Wow! I can’t believe it already came and went — but the first annual (semi-annual?) Kansas City Keyboard Meetup was, in my opinion, a rousing success. And I think organizer and Discord-nominated god among men [Ricardo] agrees with me. (He does; I checked before we left the venue.)
First of all, the attendance was off the charts, perhaps thanks in part to our announcement last week. We aim to get you the news sooner next time, in case you want to come in from surrounding states and municipalities. RSVPs sat around 20-something, and then shot up to 60 or so in the days leading up. Fortunately, there were enough tiny sandwiches, granola bars, and s t i c k e r s to go around. I already put mine on my keebin’ toolbox.
The Hive Was Buzzing
The event took place at Hive Co-Working thanks to [Nick], and overall, the space turned out to be a good layout. We were set up right inside the windows looking out to the street, and I like to think that we drew in a few passers-by, though I am probably more than a little bit biased. I wondered aloud on the way home how a sandwich board out on the sidewalk would have affected the influx of randos.
My husband pointed out that even though we were all the way downtown, this is Kansas City and not New York City, and most of the keyboard enthusiasts about town were already accounted for. Hmpf. I still say we should try a sandwich board next time. We could go meta and mention the tiny sandwiches inside. Don’t worry — there was plenty of sanitizer and napkins to go around, plus a box of gloves.
Anyway, between the bricks of the building, the big windows, broad daylight, potted cacti, and keyboards of all vintages everywhere, it was like r/mk come to life. I got there, put my bags down, located [Ricardo], and started getting set up. Since it was on top, I started by putting my plastic divider box full of handmade keycaps on the food table, which seemed appropriate.
Everything else I was able to place nearby, except for my goofy cigar box keyboard that I built to play Sesame Street pinball. That went on the table by the door with the stickers, the giveaway bowl full of the names of hopeful clackers, and the thank-you cards that are going back to those companies that provided items for the various giveaways. Next time, I’ll set up a laptop so people can play.
Weirdo Boards, Mine and Otherwise
I was going to bring one or both of my Kinesis Advantages — one black and one yellow-beige — and they would have been in good company with [Andrew]’s nearly identical pair. But alas, I forgot, and there wasn’t really room for them anyway. Not on any of the tables in the main room, nor the big table in the adjacent conference room.
Admittedly, [Andrew] had the cooler setup, anyway — a Kinesis Advantage MPC Classic running ADB on a thicc PowerBook. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it into the boardroom before the video died, but [Andrew] got a picture of it in time.
Here’s what I did bring:
- Infogrip BAT — I have one left and one right, and they don’t match cosmetically, but that’s okay.
- Model M — this one was born in June of 1987. It was my daily driver for a long time, and it makes a fine gaming keyboard as long as you’re home alone.
- the ErgoDox that I built — I ended up selling this baby.
- 2% Malk — I finally put the decals on the morning of the meetup!
- T1-99/4A keyboard — I bought this by itself on ebay thinking it would make a good cyberdeck keyboard. I think I talked about the switches once. . . [link to Keebin’ maybe if it’s true]
- the X-Bows — mostly so other people could try this sort of entry-level split. Mostly, I just commiserated with another owner about the things we don’t like.
Boards Galore, From Here to the Boardroom
Alright, enough about my stuff. There were plenty of other cool tools, including few mice, one of which was sprawled out across the real estate between the key wells of a Kinesis Advantage. And the whole thing really was a good mix of vintage boards, weirdo stuff, custom builds, and the colorful candy of modern rectangles and near-rectilinears. And I was not the only one who brought artisan keycaps. A few others were sprinkled about, both resin and not.
Here are all the old boards I saw that weren’t mine:
As if there weren’t enough different things to clack on, someone brought a comprehensive switch tester. And someone else brought a keeb that resembles a switch tester.
And now for something completely different: a huge DEF CON badge!
All in all, I had a great time, and it went by way too quickly. I have a ton of ideas for next time, and I can’t wait to see how the meetup and the scene evolve over time. Thanks again to [Ricardo] for organizing, [Nick] for hooking us up with the Hive, and the vendors who provided the giveaway items. Whether you made it or missed it, come join us in the Discord. See you next time!