SpecOps: Expeditionary Force, Book 2 by Craig Alanson

book cover

Continuing the adventures of Barney and the Beer Can… I mean Joe Bishop and the great and all powerful Skippy. The feels in this one are real and plentiful.

I don’t really have a lot to say about this book other than that it is a continuation of the last book with lots more Skippy doing his thing. If you read or listened to the first book and didn’t like Skippy so much, then maybe this series is not for you. But if you loved Skippy then I think you will love this book.

R.C. Bray continues doing an amazing job bringing the snark to life.

From the publisher:

Colonel Joe Bishop made a promise, and he’s going to keep it: taking the captured alien starship Flying Dutchman back out. He doesn’t agree when the UN decides to send almost 70 elite Special Operations troops, hotshot pilots, and scientists with him; the mission is a fool’s errand he doesn’t expect to ever return from. At least this time, the Earth is safe, right?

Not so much.

©2016 Craig Alanson (P)2017 Podium Publishing

I rate SpecOps an 8 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone who liked Columbus Day.

Mechanical Keyboard Meetup

I attended the Mechanical Keyboard Meetup at the Vintage Computer Festival Southeast (VCFSE) in Roswell Georgia. I have attended the VCF a couple of times in the past and it has always been interesting.

Getting to see and touch computer from my childhood and before is a lot of fun, and even better, many of them are in working order and available to play with. Typing on a Commodore 64 brought back a lot of good memories. Typing on the Atari 400 chiclet keyboard, not so much.

The Mechanical Keyboard Meetup was held in a corner of the room with over 100 keyboards on display. It was a great opportunity to see and touch boards from so many manufacturers and custom one-of-a-kind builds. But the environment was so loud that I was not comfortable trying to talk with people, so overall it was not very satisfying.

There are upcoming plans for another Meetup in October, hopefully it will be someplace that isn’t so crowded and loud.

Tex Yoda II Mechanical Keyboard with Trackpoint

my office desk

My office desk with the Tex Yoda 2

I cannot say enough good things about the Tex Yoda 2. I am totally in love with it.

Price

Let’s start with how ridiculously expensive it is, actually let’s not and just say that it is more expensive than most would pay for a really nice keyboard and mouse. You can get an RGB Pok3r and a Logitech G502 for a lot less than the Yoda 2, and you probably should. But once I touched the Yoda 2 and did some typing on it I fell in love, and you can’t put a price on true love.

TrackPoint

The other thing that may be a drawback to some users is the trackpoint mouse pointer in the middle of the keyboard. It is the same technology that is used on laptop keyboard with the trackpoint in the middle of the keyboard, but it is more fragile because of the long stem it has to use to get the eraser above the keys. Back in the day I used a lot of laptops with a trackpoint and loved them, probably because trackpads really sucked back then.

On the Yoda 2 the trackpoint does feel fragile and in reading around the internet, a lot of people have had problems with it breaking. I have also read complaints about mouse drift, but that is normal for this technology and you should expect it. It drifts a lot less than the old ThinkPads, so I am happy with it. If you really don’t like the trackpoint, you can not put a tip on it or remove it entirely.

Switches

I got the Tex Yoda 2 with Cherry Black switches and no backlighting. I also got some fancy GMK keycaps that made the luxurious keyboard even more sensual. The sound the combination of the heavy flat aluminum plate, smooth Cherry MX Black switched, and thick GMK double-shot ABS keycaps create a sound that makes me forget how much money I spent on this thing and just luxuriate in its soothing sounds.

Connector

I also love that it uses a USB-C connector instead of those janky old USB Mini or Micro connectors. The connection is solid, and the choice of cables is plentiful.

Programming

Programing the keyboard is super easy, there is a configurator that lets you program each and every key, up to three function layers, and macros. From the configurator you export a file that gets copied to the keyboard and you are done. The fear of owners though is that the configurator website will disappear at some point and we will no longer be able to program our keyboards. Hopefully Tex will open source the tool soon.

The only think I really used the configurator for is to make caps-lock key a Function 1 key which make the WASD keys easier to use as arrow keys for me. Oh, I also moved around the ALT and Windows keys for better use on Macs. It was all super easy to do, but not as easy as with the Pok3r.

Conclusion

I love this keyboard so much that I am now saving up to buy another one so I can have one at home and one at work.