• You are not logged in.

decided to use Colemak

  • Started by blmak
  • 45 Replies:
  • Reputation: 0
  • From: Wisconsin, USA
  • Registered: 11-Nov-2013
  • Posts: 14

Some rather interesting things have happened recently that I should point out. I tried to make heads or tales out of .keylayout files in Ukelele and TextEdit for an eventual Rulemak layout based off the PKL. I had no success at all. I'm using the traditional Russian layout. Second of all, I'm still working on gathering materials for the keyboard layouts and screen reader post. Surprisingly I have found Dvorak and qwerty to be better options for screen reader users than Colemak in some situations. I am using qwerty and playing with Dvorak. Dvorak and qwerty are so different when switching back and forth but it's an easier mental switch than from Qwerty to Colemak for me. It seems that one reason I don't like Colemak is typing in Spanish. I thought it worked, but I would get severe pain after typing Spanish for a short time. A post elsewhere on this forum confirmed the experience.
https://forum.colemak.com/viewtopic.php?id=26
I'll keep this post updated from time to time.

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 172
  • From: Viken, Norway
  • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
  • Posts: 5,197

You mean this part?

Shai said:

I haven't done any serious research for the Spanish language, but there are a few issues:
* The 8 most common letters (E, A, O, S, N, R, I, L) should be on the home position.
* The 9th and 10th most common letters (D, T) should be on the home row.
* One issue is that E/U digraph is very common in Spanish.
* Since the accent character is on the pinky, you shouldn't put vowels on the pinky.
So it won't be optimal for Spanish, but still way better than QWERTY.

I'd say it looks fairly good. Not sure what to do about the EU bigram but for L you could move it to another index finger position.
With the Wide mod, the accent characters go in the middle for the index fingers to use, so the pinkies are spared that work.

Last edited by DreymaR (13-Jan-2015 23:17:32)

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

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 0
  • From: Wisconsin, USA
  • Registered: 11-Nov-2013
  • Posts: 14

Yep, that's the part I'm referring to. After playing around with keyboards, the thing that gets me the most is that Alt+GR position in comparison to the other keys. For example, a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 feels better for typing Spanish with Colemak since the Alt+GR key and vowels are well positioned with my right hand. I also wonder if the pain on the right hand comes not from typing Spanish but the hand getting used to a new role? In some ways I do prefer Colemak over Dvorak for typing Spanish. The placement of some letters like L or H for Spanish is better on Colemak than on Dvorak. One disadvantage I find is vowel placement on Colemak for Spanish, where Dvorak has them placed well in comparison.
The screen reader comparison research is still ongoing. While subject to change, here is how I would place the keyboard layouts: Qwerty, Colemak, and Dvorak. A future post will eventually address why.

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 172
  • From: Viken, Norway
  • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
  • Posts: 5,197

To get a good AltGr position on almost all keyboards, use the Wide ergo mod (see my sig)! As mentioned, this will also work to your pinky finger's advantage.

Are you saying that you'd rather type Spanish with QWERTY than with Colemak? ¿Que desafinada, yo penso? jejeje [no, I don't really know Spanish and maybe that was all wrong...]

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

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 0
  • From: Wisconsin, USA
  • Registered: 11-Nov-2013
  • Posts: 14

@DreymaR
No, I'm not saying that. I'm just simply saying that while I really enjoy Colemak Spanish is what gives me difficulty. I prefer to use the Standard Colemak to keep things consistent among various keyboards and operating systems.
I think the pain from typing Spanish is a result of the right wrist getting used to stretching more, but at the same time I do have to be careful. When I was younger I had Carpal Tunnel from one of those braille writing machines and don't want it again.

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 0
  • From: Wisconsin, USA
  • Registered: 11-Nov-2013
  • Posts: 14

Sorry I don't post often. Things are busy in a good way right now. I did try Dvorak but found it bad for my needs, for some of the reasons mentioned previously on the forum and website, etc. I am starting to use Colemak again on a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000, which I made some more space for in my setup. I like the placement of Alt+GR, which makes it a lot less painful for typing Spanish and other languages. One thing I've found is that I still have Colemak muscle memory. I've played with Colemak for a long time, but always to maintain 50 to 60 WPM. I am curious, did anyone here have to abandon Qwerty to make the switch?
On a side note, I am drafting a small post on alternative keyboard layouts and screen reader behavior that may be of interest to some here.
On the technical side, I'm not working on any PKL variants at this time. If I decide to make one, it will be posted under Technical.
Sorry for the lack of posts. I really should try to post a bit more on here.

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 172
  • From: Viken, Norway
  • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
  • Posts: 5,197

Welcome back! :-)

Check out the Curl mods (from my sig topics), they may give you some ideas for your Spanish modifications? And again, for a better AltGr position you really can't beat the Wide mods in my opinion.

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

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 0
  • From: Wisconsin, USA
  • Registered: 11-Nov-2013
  • Posts: 14

Those probably wouldn't work on my end. I'm using an Ansi board. Aren't your mods for ISO boards?
I tend to stick with the default Colemak as it's a consistent experience across all devices.

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 0
  • From: Wisconsin, USA
  • Registered: 11-Nov-2013
  • Posts: 14
DreymaR said:

Welcome back! :-)

Check out the Curl mods (from my sig topics), they may give you some ideas for your Spanish modifications? And again, for a better AltGr position you really can't beat the Wide mods in my opinion.

@DreymaR]
The amount of work you put into these variants is quite impressive! Your variants look interesting, but I tend to stick with default Colemak.

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 172
  • From: Viken, Norway
  • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
  • Posts: 5,197

The idea of looking to the Curl mods was mostly to point to the discussion there about the index positions: These can be interchanged freely without doing much to the bigram statistics of Colemak, and any modifications like that are quite easily learnt once you know Colemak since no letters change fingers that way. There are differences of course (such as 'knee' having become one of the most fun words to type with Curl!), but one can achieve much with little using this trick.

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

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 0
  • Registered: 04-Aug-2015
  • Posts: 3

thank you for your sharing ," blind typing",amazing!!

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 0
  • Registered: 14-Dec-2012
  • Posts: 212

The trouble with using an ergonomic keyboard is that you will tend to get used to that keyboard itself and will not be able to use another kind of keyboard easily. That is why I got rid of my Microsoft Ergonomic 4000. I decided that if I was to be proficient on any kind of keyboard, I would need to use the standard keyboards.

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 172
  • From: Viken, Norway
  • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
  • Posts: 5,197

That's my quest too, to do everything I can in software without touching the hardware. I use laptops and don't want to lug around an extra keyboard!

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

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 109
  • From: UK
  • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
  • Posts: 941
knightjp said:

The trouble with using an ergonomic keyboard is that you will tend to get used to that keyboard itself and will not be able to use another kind of keyboard easily. That is why I got rid of my Microsoft Ergonomic 4000. I decided that if I was to be proficient on any kind of keyboard, I would need to use the standard keyboards.

Not sure how ergonomic the "Microsoft Ergonomic 4000" actually is. But leaving that aside...

The trouble with this philosophy is that you go through life always accepting something worse than is necessary. By the same token, you could say, I would never eat at nice restaurants because I would get used to the good quality food, and then I would be disappointed when eating a cheap burger. The solution would not be to live on cheap burgers!

Of course, if you *need* to use other people's standard keyboards all the time then you make a legitimate point. But maybe you could get one that is portable and programmable and take it with you everywhere..?

Last edited by stevep99 (19-Aug-2015 13:37:08)

Using Colemak-DH with Seniply.

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 172
  • From: Viken, Norway
  • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
  • Posts: 5,197

Bad metaphor. If I live on cheap burgers, it's bad for my health. And if I eat well but sample a burger now and then, I'll be tempted to get back to the healthy food. Honestly, cheap burgers taste horribly.

With keyboards, I can make my laptop keyboard behave very well indeed, keeping me a happy and healthy typer. I won't get the benefits of a DataHand for sure, but I won't have to lug one very expensive piece of hardware around with me and I'll be trained to tackle all those standard keyboards I do come across in everyday life. And if I need to use of them for a prolonged period, chances are I'll be able to use PKL and make it optimized too.

So it's not worse than necessary. It's very good, and certainly more than good enough. By your argument, you could say that you needed to eat at only the most expensive restaurants – which would be ridiculously expensive and provide little real benefit to you in the long run.

At work, I do use a mechanical keyboard "of course", but one with a standard hardware layout. The rest is done by my Big Bag Of Tricks.

Last edited by DreymaR (19-Aug-2015 14:18:03)

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

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 172
  • From: Viken, Norway
  • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
  • Posts: 5,197

I've no idea how I could make a video of myself typing, but yeah. A home position on ASDF(V) and (M)KL;' (Wide-Angle-DH mods) lets me keep straight and relaxed wrists and those finger motions don't seem awkward to me at least – unless you're talking about the most rarely used keys in which case some upper-row keys are a little awkward but nothing major. Using the DH mod means that the center column is less in use and the separation between D and H on my layout is 5.7 cm which feels like it's enough for me. Wrist strain is more about angles and twists than pure separation I think.

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

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 109
  • From: UK
  • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
  • Posts: 941
DreymaR said:

Bad metaphor. If I live on cheap burgers, it's bad for my health. And if I eat well but sample a burger now and then, I'll be tempted to get back to the healthy food. Honestly, cheap burgers taste horribly.

If you use a poor keyboard it might also be bad for your (hands') health.  If you use a good keyboard, but have to use a poor one now and then, you'd be tempted to get back to using a good one.  Therefore the metaphor doesn't sound that bad to me, although obviously all metaphors have their limits. There should probably be a rule that it's never wise to never use them on online forums!

What I meant was, I don't believe it's a good strategy (in general) to adopt the lowest common denominator just to be the same as the majority.

Last edited by stevep99 (19-Aug-2015 16:37:03)

Using Colemak-DH with Seniply.

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 172
  • From: Viken, Norway
  • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
  • Posts: 5,197

You're certainly right in that. Otherwise we'd still be typing QWERTY. But as you can see that's not what I'm advocating.

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

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 0
  • Registered: 26-Oct-2013
  • Posts: 70

before, i thought changing the layout was going about it the wrong way. take colemak, for example. it advocates changing the caps lock key to backspace. at work, i use a truly ergonomic. it does it right. it solves the problem in hardware by putting the backspace key in the center, reachable by both hands; the typematrix does this too. then i got a laptop!

now i'm considering getting rid of my truly ergonomic. i still think it's better to solve the issues in hardware, but, more important than that is conformity. i finally got around to trying emacs and found that i was getting confused between keyboard commands, because i had different finger habits between the two keyboards. because i can't change my laptop keyboard, i now want my desktop keyboard to be the same

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 109
  • From: UK
  • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
  • Posts: 941
youBane said:

before, i thought changing the layout was going about it the wrong way. take colemak, for example. it advocates changing the caps lock key to backspace. at work, i use a truly ergonomic. it does it right. it solves the problem in hardware by putting the backspace key in the center, reachable by both hands; the typematrix does this too. then i got a laptop!

now i'm considering getting rid of my truly ergonomic. i still think it's better to solve the issues in hardware, but, more important than that is conformity. i finally got around to trying emacs and found that i was getting confused between keyboard commands, because i had different finger habits between the two keyboards. because i can't change my laptop keyboard, i now want my desktop keyboard to be the same

Hmm, it seems that this is actually quite a big problem. Mind you I still can't imagine getting rid of a keyboard which I was happy with in order to use something I knew to be significantly worse. It would rankle too much and cause me to think of dodgy burgers :P

But then, if I knew I needed to use my laptop while travelling a lot, I would factor that in to my keyboard buying decision and get one that still allowed moderately similar operation. The Ergo Pro I recently got fits this compromise fairly well in being a nice keyboard but with still with a moderately conventional layout.

Maybe you could try to adapt the layout on your laptop keyboard to more closely resemble that of the Truly Ergonomic?  For example, with the wide and angle mods, the difference between the TE and the laptop may be less severe, and the wide mod in particular gives you buttons in the centre which could become your backspace and enter and whatnot. Also, what I really like about the using an Extend layer, is those troublesome keys like delete and enter are no longer in special places away from the main hand positions, which means those keys can become almost independent of physical hardware anyway.

At least the TypeMatrix is quite small and portable so in that case it would be possible to carry it around. Ideally laptop keyboards would pluggable components so that you could replace them with one of any design, but sadly that isn't likely to happen :(

Last edited by stevep99 (22-Aug-2015 15:13:05)

Using Colemak-DH with Seniply.

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 1
  • Registered: 05-Apr-2014
  • Posts: 27
youBane said:

now i'm considering getting rid of my truly ergonomic. i still think it's better to solve the issues in hardware, but, more important than that is conformity. i finally got around to trying emacs and found that i was getting confused between keyboard commands, because i had different finger habits between the two keyboards. because i can't change my laptop keyboard, i now want my desktop keyboard to be the same

Rather than learning a new layout, like Colemak, I modified my method of typing Qwerty to make it feel much more comfortable:

https://forum.colemak.com/viewtopic.php?id=2060

davkol said:

Sooo, you're typing on the legacy layout with perfectly straight, relaxed wrists and without any awkward finger motions? Interesting… I'd like to see that.

That's the problem that I have tried to solve with this method. It works for me.

Last edited by karl (24-Aug-2015 18:27:30)
Offline
  • 0