Hey Everybody. I’m Ryan, and I’m really happy this community exists. I spent a long time in another one, and I’ll miss the way it used to be. However, I’m really excited to see where we all can take this new, community-owned platform together.
I’ve been fixated on personal computing and keyboards my entire life (grew up using an Apple II and IBM Model M), but mechanical keyboards infiltrated my gray matter as an actual hard-core obsession in July 2013, when I first discovered the existence of Cherry MX switches. I spent a marathon sleepless two days learning everything I could about them, and I haven’t been the same since. Keyboards have become a central organizing enthusiasm of my life.
I believe that keyboards are all about global human connection, and to me they embody my childhood hopes about the future. I think it’s entirely fitting, then, that some of my dearest friends and the kindest people I’ve ever met have been in the keyboard community. It’s unlike any other grouping of enthusiasts I’ve ever encountered—somehow this weird fixation we all share seems to be, entirely unexpectedly, a selection filter for generally awesome people. I feel so fortunate to be among you all.
A few years ago, I taught myself industrial design and machining so I could make my own housing for the Novatouch keyboard. When it turned out other people wanted the same housing, I got into running group buys to make them. The community dubbed it the “Norbaforce,” and now I pretty regularly make after-market upgrade housings for various OEM keyboards, which have happily proved quite popular. Without my ever quite meaning to, I’ve become a sort of semi-professional industrial designer, making all kinds of enthusiast projects both within and outside the keyboard world. And I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun or been happier.
One thing of which I’m particularly proud: for Roddenberry Entertainment, I designed and organized the first keycap and artisan set to be associated with a major Hollywood license—Star Trek (which is my other major lifelong, soul-consuming obsession.) This was a quite successful group buy run on Roddenberry.com. I’ve also run successful keycap group buys on MassDrop and PimpMyKeyboard, way back in those ancient days of yore when group buys were a somewhat new and radical concept.
I have a sort of grand vision for stuff I’d like to design and make for my fellow enthusiasts over the next couple of years—ideally figuring out how to drag other new people into this passion along the way. My goal is simply to make the fanciest keyboards possible, to elevate these mystical devices to beautiful, luxurious art objects. I know the resulting keyboards aren’t for everybody, but I’m just trying to scratch my own itches and make cool stuff that wouldn’t otherwise exist. Along the way, I try to document my process so that even if somebody isn’t in a position to buy one of my cases, perhaps at least they’ll learn something, or even be able to make one of their own. I simply do these projects for the creative satisfaction and the joy of making other people happy (nothing thrills me more than going to a keyboard meet-up and seeing things I made all over the room that other people brought to show off.)
Below are a couple of keyboard-related videos I’ve made.
I also post lots of keyboard-related pictures on Instagram.
So…yeah, I’m really into this keyboard thing. And I’m really into this new site. I can’t wait to see where we all can take it together.