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- Registered: 19-Dec-2005
- Posts: 11
I've started to learn the colemak format [Edit: the old version of Colemak -- Shai], converting from dvorak.
The negative things I have found so far are the things I am used to with dvorak as a computer programmer - things you don't realise until you switch.
I've become accustomed to the things I can do with my left hand while using my right hand with the mouse. This is often to do with punctuation. For example, in Java programming language I can cut a list of exceptions from one part of the code, then click where I want them pasted. I hit comma with my left hand (which is required in a list of exceptions) and mouse->paste with my right. With comma now on the right I have to take my hand off the mouse. Similar problems happen with period.
The same thing also happens with quotes on dvorak. If I want to cut some text and put it in quotes, I can insert the quotemark with my left hand, paste with the mouse, then insert the second quote with my left hand.
The other thing that worries me is that the colemak/qwerty position for quote is in a weak position for the pinky. I don't think the pinky is very happy about making the sideways movement necessary to hit this key. I notice that when I do use this key (for minus or underscore) in dvorak, my ring finger tends to move with my whole hand to make it happen. This would be a bit of a problem for "I'll" or "I'm" n colemak because you need the ring finger to stay put to press "I".
I also miss having E on the left side, because I am used to clicking on a line with my right hand on the mouse, then hitting either ctrl-A or ctrl-E with my left hand to go to beginning or end of line. But that I guess is because I am an anti-social emacs key binding user. I also miss the left handed ctrl-alt-< and ctrl-alt-> emacs beginning and end of file, and I miss the convenient dvorak underscore (emacs undo). On the other hand, having X, S and C back in their qwerty spots is clearly a boon for emacs bindings.
On the positive side, I suspect that having ZXCVS back where they were could be a benefit for cut and paste as far as left-hand-keyboard, right-hand-mouse work is concerned.
I appreciate the fact that L on colemak is in a much better position, because I think this is a big flaw of dvorak, and I think it is a reason my pinky feels over-worked.
On the other hand, I am suspicious about what having the period, comma and slash back on the bottom row will do to my ring finger, as I suspect that bending those fingers tighter to press their traditional positions will be a lot worse than the dvorak position which is stretching these fingers, which is less strain.
So at this point, I've got mixed feelings, I'm not sure if I should continue or not. On the one hand, the letter layout of colemak is clearly more optimal than dvorak. On the other hand, I'm not sure I want to give up having punctuation on the left hand as well as being on the top row, when it might undo the benefits I gain from having L in a good spot, and generally better layout.