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    Bye Bye QWERTY! You Wont Be Missed! :P

    • Started by Qai
    • 5 Replies:
    • Qai
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    • Registered: 01-Apr-2016
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    So I made the switch from QWERTY to Colemak Mod-DH with the angle shift mod (ANSI 104) a few weeks back and I'm never ever going back to QWERTY. Ever. I did first try Colemak proper, and will take it any day over QWERTY, but agreed with some of the criticisms that brought about the creation of Mod-DH. Once I tried Mod-DH I instantly fell in love with it. I went so far as to physically re-arrange the keys on my mechanical Cherry MX red keyboard to correspond to it. It's a temporary solution until I order new keys from WASD (so each row has the proper height and angle dimensions for its keys).

    In QWERTY I used to be able to type 75-80 WPM. I haven't measured myself yet with Mod-DH, but as painful as the transition has been I do see substantial weekly progress. After a few weeks, I would venture a guess that I'm currently probably 30-40 WPM. It is painful, but I can see the sun rising over the horizon. I changed to Colemak cold turkey the first day I tried it, and haven't used any tutorials or trainers. Just jumped straight into the deep end and haven't looked back ever since. Still need to glance at the keys now and then, but more importantly the QWERTY bleed-through typos are starting to go away. I had to use a QWERTY keyboard the other day. Felt like throwing up.

    I also ended up having to create my own Windows layout file using MKLC because I ended up going one step further in the layout and actually reversed the normal-shift states of the number-symbol keys. This change might not be for everyone, but I prefer it.

    Stumbling across Colemak, and then Mod-DH, has been like finding two needles in a haystack for me!

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    • From: UK
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    Hello, and welcome!

    Sounds like you're making pretty good progress after only a few weeks. Reaching around 40wpm for me was the point where the pain started to fall away and it started to feel good. So things should only get better from here on in!

    Glad your are enjoying Mod-DH too, I think of it as the final piece of the jigsaw falling into place!

    Last edited by stevep99 (01-Apr-2016 15:16:18)

    Using Colemak-DH with Seniply.

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    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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    Not the final piece, maybe? We've found new improvements steadily since 2007 so maybe we'll think up even more. ;-)

    But yeah, welcome and have a happy stay Qai!

    Shift-reversed symbol-number keys would go well with the second Extend layer, so you could NumPad on any keyboard for better number entry. That way you'd have the advantages of the shift reversal with hardly any downsides.

    Last edited by DreymaR (01-Apr-2016 16:02:20)

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

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    • Qai
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    Thanks stevep99 and DreymaR. I'm finding the 40 WPM "threshold" (if you want to call it that), for me at least, is around the time that muscle memory starts becoming noticeable. There's still a long way to go, but it's definitely at around this time that, as you say, it starts to feel good.

    Another thing that really drew me towards Mod-DH specifically is that standard Colemak does not implement an angle shift. Granted I could have just applied my own shift, but seeing as how Mod-DH already does that along with other changes that, in my opinion, are good enhancements to Colemak, I decided to just go ahead with Mod-DH. Personally, I think angle shift needs to be a core principle of any keyboard design. The lack of one for QWERTY led me to develop very bad habits, which could also happen with standard Colemak.

    With regards to new improvements, these could just be personal preferences (the D>P>G switch) or overall negligible improvements. I don't want this to sound like I'm discounting progress, I'm not. But the founding principles of the Colemak layout are pretty darn good. The biggest "improvement" I can think of is maybe to redesign the positions of the keys within each row that does not take familiarity with QWERTY as a design philosophy so as to retains overlap of some keys between the layouts (I'm not actually sure if the overlap is explicitly part of the Colemak design or just a coincidence).

    The shift reversal and NumPad situations I think are heavily user-dependent. I for one haven't used a keyboard with a NumPad for probably 10 years. Maybe more. I just don't do a lot of number crunching. But I can definitely see how having it universally accessible on every keyboard could be useful for others. I still haven't settled on making the number-symbol reversal permanent. I'm thinking I might put the numbers back into the non-shifted state and re-distribute the symbols through AltGr on the home row, and possibly other combinations.

    Last edited by Qai (01-Apr-2016 21:07:11)
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    The angle shift for ISO keyboard is "Shai sanctified"; in other words, he's said that he recommends it for these keyboards. So it's nearly a Colemak standard, albeit poorly promoted...

    Indeed, anyone could and should use it on an ISO keyboard, including QWERTY users. My wife typed QWERTY with it and hardly noticed; blind typists need to adjust more though but it's still low effort and high reward. For ANSI keyboards, it's more a question of tastes and priorities as the price tag is a little bit higher.

    One of the nice things about Colemak is its actually workable stability; on one side we want improvement but on the other stability is nice as well so we don't have to relearn a layout every year and never settle. So it's really reassuring that the core Colemak layout has stood the test of time and progress so well I think. And as you say, you can have minor mods to make it even sweeter but still Colemak, and these are optional and cater to different tastes and needs.

    I've thought about the number-reversal, as I've seen it in some layouts. I think it has merits, if there is a good way of entering numbers available for those who need it. Such a way could be the physical NumPad of course, or a logical NumPad with Fn or Extend key. I probably won't be using it myself though.

    Last edited by DreymaR (02-Apr-2016 08:56:03)

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

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    Qai said:

    I'm thinking I might put the numbers back into the non-shifted state and re-distribute the symbols through AltGr on the home row, and possibly other combinations.

    You could have your AltGr layer with all the symbols you need on the left hand side of the keyboard, and the numbers on the right-hand side in a num-pad like arrangement. That would mean you would almost never need to reach for the top row.

    Something a bit like this...
    http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/# … 55e131d4b1

    Last edited by stevep99 (02-Apr-2016 17:21:22)

    Using Colemak-DH with Seniply.

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