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Learn Colemak in steps with the Tarmak layouts!

  • Started by DreymaR
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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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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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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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Hi, I just started with Tarmak 1.  For those interested, I'm using an ergodox infinity keyboard -- also a bit of a change for me, but I'm fairly comfortable with that by now after practicing with QWERTY for a while.

Has anybody here learned at home while still QWERTYing at work?  I'm doing a fair amount of typing at home too, including both "real" typing and deliberate practice.

I'm highly reliant on my typing speed at work and I really can't imagine switching there (even partially) until I'm at maybe 65 wpm on full Colemak.  Also I'm reluctant to abandon my QWERTY skills, in case for whatever reason colemak doesn't work out for me.  But I hope Tarmak might open the door to Colemak for me even so -- I tried some years ago without Tarmak and R and S defeated me -- I think the incremental reward of Tarmak might get me over that.

Thoughts?

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Has anybody developed a Tarmak-like scheme for vim users, that doesn't move the J key around all the time, but rather gets that into place early?  And the same for K and L, I guess.  Is that even possible?

Incremental learning seems essential for me for most of the key changes, but for (H)JKL I think I'd rather go "cold turkey" because those particular keys seem to be directly "geometrically mapped" in my brain when I'm using them for motion, rather than going via any letter meaning.

I'm sure that's not a simple thing to achieve though!

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Hm, how about this for vim-Tarmak?

The idea is to make the Y take the place of the J in Tarmak.

vim-Tarmak #1: (Y) -> E -> K -> N -> J (same as Tarmak #1 but then swap the J with Y)
vim-Tarmak #2: (Y) -> G -> T -> F (same as Tarmak #2 but with Y taking the role of J)
vim-Tarmak #3: (Y) -> R -> S -> D (again just like Tarmak #3 except using Y instead of J)
vim-Tarmak #4: (Y) -> O -> ; -> P (just like Tarmak #4 except J is already in place, so it's only Y moving into its final position)
vim-Tarmak #5 (Colemak): L -> U -> I (identical to Tarmak #5 of course)

Note that step #1 brings all of HJKL except L into place immediately; as in Tarmak, L only moves once, in the final step.

What do you think?  Y is not as rare as J in English, but it's fairly uncommon.

Edited to note: one problem is the big stretch between L and HJK, until the final step.  I suspect the way around that would be to move your right hand one space over to the left while HJKL-navigating, and use your little finger ("pinky" for you US people) for the L -- and then switch to your middle finger in the final step (maintaining the same left-shifted hand position for navigation).  I expect seasoned Colemak vim users can enlighten me on the best final Colemak HJKL technique, though?

Last edited by colemux (24-Aug-2019 11:47:55)
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After that, I wondered if ";" could take the place of J instead, but so far (just basing this entirely off Tarmak without really any creative thought) I found two problems:

1. The "target market" here (vim users) is almost entirely made up of programmers, and many languages use either ":" or ";" extensively.
2. The path I found has only three steps rather than five:

#1: (;) -> E -> K -> N -> J -> Y -> O
#2: (;) -> G -> T -> F
#3: (;) -> P -> R -> S -> D

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OK, though I rather like how "vim-Tarmak" turned out so easily, after some thought and research I think I'm likely to stick with Tarmak proper, combined with, probably, the last "HNEI" cursor key remapping here, which leaves the key motion keys unchanged (hooray):

https://github.com/syl20bnr/spacemacs/p … -254357683

With that setup, Tarmak actually won't interfere much with my use of vim keys, since I happen not to use N and E at all (I think because I started with emacs, then moved to vim bindings), and, emacs permitting, I can just not rebind L, U, and I until the last step -- so until then, it'll be "HNEL" rather than "HNEI".

I fear this might break a bunch of emacs packages that may have hand-hacked HJKL bindings... but I hope spacemacs has already fixed any of that in a way that will support this transition.  I'll see.  For those not initiated in emacs ways: spacemacs is a popular and rather polished emacs configuration that is heavily vim-keys-centric, and as you can see above, already has some Colemak support.

The main reason I've decided to go with HNEI rather than sticking with HJKL in their new Colemak positions is that a big part of my reason for wanting to switch to Colemak is avoiding too much up-and-down finger motion.

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