout. Most of the time, when I look down at the QWERTY layout, my brain automatically translates the layout to Dvorak - I can even hunt & peck in Dvorak if needed (like if I'm eating something really messy and need to type with my pinky finger).

The problem comes in when I need to type QWERTY, and I end up typing the first 3 characters correctly, but then revert to Dvorak for the rest. Sometimes I wonder if my coworkers think I can't type very well when I type a bunch of characters and then need to backspace over a bunch of them.
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TouchStream Mini - February 26, 2002 - Sold
TouchStream Stealth - March 18, 2002 - Windows 7 Ultimate (home)
TouchStream MacNTouch (white) - July 23, 2003 - Retired
TouchStream LP - March 31, 2004 - In storage
TouchStream MacNTouch (silver) - December 1, 2004 - In storage
Stenovations Digitouch (dvorak) - 2007 - Windows 7 Ultimate (work)
Stenovations Digitouch (dvorak) - 2007 - In storage
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