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Learn Colemak in steps with the Tarmak layouts!

  • Started by DreymaR
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  • Registered: 14-Apr-2017
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That seems totally reasonable. I ended up going ahead doing it as sort of a step 3.5, where I just swapped J and P a few days after (J)>R>S>D, since I tend to use P *just* enough to want to move it before getting totally comfortable with the rest of step 3. I intentionally rushed a little bit on steps 1-3, intending to hold off for a while before moving on to 4, to really hammer in the important keys, in order to avoid developing bad habits that I'd need to immediately unlearn (I'm getting used to the ergodox layout at the same time that I am switching colemak, while also trying to break old bad habits with firmware hacks. As a result, I've been relearning qwerty at the same time that I learn colemak. It's been interesting...). I figure that if I'm stopping for a while, I might as well do 1 more key and get the whole hand. I'm hoping it will make the last couple steps a little easier.

So far, the P/J swap has been surprisingly tough to get used to, so I'm glad I decided to isolate that change by doing it a little earlier.

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  • From: Oslo, Norway
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You're an interesting case, then, switching to Colemak via Tarmak without having a lot of QWERTY ingrained! Let me know how it feels for you. The topic's been debated a bit before. I feel that most people have some QWERTY knowledge to "capitalize on" and that may be enough to warrant the use of Tarmak even if it's primarily intended for seasoned QWERTY touch typists. :-)

It's not so odd that the P step seems tough. P and E are the keys that swap hands, and that's more of a transition. My experience with key swaps is that common keys are easily relearnt, and the rare keys that do move are actually the ones that trip you up the most in the long run. One good argument for choosing Colemak over Dvorak, to avoid moving keys that don't need to move.

Last edited by DreymaR (19-Apr-2017 09:54:33)

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

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UPDATE: Tarmak-Curl is in place

I rearranged the posts a little so Tarmak-Curl(DH) has its own post now. I think the Curl mod is quite important and its Tarmak steps are a little different so it's cleaner this way.

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

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I need a little help. I'd like to try out the Colemak system using Tarmak as you suggest. I'm assuming I can do this with my standard Windows PC computer. What are the actual steps to install the first level of Tarmak? I have downloaded the collection of files but I don't know what to do with them. PCL? Don't know what that is.

I'm moderately familiar with the MS Windows system. I know how to go into system folders and change settings, etc.

In the absence of an .exe file, what's the install procedure?

thanks
JT

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  • From: Oslo, Norway
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Hi! :-)

The main topic post has a link to the Big Bag for PKL, in which you can learn more about the program.

The Main Topic said:
TARMAK DOWNLOADS

Windows:
• Here's My full PortableKeyboardLayout repo at GitHub as described in the Big Bag Of Tricks (for PKL) topic. It should run portably without any fuss. There are layouts for ISO and ANSI(US) keyboards, vanilla or Colemak-DH.

Basically, PKL is a portable program (so you can run it without installing it first, and it can be even be run from a USB drive if your PC permits it). I've made PKL[eD], my own version of it with some additions. There's a full set of Tarmak layouts you can use by editing the PKL_Settings.ini file then running the PKL_eD.exe program. You can specify the layout's path from the main folder directly, or use the lines I've commented out in the settings file. If using those, also set whether you have an ANSI or ISO keyboard and whether you use any ergonomic mods; make the entry "--" if not.

Let me know if that works well for you! ^_^

Let me know if you run into any trouble!

Last edited by DreymaR (20-Aug-2018 08:24:29)

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

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  • From: Belgium
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I don't think a Carpalx analysis of the Tarmak transitional layouts has been posted here yet, so here goes:

Qwerty    3.000 = 1.000 + 1.000 + 1.000
Tarmak#1  2.329 = 0.670 + 0.804 + 0.854
Tarmak#2  2.136 = 0.535 + 0.769 + 0.832
Tarmak#3  2.043 = 0.508 + 0.720 + 0.814
Tarmak#4  1.911 = 0.380 + 0.753 + 0.777
Colemak   1.842 = 0.344 + 0.763 + 0.735

Dvorak    2.098 = 0.397 + 0.937 + 0.765

(effort = base + penalties + path, lower is better, see the carpalx website for details)

Observations:
- step 1 brings the biggest improvement by far, in all areas.  so even if you give up there, you're already much better off, with N and E on the home row.
- step 4 and 5 increase penalties again (finger penalties specifically), but the other parameters compensate for that.

Last edited by ghen (23-Jul-2019 15:41:22)
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Maybe you'd like to spell Tarmak correctly, Ghen? Tarmac was the two-step progression Ezuk used, but since then much has happened. ^_^

I think I used Patorjk to analyze the steps in my posts, so this is useful. But it tells us little new: The steps have been sorted to do the biggest improvements first so naturally the first step brings the most model improvement. I'd be careful about proclaiming that people could stay there happily though, as there are things the models don't pick up on. Some n-grams can be awkward for instance. Well, several of them are awkward in QWERTY so improvement is likely after all. But there's still something. I feel that the last step is really good, even if it brings little model improvement. Finalizing Colemak gets all those little things in place...

Last edited by DreymaR (23-Jul-2019 15:29:08)

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

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It was not meant to bring new insights, only to confirm existing ones, using another set of metrics.

I would certainly not advocate people to stay with Tarmak#1, but it's interesting to see (or confirm again) that few-but-smart changes can bring such significant improvements, compared to "naive" Qwerty-rowswap-like layouts that we discussed again recently.  Those may look good to the uniniated eye, but are not very efficient compared to the change effort.

(+ fixed the Tarmak name typo, sorry about that.)

Last edited by ghen (23-Jul-2019 15:43:30)
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I don't know whether people use Minimak or any of its siblings. Yes, it is an interesting observation. But I still distrust those layouts for all their model gain. ;-)

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

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  • Registered: 20-Aug-2019
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I was wondering if anybody has made a "newbie proof" explanation.  I am hoping to try Tarmak (on windows) and I'm expecting to choose somewhere "level 1" and know which keys have changed.  But if I go the first github I see, I either get EPKL.exe whih doesn't have that "level 1 to 4" or the other GitHub I see - which is Tarmak I believe -  all is  reffering me to autohotkey (which I understand) but still no "level 1"...  Where am I wrong?

Woudn't there be somwehere something like
1 - Download this...
2 - Click on that file....
3 - Do this to set Level 1:
4 - Do that to change when ready to go to level 2

...  That would help me sooooo much...  Thanks

jtimothy said:

I need a little help. I'd like to try out the Colemak system using Tarmak as you suggest. I'm assuming I can do this with my standard Windows PC computer. What are the actual steps to install the first level of Tarmak? I have downloaded the collection of files but I don't know what to do with them. PCL? Don't know what that is.

I'm moderately familiar with the MS Windows system. I know how to go into system folders and change settings, etc.

In the absence of an .exe file, what's the install procedure?

thanks
JT

Last edited by slurpey (20-Aug-2019 22:11:19)
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