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#1 06-Dec-2007 02:53:52

Honfclibur
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Registered: 06-Dec-2007
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Dvorak vs. Colemak question

I am currently in the process of switching over from QWERTY to one of the two (I memorized both over the past two days, finding Colemak a day after starting Dvorak). My main concern is not speed, I figure I can type fast enough with either layout. What I am wondering is which is actually better for the hands, Dvorak or Colemak? Colemak clouts better speed, quicker learning, and easier programming but I do not care about any (I'm 17, I don't care which takes longer to learn if I'm using it for the next 60 years, and I don't plan on becoming a programmer). My only concern is not getting carpal tunnel and other problems, so is Colemak, overall, better looking only a wrist/hand health? Thanks in advance.

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#2 06-Dec-2007 08:18:14

keyboard samurai
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From: Houston, Texas
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Posts: 354
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Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

I think that's really impossible to answer because no one has done a rigorous controlled long term study (say 30 years) to compare the the two.   The bottom line is you need to move the majority of the time with your wrists remaining straight to avoid carpal tunnel problems and that means paying attentioin to your posture and hand position when typing regardless of layout.   It's probably easier to maintain correct position when you spend most of you time on the home row (~70% for Dvorak or Colemak  vs.  ~30% for Qwerty ).
 
Have you read the comments on Dvorak vs. Colemak  here at http://colemak.com/FAQ ?   

Besides messing with the position of command keys QWZXCV, I personally don't like where the punctuation is and having the "L" on my right pinky on the Dvorak layout.

Last edited by keyboard samurai (08-Dec-2007 19:15:00)

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#3 05-Jan-2013 01:26:59

knightjp
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Registered: 14-Dec-2012
Posts: 155

Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

From all the comparisons I have done, Colemak comes in after Dvorak as an optimum layout for typing code. So for programming, Dvorak seems to be better. But if you are not looking to do alot of coding on a Unix platform, I recommend Dvorak. If you want to use the normal shortcuts plus more, Colemak is your answer.

On the whole Dvorak seems to be better designed for normal english typing, while Colemak seems to better for standard computing.

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#4 06-Jan-2013 11:00:10

DreymaR
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From: Bærum, Norway
Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

Coding isn't all that much affected by base layout but very much by other things like symbol placements (which Colemak is agnostic to) and navigation/editing aids like Extend mappings (see my sig topics). If you're doing heavy programming I'd recommend a Colemak with Extend mappings and maybe some special AltGr mappings.

And claiming that Dvorak is better for normal English typing sounds like a very unsubstantiated claim. When they're still arguing how much better Dvorak is than QWERTY I don't think you have anything solid to back that up with.


Better burden you cannot carry than man-wisdom much  --  Hávamál
Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks! For XKB (Linux) and for PKL (Win).

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#5 06-Jan-2013 15:23:05

knightjp
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Posts: 155

Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

DreymaR wrote:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
And claiming that Dvorak is better for normal English typing sounds like a very unsubstantiated claim. When they're still arguing how much better Dvorak is than QWERTY I don't think you have anything solid to back that up with.

To me, from personal experience, I can say that for anyone who never touchtyped before, dvorak is an excellent option. The layout is easy to learn and the hand alteration gives great accuracy. If the person doesn't use linux or unix, isn't a graphics professional and doesn't use keyboard shortcuts that much, dvorak to me is an awesome start.
Colemak to me, lends itself to the seasoned computer user who needs the shortcuts. Users like graghics pros need to use key combinations to speed up their work. Colemak makes shortcuts far more easier than probably the coders at Adobe would realize when they made them for QWERTY.
Of course extensive reamapping is required for the same with dvorak.

I'm still using the shortcuts at work so I'm still currently using Colemak. But to my hands, Dvorak felt far more comfortable.

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#6 06-Jan-2013 15:52:20

pinkyache
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Registered: 21-Apr-2010
Posts: 588

Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

Not that I do, but you could always use one handed shortcuts with Dvorak, it would just require learning them.

I mouse with the left hand, so the standard position of the ZXCV shortcuts are pretty useless to me.  You can ape them with the insert and del keys.


--
Physicians deafen our ears with the Honorificabilitudinitatibus of their heavenly Panacaea, their sovereign Guiacum.

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#7 06-Jan-2013 17:14:44

pafkata90
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From: Aalborg, Denmark
Registered: 05-Mar-2011
Posts: 387

Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

Simply learning them isn't enough if they're on the other side of the keyboard. Some software allow for customization but one – you'd have to do it for every program, and two – you can't do it for some aspects of many programs. And also even if customized, the new shortcuts would be mostly meaningless, since they'd have to be made up by punctuation characters and vowels.

I wholeheartedly believe that using a software efficiently does require keyboard shortcuts. Does that mean that I think Dvorak isn't any good for anyone working on computer? Not necessarily but Colemak is certainly better in my eyes unless most of the work involves typing text. Then the shortcut factor wouldn't be as important and the layout choice would be dictated by the other factors.

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#8 06-Jan-2013 17:26:06

DreymaR
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From: Bærum, Norway
Registered: 13-Dec-2006
Posts: 2,479
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Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

To me, your distinctions appear completely unfounded beyond your subjective experience. I fear you may be confusing others with your tall claims. I haven't heard anything believable to suggest that Dvorak should be easier to learn than Colemak (that is, claims of the opposite tend to get thrown around now and then but nothing solid backs them up - to me it would appear that Colemak seems easiest to learn), that Dvorak should be more accurate than Colemak (I'm sure some people will type more accurately on one or the other but I should think it may go both ways as hand alteration does not give greater accuracy in any research I've seen) or that Dvorak should be more comfortable than Colemak (to me it's the other way around at least!).


Better burden you cannot carry than man-wisdom much  --  Hávamál
Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks! For XKB (Linux) and for PKL (Win).

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#9 06-Jan-2013 19:30:57

Tony_VN
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Registered: 08-Dec-2010
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Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

According to Carpalx, Colemak is 13.9% better than Dvorak, but that's too objective.

Subjectively, both are good to the hands, though Dvorak makes the right hand to work much more than the left one. Colemak is more balanced.

QWAZXCVBHM remains the same in Colemak, so the switch to Colemak is easier.

Last edited by Tony_VN (06-Jan-2013 19:33:08)

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#10 06-Jan-2013 20:18:57

knightjp
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Registered: 14-Dec-2012
Posts: 155

Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

pinkyache wrote:

Not that I do, but you could always use one handed shortcuts with Dvorak, it would just require learning them.

I mouse with the left hand, so the standard position of the ZXCV shortcuts are pretty useless to me.  You can ape them with the insert and del keys.

You said in one post that you're having pain. Is that caused by Dvorak or by something else??

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#11 06-Jan-2013 22:53:36

UltraZelda64
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From: Ohio, U.S.
Registered: 09-Dec-2012
Posts: 101

Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

I think the real benefits of one over the other are probably too miniscule to truly make a difference.  You'd probably be better off looking at other factors, like availability.  Dvorak has the slight edge here if you will be on other people's computers, but if you are primarily on your own and know that you won't have any trouble installing layouts on other machines you come across then you might not care.

I primarily run Linux on my own machines, so there's absolutely no problem there (both Dvorak and Colemak are well-supported in most free and open source operating systems without the need to install anything).  However, I took into account that I may need to be on a system that is not my own at some point or from time to time, so to avoid the trouble I chose Dvorak.  Even among Linux distributions and the BSDs, Colemak is not 100% guaranteed to be available; I know it is not in Finnix, and as far as I know it was refused by the OpenBSD guys (basically Theo, being an ass as usual).   Newer Apple Mac OS X releases apparently support Colemak as well.

If you can't decide based on platform availability (ie. an even split), then just type on both of them for a bit and note how they feel.  Decide based on that.  If you still can't decide after that, then damn it, just pick one! :P

But seriously, I don't think you can go wrong either way.  They're both miles ahead of QWERTY.

Last edited by UltraZelda64 (06-Jan-2013 22:54:00)

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#12 06-Jan-2013 23:47:35

DreymaR
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From: Bærum, Norway
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Posts: 2,479
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Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

Overworking your right hand is not a great idea, unless you mouse with your left. I've heard of several Dvorak users using left-hand mousing, come to think of it...


Better burden you cannot carry than man-wisdom much  --  Hávamál
Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks! For XKB (Linux) and for PKL (Win).

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#13 06-Jan-2013 23:49:27

pinkyache
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Registered: 21-Apr-2010
Posts: 588

Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

(@knightjp Regarding my pain, I was in agony with neck issues, that's when I decided to learn Dvorak in desperation.  I still have bad days, but I can't attribute it to the layout I use, more likely it's continued computer related stress.  Oh and I moved the mouse to the left a couple of years before picking up Dvorak.)

Last edited by pinkyache (06-Jan-2013 23:50:35)


--
Physicians deafen our ears with the Honorificabilitudinitatibus of their heavenly Panacaea, their sovereign Guiacum.

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#14 07-Jan-2013 06:18:42

knightjp
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Registered: 14-Dec-2012
Posts: 155

Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

pinkyache wrote:

(@knightjp Regarding my pain, I was in agony with neck issues, that's when I decided to learn Dvorak in desperation.  I still have bad days, but I can't attribute it to the layout I use, more likely it's continued computer related stress.  Oh and I moved the mouse to the left a couple of years before picking up Dvorak.)

How long did it take you to get used to the mouse on the left??
Keeping the mouse on the left is a great idea, but pointless on Colemak if you need to use the keyboard shortcuts. On Dvorak, I'd think its a good choice.

Last edited by knightjp (07-Jan-2013 06:21:30)

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#15 07-Jan-2013 06:53:05

knightjp
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Registered: 14-Dec-2012
Posts: 155

Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

UltraZelda64 wrote:

I think the real benefits of one over the other are probably too miniscule to truly make a difference.  You'd probably be better off looking at other factors, like availability.  Dvorak has the slight edge here if you will be on other people's computers, but if you are primarily on your own and know that you won't have any trouble installing layouts on other machines you come across then you might not care.

I primarily run Linux on my own machines, so there's absolutely no problem there (both Dvorak and Colemak are well-supported in most free and open source operating systems without the need to install anything).  However, I took into account that I may need to be on a system that is not my own at some point or from time to time, so to avoid the trouble I chose Dvorak.  Even among Linux distributions and the BSDs, Colemak is not 100% guaranteed to be available; I know it is not in Finnix, and as far as I know it was refused by the OpenBSD guys (basically Theo, being an ass as usual).   Newer Apple Mac OS X releases apparently support Colemak as well.

If you can't decide based on platform availability (ie. an even split), then just type on both of them for a bit and note how they feel.  Decide based on that.  If you still can't decide after that, then damn it, just pick one! :P

But seriously, I don't think you can go wrong either way.  They're both miles ahead of QWERTY.

Considering at work I use my own system at work and it's running WinXP I had to request the IT dept to install Colemak for me. I use a Mac at home and it has Colemak preinstalled. At both places I've also changed the keycaps on the keyboards.
I'm also taking into consideration that my computer may be used by other users in the office on a very rare occasion. If that is the case, which of the two would you suggest if someone else was going to use your computer.

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#16 07-Jan-2013 09:31:42

DreymaR
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From: Bærum, Norway
Registered: 13-Dec-2006
Posts: 2,479
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Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

It's very easy for me to access my Colemak PKL file on work computers. I wouldn't be happy if I had to clear desk space and move the mouse to the left on them. Left-hand mousing looks nice though, since the NumPad can then be on its own to the right; otherwise there's a tendency to move the center of the keyboard too far to the left to accommodate both NumPad and mouse.

Knightjp: Both have their points. For now, it's easier to find Dvorak on other's comps (but you have to go to setup which isn't really less work than running a PKL from somewhere unless you're not allowed to do that!). On the other hand, Colemak makes it easier to switch back and forth to QWERTY when you have to (I think - and others I've heard). I would of course recommend Colemak! This hasn't yet turned into the Dvorak forum I hope? ;)

Last edited by DreymaR (07-Jan-2013 09:34:41)


Better burden you cannot carry than man-wisdom much  --  Hávamál
Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks! For XKB (Linux) and for PKL (Win).

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#17 07-Jan-2013 10:46:00

knightjp
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Registered: 14-Dec-2012
Posts: 155

Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

DreymaR wrote:

It's very easy for me to access my Colemak PKL file on work computers. I wouldn't be happy if I had to clear desk space and move the mouse to the left on them. Left-hand mousing looks nice though, since the NumPad can then be on its own to the right; otherwise there's a tendency to move the center of the keyboard too far to the left to accommodate both NumPad and mouse.

Left hand mousing on Colemak is rather useless. For one major thing for me, would be the fact that I could not use the keyboard shortcuts and the mouse at the same time. On the other hand, with Dvorak it would prove to be quite ergonomic. Considering that CTRL + Z/X/C/V & Ctrl+T, Ctrl+S would easily be as accessible on the right hand as they are on Colemak positions.

DreymaR wrote:

Knightjp: Both have their points. For now, it's easier to find Dvorak on other's comps (but you have to go to setup which isn't really less work than running a PKL from somewhere unless you're not allowed to do that!). On the other hand, Colemak makes it easier to switch back and forth to QWERTY when you have to (I think - and others I've heard). I would of course recommend Colemak! This hasn't yet turned into the Dvorak forum I hope? ;)

I'm not in the IT dept. So if I need something at work, I need to request the IT guys to install it. They are planning to give us new systems and sinc those are going to be Win7, that would mean that I will need to request Colemak to be installed. That way Dvorak has the advantage being that it comes installed. But like I said above, I would need to change to left handed mousing to make the shortcuts work effectively. Plus at work now I don't have the facility to change my capslock to backspace. At home on the Mac its a breeze to change and work on any layout you want. God I wish that they would give us Macs at work.

The one question I do have, on occasion if someone was to use my terminal at work, they would notice the change in the keycaps, depending on the layout I use. Would Colemak make it easier for them or Dvorak. Also I don't think that they will be that used to lefthand mousing if it was Dvorak.

Last edited by knightjp (07-Jan-2013 10:52:45)

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#18 07-Jan-2013 10:53:41

debois
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Registered: 12-Dec-2012
Posts: 20

Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

knightjp wrote:

So if I need something at work, I need to request the IT guys to install it.

So, I thought that with AHK, you could run it even on an otherwise locked-down machine?

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#19 07-Jan-2013 10:54:42

knightjp
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Registered: 14-Dec-2012
Posts: 155

Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

pinkyache wrote:

(@knightjp Regarding my pain, I was in agony with neck issues, that's when I decided to learn Dvorak in desperation.  I still have bad days, but I can't attribute it to the layout I use, more likely it's continued computer related stress.  Oh and I moved the mouse to the left a couple of years before picking up Dvorak.)

Why have you stayed with Dvorak? You don't think that Colemak would help solve that pain?

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#20 07-Jan-2013 10:56:15

knightjp
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Registered: 14-Dec-2012
Posts: 155

Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

debois wrote:
knightjp wrote:

So if I need something at work, I need to request the IT guys to install it.

So, I thought that with AHK, you could run it even on an otherwise locked-down machine?

Not sure. I'm no IT expert. Would be great if it was. Windows is rather much like QWERTY; A Pain. Never been a fan of it.

Last edited by knightjp (07-Jan-2013 10:56:50)

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#21 07-Jan-2013 11:14:24

pafkata90
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From: Aalborg, Denmark
Registered: 05-Mar-2011
Posts: 387

Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

It doesn't hurt to ask, with explanation why – it would improve your performance and all that. A simple portable executable file is most times not a problem to run (at least from what I've seen in different firms).

And why do you need to change the key caps? You can just leave the Qwerty ones, and whoever comes to use your computer can just switch the language (or stop the AHK file). And you touch type anyway...

Also if you learn to type Colemakd Dvorak, or whatever on a Qwerty layout it would be more beneficial, if you ask me. Having the Qwerty keys always makes it much easier to type on others' keyboards, and after a while you immediately know which letter is what – if you need to press only one letter with one finger :) If I had to type on Colemak arranged keyboard I'd be completely confused if I looked down, and I'm sure many would agree with me on this.

Last edited by pafkata90 (07-Jan-2013 11:15:08)

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#22 07-Jan-2013 11:47:02

DreymaR
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From: Bærum, Norway
Registered: 13-Dec-2006
Posts: 2,479
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Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

Actually, it shouldn't hurt to just try running the PKL app and see what happens. ;)

Last edited by DreymaR (07-Jan-2013 11:48:14)


Better burden you cannot carry than man-wisdom much  --  Hávamál
Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks! For XKB (Linux) and for PKL (Win).

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#23 07-Jan-2013 13:41:23

knightjp
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Registered: 14-Dec-2012
Posts: 155

Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

pafkata90 wrote:

It doesn't hurt to ask, with explanation why – it would improve your performance and all that. A simple portable executable file is most times not a problem to run (at least from what I've seen in different firms).

And why do you need to change the key caps? You can just leave the Qwerty ones, and whoever comes to use your computer can just switch the language (or stop the AHK file). And you touch type anyway...

Also if you learn to type Colemakd Dvorak, or whatever on a Qwerty layout it would be more beneficial, if you ask me. Having the Qwerty keys always makes it much easier to type on others' keyboards, and after a while you immediately know which letter is what – if you need to press only one letter with one finger :) If I had to type on Colemak arranged keyboard I'd be completely confused if I looked down, and I'm sure many would agree with me on this.

Considering that I'm going cold turkey on Colemak, would it be hardes to get used to the layout using a keyboard with keycaps on the QWERTY layout? I thinking it would.

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#24 07-Jan-2013 14:56:51

Tony_VN
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Registered: 08-Dec-2010
Posts: 597

Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

knightjp wrote:

Considering that I'm going cold turkey on Colemak, would it be hardes to get used to the layout using a keyboard with keycaps on the QWERTY layout? I thinking it would.

You will need the nubs on top of F and J keys to get your fingers into the right positions. Since you will not look at the keyboard anyway, the nub is all matters to you.

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#25 07-Jan-2013 15:24:03

pafkata90
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From: Aalborg, Denmark
Registered: 05-Mar-2011
Posts: 387

Re: Dvorak vs. Colemak question

Exactly what Tony said.

Some people even say it's more difficult to learn the layout if the key caps were on the right places because you are tempted to look every now and then. I don't know how true that is but most of us here have learnt Colemak on non-Colemak keyboards.

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