'Look, ma, no Mac mini' (but yes, crazy keyboard and backward trackpad) [Setups]

‘Look, ma, no Mac mini’ (but yes, crazy keyboard and backward trackpad) [Setups]


The Mac mini is mounted behind the monitor. And, yeah, the Magic Trackpad in the middle of the split keyboard is backwards on purpose.
The Mac mini is mounted behind the monitor. And, yeah, the Magic Trackpad in the middle of the split keyboard is backwards on purpose.
Photo: sampledecoration@Reddit.com

Sometimes you see one thing that seems quietly radical about a computer setup, only to find out it’s full of even weirder tweaks.

Today’s featured setup is a good example. It hides a Mac mini behind a display. But in front of the display, a wildly split mechanical keyboard surrounds a Magic Trackpad turned backward — on purpose!

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Mac mini hides behind display while wild split keyboard surrounds a backward (on purpose) Magic Trackpad

Redditor sampledecoration (“Sam”) showcased the setup in a post entitled, “Mini behind the display.” That’s your first clue that the workstation is a bit unusual. And the hidden computer is probably the least unusual thing about it.

Mac mini plays hide-and-seek

There are plenty of reason to stash a small computer out of site. If it’s behind the display, it’s not taking up space in front of it. Many folks stuck minis in desk drawers or on shelves under desks. Sam mounted the little desktop computer behind the display.

A commenter asked how.

“In my case, I just bought a dirt-cheap Amazon shelf, and the mini sits on that, behind the display. It’s not attached to the monitor,” she explained.

Another commenter just said “Yesa mount,” referring to mounts that follow the common VESA standard. It refers to the distance in millimeters between each of the four mounting holes in use, so it’s always the same for TVs and monitors. Such a mount usually attaches to the desk.

Unusual split keyboard

“I can’t decide if your keyboard is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen or an absolute abomination,” exclaimed another commenter, upon seeing the radically split mechanical board. “How are the ergonomics?”

“They’re amazing!” Sam gushed. “Bit of a learning curve from a traditional keyboard (I did it in two steps, first getting a split with normal row stagger, then one with column stagger), but feels so good and can’t go back.”

She noted it’s a custom Corne split mechanical keyboard she picked up on Etsy. You can find that and the other gear in the list below. Some split mechanical keeps are the gentler “Alice style,” but others are fully split to be more ergonomically correct.

Other people pointed out that similar keyboard configurations are pretty popular in Reddit’s r/MechanicalKeyboards community and at r/ErgoMechKeyboards.

Mapped keys

Someone asked where they might find a space bar on such a board. On one like this, it’s usually a mapped key of the user’s choosing.

“In my case, it’s the center button of the right thumb cluster, but every key can be customized,” Sam replied. “It uses an open-source firmware called ZMK (QMK doesn’t support wireless).”

A commenter noticed how thin the board looks for a wireless one and asked where the battery and cables are.

“The batteries and few wires are stuffed beneath the microcontrollers, which are the rectangles near the center,” Sam said. “With no lighting, they don’t need very big batteries, and they last about a week.”

Then came a cutely predictable joke: “Would you like some board to go with those keys?”

“Haha, yes, in a perfect world, a pair of aluminum or 3D-printed enclosures would be great, but I’ll take this as-is over any standard keyboard,” Sam said.

Why is the Magic Trackpad backward?

Someone with a sharp eye spotted that the Magic Trackpad between the two halves of the keyboard is turned backward and asked why.

“To me it just feels much more comfortable and ergonomic that way. I flipped it with a Better Touch Tool setting,” Sam replied.

And another curious observer asked why she puts the trackpad in the middle, and why would she have both a trackpad and a mouse.

“Having both is a luxury for sure, but the trackpad is better for scrolling and zooming,” Sam said. “Having it in the middle means it’s a shorter reach for my right hand than the mouse.”

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If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to info+setups@cultofmac.com. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches or challenges.


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