Tamas Dovenyi
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Behind the Scenes of Issue 47

Behind the Scenes of Issue 47

Oct 11, 2021

Cool week, again, there were some awesome designs, excellent ideas and well-documented projects -- a lot to learn in general. Update on the vendor database: I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Issue 46 follow-up. On micro museums.

So, accidentally, I got multiple entries from 1973 and Canada this time, starting the week in a vintage mood. Eventually, this issue turned out to be much more balanced.

Small developments

Last week I fixed a bug causing posts without a reddit source to appear with a wrong url in Mailchimp.

Now I had to update another script, the one generating the Reddit post from the database entries.

It had the same issue on Reddit but now it should properly handle links pointing at kbd.news posts which come from outside of the Redditsphere, without an r/mk source.

Also, the Twitter reference is now included automatically -- up until this point I added this manually because I always forgot to put it in the script -- for weeks.

Note to myself: I have to add a Twitter icon to the site too.

Vendor database update

I tried to focus on finishing this side-project and contacted a lot of vendors: 6 new stores, 67 records updated and some abandoned shops removed or marked as closed.

To get better results, instead of going alphabetically, I ordered the entries by region and sent emails to vendors in their local morning hours.

Living in Central Europe, this meant normal working hours for EU vendors, mostly afternoons for shops in US time zones, and midnight to 2AM for Asian stores. This latter was quite cruel so I made this only one day...

What's more important though, I managed to process and update 67 shop profiles which leaves only 60 for next week - and that, depending on my family and job ofc, seems to be feasible.

But what the heck takes so long? - you could ask.

Well: Doing my research and updating the records, contacting vendors, inspecting and evaluating their sites, waiting for responses and logging response times.

First of all, I can't expect vendors to provide all the data in a neat format or read my instructions at all.

So I check each store's website first and try to fill all the blank spots in my database. Rarely, a good website will have all the info but some may lack even the most essential data - like their country of operation or any contact options...

Anyway, I contact vendors by presenting them this prefilled profile and ask them only for the missing data.

During this process I evaluate how informative these store sites are. Each shop gets a number (0-10) based on a list of objective criteria.

So that's why finishing this task is quite tedious. Also, while some shops answer in a few hours, the record holder thus far got back to me in 19 days. ;)

I hope I can finish this database next week and I'll be able to focus on another side-projects. In the meantime I try to promote this tool by commenting on related questions over at r/mk. I've seen some of you to spread the news too so thanks! :)

Customs regime confusion

I still don't get the new EU customs regime -- or its local implementation.

As I've already mentioned earlier, I paid about $10 customs and handling fee to the postman for some tiny acrylic parts worth $5.

Now I paid exactly the same customs and handling fee for a kit worth about $150-200... Furthermore, it's a suspiciously round number: 3000 HUF in the local currency which is weird given it should reflect the original value + daily USD/HUF exchange rate + shipping cost, all this increased by VAT (27% here) and by customs and handling fee.

How come it adds up to exactly 3000 HUF in both cases?! Unfortunately, I don't have all the raw data to do the math myself because both these parcels were prizes (or parts of prizes) I won.

Btw, both parcels came from the same US vendor. I don't understand it at all but while I was quite upset after the first case, I was pretty content the second time where I would have guessed a fee of about $70. :D

700 cuckoo clocks, 8,500 teapots and 44,700 bunnies...

Sometimes I think collecting/hoarding stuff makes no sense at all unless you present your collection in some way, e.g. as a tiny vintage keyboard museum. So I recognized many of us when reading about micro museums:


"Nobody owns a museum. We’re its founders, but this place will live on after we’re gone."

Issue #46 follow-up

37 new subscribers to the newsletter. The open and click rates are stable.

Two new one-time supporters! Thanks Keyhive and kind anonymous one. Even the smallest support matters.

Also, I tried to guess the amount of time I spend with the maintenance and development of KBD.news and related projects -- aaand it's somewhere about 100 hours a month. Holy cow! That's almost a fulltime job.

Now that I think of the money I've lost because of doing keyboard stuff instead of doing some light webdev or software dev freelancing, I desperately need new supporters to justify this amount of time, at least partially.

Just to play with numbers, and this heavily depends on your location, but the average net monthly wage is about $1000 in my country (average, not IT, incorporating all the companies with a staff of more than 5 people). So anyone here would lose about $600 each month doing this project. Minus donations which are about $100 so the loss is net $500 for the average workforce. However, I'm somewhat higher qualified than the average so my loss is above $3000 a month...

That's what called a hobby? ;)


Well, that's it for today I think.

Thanks a lot for your continuous support and feedback. The single biggest reason this project is still alive and kicking is your support and feedback.



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