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    Do I need special keycaps to make a correct Colemak keyboard?

    • Started by kim366
    • 8 Replies:
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 25-Aug-2015
    • Posts: 15

    Hello,

    I wanted to buy a mechanical keyboard and special keycaps. The Colemak layout looks very attractive to me, though. There is a Dvorak/Colemak addon for the keycap set ( https://www.keychatter.com/wp-content/u … 24x498.jpg ), that includes homing keys, a secod backspace and the rest is only for Dvorak as far as I know. So do I really need that addon for Colemak, if I am fine with wrong homing keys and a "Caps Lock" text on the backspace or are other keys changed as well?

    Thanks in advance,
    Kim

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,742

    For Colemak itself I don't usually care much. After a little while it sits in your fingers and you might as well use ninja keycaps. But for the WideAngle mods (see my sig) I prefer to move at least some of the caps.

    It's useful to have a homing nub for the N key (right hand index finger). So if your key caps are QWERTY that's an argument for not moving them to their Colemak positions (if that's at all possible). When I mod my laptops to the Wide mod, I usually scratch the new N key a little so I can feel it with my index finger pad.

    *** 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: 17-Nov-2014
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    During your transition, it is better to not have the correct key caps. This will force you to learn the layout by feel. After you have mastered (or become proficient at) the layout, reorganized key caps are more convenient. So, I would say try it for a month or two before you try to switch your physical keyboard.

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    • From: UK
    • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
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    jonhines said:

    During your transition, it is better to not have the correct key caps. This will force you to learn the layout by feel. After you have mastered (or become proficient at) the layout, reorganized key caps are more convenient. So, I would say try it for a month or two before you try to switch your physical keyboard.

    I'm not so sure about that. Yes you should learn it by feel, but I think having the letters labelled correctly may help you to feel more relaxed about the transition. I used some lame stickers on a cheap keyboard when I learned, this enabled me to apply stickers a few at a time with each Tarmak step. I think this approach helped, but obviously I'll never know about the counterfactual.

    I would also rather have blank keys than incorrectly labelled ones.

    Last edited by stevep99 (25-Aug-2015 15:54:59)

    Using Colemak Mod-DH with some additional ergonomic keyboard mods.

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    • Registered: 17-Nov-2014
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    I think this is a fair point. As long as you know your keys are incorrectly labeled, they are essentially blank since you know not to look at them. Plus, you get a good chuckle anytime someone else uses your computer.

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,742

    If you know QWERTY really well beforehand, you could switch to blank caps first (ninja style) and then change each Tarmak step to Colemak! :-)

    *** 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: 25-Aug-2015
    • Posts: 15

    The funny thing is that I don't know touch-typing at all, but I will change to ninja-style keycaps anyways, because I won't be able to cheat and I'll learn more effectively. Thanks for all your help!

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,742

    In my not so humble opinion, the idea that you'll learn so much better from ninja keycaps may be a myth. I've never seen any good evidence for it, it's just taken for granted by many I think?

    But it can be a fun game, if you're motivated for it. :-)

    Last edited by DreymaR (27-Aug-2015 07:48:48)

    *** 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: 21-Apr-2010
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    When my shoulder and neck was buggered, I learned touch typing on my back!  Which did mean my fingering style was a bit out there for a while.

    You don't really register yourself peeking down at the keyboard.  You could practice in the dark, or with a make shift screen over your hands.  It could be lightweight fabric.

    The only downside about not seeing your hands or the keyboard, is that you might not notice poor hand/fingering style.  Due to the weird staggered layout of the standard keyboard, I have a bit of a kink on my left wrist, that I have to work a little harder to iron out.  It's something I gained from bad habits early on.  I glued my fingers to the homerow, and turned my wrist rather than floating my fingers.

    You can also film your typing style.  It can highlight awkward movements.

    --
    Physicians deafen our ears with the Honorificabilitudinitatibus of their heavenly Panacaea, their sovereign Guiacum.

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