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Catchatyou's Results Switching to Colemak

  • Started by catchatyou
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  • Registered: 22-May-2016
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It looks like I've plateaued as far as rapid growth is concerned.  Now continues the long journey of optimizing keystrokes.  I will be genuinely happy if I can achieve 90wpm a month from now.  We'll see!

Day 47 results on Typeracer:
Average WPM - 65
Highest WPM  - 78

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You've reached pretty much the same speed as me, and I switched more than two years ago, so that's rapid progress I'd say!

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

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I just returned from a week-long vacation a couple days ago, and it looks like I've improved a little bit while I was away!

Day 59 results on Typeracer:
Average WPM - 68
Highest WPM  - 79

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Day 63 results on Typeracer:
Average WPM - 72
Highest WPM  - 81

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Day 70 results on Typeracer:
Average WPM - 73
Highest WPM  - 80

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Day 77 results on Typeracer:
Average WPM - 73
Highest WPM  - 80

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Day 86 results on Typeracer:
Average WPM - 72
Highest WPM - 79

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Day 93 results on Typeracer:
Average WPM - 73
Highest WPM  - 84

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I just read your whole thread; you've really improved. It looks like you're about 20 WPM short of what you were on QWERTY. How long would you estimate it will take you to reach your QWERTY speed?

My question is (since I'm brand new): are you glad you made the switch? Would you do it all over?

catchatyou said:

Day 93 results on Typeracer:
Average WPM - 73
Highest WPM  - 84

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  • From: Oslo, Norway
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Some reach their old speed in a month, others need a year. It's very individual.

You may want to read Ryan Heise's Learning Colemak article. He managed to keep QWERTY speed while learning Colemak really fast, and is now one of the top speed typists in the Colemak world. Obviously, he knew a lot about typing fast beforehand, and transferred that knowledge deliberately.

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

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Thanks I'll check that out. I just discovered "Workman" layout; do you know if anyone has compared the two? I'll read the forum here and see if I can find anything.

DreymaR said:

Some reach their old speed in a month, others need a year. It's very individual.

You may want to read Ryan Heise's Learning Colemak article. He managed to keep QWERTY speed while learning Colemak really fast, and is now one of the top speed typists in the Colemak world. Obviously, he knew a lot about typing fast beforehand, and transferred that knowledge deliberately.

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Workman sucks badly, imnsho. It was made in part to avoid using the "inner trench" (QWERTY GH positions) as top-rated homerow, since those keys may be hard to reach. I agree that a straight line isn't the most ergonomic home row for my hands at least.

However, this problem has since been solved with Colemak-DH (two variants), without compromising layout efficiency with respect to important stats like same-finger bigrams. The Workman creator boldly states that this isn't important, which is hogwash.

Check this topic about the folly of Workman.

I think the layout scores moderately, certainly below Colemak, in most tests except the ones made by its creator.

Last edited by DreymaR (25-Aug-2016 09:08:47)

*** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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mikejody said:

I just read your whole thread; you've really improved. It looks like you're about 20 WPM short of what you were on QWERTY. How long would you estimate it will take you to reach your QWERTY speed?

I think it's pretty reasonable to say that I'll be back up to my "normal" speed by the end of the year.



mikejody said:

My question is (since I'm brand new): are you glad you made the switch? Would you do it all over?

Making a switch like this requires a lot of consideration of all of the pros and cons, and you can't base it just on the hope that you'll type faster on this layout versus another.  I find typing with Colemak to be an overall better experience than typing with Qwerty.  The common keyboard shortcuts are in the same place which is a huge benefit to me, and having to move my fingers less to type makes it an overall more comfortable typing experience.  The caps lock key functioning as a Delete/Backspace key is something that I've become accustomed to.

Overall, I think the switch so far is worth it.  The things that factored in to why I chose Colemak over another layout is that Colemak has an easier learning curve since most of the keys are in the same place or one key over meaning that many shortcut keys are in the same place.  Dvorak isn't too great since the vowels are all on one hand meaning that you use one hand more often than the other (I think the right hand has much more action on Dvorak) whereas Colemak is pretty well balanced between the hands.  I did look into Workman when I was deciding to switch, but I didn't like how many keys were in a different place ruining my cut, copy, and paste shortcuts...something I use every day for work.  Sure, I could customize the shortcuts, but I wouldn't want to have to do that every time that I get a new computer. 

The only thing that I don't like is that my WASD layout is different for gaming, so I have to customize each game with the movement and action keys.  At the very least, I have a slight insurance policy against potential RSI issues down the road, and that potential benefit alone is worth it for me.

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Day 103 results on Typeracer:
Average WPM - 73
Highest WPM  - 77

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catchatyou said:

The only thing that I don't like is that my WASD layout is different for gaming, so I have to customize each game with the movement and action keys.  At the very least, I have a slight insurance policy against potential RSI issues down the road, and that potential benefit alone is worth it for me.

It's only very mildly annoying though (also in-game are often based on their qwerty position, with E, T, and F also commonly used for things too). But it's pretty quick and easy to reconfigure them, and you also get the "advantage" of the movement keys becoming WARS.

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

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Day 108 results on Typeracer:
Average WPM - 74
Highest WPM  - 84

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Good work, it's amazing how much faster it is to learn Colemak vs Dvorak... it took me about 6 weeks of using Dvorak FULL TIME, no switching back to Qwerty, to get back around 60 WPM. Now I'm back up to 90-100, but it's a much longer journey.

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Day 118 results on Typeracer:
Average WPM - 76
Highest WPM  - 86

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You can try to quickly re-gain your qwerty speed while still increasing your Colemak speed, if you want, by like using Qwerty for the first half or a couple hours of the day. That is what I did when I reached around your current Colemak speed. Based on your experience, it won't be forgotten that easily, but that's your choice to make.

The gaming thing is unfortunate but not something I run into because that is an issue with the game or with the platform the game is built for (e.g. the web) which can't tell key codes apart from characters :-).

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Day 128 results on Typeracer
Average WPM - 75
Highest WPM  - 82

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Looks like your are making better progress than I am... Keep up the good work. :)

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Thanks knightjp; you do the same!

Day 147 results on Typeracer:
Average WPM - 79
Highest WPM  - 89

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mikejody said:

Thanks I'll check that out. I just discovered "Workman" layout; do you know if anyone has compared the two?

They're compared in the bottom table on this page http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca/carpalx/?popular_alternatives
According to carpalx's layout rating algorithm Workman scores 1.993, colemak 1.842, and qwerty 3.000 (the site creator's own 'fully optimised' layout, "qgmlwb", scores 1.668)

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Yeah, but... CarpalX's algorithm is quite skewed towards some preferences, and it's highly doubtful whether it measures real layout quality.

I wouldn't use Workman myself, but Colemak-DH if the middle positions of D and H worry you.

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

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Day 181 results on Typeracer:
Average WPM - 85
Highest WPM  - 102


I haven't updated much as it's been hard to tell improvement on a week by week basis, but little by little, I'm almost back to my old QWERTY speed!  It's amazing how comfortable and relaxed fast typing is on Colemak compared to QWERTY.

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