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#1 18-Aug-2012 21:30:18

mike7841
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Registered: 18-Aug-2012
Posts: 1

Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

Hello,

I currently type on average (according to type racer) around 122WPM, I peak at about 155WPM - using the QWERTY layout. Will I see any real speed improvement or benefit by switching to Colemak?
(Note: I use a special blend of touch typing that uses fingers at different times than other traditional styles, all are used however).

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#2 18-Aug-2012 21:38:37

DreymaR
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From: Bærum, Norway
Registered: 13-Dec-2006
Posts: 2,466
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Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

If speed is all you're after, I doubt it will be worth your while. You never know, but that's my feeling. Colemak offers comfort and style for sure, but any speed benefits are not proved. There are fast Colemak typists (such as Ryan Heise and Micah Wine) but there are of course faster QWERTY typists still given how many typists have been using that layout since early childhood.

You could learn to type pretty fast with Colemak given your current QWERTY speed, since much of your speed is typing technique not layout. But relearning all your tricks and adaptations fully would take a while.

Last edited by DreymaR (18-Aug-2012 21:40:07)


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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#3 19-Aug-2012 09:29:19

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

Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

Yes, if you switch you might exceed your old speed, but you might not. As DreymaR says, if speed is what you're after, a switch might not be worthwhile for you.
If you're looking for a different typing experience (generally much less flying around of fingers and hands), or have any concerns about your hands' health, you could give it a try. It's definitely a good brain exercise.

PS: With Colemak you'll need much less alternative typing techniques for certain letter combinations compared to Qwerty. But it still does take some time to adopt them.

Last edited by pafkata90 (19-Aug-2012 09:32:09)

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#4 19-Aug-2012 10:24:21

Tony_VN
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Registered: 08-Dec-2010
Posts: 595

Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

Before switching, my Qwerty speed is about 60wpm, after that, 67wpm. So I think you will likely gain speed, thanks to less finger travel, but not much.

It will take you 4-8 months to regain your old speed, so consider switching only if you are not depending on your typing prowess each day.

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#5 19-Aug-2012 12:51:27

DreymaR
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From: Bærum, Norway
Registered: 13-Dec-2006
Posts: 2,466
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Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

Oh, you'll most definitely end up typing faster if you persist! Thing is though, it's hard to prove whether that's mostly because of layout benefits or because of the effort you have to put in to learn Colemak! I think if you spent all that effort on QWERTY speed training you could possibly get the same increase. It might be hard to do that right though unless you have a typing sensei. ;)

I've switched from 55 WPM QWERTY to 60 WPM Dvorak (after a lot of work) to 70 WPM Colemak (after using it since 2006). I'm a deliberate person in my forties so I may not get all that much faster but I still see a steady increase in both speed and comfort. It's not a fast progress but it's still nice. If I train for a while I see better results of course.

If you depend on your typing every day you could switch gradually with Tarmak (see my signature) and not lose much speed at any point. (Or rather, you'd lose speed but pick it up again within a day or so for each step I think.) Not many have done it but I firmly believe it's worth a try if you're interested.

Last edited by DreymaR (19-Aug-2012 12:54:42)


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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#6 19-Aug-2012 16:12:22

pinkyache
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Registered: 21-Apr-2010
Posts: 586

Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

Dreymar:
>I'm a deliberate person in my forties

What does this mean?


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

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#7 19-Aug-2012 17:02:48

DreymaR
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From: Bærum, Norway
Registered: 13-Dec-2006
Posts: 2,466
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Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

Basically, it means that no matter how much I like it I will always suck at Tekken I guess... ;)

My proclivities are to deliberation rather than to twitch reactions.


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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#8 22-Aug-2012 11:06:59

dark-side
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Registered: 22-Aug-2012
Posts: 10

Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

This is exactly my question. Only in my case, I used to average around 140 wpm on qwerty, give or take on, typeracer along with peaks of 180-210 wpm.
I've stopped using keyboard of late (been too involved in real life), so my speed has dropped of to like around the high 120s now (last week I checked this on typeracer). Anyways, I'm fascinated by how some people like Sean Wrona can maintain an average of 170 wpm, I would surely like to attain that some day! Maybe not right now, like I said, I don't have the time off to practice typing like I used to, but maybe someday later when I finally get around to training my speed. I mean using the qwerty layout, it really does seem that I have kind of hit my peak speed. A while back I used to do the speedtest.10-fast-fingers-site and my fingers would virtually be flying on those easy word combinations, hardly I felt there was any room for improvement and the best I could get was around the high 140s and low 150s, take away the mistakes and my peak would be around the 160s, yet I'm sure people like Wrona could get around 180s-190s any day. I'm really obsessed with the idea of becoming one of the fastest typists of all time. I know my level right now (well, maybe not right now, as I've taken some time off, but if I care to get back into shape) is probably beyond most of the average typists around the world, maybe some would call me superfast (as people usually do when they see me type), but I so dearly want to be one of the best if not the best, and I don't think qwerty is going to help me get to that level. I'm looking for other options.. I wonder if colemak layout, combined with my finger dexterity would help me achieve that.

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#9 22-Aug-2012 15:33:50

Tony_VN
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Registered: 08-Dec-2010
Posts: 595

Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

For further discussion, Ryan Heise was 110wpm Qwerty typist. After a year, he is now 90wpm in Qwerty and 120-130wpm in Colemak.

He showed how to maintain fluency in both layouts simultaneously here
http://www.ryanheise.com/colemak/

His website hi-games.net has become the standard typing test that most of us use.

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#10 22-Aug-2012 16:05:56

pinkyache
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Registered: 21-Apr-2010
Posts: 586

Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

@dark-side

That's the competitive spirit!  Stoked up by the olympics by any chance or watching Ron 'Typewriter' Mingo?

Well fast typing is a niche sport, so I'd say you've got a good chance at a moment of glory.

Would different layouts even be allowed competitively under some kind of draconian fast typing sports governance?

The question of will XYZ layout improve my speed comes up time and time again, have a search of the forum.  I'd be inclined to agree with Dreymar's initial response.

I don't really get the obsession around ultra-fast typing speed (I dream of effortlessness), the keyboard is such an archaic odd instrument it has practically no allure whatsoever for me - but each to their own...

Last edited by pinkyache (22-Aug-2012 16:07:48)


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

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#11 23-Aug-2012 00:43:10

DreymaR
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From: Bærum, Norway
Registered: 13-Dec-2006
Posts: 2,466
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Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

If you're curious the good news is I've never heard of anyone getting ruined by a layout change! If you lose a little QWERTY speed after you change to Colemak it'll a) be easy to regain should you wish to (people usually don't bother to because they love typing in Colemak) and b) usually mean that your Colemak speed now surpasses your previous QWERTY speed.

That's my firm impression 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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#12 23-Aug-2012 03:47:17

Tony_VN
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Registered: 08-Dec-2010
Posts: 595

Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

Mostly the effort to learn Colemak is worth it, since the comfort it provides is so evident and healthy that you temporarily forget about the need for speed. You simply enjoy typing, your work, and your life in general.

And with that inner peace, you will type with less errors and your speed will certainly increase at its own pace. You don't have to try so hard.

Last edited by Tony_VN (23-Aug-2012 03:49:31)

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#13 23-Aug-2012 06:50:01

dark-side
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Registered: 22-Aug-2012
Posts: 10

Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

That's a fair point guys, speed isn't everything.
Also it's encouraging to see that you all feel that switching to Colemak will help me to get to and maybe even surpass my previous qwerty speed, also even if that doesn't happen what with the comfort benefit and all I'm more inclined to change than ever.
But, I still have a problem in that Colemak is a niche typing layout.... what should I do if I have to type on other people's computers or my office computer which doesn't support it?. As I earn my bread and butter as a computer engineer, this is something that might be the clinching factor in making my decision. So does colemak have any portable software (preferably of low size) which I can carry around me which makes switching back and forth between the two layouts relatively easily, possible?.

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#14 23-Aug-2012 07:01:21

Tony_VN
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Registered: 08-Dec-2010
Posts: 595

Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

Yes, Colemak does have the portable program for Windows here (200kB size)
http://www.ryanheise.com/colemak.exe

I put it on my USB or google "colemak.exe" to download it to other's computer, then remove it when I leave.

Default icon is H icon = Colemak. Right click - suspend script - S icon = Qwerty.

For Linux, Colemak is an option, so you can toggle between Colemak/Qwerty easily.

Last edited by Tony_VN (23-Aug-2012 07:06:02)

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#15 23-Aug-2012 08:07:08

pinkyache
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Registered: 21-Apr-2010
Posts: 586

Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

@dark-side, portability was a big factor for me (I swap machines a lot) and as such selected  Dvorak as it had wide-spread support.  The good news is that it feels easier to swap and use alternative layouts than in the past.  However it's not painless.  Those times I have to fall back to Qwerty I struggle, and can look like an inept fool.

Last edited by pinkyache (17-Nov-2013 15:07:49)


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

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#16 24-Aug-2012 13:42:49

dark-side
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Registered: 22-Aug-2012
Posts: 10

Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

Thanks Tony_VN, nice software that!.

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#17 24-Aug-2012 14:31:28

DreymaR
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From: Bærum, Norway
Registered: 13-Dec-2006
Posts: 2,466
Website

Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

Well, it's the simple way. For a more advanced program with plenty of useful functionality, consider Portable Keyboard Layout by Farkas Máté. I'm particularly fond of the Extend mappings.

See this topic by me for a walkthrough of the cool things I've been able to do with PKL to customize my Windows typing with full portability!


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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#18 24-Aug-2012 18:46:43

dark-side
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Registered: 22-Aug-2012
Posts: 10

Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

Just a question at the risk of sounding stupid: is there an alternative layout superior to colemak in utilization of homerow and frequently used keys?

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#19 24-Aug-2012 21:50:00

pinkyache
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Registered: 21-Apr-2010
Posts: 586

Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

Probably.


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

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#20 25-Aug-2012 01:14:57

cevgar
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Registered: 04-Feb-2010
Posts: 97

Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

Maltron. But that is a keyboard, not a layout. Arensito shifts all the keys up a row, so Shift is effectively the home row position of the left thumb, which is damn hard to beat on a standard keyboard (aka, it won't help you on a tablet). Workman has an interesting proposal about key difficulty(which is vaguely related, as he doesn't consider the qwerty gh to be homerow positions), Dvorak tries to reduce Left Hand usage (I suspect due to the keys being angled wrong), the Mathematical Multicore guy has a layout that supposedly optimizes for rolls, BVoFRAK, CarpalX (y and z), etc. The Qwerty home row itself isn't horrible, if you L.Shift and can contort your hands to use ASET Space(L.Thumb) N(R.Thumb) HIOP. After that, it is more or less text dependent. For example, Colemak probably isn't going to win many awards for efficiency in Sanskrit.

Now backtracking a bit:

pinkyache wrote:

Would different layouts even be allowed competitively under some kind of draconian fast typing sports governance?

Read on the wikipedia site recently that "Some standardized exams will not allow test takers to use the Dvorak layout (e.g. Graduate Record Examination)". I'm assuming that they mean non-qwerty layouts. So, if you plan to save time and money by testing out of your classes (in the US), stick with qwerty.

pinkyache wrote:

the keyboard is such an archaic odd instrument it has practically no allure whatsoever for me - but each to their own...

Um... what exactly is the modern alternative for text entry? Dasher? 8-pen? Swype? Dictation? Steno? ...

Last edited by cevgar (25-Aug-2012 01:27:57)

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#21 25-Aug-2012 07:09:54

DreymaR
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From: Bærum, Norway
Registered: 13-Dec-2006
Posts: 2,466
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Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

It's easy to get better home row usage! Minimak is the extreme example of that. But what you want in a decent layout is more. Same-finger digraphs are bad, for instance. Digraphs in general should be your concern, not only crude monographs.

If you are a home row (or more precisely, home position) fanatic and in addition type exclusively in English then you may notice that not everything is completely optimal for you in Colemak. The H is relatively common and could've been moved in to the home position, and the A may be considered too common for the left pinky. But considering the most frequent letters in English are (more or less) ETAOIN SHRDLU, they have all gotten decent placements in this layout. And considering all the other factors you should consider, I'd say it's hard to beat Colemak for a balanced approach. Not impossible, but hard. Many have tried and are hardly heard of anymore.

All in all, there's probably always a layout or ten that's better for you since your preferences and needs will vary from others'. But it may be hard to find and probably isn't invented yet. So you could use an algorithm to try and find it? But I don't trust those algoritms because their underlying models are oversimplified and sometimes dead wrong because the assumptions of their makers are wrong. So the only good test would be to make a layout and use it for a long time and then wash rinse repeat - and that's not easy to do! Some have done it but there's always the question of what's a long enough trial period and how biased you are based on your prior knowledge and preferences etc etc. And in the end you'll end up with a layout that's best for you, but not necessarily for many others. Fun, huh? ;)

Colemak. It's damn good. It fits lots of people's needs. It doesn't require that you carry around your own keyboard. It's got good support and several technical solutions supplied by its user mass. And it's there already.

Last edited by DreymaR (25-Aug-2012 07:13:28)


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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#22 31-Aug-2012 12:43:06

pinkyache
Member
Registered: 21-Apr-2010
Posts: 586

Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

DreymaR wrote:

Basically, it means that no matter how much I like it I will always suck at Tekken I guess... ;)

My proclivities are to deliberation rather than to twitch reactions.

Finally get this.  I thought you meant deliberate as in sudden!


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

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#23 31-Aug-2012 12:48:52

pinkyache
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Registered: 21-Apr-2010
Posts: 586

Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

cevgar wrote:

Um... what exactly is the modern alternative for text entry? Dasher? 8-pen? Swype? Dictation? Steno? ...

I was merely suggesting that there must be something better and easier to use than the existing crude rectangular arrays of switches.


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

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#24 25-Oct-2013 23:33:38

davkol
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From: CZ
Registered: 14-Feb-2012
Posts: 181
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Re: Is it worth switching with my typing speed?

Adam Fort wrote:
dark-side wrote:

Just a question at the risk of sounding stupid: is there an alternative layout superior to colemak in utilization of homerow and frequently used keys?

Colemak is concidered as the fastest layout. It's your turn to invent the superior one.

Already done. carpalx' QGMLWY. ^_^


EHMAGERD ERGODOX GB

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