People do occasionally put money in my blog’s tip jar. To encourage this behavior, I like to explain what I’m spending it on – always, so far, test equipment or hacking tools.
A few minutes ago I spent $16.50 of those donations on one of the special thin-walled 5.5mm nut drivers you need to loosen the recessed bolts on a Unicomp Model M keyboard.
We have have two of these in our house; they’re my wife’s and my regular desktop keyboards. (If you don’t understand why, read my Tactile Keyboard FAQ).
One of them, my wife’s, is somewhat flaky. When it works it works perfectly, but it drops its connection to her host USB hub quite frequently and has to be unplugged/replugged to reinitialize the device.
There are several possible causes of this; investigating any of them is going to require that I verify some facts about the keyboard hardware that I can really only check with the case removed.
In particular, it is rumored that some variants of the Unicomp are prone to cabling problems brought on by insufficient strain relief where the USB cable is attached to the motherboard.
I intend to check for this design flaw on both keyboards, add a report on its presence or absence to the Tactile Keyboard FAQ, and broadcast that over at Tactile Keyboards so it can become part of the troubleshooting lore generally available to people interested in these devices.
This is a representative example of what you enable when you donate to my tip jar. The more you give, the more I can spend on small public benefits like this without concern about my survival budget.