RIP, Datamancer

I was looking through Boing, Boing yesterday when I saw an announcement that shocked and saddened me. Richard Nagy, Datamancer, had died. Richard was an amazingly talented artist, known for his work in the steampunk genre. He made astonishing artefacts that felt like they had come from an alternate universe of tesla coils, brass and vacuum tubes. What’s more, they worked.

I first came across Richard’s work somewhere on the Internet in 2007 and I was gobsmacked. I looked at his variants on the Von Slatt keyboard and I wanted one very badly. I did something I have never done before or since. I dropped him an email asking if he would make one for me. The answer was affirmative.

Over the next couple of months Richard and I exchanged emails and he hand-built me a keyboard that I prize to this present day. Richard was always pleasant to deal with and he kept me posted at every step of the way– when he was acquiring old type-writer parts from Hong Kong, when he was making custom key-tips, when he wrapped the finished keyboard and posted it to Scotland. I was very excited when I pulled it from the bubble wrap.

Looking at the pics you can see why. They don’t begin to show how impressive the keyboard is. I am as far from a good photographer as it is possible to get and the pictures were taken on our kitchen table with the camera in my phone and still the quality of the man’s work shines through.

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I’ve always meant to do a blog post about this keyboard. It looks like the sort of thing you ought to write Warhammer 40K novels on. Those blue lights actually work. They give off an eerie glow when the Caps Lock and Num Lock are on. 

I am sorry to be finally writing the post under these circumstances but I wanted to say my piece about someone who had touched my life with his work. Richard Nagy was taken from the world too soon. He left behind some amazing monuments.  Here are some more links to them.

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