Fri 20 June 2014
Ever since I was looking at the G13, I was really looking for an extra screen to put on/near the keyboard. I wanted a way to show updates from various things running the background, especially around my workflow at the time, which consisted of multiple (Linux desktop) workspaces each in charge of a single task. Based on which workspace I was in, I would be working on a different problem, but would want to know about updates from other workspaces, for when builds or tests finished, or the workspace was otherwise ready or needed my attention. In pursuit of that, I was looking at the fancier options like the Optimus line, but wasn't impressed enough to shell out thousands of dollars. Around that time though, I ran into the Razer line of products, which at the time included a keyboard and a laptop that had an LCD screen to the right of the keyboard with 10 buttons and a touchpad laid on top. It was much cheaper, only a couple hundred dollars, but it was out of production. I signed up for their email list and went about my day. Recently, they sent out an email advertising their keyboards, including the Deathstalker Ultimate, which has the "Synapse 2.0" UI, sometimes referred to as the Switchblade UI, that I was looking for. I ordered it and contacted them for the USB protocol, promising to build something for Linux users to take advantage of, but they have still not responded. In that email, I also offered to sign any NDAs they sent my way, but they haven't responded so I haven't signed any NDAs, and I'm now revoking that offer. In fact, I've reverse-engineered much of the protocol (it's very simple), so here it is: This is based on the Deathstalker Ultimate keyboard, but it should apply to the Blade laptop and anything else marked with "Synapse 2.0" or "Switchblade".
Sun 26 January 2014
I'm sure many Mint Plus owners have noticed the USB port, and quite a few have even hooked it up to their computer to find out what it does. Sadly, by default, it does nothing. Now before you go pressing all the buttons, here's what you should not do:
Do not press two buttons together.
(I tried again later on in the year. That time I didn't burn my unit.)