Hello to all, I've just joined the forum.
I'm not a great typist, maybe <50wpm, though I probably should be; I've been in IT for almost 20 years and learnt to touch type at school.
Anyway, stumbling on Colemak has piqued my interest in alternate layouts again; last time Dvorak was the alternative to qwerty, and it didn't look ideal for computing, especially I need to keep some qwerty skill as I often have to use other machines.
This thread is particularly interesting because what Sean Wrona describes is very much how I type, only, um, a little slower obviously. I 'wander' my hands across the keyboard so that I can use the most natural fingering in the context of the word. In particular I find 'rolls' very fast and comfortable, especially outward index-middle finger rolls, eg f,d or h,j in qwerty.
I think there are some, uh, individualities with the way I type too.
For a start, I am wider than the keyboard, or rather my elbows are, and therefore my hands come in at an angle to the board, rather than right angles.
The keyboard is also asymmetrical, and therefore my right hand is slightly more angled than left.
Of course fingers are also different lengths.
This all means that my natural home row is more like a,s,r,v - n,j,k,l, or q,w,e,f - j,i,o,p, roughly as described here:
http://dossy.org/2006/01/is-the-dvorak- … an-qwerty/
Looking into the various layouts, I'm not sure they take any of this into account. The analysis metrics seem to focus on letter frequency more than letter sequences. The home row is always treated as the best, and the bottom row as pariahs, whereas I find v and n on qwerty actually much more reachable than g,h. And I find i,o and e, if maybe not w, to be quite tolerable too, perhaps preferable to l and s. c and m are easier than t,y.
I do find g,h a strech, as described here:
http://viralintrospection.wordpress.com … d-layouts/
So, I'm trying Colemak, but one worry is it doesn't seem to be designed for my peculiarities, and also some common 'words' for me are less fluid than on qwerty, for example 'cd', 'ls -ltr', 'pwd', 'you' even, and a couple of others have hit me; common vi commands like 'dw' for example.
Actually how I stumbled on Colemak was by seeing a post about 'minimak' (minimak.org) on hackernews. This layout takes an even more extreme approach to being easy for qwerty users to learn, only changing 12 keys (or only 4 in the minimal case). Unfortunately I find this is tuned in the same way, for example it leaves h in place. IMHO, h should move to qwerty j, so that the extremely common 'he' digram is a nice two finger roll. So, currently I'm experimenting with my own take on a minimal-change layout, as follows:
The stats aren't that good, and there are some problems. The Colemak a,r,s,t works really well, whereas my a,s,r,t suffers with 'rd', 'dr' and so on. But 'the', 'there' and anything similar are really nice. I may give Colemak some more time after experimenting a bit with this custom layout.
Last edited by jackpipe (05-Nov-2012 13:46:24)