The TextBlade keyboard is superb, but you'll have to be patient

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 1615
    Ordered the thing over 4 years ago, I am not in TREG, although have signed up for it years ago. Keyboard might be brilliant, however the company's communication is sub-par: status updates have both decreased in meaningful content and frequency, many unhappy (non TREG) users were banned from the forums, and have not got their queries addressed. I always wondered how successful would this be internationally, as it seems that the multitouch interface of the keys is trying to figure out what letter you wanted to write - I assume in English only?
    I cannot say with certainty in what way the "AI"-generated code helps but I can say that I have no problems typing in Swedish.
    Cool - I somehow thought that their letter predictions were tied to language, if not, then all the better!
  • Reply 42 of 1615

    colinng said:

    Wow! You’ve somehow managed to invent a negative reason for everything that has happened! 

    Because the mobile AppleInsider forum site doesn’t let me break up your quotes by section, I’ve numbered your points and will respond by number. 

    1. Reliable Bluetooth is hard. See everyone else’s comments about getting keyboards and headphones to work reliably. The only headphone that I’ve heard “just works” is AirPods, and so it’s no surprise it took the world by storm. Touted as “Apple’s best product” even though they also make the iPhone that you pair it with. The most humorous anecdote about Bluetooth that sums it up for me, is John Gruber’s comment - the Bluetooth slogan should be: it’ll work great next year. 
    Hoo boy, probably great waste of time, but here goes...

    Programming bluetooth is not hard. Even junior programmers I work with can get things working. BT protocol is kinda messed up, has been from the beginning. Even the authors state as much, but programming it to get simple device like a keyboard is not hard. Several mech keyboards for example can be retrofitted with bluetooth chips and get bluetooth functionality up and running within a day. Have you done any bluetooth programming, or are you just repeating what Waytools and others on the forum said?



    2. They haven’t gone to General Release yet - something they are honest about. Keys for Kids would logically come after General Release - there’s no point shipping incomplete products to kids. 

    Go back and read their marketing material (if it's still up). They said they will donate once they reached a quota (I believe it was 10,000). Certainly, they never said the donation may take over four years.


    3. I’ve never seen them silencing an account. I’ve been on the forum at least 2 years, maybe 3. If you sound like the $99 is causing you more stress than it should, they will refund you immediately, and give you a week to exercise the option to reinstate your order without losing your place in line. If someone is distressed about the money and doesn’t reinstate their order, then I’d say WayTools did the right thing in refunding them! 

    They don’t silence posts. Some people on the forums go on such a ridiculous tirade, that any mature adult will recognize that’s just BMW (bitching, moaning, whining). If you were to BMW amongst your friends who were having fun, they’d point it out to you and probably you’d snap out of it. Or you’d flush with embarrassment. I think that happens when someone gets called out on the forums for BMW. As it should. We are adults, and we should be called out on bad behaviour. 

    There’s nothing that makes the internet a cesspit more than the racist BS posted by “Anonymous Coward” on SlashDot. Done in real life, in public, there’d be stares of disapproval and others crossing to the other side of the street to avoid you and show you that such viewpoints are not acceptable. It doesn’t seem to work on the internet. 

    4. I’ve never seen a shadow ban, so kindly link to one as proof. I have seen people not staying on topic, and go off on a serious tangent. It’s seriously not fun to read those posts - and just like the racist posts on SlashDot, these posts even get upvotes?!?!? Where is the ban feauture you allude to? 


    Discourse, which is the forum software they use, has such features. Download a copy and look at the source code. You can set a user so he's unable to start a thread, and also you can limit him to just like a post and nothing more. If you're not able to read the code, just take a gander at the textblade subreddit. Most of the BMW'ers there were either force-cancelled or shadow-banned. A few still have their accounts, but can't say anything.

    Regarding anonymous posts, Taco has stated several times early on the merits of speaking anonymously, thus his reasons for keeping it, though the label is tongue-in-cheek. One of his reasons, IIRC, alluded to a rape victims forum where it was almost mandatory to be anonymous. Just because you think people who post anonymously just spits out racist BS and are of cesspit ilk doesn't mean there's no value. 

    5. WayTools isn’t pompous or arrogant. What I find is a startling lack of understanding of technology on the internet. So if they have to use an analogy for “new technology that is hard to develop and takes a long time to get right” then I think a comparison to Tesla is warranted. People “get” car development takes a long time. For some reason they don’t realize software development is far more difficult. 4 wheels and a motor is hard, but one that doesn’t drive you into parked fire trucks and concrete barriers, is at least 100 times harder. 
    What are you trying to say? Pomp and arrogance is the correct way to deal with people who are not that hip on technology? I don't know about you, but I've been on both sides of BOFH, and it never helps the situation. I can probably stomp on some people with what little tech know-how I have, but what does that accomplish, especially if those people were paying me, even more especially if I failed to deliver? I guess you don't see any arrogance on Waytools' part because you hate the same people Waytools abuse and/or think yourself much higher than them.


    6. You’re overlooking the many people who read the forums and don’t say anything. People who wait patiently. They comment when they feel they can add. Unsurprisingly, TREGgers have a lot to say about a keyboard on a keyboard forum, especially one that has become their favourite keyboard. It’s not a cult board. There are lots of participants from many walks of life, and when the topic is right, they say something. I didn’t even know there were pilots on the forum, until they commented on Boeing - in a post that was examining how Boeing had trouble with software. 
    I'm one of those who said almost nothing and waited for nearly two years. I wasn't one of the vociferous ones, either. But after another year of trying to get some simple questions answered, I got fed up. If the remaining people are so excited about their TBs, why not talk about it on geekhack or deskthority, rather than just singing to the choir? IMO, most of what you guys find amazing and revolutionary have all been done and discussed on those boards, possibly except for the size.




    svanstrom
  • Reply 43 of 1615
    Cool - I somehow thought that their letter predictions were tied to language, if not, then all the better!
    The sensors for reading each key generates a huge amount of permutations. I believe that it is patterns in these, rather than statistical analysis of the language itself, that has been analyzed. But as I said I'm not certain about the "how" it is done.
  • Reply 44 of 1615
    MgwlMgwl Posts: 11member
    It makes me kind of sad to read this article.

    I’ve been using a Nokia SU-8W folding keyboard for 12 years now, but it is starting to perform a bit shaky. Some keys suddenly goes unresponsive and certain sets of keys no longer works with the shift key (but still with caps lock and, luckily, with auto-correction).

    I haven’t heard about the Textblade before, but it sure seem like an intriguing product. I really would have loved to get my hands on one to replace the ageing Nokia, but with this kind of contradictionary reporting vs. comments I’m not really inclined to line up.

    It’s almost as if WayTools don’t want any customers. How can they show ”pallets of finished TextBlades” to AppleInsider when customers who pre-ordered the product years ago received none? Strange indeed. Maybe they’re striving for some kind of elitist approach to customer relationship?
    discokvnleeeh2svanstromarkorott
  • Reply 45 of 1615
    dpomdpom Posts: 1member
    I'm a tester and I've had the TextBlade for roughly two years.  I use it with an iPad, an Android Pixel 2 phone, and mostly with a Surface Pro.  It took a little while for WayTools to hammer out some of the early Bluetooth commumications issues but at least for me, they're all fixed.

    I've seen the TextBlade steadily improve in both function and reliability. It does take a little getting used to, but the effort is so worthwhile.  I've used it for emails, memos, complex Word documents, spreadsheets, and software development in Visual Studio/C#.  Here's a quick summary of the my experience:

    Typing is easier and far more comfortable.  Finger pressure is just right for me and the distance your fingers travel is short and effortless.  My hands don't cramp any more after a long bout of typing.

    Editing and cursor movement is built into the TextBlade software.  Hold down two keys with your left hand and move through the text with your right hand.  I can move through documents and emails by the character, word, or line, forward and backward and I can select, cut, copy, and paste the same way.  And it works the same across apps on a device and across devices.  I reach for the mouse a whole lot less than I used to.  More to the point, because editing becomes so quick and instinctive you can make corrections without losing your train of thought.

    How long to train yourself?  It takes a little work, maybe a week or so, but it's not long before you've reached parity with 'legacy' keyboards and it gets better and better after that.  And it goes with you to any device that has bluetooth.

    There's a lot of customization tools to alter the keyboard mapping, create macros, control key timing and behavior and features.  You can go nuts on it.  I don't.  The basic functions plus editing are enough to make this keyboard a rocketship compared to everything else.  The attention to detail and the quality that Waytools has put into the TextBlade is as good or better than any company anywhere.  Apple included. No kidding.

    Now let me address some of the comments on this article:
    Is it a toy?  This must be from someone who has never used it.  Totally uninformed.  Anyone who uses it for even an hour will know its a solid and practical device.

    Are Bluetooth communications flaky?  They were at the beginning.  Not any more.  It's more stable than my Logitech wireless mouse.

    Were there a lot of inane and frustrating explanations for delays?  You bet!  And a lot of frustrated people who ordered early, have not received a keyboard, and are posting angry comments to this article.  Keep in mind that full refunds were and are available at anytime, yet people stick around with pre-orders and continue to complain.  I understand they're disappointed because it really is an exciting product and they don't have it.  But that's no reflection on the product, which is superb, or the support the company provides for the products it has in the field.  It's a reflection of how the company has poorly handled the expectations of those people who pre-ordered and have not yet received the TextBlade, because it's been so long in development.

    To conflate a long testing period with vaporware is a huge mistake.  I'd sure rather Microsoft tested their updates better before pumping them out - I don't care HOW much I'm looking forward to the update.  Windows 8?  Windows Me?  The Edge browser?  Horrible. Ditto for half the software and hardware I use.  Most products are rushed to market because they're underfunded and investors are clamoring to make money.  Here's a company doing the right thing and taking their time to build a solid product, vetting it against a large and diverse testing group.  That is expensive and it's rare to see.

    I'm certain this will prove to be one of the finest consumer devices in many years.  Well worth the wait.
    edited April 2019 colinnggmadden
  • Reply 46 of 1615
    leeeh2leeeh2 Posts: 30member
    colinng said:
    3. Later in 2015, they went on a ridiculous tirade accusing any people asking questions about delays as being saboteurs working for imaginary competitors, force cancelling their orders and either silencing their account or shutting them down all together -- a practice they still practice today.


    4.

    3. I’ve never seen them silencing an account. I’ve been on the forum at least 2 years, maybe 3. If you sound like the $99 is causing you more stress than it should, they will refund you immediately, and give you a week to exercise the option to reinstate your order without losing your place in line. If someone is distressed about the money and doesn’t reinstate their order, then I’d say WayTools did the right thing in refunding them! 

    They don’t silence posts. Some people on the forums go on such a ridiculous tirade, that any mature adult will recognize that’s just BMW (bitching, moaning, whining). If you were to BMW amongst your friends who were having fun, they’d point it out to you and probably you’d snap out of it. Or you’d flush with embarrassment. I think that happens when someone gets called out on the forums for BMW. As it should. We are adults, and we should be called out on bad behaviour. 

    There’s nothing that makes the internet a cesspit more than the racist BS posted by “Anonymous Coward” on SlashDot. Done in real life, in public, there’d be stares of disapproval and others crossing to the other side of the street to avoid you and show you that such viewpoints are not acceptable. It doesn’t seem to work on the internet. 

    4. I’ve never seen a shadow ban, so kindly link to one as proof. I have seen people not staying on topic, and go off on a serious tangent. It’s seriously not fun to read those posts - and just like the racist posts on SlashDot, these posts even get upvotes?!?!? Where is the ban feauture you allude to? 

    As for refunds, see point #3. I feel most of the refunds are amply justified, though others may disagree. 
    I purchased a Textblade in the very beginning when it looked like they were selling a product. It by no means was advertised as a kickstarter. I think this was around March of 2015. 

    If you have been there only 2 years, you missed out in the early years. I will never buy anything ever from this company. I was most definitely shadow banned from the Waytools forum; I have an account, but I cannot post. I was demoted to “New User” and was refused the ability to post. Look for New Users and see if they post. I even still had an order in place. After the ban, I waited a patient year, and then I removed my order and got my prompt refund.

    While I was never forced to cancel my order, there are plenty of people that were forced to cancel for various reasons. 

    Do your own research before you buy, but I would recommend only buying when they have really released a product to the general public if you just have to have it. 
    svanstrom
  • Reply 47 of 1615
    ericpeets said:
    First of all, bluetooth issue is only the latest excuse by Waytools, something they've been milking for close a year now, to justify their never-ending delays. Previously, there were changes to the butterfly switch mechanism, software changes, paint changes on the keys, molding changes, firmware changes, changes to accommodate new Bluetooth versions, new IOS version, etc. etc -- all of which came after the fact.

    Waytools promised to donate $1 million worth of their keyboards to schools. A promised they failed to keep, never mentioning it again.

    those who dare to complain or ask tough questions will end up being shadow-banned or having your entire order cancelled.

    the forums are now left with only handful of the aligned who continually heap praises on Waytools and the wonders of the Textblade.

    It wasn't like that in the beginning. Early on, there were many gadgeteers and keyboard fanatics who provided lively discussions about interesting topics, but they all got fed up or were force-cancelled by Waytools.
    Yep, there have been a series of problems discovered by Treg testers. Listed in updates by WayTools. While there may be legitimate arguments (opinions) about whether it should ship now or not, those of us in Treg from the start know that there were too many problems then, even if WT didn't realize it until we started our testing. Even a treg tester who didn't have a problem would have seen the reports of others who did and thus know there were too many.

    There is nothing wrong with the school donation. They said $1,000,000 to qualify to ship to selected schools - but they were NEVER going to ship until the product was released. They reached their goal in the just two days after announcement in January 2015. Shipping was NEVER going to begin until later. Sure, it has been much later than expected, but the point is, the facts don't support a claim they aren't keeping that promise.

    I believe some have claimed to have been shadow-banned. Maybe they have. But I also see people making that claim who then describe something that isn't shadow banning at all! With a few exceptions though, I've always agreed that WT has been too thin-skinned about criticism. As for canceled orders, I've also felt some of those weren't really justified. But here's the rather important thing you left out: They were also given the opportunity to re-order AND keep their place in line. There were plenty of cases with people claiming WT was a ripoff or fake, etc. Well, IF they really believe that, why on earth would they keep their order? I think WT was making that point - and if the more outlandish complainers didn't really believe their own attack rhetoric, then reordering would prove they didn't.

    There were certainly lively discussions. And some seriously dishonest ones. Like all those who falsely accused me of working for WT or of even being the owner of the company! And of always defending WT. Yet I have - and continue to - simply defended them from the made-up or provably false attacks while also criticizing them where it is appropriate (like failure to provide updates they said we would get at a certain time).

    People who make up stuff about those who dare disagree with them probably don't really deserve to be on any discussion board. But I've also said I would never ask for any of those who attacked me to be removed. Just insisted upon the right to respond.

    Btw, there are still people criticizing WT on the forums - usually not in very nasty ways though. That's a good thing. And there are people who criticized WT quite a bit who are now in Treg. So, no, it isn't just a cheering section.
    colinng
  • Reply 48 of 1615
    one-off said:
    Unsurprisingly, Waytools seems to choose only vocal fans to be testers.

    They put my account "temporarily on hold as a precautionary measure until your post can be reviewed" almost a year ago after years of forum participation

    I'm a developer of firmware and embedded software with over 40 years of keyboard use.  I frequently use portable keyboards.  I volunteered to test this product 3 years ago and followed up with email.  I would be probably be a better tester than most, but since I'm not active on the forums defending the company's unapologetic delays in pursuit of absolute perfection at the expense of customer respect, I'm sure I'll never be sent a test unit.
    First paragraph is simply wrong. Some were chosen who either never posted or almost never did. And some have not posted since being selected. But, of course, my position is that if one is lucky enough to be chosen, they sort of owe it to others to give their experiences.

    Next, I read your post. And went back and read a number of other posts since one can never be sure if it was an older post they had an issue with. I didn't read them all, but I did work backwards a fair amount. Personally, I didn't see anything worth banning for. Not even close. Of course, I don't know if you said anything to them in private correspondence. But as I have said, I do think they are sometimes too thin-skinned.

    As for your testing experience, you may well be better than most. But WT already has people with this kind of tech experience. It just turned out that quite ordinary people, with different use cases and no doubt different physical characteristics when typing found as many problems - possibly more - than those with the better credentials. As I've said before, some level of randomness can be a good thing in this case. Most customers are going to be ordinary people so good to test with a lot of them.

    Let me give an example I had which led to a pretty noteworthy change in the app for things you can change on the TB.

    At first, I kept getting "*&" instead of " th" (that leading space matters). Thought the TB was just giving crazy results until I realized the space was missing every time this happened and thus why a word like "with" would never have the problem, but a word like, "that" would.

    Since I use dvorak, the "th" on he main layer is the same position as "*&" on the green layer (obtained when you hold down the space bar longer). WT had done a lot of research on how long people hold the space bar, but I was tending to hold it, in this particular combo, MUCH longer. So instead of interpreting the space as a space, it was interpreting it as wanting the green layer. Solution was to give us filters to adjust the setting for this and some other layers. Interestingly, while I needed to set it slower, others needed to set it faster. WT's own human testing just never was big enough to find it - plus they probably wouldn't find it if it was a qwerty user instead.

    People (including WT at some level previously) just don't realize the many different characteristics that can come up in typing. Things that don't matter when every character has it's own key cap. But those things become very complicated when they are combined.

    I won't go into them now (though if some want me too, I can certainly give some examples).

  • Reply 49 of 1615
    discokvn said:
    i got unbanned (which shows that it does happen), made one post, which again they didn't like because it was critical, and again got banned.

    Be fair. In your very first response after getting unbanned, you wrote:

    >i know i can request a refund, blah, blah, blah, but i'm not going, and don't want to, if only to be burr in the side

    Saying you are going to be a burr in their side isn't going to get you a warm welcome after being banned already! I sure didn't appreciate it since you were someone I had advocated not being banned.

    Would I have banned you for what you said above? Nope. But it still wasn't an appropriate response.
  • Reply 50 of 1615
    colinngcolinng Posts: 116member
    ericpeets said:

    Programming bluetooth is not hard. Even junior programmers I work with can get things working. BT protocol is kinda messed up, has been from the beginning. Even the authors state as much, but programming it to get simple device like a keyboard is not hard. Several mech keyboards for example can be retrofitted with bluetooth chips and get bluetooth functionality up and running within a day. Have you done any bluetooth programming, or are you just repeating what Waytools and others on the forum said?
    In the forums, they disclosed that the vendor-supplied stack was insufficient. Also the OS vendor stacks had bugs that they had to work around. Also, I haven't seen anyone support 6 (or 12) jumps with a single radio. Others support multiple pairings by using multiple radios - not good for battery life, cost, nor portability. 

    Doing "Bluetooth" has never been hard. Perhaps that is why so many products ship with such shoddy quality. And perhaps why Logitech still ships products with their own dongle. Nobody wanted to put in the effort to make it work as "it should". One of the first to get Bluetooth headphones right - was Apple, with AirPods. 
    Discourse, which is the forum software they use, has such features. Download a copy and look at the source code. You can set a user so he's unable to start a thread, and also you can limit him to just like a post and nothing more. If you're not able to read the code, just take a gander at the textblade subreddit. Most of the BMW'ers there were either force-cancelled or shadow-banned. A few still have their accounts, but can't say anything.

    Regarding anonymous posts, Taco has stated several times early on the merits of speaking anonymously, thus his reasons for keeping it, though the label is tongue-in-cheek. One of his reasons, IIRC, alluded to a rape victims forum where it was almost mandatory to be anonymous. Just because you think people who post anonymously just spits out racist BS and are of cesspit ilk doesn't mean there's no value. 
    Yes, you pointed out one special case where anonymity is important. But Slashdot does not fit that case. Anonymity has allowed it to become a cesspool filled with racist vitriol. 


    5. WayTools isn’t pompous or arrogant. What I find is a startling lack of understanding of technology on the internet. So if they have to use an analogy for “new technology that is hard to develop and takes a long time to get right” then I think a comparison to Tesla is warranted. People “get” car development takes a long time. For some reason they don’t realize software development is far more difficult. 4 wheels and a motor is hard, but one that doesn’t drive you into parked fire trucks and concrete barriers, is at least 100 times harder. 
    What are you trying to say? Pomp and arrogance is the correct way to deal with people who are not that hip on technology? I don't know about you, but I've been on both sides of BOFH, and it never helps the situation. I can probably stomp on some people with what little tech know-how I have, but what does that accomplish, especially if those people were paying me, even more especially if I failed to deliver? I guess you don't see any arrogance on Waytools' part because you hate the same people Waytools abuse and/or think yourself much higher than them.
    I think what I wrote was pretty clear. "WayTools isn’t pompous or arrogant." They aren't. Quite the opposite. They've never encouraged arrogance, and every time I've grown to be more caring and less standoffish, they've encouraged my growth in that direction. 

    Yes, they use analogies. No, they don't think they're hotshots. When they mention Tesla, it's an analogy. Like I said "new technology that is hard to develop and takes a long time to get right". Most people are aware of how long Tesla's efforts have been. How long people have waited for a Model 3, etc. How the Teslas have software issues, and how hard they are to correct. And that they are diligently being worked on. I think it's a good analogy. 


    6. You’re overlooking the many people who read the forums and don’t say anything. People who wait patiently. They comment when they feel they can add. Unsurprisingly, TREGgers have a lot to say about a keyboard on a keyboard forum, especially one that has become their favourite keyboard. It’s not a cult board. There are lots of participants from many walks of life, and when the topic is right, they say something. I didn’t even know there were pilots on the forum, until they commented on Boeing - in a post that was examining how Boeing had trouble with software. 
    I'm one of those who said almost nothing and waited for nearly two years. I wasn't one of the vociferous ones, either. But after another year of trying to get some simple questions answered, I got fed up. If the remaining people are so excited about their TBs, why not talk about it on geekhack or deskthority, rather than just singing to the choir? IMO, most of what you guys find amazing and revolutionary have all been done and discussed on those boards, possibly except for the size.
    I assure you, it's not been done. A cursory look through the WayTools forums reveals so many different aficionados who have tried every new keyboard that has been announced. For myself, I couldn't be bothered. I have TextBlade and nothing else comes close. The original author says, even with whatever issues he has encountered, whatever delays, it's the best portable keyboard. 

    Hoo boy, probably great waste of time, but here goes...
    While taking the time to correct a wrong thought is time-consuming, it certainly is not a waste of time. If everyone took the time and care to correct the anti-vaccination propaganda every time they heard it, we wouldn't have Measles outbreaks. 

    The development of vaccines was hard work. We squander that effort away when we don't defend what is good. 

    I feel that people slandering WayTools is unfair, unwarranted, and simply unjust. The WayTools team are kind, thoughtful folks. They are diligent, and really care about how you use your keyboard, and much more. 
    edited April 2019 gmadden
  • Reply 51 of 1615
    ericpeets said:
    If the remaining people are so excited about their TBs, why not talk about it on geekhack or deskthority, rather than just singing to the choir? IMO, most of what you guys find amazing and revolutionary have all been done and discussed on those boards, possibly except for the size.

    Well, I didn't talk about it on those sites partly because I never heard of those sites. Second, regardless of their existence, it makes perfectly good sense to post at WayTools. Though it would help if it was easier for people to find the forums on their site. It sure isn't obvious.

    Third, we are posting here now that we know there was a story about the TextBlade.

    Fourth, I checked out those sites, searching for TextBlade. They are all old threads, though it would probably be good to have someone post there when the TB is released.

    I'll also add that of the considerable number of posts I read at geekhack, I found them to be rather well thought-out - both their analysis of what the tech does and how complicated it must be as well as their criticisms. But better than what I saw from a good number of critics on the the WayTools forum or on Reddit.

    A good contrast was a claim someone made about how some Chinese company would rip it off in months and sell it cheaper (a common claim once made on the WayTools forum. But in this case, another person pointed out the flaw in that argument. Without being in Treg, he could tell that it wasn't a matter of the hardware, but the copy problem would be in the software. So, even if they copied the hardware, the Chinese would be very unlikely to be able to come up with software to make it work well. So any buyers would get a device which probably wouldn't work well AND would not have tech support.

    Obviously some very thoughtful people over there. Just based on many of their posts, I'd choose a lot of them for Treg in a heartbeat because they think and analyze well.

  • Reply 52 of 1615
    A number of us with TREG units have not been active commenters on this site, but you can see our consistent activity on the WayTools forums. Said another way: these are just fake accounts created by one person to shill a product.

    The WayTools forum is at forumDOTwaytoolsDOTcom
    They are not.
    Yes, sorry. That was a typo. I intended to say "Said another way: these are not just fake accounts created by one person to shill a product."
  • Reply 53 of 1615
    mimsmims Posts: 23member
    For those of you defending WayTools, recognize that you have the product. Those of us that are complaining are upset because we don't have the product. You can tell us how wonderful it is (and we do indeed believe you), but when we ask honest questions in the forums, we get banned. I've seen people get their orders forcibly canceled by WayTools from forum comments. We've been strung along for 4 years after ordering a product that was supposed to ship in a month. We have not gotten any proactive communication from WayTools. Yes, I can search their forums for updates, but I shouldn't have to. They should communicate with me. And they promise updates that never post. 

    As a side note, I wrote to MacRumors 3 years after my initial order. Their article was the one that enticed me to place the order. This is the response that I got from one of their editors: 
    I know that WayTools has been sending out test units to people on their forums, but other than that, I haven't heard that they're any closer to a shipping date. I think what happened with the TextBlade is regrettable -- I saw a working test unit in 2015, but here, three years later, the product hasn't shipped. 

    We cut ties with them completely in early 2016 and we won't be covering the TextBlade again in the future. I highly recommend getting a refund from WayTools if you pre-ordered a TextBlade unless you don't mind waiting indefinitely. 
    When the product launches (if it ever does), I'll probably order one. From Amazon. Once it's in stock. 
    arkorottericpeetsalexonlineleeeh2
  • Reply 54 of 1615
    Some facts from WayTools that may be helpful -


    1. Refunds

    Refunds can be done by a customer online, at any time, in about a minute.  No calls or emails are needed.  It’s all automated on our servers 24 X 7.

    If a customer voices any concern about their order, we refund them to resolve it in good faith, as all companies should do.

    If they’d rather keep an order, they’re welcome to reorder within a week, and we will restore their priority date and benefits.  

    We do ask them to confirm they’re comfortable with the nature of this work, and know the date won’t be certain until we’ve expanded shipping to general release.

    Mr. Mims has characterized this refund policy as ‘forcibly canceled’.  You can discern for yourself if his statement is truthful.


    2. Forum Posting

    TextBlade forum is for customers to share their experiences and thoughts on the product, and related topics.

    The forum server has trust levels based on user activity.   The moderators administer this level based on simple standards.

    If a poster knowingly publishes false information, their trust level is reduced.  If it’s chronic, they can’t post.

    The objective is to allow free and productive discourse, without denial of service attacks, deliberate misinformation campaigns, or hate speech.

    This works really well, and lets anyone learn or provide useful info on a clear channel.  There’s criticism, praise, insight, facts, and ideas.  It’s productive.

    But moderating this takes a lot of work, which is not usually practical on general fora like a publication, or a watering hole discussion board like reddit.

    That’s why misinformation agents usually target such fora, which often devolve into unproductive verbal ping pong or hate chatter.


    3. Principles

    Mr. Mims is an intelligent man who knows all this quite well.

    Contrary to his characterization, he has had more than 10 email exchanges with WayTools Support, where all of this was discussed in depth with many thousands of words of personal response from us to accommodate his extensive and detailed queries.

    Mr Mims knows that chronic misinformation is precisely what reduces posting rights.  And yet he has characterized our response as an unreasonable ban.

    He understands well how nuance and the turn of a phrase can bolster, or misrepresent the truth, and he has a good command of language.

    We’re not confident in the paraphrasing or quotations from Mr. Mims, because of the many conflicting points he’s presented directly to us.

    We can say however, that if he sent such chronic conduct to any editor, a very rational response would be to encourage him to take a refund so as to end the conversation.

    We encouraged him to take a refund, and he did.

    Given all this, we also can’t reconcile why he’d ever want to buy our product on amazon, since it’s made by the very same firm that he works so hard to disparage.

    Whether a person has a purpose for their narrative, other than just to genuinely enjoy the product - that is unfathomable for us.  

    We simply accept that there are different interests in the world, and we withdraw from transacting where there’s conflict.

    The reader can decide their own logical case for what they feel is reasonable engagement by manufacturers and customers.





    gmaddenMasteroftheobviouscolinng
  • Reply 55 of 1615
    mims said:
    For those of you defending WayTools, recognize that you have the product. Those of us that are complaining are upset because we don't have the product. You can tell us how wonderful it is (and we do indeed believe you), but when we ask honest questions in the forums, we get banned. I've seen people get their orders forcibly canceled by WayTools from forum comments.
    I understand the frustration, but most of what I have written (and other testers) is simply factual information and our own hands on experience.

    And many of us have clearly expressed disagreement with WT, notably about communication. So it isn't specifically about "defending" WT.

    Whether someone has the TB or not, the facts are the same. The difference would only lie in our direct experience with it. To take an example from another forum, it could go like this:

    Poster: "I think the vertical distance between characters being so small that it could cause many typos."

    Perfectly rational opinion, based on facts. To which I could respond with:

    "My 4 years using the TextBlade has shown almost no problem like that, after a period of adjustment, though there can be some, especially if your fingers tend to drift (as one of mine does). But it is only occasional and I'm hoping the release version will add a boundary to help with that particular character pair".

    The original poster could still be annoyed at the delays, but this particular concern would have been covered with my (and others) actual experience.

    We also have not forgotten what it was like when we were waiting. But, of course, it is much more pleasant to actually have it.

    As for the "force" cancellations (and I've read WT response), I somewhat disagree with both. I can see your description - it was canceled, and not by you. But the problem there is that you don't explain how people not only can order again but ALSO keep their place in line. That is no small thing! Even if the cancellation still annoys you.

    I also don't particularly agree with NOT calling it a forced cancellation, even with that caveat. Personally, I can accept your use of the word as long as the full story is included. And WT knows my opinion on some of those refunds. Some attacks have been pretty darn nasty - and not true - so I can see those. But not all of them.

    I've posted my disagreements on their forums. I just don't get nasty about it. And I try to see BOTH sides.


  • Reply 56 of 1615
    arkorottarkorott Posts: 100member
    Let's straighten the facts a little out of the Distortion Field:

    1- The "product" has not shipped. A very limited number of hand picked testers does not constitute that a product has launched and is shipping. NOBODY else outside of this (small) hand picked Free Quality Assurance Group (aka TREG) got theirs, despite they were paid for YEARS ago. 

    2- The "product" might be great, or not. We just do not know because we have not received ours. We just rely on what a few of the TREG evangelists (that WayTools has asked to post here) say. After the 2015 review this is the next review. That 4 year gap alone is telling.

    3- WayTools team member in charge of the forums is a bully. Whenever somebody mildly or not so mildly, questions, makes negative comments,  or demands an explanation they get "force refunded" (another WayTools invention), and banned for the forums. Sometimes even their posts get deleted. Mind you that some of these complaints are made in the rants section. Some of the comments are out of line, true, but not all of them. I would say not even half of them would get banned elsewhere.

    4- The communication of the product status has deteriorated dramatically as time progressed. Updates were very frequent and professionally made, then monthly, then quarterly, twice a year, a few posts here and there, and then nothing. If you take the time to check the forums for the past several months you will find a lot of activity from the "TREGGERS" and WayTools on: cooktops, helmets, help desk support for Dabigkahuna's Mac, and even bad taste (and uninformed) posts by Waytools on the Boeing 737 Max crashes, comments on Apple, Tesla, etc, but almost nil info on their actual product other than "working on a code fork". No dates, no timetables, no details whatsoever while at the same time WayTools has a ton of time to make dozens of inane posts per day on every other inconceivable and unrelated topic. 

    5- Waytools team member in charge of the forums is arrogant, entitled and self centered that looks down on the rest. Dude, chill out. You have still accomplished nothing as you have not launched anything yet. Stop mistreating your loyal waiting customers when they only want to receive the product they were promised (and paid for) 4+ years ago.

    6- Everybody still hopes they will eventually ship, but I guess nobody would be surprised if the TextBlade never does. Nobody is holding their breath any longer after 4 years. If you have not ordered, I would advice to keep your money until they launch for real.

    7- The first few posts accusing this to be VAPORWARE are true until they are proven wrong with the actual product launch.

    (BTW, feels awesome to be able to speak your mind without fear of WayTools reprisals, petty as they are)
    edited April 2019 ericpeetsalexonlineleeeh2
  • Reply 57 of 1615

    Dear Waytools:

    Some facts from WayTools that may be helpful -


    1. Refunds

    Refunds can be done by a customer online, at any time, in about a minute.  No calls or emails are needed.  It’s all automated on our servers 24 X 7.
    If a customer voices any concern about their order, we refund them to resolve it in good faith, as all companies should do.
    If they’d rather keep an order, they’re welcome to reorder within a week, and we will restore their priority date and benefits.  
    We do ask them to confirm they’re comfortable with the nature of this work, and know the date won’t be certain until we’ve expanded shipping to general release.
    Mr. Mims has characterized this refund policy as ‘forcibly canceled’.  You can discern for yourself if his statement is truthful.

    I feel your refund process is quick and efficient. Except in many cases email exchange is needed because years may have passed between order placement and cancellation, so the address could have changed and/or credit card may have been replaced. Other than that, your online automated seems to work well, according to a few of my colleagues.

    2. Forum Posting

    TextBlade forum is for customers to share their experiences and thoughts on the product, and related topics.
    The forum server has trust levels based on user activity.   The moderators administer this level based on simple standards.
    If a poster knowingly publishes false information, their trust level is reduced.  If it’s chronic, they can’t post.
    The objective is to allow free and productive discourse, without denial of service attacks, deliberate misinformation campaigns, or hate speech.
    This works really well, and lets anyone learn or provide useful info on a clear channel.  There’s criticism, praise, insight, facts, and ideas.  It’s productive.
    But moderating this takes a lot of work, which is not usually practical on general fora like a publication, or a watering hole discussion board like reddit.
    That’s why misinformation agents usually target such fora, which often devolve into unproductive verbal ping pong or hate chatter.

    Yes, yes. I think the vast majority of users on your forum know how forums in general (not fora, by the way) operate -- they know how they work, what the purpose is, and the gotcha's. If you're implying that your forum is special or unique, I assure you it's not. Virtually every company has one, especially ones making products, for which they want customer feedback, troubleshoot, etc.

    Note: AWS has mechanisms to thwart DOS attacks, as does most bandwidth providers these days. I don't know why anyone (even the most frustrated ones) would want to DOS your forum, but perhaps you can cross that one off your list of worries.


    3. Principles

    Mr. Mims is an intelligent man who knows all this quite well.
    Contrary to his characterization, he has had more than 10 email exchanges with WayTools Support, where all of this was discussed in depth with many thousands of words of personal response from us to accommodate his extensive and detailed queries.
    Mr Mims knows that chronic misinformation is precisely what reduces posting rights.  And yet he has characterized our response as an unreasonable ban.
    He understands well how nuance and the turn of a phrase can bolster, or misrepresent the truth, and he has a good command of language.
    We’re not confident in the paraphrasing or quotations from Mr. Mims, because of the many conflicting points he’s presented directly to us.
    We can say however, that if he sent such chronic conduct to any editor, a very rational response would be to encourage him to take a refund so as to end the conversation.
    We encouraged him to take a refund, and he did.
    Given all this, we also can’t reconcile why he’d ever want to buy our product on amazon, since it’s made by the very same firm that he works so hard to disparage.
    Whether a person has a purpose for their narrative, other than just to genuinely enjoy the product - that is unfathomable for us.  
    We simply accept that there are different interests in the world, and we withdraw from transacting where there’s conflict.
    The reader can decide their own logical case for what they feel is reasonable engagement by manufacturers and customers.
    Yes, maybe Mr. Mims has abused his forum posting privileges many times. You may be perfectly in the right in what you did. But your defense would have been much more succinct, even poignant without the snide side-swipes.

    But let's face it, this is not the first time you made snide remarks that borders just between insinuating to downright accusatory to those who paid you good money in good faith over the years. Nor will it be the last, because it's a pattern. And though it'd be irritating even in a normal, regular conversations, because the forum is your primary channel of communication it speaks volumes. What's this, you may say. Where's proof, you may ask. Look no further than your own forum, starting March 15 in a thread entitled: Order delayed four times now; no explanation provided in blog, twitter, etc. In that one thread alone, you accuse (in words that falls just below accusatory threshold) no less than four members of being either shills, spies or saboteurs of some competing company, bent on disrupting your work or ripping off your IP. If you had just looked outside your myopic forum world, you'd see that some of them were regular posters on places like geekhack and deskthority and other keyboard enthusiast sites. They even stated thusly during the conversation.

    I'll save you some trouble (it's a really long thread) and give you examples of what was posted by various members:

    spamray: "I think most of us readers aren't commenting because we don't want to be falsely accused of being something we are not by a forum admin who is clearly not suited for the job.I was an early adopter and really want this product but not if this is how customers will be treated."

    spicebar: "You (Waytools) are still using double language. While you are coming close to saying that I'm working for another company and try to sabotage your product by posting here, you don't dare to say it clearly. I think we need arbitration now. I would really like someone else at your company to have a look at this thread and give me his or her opinion. Then I'll move on, because what I really care about is the TextBlade.Who can I contact at WayTools for this? If you don't want to post the email address here, maybe you can send it to me by personal message? Seriously. I want to end this in an honorable way. I love this product."

    dicharre: "WayTools Team "PR" person, I think you need to take a day off. It's obvious that you're hot and bothered and ill suited to representing your company in this state. I'm just glad you work for a specialty keyboard manufacturer and not the NSA."

    shillem: "Dude, I'm a fan of your company, you can tell by my post. But I am not a fan of the way you're treating me right now."

    I'm not quoting the posts by Waytools, to which they're posting, because 1) they're weirdly worded using dubious vocabulary; 2) on some not sure where their vitriol is aimed at, and so 3) they can easily be taken out of context, and 3) so they should be read from the beginning. I sincerely urge you to go back and review them and see if your character assassinations were in the right, or not.

    And note that it doesn't end there, that style of rhetoric continues to this day. It may even stretch to earlier days, but that's around the time I ordered, so I was curious to see what was in the comments. I must remind you again, this is your primary, corporate channel of communication with people who have given you good money, most of them thinking that you will start mass production and shipping was imminent, because that's what you said.

    My apologies to AI readers for the long post. Just wanted to provide an addendum to a well-written article.
    arkorottalexonlineleeeh2
  • Reply 58 of 1615
    ericpeets said:

    I think the vast majority of users on your forum know how forums in general (not fora, by the way) operate

    Yes, maybe Mr. Mims has abused his forum posting privileges many times. You may be perfectly in the right in what you did. But your defense would have been much more succinct, even poignant without the snide side-swipes.
    Why are you making an issue about "fora" vs "forums"? Especially when you write later, as quoted above, complaining about "side-swipes"?

    The fact is, BOTH spellings are correct and Waytools has used both themselves. As a Latin word, "fora" would be the original correct form. But language changes over time and so this Latin word has become anglicized in the plural by many people. So both are considered acceptable.

    That silly sniping, and worse, tended to follow most of WayTools updates until some people were banned.
  • Reply 59 of 1615


    Given all this, we also can’t reconcile why he’d ever want to buy our product on amazon, since it’s made by the very same firm that he works so hard to disparage.

    Buying only if it becomes available through Amazon was mentioned more than once.

    It means Mr. Mims likes your product, but don't want to deal with you. And I agree with him.

    Which part do you not get?
    alexonlineTextBladeDenied
  • Reply 60 of 1615
    We’ll let the reader compare our prior post alongside the one above, to judge whose tone is the bully.

    On our forum, we got flame posts from the day we announced.  At that time, their assertion was that TextBlade was just CGI and didn’t actually exist. They don’t say that anymore.

    A fascinating phenomenon we learned then, was that without identity vetting, a single individual would spawn 5 fake id’s, and then corroborate his own points via his alter egos.

    He would either agree with himself, or alternatively at first argue, to get cred, and then ultimately concede to being enlightened, and concur on the ‘real truth’.

    These were systematically presented as facts, often in authoritative tones, and all from anonymous pseudonyms.  Often, id’s were created just minutes after the first burner id was confronted with their contradictions. 

    Some of these folks turned out to work for competitors, and some were just haters who just like to knock anything hopeful and good.

    But the common thread was to speak on behalf of others, and to try to control their individual choices.  To advise them what to do.  That was always the target.

    And these preemptive hits began before the journey had even begun.  Before there were any of the inevitable hiccups and screwups along the way to making something great.  Before a single shipment had any delay at all.  So obviously, there’s been more at play here than the entirely reasonable frustration of waiting for the thing we all want.

    The anonymous chaff was a hassle, but it made us realize that we had indeed touched a nerve.  People don’t talk about stuff that no one cares about.  But they can really get up into a lather about the stuff of consequence.

    The thing we built clearly had a lot of power to change things, and there were some folks who feared it enough to try to block it.  But when there’s merit, eventually it gets known.  And it breaks through.  And that has happened here, as we shipped customers in the test release group.

    To cut through some of the spin about ‘4 years between reviews’ here’s the short strokes -

    - We announced in 2015.  Macrumors wrote about it then, before anyone had it.

    - We started shipping some customers in 2016 to test it, and kept ramping it up.

    - Over the last 36 months we’ve shipped hundreds to customers, and they’ve used them extensively to prove it out and refine it.

    - There have already been close to a hundred written reviews posted by paying customers who give TextBlade a hardcore workout daily.

    - During this time, we didn’t do any promotion, or contact any journalists. We instead focused on working to refine it with customers.

    - At the end of 2018, William contacted us.  He asked to give it a go personally.  So we let him do it.

    - After a few months using it, he wanted to write about it.  So he did.  And he likes it.  Which is exactly what we want to see for every customer.

    - So that brings us to today, in 2019.  3 years of real world testing done by a lot of real customers, and their reviews.  More than most amazon review pages.

    So the only thing that’s ‘telling’ here is how this reality, somehow got spun up into ‘no reviews for 4 years’.  Reality is quite different from spin.

    ‘Distortion’ was a very apt title.

    Masteroftheobviouscolinng
This discussion has been closed.