Filco Majestouch-2 Hakua review: a chalk-white keyboard with MX Silent Red switches

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Hakua. It means ‘search’ in Finnish, but it also means ‘chalk’ in Japanese. It’s also the name of Filco’s latest mechanical keyboard. The Hakua is a chalk-white version of the legendary Majestouch-2, and it really is a stunner. This particular Hakua keyboard has a secret too: it’s got Cherry’s brand new MX Silent Red switches. Let’s take a closer look (and a listen!) in our hands-on review.

Design

Despite the new colour, the overall design hasn’t changed since the original Majestouch-2. You’re still getting a rock-solid mechanical keyboard, with a plate-mounted PCB and light ABS keycaps that provide a blissful typing experience. The layout is completely standard, and the keycaps are inscribed with Futura legends. Both full-size and TKL (tenkeyless) versions are available; I’m looking at the full format version at the moment.

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The Hakua’s clean, modern aesthetic makes it the centre of attention on any desk. It looks brilliant as it is, but I’m also going to predict that this will become one of the most popular keyboards for customisation as well. Whether by changing the fascia or adding custom keycaps, these Hakua keyboards seem like the perfect starting point for anyone that wants to set their keyboard apart from the crowd.

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The bottom of the keyboard is also white, in case you were wondering, and includes the usual movable feet to angle your keyboard how you want.

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The non-removable USB cable also comes with a white-and-pink velcro tie to keep it nicely bundled up while you’re on the move. Finally, the keyboard comes with a USB-to-PS2 adapter and a clear plastic cover that will keep it dust-free.

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Testing

I used the Filco Hakua for one week as our go-to mechanical keyboard (fighting off a lot of opposition, let me tell you!). After using smaller 60%-size and TKL keyboards for a long time, it was a breath of fresh air to return to a full, completely standard layout.

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The new switches were a lot of fun too. They’re just as light as MX Red switches, at 45 grams, but rubbery TPE built into the switch provides sound dampening on both the upstroke and the downstroke. That makes for an incredibly quiet mechanical keyboard, which produces deeper tones compared to the normal clatter of a mechanical keyboard. If you work in an office and you’re worried about annoying your coworkers, then these are the switches that you should be getting.

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A side effect of the dampening on the downstroke is that you get a slightly ‘cushioned’ feeling, similar to typing on a Topre electro-capacitive keyboard. I found this quite nice, but as always it will be a matter of taste. Try it for yourself and let us know what you think!

You can listen to the keyboard here:

Links

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The Filco Majestouch-2 Hakua is available now at The Keyboard Company, in full-size and TKL layouts. So far just American / ANSI layouts are available, but you do get choice of MX Brown or new MX Silent Red switches. To see more information or to get one for yourself, check out the product pages linked below:

Wrapping up

Thanks for checking out the article, and be sure to let us know what you think of the new keyboards in the comments below. I’ve certainly enjoyed my time with them, and I’m sure you will too!

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Topre keyboards in EU / ISO layouts in stock now!

Topre Realforce keyboards in exclusive EU layouts are now in stock at The Keyboard Company! Here are the latest arrivals.

Full-size Topre keyboards

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The Topre Realforce 105UB is a luxurious full-size keyboard, offering perfectly smooth electro-capacitive switches and a complete layout with number pad. These keyboards are weighted at a uniform 45 grams, and are available in a range of colours and layouts.

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Tenkeyless Topre keyboards

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These space-saving keyboards omit the numberpad, allowing for easier portability and more comfortable mouse positioning. They’re also available in both light and dark colour schemes, in various layouts:

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Wrapping up

Of course, these aren’t the only Topre keyboards we have! The new Topre Realforce RGB gaming keyboard is in stock now (review coming soon!) and you can look at our full range of Topre keyboards.

Thanks for checking out the article, and be sure to let us know what you think of the new keyboards. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below or write to us on Twitter @keyboardco. Thanks again and enjoy the rest of your day!

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Pick up our Contour keyboard & mouse bundle at 10% off!

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The Contour RollerMouse is one of our favourite ergonomic inventions; a rolling mouse replacement that sits below your keyboard, allowing you to mouse around the screen without moving your hands out of your ‘home row’ position. It’s super comfortable to use, and it feels more efficient too — we even use these in our offices!

The new Rollermouse Free3 has arrived at The Keyboard Company, and for a limited time we’re offering it as part of a bundle with the Counter Balance Keyboard at £30 off! Let’s take a closer look.

Shop for the Counter RollerMouse Free3 + Balance Keyboard Bundle >

The new RollerMouse Free3

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The RollerMouse Free3 is a sleeker, refined version of previous RollerMouse input devices. The Free3 is equipped with nine buttons, giving you left click and right click plus seven programmable buttons. There’s also an integrated scroll wheel, making it easy to move throughout the page.

The Free3 includes a new type of sensor beneath the rollerbar, allowing you to move the cursor on screen more precisely. This is great for any program with a complex interface, like Photoshop or Microsoft Word. Accuracy and cursor speed have also been improved, as you’re now able to set the pointer between 800 and 2800 DPI.

The Free3 is more comfortable than its predecessors too, thanks to an integrated wrist-rest with plenty of padding. The fully open rollerbar is also more stable, giving you room to move accomodating different shoulder widths. It’s also the lowest profile RollerMouse ever, allowing you to maintain an ergonomic position more easily. It also meshes extremely well with the Balance keyboard, which is why we’re offering these two new products in one bundle at a 10% discount!

Shop for the Counter RollerMouse Free3 + Balance Keyboard Bundle >

I personally loved the RollerMouse when I reviewed it in 2015, and I can’t wait to spend more time with the new version. Now, let’s move onto the other half of the bundle: the Contour Balance Wireless Keyboard!

The new Contour Balance Wireless Keyboard

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If you’re looking for the perfect keyboard to pair with your RollerMouse, then this may be it. The Contour Balance is designed to put your hands in the most comfortable typing and mousing position. Adjustable legs and tilt options make it easy to adopt an ergonomic posture, with options for negative, neutral and positive typing angles — unlike almost other keyboards on the market today.

The keyboard connects wirelessly to the included USB dongle, and can run for several months on just two AAA batteries. When not in use, you can keep the dongle within the keyboard itself, so you’ll never lose it. This keyboard doesn’t even need an on/off switch, thanks to its advanced power-saving technology.

All in all, it’s a solid keyboard that works great with the RollerMouse Free3. For more information and photos of both, please check out our store link below!

Shop for the Counter RollerMouse Free3 + Balance Keyboard Bundle >

Wrapping up

That’s all for now. Thanks for checking out the article, and be sure to let us know what you think of the bundle in the comments below!

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Left-handed Keypad Keyboard review

 

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Left-handed keyboards are a rarity, even for left-handed people… and that’s a shame. Beyond just being better-suited for southpaws, left-handed keyboards actually have a whole host of benefits for right-handers as well. Today, we’re looking at one such Left-handed Keyboard, which has arrived recently at KeyboardCo.

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Left-handed keyboards aren’t completely reversed of course — they just have their number pads on the left-hand side. You can see what this looks like above, and it’s basically what you would expect. You type normally with both hands, and use your left hand to enter numbers or press keys like Print Screen.

So why left-handed? Well, it’s great for entering numbers and using a mouse at the same time, like when you’re entering data into a table or spreadsheet. You also have easy access to the tab key, which is normally far away from the number pad.

Having the numberpad on the left also provides the same comfortable ergonomics that a tenkeyless (no number pad) keyboard provides. You can keep your mouse directly ahead of you, instead of off to the right hand side, which is a much more comfortable position.

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This particular keyboard has other ergonomic benefits too. Its keys become slightly raised in the centre, and each is slightly angled. The idea is that you place your elbows slightly wider, with your fingers angled towards the centre. This posture feels more comfortable, and the difference is slight enough that learning the new positioning is a matter of minutes instead of hours or days. It looks a bit odd, but it makes a lot of sense ergonomically.

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There are other handy features here too. For example, there are a selection of shortcut keys that run across the top of the keyboard, letting you access your internet browser, perform a search or adjust your volume without using the mouse. This keeps your hands on your keyboard, minimising distraction.

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The right hand side of the keyboard is also a bit thinner than you’d expect, with home and end near the top, and page up, page down and delete all in a line above the full-size cursor keys. You’ll also note the handy LED indicators for Caps, Scroll and Num lock on the right hand side.

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The Black Left-Handed Keypad Keyboard is a pretty comfortable keyboard to use, and I hope we see more keyboards in future that use it for design inspiration. If you’re interested in picking one up for yourself, click the link below.

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Filco Convertible 2 TKL review: a portable wired and wireless mechanical keyboard

Update July 2017: Good news, everyone! Full-size Convertible 2 keyboards with MX Brown switches will be available this summer in UK, German or Swedish layouts (ISO). MX Blue switches will also be available, for UK layouts only. Click here for the full EU range, or here for USA layout keyboards.

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The Filco Convertible 2 TKL is a hybrid keyboard, in that it offers both wired and wireless (Bluetooth) operation. Like its bigger brother, the Tenkeyless version of the Convertible 2 is a convenient way of connecting to smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers all with one keyboard. If you often find yourself switching between multiple devices, each with their own keyboard, why not just use one great mechanical keyboard connected to all of them?

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The TKL version of the Convertible 2 has a few unique advantages brought about by its smaller size. The missing number pad means that the Convertible 2 is much lighter than the full format version, and takes up less space.

That makes it more portable; you can easily fit it into small messenger bags or backpacks. Whether you’re carrying the keyboard to work or your next LAN party, you’ll be happy to give your back a break. Plus, the small size means that the keyboard will fit on the tiny tray tables on trains and airplanes, making it easier to work here.

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The smaller size has other benefits as well. Not having a number pad means the keyboard takes up much less space on your desk, and it brings ergonomic benefits as well. You’re able to keep your hands closer together when using a mouse, which often feels more comfortable.

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Like other Filco keyboards, the Convertible 2 feels really well made. The simple matte plastic casing is sturdily constructed, and the steel-mounted mechanical switches feel crisp and solid under your fingers. You have a choice of two genuine Cherry MX switches: tactile Browns and clicky Blues. Both are a joy to use, especially with the light ABS keycaps. If you’d prefer different keycaps, the standardised layout means you’ll have no problems finding custom replacements.

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Connecting to Bluetooth devices like phones, tablets and computers is easy, and the keyboard can remember up to five Bluetooth connections for later use. You can also plug the keyboard in with its detachable USB cable, allowing you to use it without batteries. That gives you six potential connections in all!

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The Convertible 2 takes two AA batteries, which are provided in the box. These should last for up to a full year depending on your usage.

As well as Sony batteries, you’ll also get a key puller and three replacement keycaps. Combined with DIP switches on the back of the keyboard, you can swap the position of Ctrl and Caps Lock, or trade the right-hand Windows key for a menu key.

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Our first customer review of the Convertible 2 TKL perhaps sums it up best:

One word: Awesome. This is the ultimate keyboard for those who need wireless connections and connect to multiple devices. Filco as usual delivers top notch quality.

If you’d like to get one of your very own, take a look at our store page linked below. You can also see our review of the original Convertible 2 for more information on the whole concept.

Shop for the Filco Convertible 2 TKL >

See our review of the full-size Filco Convertible 2 >

Update July 2017: Good news, everyone! Full-size Convertible 2 keyboards with MX Brown switches will be available this summer in UK, German or Swedish layouts (ISO). MX Blue switches will also be available, for UK layouts only. Click here for the full EU range, or here for USA layout keyboards.

Thanks for checking out the article, and be sure to let us know what you think of the keyboard in the comments below!

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Black Friday Deals 2016

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Looking for Black Friday deals on mechanical keyboards, accessories and more? You’re in the right place — welcome to The Keyboard Company’s Black Friday 2016 deals page!

We’re going to break down all the offers available on the page below, or you can head directly to the Keyboard Co Black Friday Store. Deals run until Monday but stock is going fast, so get in there while you can!

50% off Filco MiniLa

The super compact Filco keyboard of choice.

25% off KBP V100 keyboards

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Gorgeous KBP V100 keyboards in a USA layout with Dolch or Olivetti double shot keycaps.

50% off Matias Keyboards

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A selection of Matias keyboards for PC, Mac, iPhone & iPad, available in UK, German, Nordic and French layouts.

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Up to 50% off Silver washable keyboards and mice

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Perfect for industrial or medical settings, these keyboards and mice are easily washable and have anti-microbial properties.

50% off Max Keyboard Keycap Sets

Horoscope-Pack

Pick up a set of beautiful Horoscope symbol keycaps, perfect for backlit keyboards.

50% off assorted peripherals

Trackball keyboard, PS/2

A selection of assorted keyboards, mice and more.

Wrapping up

Thanks for checking out the article. Check out the full list of Black Friday deals here!

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Topre Type Heaven now available in pink, red, white and black

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This week I’ve been using the Topre Type Heaven as my primary keyboard. We reviewed it upon its initial release in 2013, but now there’s been an update: new colours! As of now, you can choose the Type Heaven in pink, red, white and (the original) black. Awesome!

I’ve been rocking the Pink model all this week, and it’s attracted a fair amount of praise from the nominal foot traffic that my desk gets. Of course, it still has the same smooth and luxurious electro-capacitive switches that Topre is famous for.

If you’re interested in picking up a Type Heaven in a fun colour, check out the links below.

What follows are some photos of the Pink Type Heaven to give you a better idea of what it looks like outside of our normal stock photography. Enjoy, and feel free to share any questions or comments below!

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Cool, right? I’m a fan! If you’re interested in a Type Heaven in pink, red, white or black, here are those links once again. Peace!

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Keyboard Sports review: a fun and quirky game that uses your keyboard to the fullest

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I really love keyboards — I like using them, I like writing about them, and I like playing typing games, as I’ve mentioned before! Today I was playing a game called Keyboard Sports, and I’ve gotta tell you about it — because unlike most keyboard-focused games, this game is not at all about learning how to type.

Instead, Keyboard Sports delights in using the full span of your keyboard in some novel and very fun ways. The core principle is that your character moves towards the key you press — so hit space, and he’ll run towards the bottom of the screen, hit backspace and he’ll go into the upper right corner. That’s a completely different concept than the normal WASD or arrow key system of movement, and it’s pleasantly mind-breaking in the same way that QWOP is.

Using this mechanic, you guide your character through a number of different scenarios that are all conveniently the size of your keyboard. I won’t spoil the game by listing each encounter, but there’s a good mixture of fast and slow sections, strung together with a pleasantly improbable storyline about ‘taking CTRL’ and finding your ‘inner key’.

The game doesn’t last too long, clocking in at under an hour, but each section is replayable (with a fairly long final section that seems a bit randomised). It’s a pleasant experience throughout, with cute graphics and a winningly earnest theme song.

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If you want to give it a go, it’s available on the Humble Monthly, but you’ll need to sign up for the service on or before November 4th to get the game for $12. (You also get 10% off in the Humble Bundle store and a free game each month as long as your subscription is active). An extended version of the game will be available next year on Steam as well, if you’d rather wait.

Keyboard Sports is billed as ‘the final tribute to the keyboard’, and is proudly offered on PC only — the Danish developers Triband state that it’ll ‘never be available on PlayStation, Xbox, iOS, Android or Virtual Reality.’

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KBP V100 review: Dolch & Olivetti double shots bring classic style

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Today we’re looking at KBP’s full-size keyboard, the V100. This board combines Cherry MX Brown switches with doubleshot keycaps in Dolch or Olivetti colour schemes. Let’s take a closer look.

Design

The V100 has a full-size American (ANSI) layout, including a number pad on the right hand side. Various modes — caps lock, num lock, scroll lock — are shown via red LEDs on the right hand side of the board.

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There’s also a Fn layer, which allows access to media controls on the F keys — you can skip tracks back and forward, play/pause, stop, adjust the volume and mute. There’s also a gaming mode key (Fn + F12) which disables the Windows keys to prevent accidental presses mid-game.

One of the best parts of the KBP V100 is that it comes with high-quality double shot keycaps right out of the box. That means the legends will never fade away, even as the surface of the keycap is worn. This kind of keycap is more complex and expensive to produce, but it does produce a quality result.

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We’re offering two classic colour schemes for the keycaps: Dolch and Olivetti. Dolch is rendered in black and brown with white legends, while Olivetti opts for white and grey keycaps with dark blue legends. Both offer retro styling, evoking memories of the keyboards of old.

If you ever decide to replace these keycaps, you’ll find it easy to do so thanks to their standard layout.

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Underneath the keycaps, you’ll find Cherry MX Brown switches. These offer a nice blend of good tactile feedback and a low actuation force, making them comfortable to use for extended periods. I personally also find them a great gaming switch, particularly for strategy and shooter titles.

All in all, it’s a solid full-size keyboard that serves as a nice alternative to KBP’s smaller efforts. If you like KBP’s style but don’t want to give up a number pad, F keys and other accoutrements with a 60% or 80% keyboard, the V100 is an awesome choice with great keycaps.

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Impressions

In order to get to grips with the V100, I used it as my primary keyboard at home for a week. That week included five days of writing and editing (around 2,000 words per day), and about 15 hours of playing games including Counter-Strike, StarCraft II and Overwatch.

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The full size layout means this keyboard is less suitable for portable use or cramped desks; for these situations we’d recommend a V60 or V80 keyboard instead. However, if you have the space for it — and particularly if you like to use the number pad — then the V100 is a great choice. Its bezels are a bit wider than other keyboards, but I didn’t notice this in practice — apart from the bottom of the keyboard, which served as a comfortable palm rest!

The V100 served well for both typing and gaming, with a sufficient tactile feedback. It also sounded good, with a nice report, without being overly loud. The standard full-size layout meant I didn’t have to relearn any key positions, and the media keys felt natural and easy to use.

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I didn’t find any major flaws with the keyboard, which felt well-constructed and of sound design. The only real annoyance was the brightness of the LEDs, which I felt were a bit too bright. However, I got used to this over time, and wasn’t a dealbreaker by any means.

Overall, I enjoyed my time with the V100, and I’ll be sad to see it returned to KeyboardCo HQ! It felt great, looked good on my desk and it makes me want to put double shot keycaps on more of my keyboards!

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Price & Availability

The KBP V100 is available for £115. You can find more information about the keyboard, and order one for yourself, via the links below:

Thanks for checking out the article, and be sure to share your thoughts via the comments below. You can also reach us on Twitter @keyboardco, or at facebook.com/keyboardco. Thanks again and enjoy the rest of your week!

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Bruce’s Blog: September 2016

bruce 300pxOur fearless leader on Brexit, new keyboards & more

It’s been a few months since I wrote for the blog, and what a few months… It seems we are now heading towards an exit from the EU.

As a rule I would avoid anything political on here but I felt it worth a mention as we are dealing with people all around Europe and all around the world.

As a company we intend to continue to do our utmost for our customers in Europe and we will redouble those efforts. It is unlikely that the political details will be sorted out for some time and it seems likely that trading in electronics will be largely unaffected even if we were to trade on WTO terms. Ultimately, we see no reason to change tack.

The currency situation has been the most noticeable effect of the vote to date and this is not all bad. It is currently the case that anyone buying from overseas is getting a discount of about 10%. This is helping sales so the early signs are promising. Please feel free to get on and bag a bargain!

So I feel it is all the more important now that we ensure we have the very best range of keyboards to offer and that we support this with first class service. Elsewhere in the newsletter you will see we have some excellent new keyboards on offer and we are continually looking to add to the range. Recent additions like the Filco Convertible wireless model and the Ergo Pro from Matias are already amongst our best sellers.

You’ll see that I have been having some fun with the guys from TechRadar chatting about keyboards. They were really interested to know more about what it is that makes us enjoy some keyboards more than others – particularly when it comes to mechanical switch models. We chatted about the ways we interact with our keyboards and how our fingers and brains work together when we type. It’s all on the video here.

If you happen to be in Birmingham this Thursday, the 29th, we will be at the St Andrews Stadium, home to Birmingham City Football Club, for Midlands Expo 2016. Come along and say hi.

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