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Decided to learn Colemak - will update here frequently

  • Started by Coldmak
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  • Registered: 03-Jul-2013
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Hey everyone,
after doing excessive reading on alternative layouts, I came to the conclusion to learn Colemak instead of Dvorak. I just have a few questions before I want to get started.

I've been touch-typing for 4 years now and although I did learn QWERTY properly, I started slacking a bit (using only left shift key, B sometimes with right, sometimes with left index, etc.). I figured this is my chance to learn it properly. Another thing I've been teaching myself over the last 4 weeks is Python. I did some research but couldn't find anything like Dvorak for programmers, but I assume there's probably a nice layout for programmers that use Colemak? I'm probably gonna stick to Python for now, but will dive into JS and possibly Ruby later on as well.

I'm a statistics freak, so I need a good program or website that tracks a lot of metrics and makes them easily accessible. I went through the wiki but there's too many links so it would be great if you guys could help me out with recommendations. There was someone on here seeding Type tutor 7 or something, which apparently also trains the numbers row? At the moment my top speed on 10fastfingers was 73WPM, average on typeracer over 19 races was 64WPM with a record of 78WPM. Accuracy on both 99% or close to it. I'm not sure yet if I want to quit cold turkey but I wanna pick up journalling again, so I figured why not combine both and cold turkey at least my journal entries. Any other feedback is most welcome. I use a lenovo ideapad, this being my keyboard. Also, how is learncolemak.com?

TL;DR Need advice on which programs/websites to use for rich metrics tracking and which Colemak layout geared toward programming

cheers,
Michael

##############

The posted average is the average of the last ten sessions in Amphetype.
 
Day 01: 32.0WPM; 97.0% accuracy; Tarmak 1
Day 02: 39.3WPM; 97.9% accuracy; Tarmak 1
Day 03: 31.7WPM; 97.7% accuracy; Tarmak 2
Day 04: 37.2WPM; 98.4% accuracy; Tarmak 2
Day 05: 30.9WPM; 97.6% accuracy; Tarmak 3
Day 06: 36.6WPM; 98.8% accuracy; Tarmak 3
Day 07: 25.3WPM; 95.2% accuracy; Tarmak 4
Day 08: 31.4WPM; 95.6% accuracy; Tarmak 4
Day 09: 24.1WPM; 93.6% accuracy; Colemak
Day 10: 27.6WPM; 97.9% accuracy; Colemak

AmphetypeAverage.jpg


Day 11: 31.7WPM; 96.4% accuracy
Day 12: 32.8WPM; 96.2% accuracy
Day 13: 37.6WPM; 97.0% accuracy
Day 14: 36.1WPM; 96.3% accuracy
Day 15: 42.4WPM; 95.9% accuracy
Day 16: 44.5WPM; 97.2% accuracy
Day 17: 42.2WPM; 96.4% accuracy
Day 18: 44.3WPM; 97.1% accuracy
Day 19: 47.1WPM; 97.2% accuracy
Day 20: 50.1WPM; 98.2% accuracy

AmphetypeAverage2.jpg

Day 21: 49.8WPM; 97.2% accuracy
Day 22: 51.2WPM; 97.3% accuracy
Day 23: 53.4WPM; 96.9% accuracy
Day 24: 53.1WPM; 97.7% accuracy
Day 25: 53.6WPM; 97.7% accuracy
Day 26: 53.9WPM; 98.2% accuracy
Day 27: 53.6WPM; 97.4% accuracy
Day 28: 56.3WPM; 98.1% accuracy
Day 29: 53.6WPM; 97.4% accuracy
Day 30: 57.1WPM; 97.3% accuracy

fHOi2tX.jpg

Day 35: 60.8WPM; 97.8% accuracy
Day 40: 62.3WPM; 97.8% accuracy
Day 45: 67.4WPM; 98.2% accuracy
Day 51: 70.5WPM; 98.5% accuracy

amphetypeday51.jpg

Day 60: 66.3WPM; 97.6% accuracy
Day 65: 72.5WPM; 98.2% accuracy
Day 70: 71.3WPM; 98.5% accuracy
Day 75: 70.6WPM; 98.2% accuracy
Day 80: 70.3WPM; 97.3% accuracy
Day 85: 70.1WPM; 97.8% accuracy
Day 86: 70.2WPM; 97.7% accuracy
Day 87: 73.9WPM; 97.9% accuracy
Day 88: 80.8WPM; 98.6% accuracy

amphetypeday88.jpg

amphetypeday126.jpg

Last edited by Coldmak (07-Nov-2013 09:40:52)
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It's Typing Tutor 7 I am seeding (GG for the links). Before you can drill with that program, try TypeFaster or learncolemak.com to practise all the Colemak keys.

Typing Tutor 7 can teach you to type the number row, by introducing one key/character at a time.

For fun reading books while typing, you may try Amphetype. Typing Tutor 7 only give you random sentences with random words.

For statistics, Typing Tutor 7 is quite fine. Amphetype is very good too. Either program would be all right for me, and I use both.

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Tarmak may well be the best transitioning mechanism (not only in the colemak universe, but in layouts period).

There are indeed a lot of metrics programs/sites.  Carplax is well-renowned, Keyboard Layout Analyzer easy to use.  I haven't tried to deeply analyze any metrics, however; I imagine that'd be more your area.

A couple other things I've posted about recently:

Coldmak said:

B sometimes with right, sometimes with left index, etc.

https://forum.colemak.com/viewtopic.php … 560#p12560

Coldmak said:

I did some research but couldn't find anything like Dvorak for programmers, but I assume there's probably a nice layout for programmers that use Colemak?

https://forum.colemak.com/viewtopic.php … 514#p12514

or another modifier layout - see Dreymar's sig for one that uses caps.

Last edited by lalop (04-Jul-2013 11:57:11)
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@Tony

If they're both about the same, I might as well use Amphetype since it's free.

@lalop

Thanks for the Tarmak link, I think this is probably a good idea.

The wide layout looks really interesting. As far as I can tell this offers the advantage of being able to code better without loosing English language efficiency? In other words, are there any cons to the wide layout? Also, can I still use Tarmak with it?

edit: The more I think about it, the more this wide layout makes sense. Wouldn't it also be easier to retain QWERTY since resting on J would be "QWERTY mode" and resting on K would be "Tarmak mode"?

Last edited by Coldmak (03-Jul-2013 22:20:23)
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Coldmak said:

The wide layout looks really interesting. As far as I can tell this offers the advantage of being able to code better without loosing English language efficiency? In other words, are there any cons to the wide layout? Also, can I still use Tarmak with it?

The main pro is that you can reach AltGr more easily, and that the /? moves from the questionable pinkie to the strong index.  The main con is that, on ascii keyboards, the "' get displaced to the top row.  Also, it's harder to reach the middle two keys, leading to possible waste (I still don't really know what rare character I should put there).

You can make just about any layout wide with AltGr mappings, but you'd probably have to make it yourself.  Also, you should optimize the AltGr layer for your own usecase/languages. I'm not even sure mine is particularly well-optimized; will have to do a serious study when I get spare time later this summer.

Coldmak said:

Amphetype

Note that Amphetype (I think python programs in general) does not play very well with AltGr "command keys".  You have to insert them into the program manually.  Fortunately, that is not too difficult.

Coldmak said:

Wouldn't it also be easier to retain QWERTY since resting on J would be "QWERTY mode" and resting on K would be "Tarmak mode"?

I hadn't really thought of that; I guess it might help.

Last edited by lalop (03-Jul-2013 23:40:59)
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For recording your typing experience, you can register one account at
http://hi-games.net

to practice and record your highest performances. You can replay your and others' fastest typing record anytime.

Outwardly, hi-games.net only allows you to record 30s, 1m, 2m, 5m typing period but in fact you can record your max speed at any interval.

For example, you can type for 10 seconds here
http://hi-games.net/typing-test,10/

and you can watch your fastest typing at that interval
http://hi-games.net/typing-test,10/watc … filenumber

You can replace 10 with any number, so you can have as many typing records as you want - good for practice and see you can break your own records every day!

Most of us are there. My profile is at my signature.

Last edited by Tony_VN (04-Jul-2013 04:09:46)
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@lalop

I think this is the first time I wish I had a German keyboard, they have another key next to O one could use for '". So how did you learn your wide layout? Started with Colemak and then transitioned? Also, in you wide layout, which symbols does AltGr mode activate?

edit: How do you use your layout on other computers? I know there is a file one can put on a usb drive to use colemak but does that work for your layout as well?

@Tony

yeah I've had some difficulties with my Java security settings but finally managed to get it running. Neat site!

Last edited by Coldmak (04-Jul-2013 11:05:45)
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I didn't make my wide/AltGr layout until after I learned colemak; you can actually track much of its progress in its thread.  AltGr is not so much a "mode" as a modifier, like shift.  The bottom right symbols on each key are from AltGr+key, while the top right are from Shift+AltGr+key. 

Coldmak said:

edit: How do you use your layout on other computers? I know there is a file one can put on a usb drive to use colemak but does that work for your layout as well?

If I recall, that works via Portable Key Layout; it shouldn't be too hard to make one for your own layout.  Usually, I just use qwerty or bring my laptop everywhere.

Last edited by lalop (04-Jul-2013 11:59:37)
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Ok thanks, I think I'll probably do it like that as well. Start out with "simplified" Colemak using Tarmak, and then eventually switching to the wide layout. Although I like the way you use Backspace and Ctrl...

Last edited by Coldmak (05-Jul-2013 08:15:08)
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edit: Can someone dropbox me their pkl.ini files for the Tarmak layouts. I've put them in the layout folder but can't find any information in the readme file, nor in Dreymars tips and tricks thread about how to actually make them usable in the program.

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Drop the layouts from PKL_vk_Tarmak.zip\PKL_vk_Tarmak_0-5\ into the layouts directory for your pkl and then add to the layouts line in pkl.ini e.g.
layout = colemak,vk_Tarmak1(E):Tarmak 1

Might be good to have a standard package that we can put up though. Maybe Dreymer could include it in his PKL package along with the widemod? Otherwise I'll put one up somewhere.

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ok thanks, that did the trick. Is there any way I can get the help-image as well?

edit: don't worry actually, Tarmak makes it very easy. I just started and noticed this annoying habit I have. Whenever I reach for a key in the top row, the neighbouring fingers move also, which I'm also trying to fix now.

Also, in which version of Tarmak will CapsLk change to Backspace?

Last edited by Coldmak (05-Jul-2013 12:46:53)
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Coldmak said:

Also, in which version of Tarmak will CapsLk change to Backspace?

I think Dreymar has it set to work with his Extend mapping by default (see his sig thread).

If you want backspace, this commented-out line in the layout.ini looks promising:

;CapsLock = OEM_1    0    ={backspace}    *{CapsLock}    ={backspace}    ={backspace}    ={backspace}    ; Caps Lock
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thanks lalop, that worked!

although for some reason backspace on capslk is lagging a little bit.

Last edited by Coldmak (06-Jul-2013 11:46:50)
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So I've been practising roughly 45-75 minutes in Amphetype every day for the past ten but didn't do a lot of other typing besides that. It's good to finally be on Colemak and not having to go back to a shit speed tomorrow haha. Hopefully I'll be able to go up to 50wpm within the next 7-10 days. Annoying words over the time were: thoughts, people, yourself.

I updated the initial post for more statistics.

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That is extremely fast progress! 

Query: Did you train with each tarmak until your muscle memory was very comfortable with it?

  • If not, did you suffer any similar issues as did bph?

  • If so, at approximately what level (say, wpm/accuracy) would you say you felt comfortable?  I would not have really recommended anyone transition to the next tarmak at ~30wpm, but I could easily be wrong.  Maybe it's ~30wpm and high accuracy that does the trick.

Last edited by lalop (14-Jul-2013 09:33:07)
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I guess that depends on how you define very comfortable. Personally for me comfort has a lot to do with flow. And flow has a lot to do with being able to type at a certain base speed without making mistakes all over the place. I think personally for me, the magic numbers are a flow of ~40WPM and an accuracy of 97%. Whenever my accuracy was <95% I felt like I was making a lot of errors.

As you can see in my results, I only ever once came close to the magical 40WPM. But that's fine, I decided that as long as my accuracy is around 97% and the speed around 30WPM I'm still comfortable enough to level up. Which for me I guess proved to be right.

It is also interesting to notice how over time the average second day speed gets lower and lower. This for me is due to not being comfortable with a few keys that aren't trained as often as the others. I remember on Tarmak 1 I had problems with K for about 4 days, just because it is not used as often as E and N.

I think focusing on accuracy is very important when considering when to level up. From my experience I suggest the aim should be between 95-100% combined with a speed of >25WPM. Having a greater speed initially helps, as performance will very likely decrease when adding more keys from the colemak layout.

Last edited by Coldmak (14-Jul-2013 10:53:06)
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40 WPM @ 97 WPM was about my sweet spot too, though I was probably pushing it a bit towards the end. I also had similar issues with cumulative difficulty, especially by the time I got to Tarmak 4 -> Colemak. It sounds like your experience was pretty on par with mine.

If my work had been especially busy during the time I switched, I definitely would've slowed things down further for productivity sake.

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AmphetypeAverage.jpg

Nice graph. According to your result I think Tarmak would be the best way to learn Colemak, since each transition phase is very gradual and average users can endure it without much pain while keeping credibility at work.

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So I hit 50WPM today after a longer training session than usual. But that's just due to being able to type faster now and thus cramming more training into the same time interval. My most damaging word is "people" with an accuracy of only 50%. The fastest word is "that" with a speed of 84.4WPM (<- that speed is still a looong way off ;)

Every second day I do a slow 100% accuracy run in the beginning to have a nicer breakdown later in the graph. Between day 12 and 14 you can see that I messed up cause I thought I have to do a slow run...oh well.

I guess from here the next level is 60WPM? Although I'm not sure if I can meet that target within the next 10 days. Day 16-18 was a pretty long plateau and the plateaus are not gonna get shorter in the future. Highest speed so far was 56.1WPM.

Last edited by Coldmak (24-Jul-2013 08:32:01)
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try to see how quick you can type the Dutch word "karsten". It's such a fun word to type in colemak, just a shame that it's barely used in day to day language. Well, maybe if you're a Dutch geologist, but I doubt that.

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karsten karsten kasrten karsten karsetn karsetn karsten karsten karsten  arsten

:D Good word!

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Hi! Glad you're enjoying Tarmak and PKL and everything.

It's too bad that PKL isn't better documented; this mostly stems from the fact that Farkas Máté is Hungarian and doesn't speak English too well – and he hasn't been heard from in quite a while. So while it's the most awesome layout changing app for Windows I know of, it's kind of an abandonware project. :(

Fun fact: Karsten is a name in Norway! It's a variant of Christian. Now I need to find some people with that name and convert them to Colemak... ;)

Last edited by DreymaR (30-Jul-2013 09:06:12)

*** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
*** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

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So the last couple of days I was plateauing hard as you can see in the graph, so I'm guessing 65WPM is not due for another 4 weeks. Least favourite word at the moment: "doesn't"

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Didn't like typing the word "doesn't" either, used to group the letters by thinking "do" followed by "es" then "n't" but now I've trained myself to type it like "d" "oe" "sn't" and it's slightly easier.

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