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DreymaR's Big Bag Of Keyboard Tricks – USB2USB edition!

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UPDATE: Everything is now at GitHub! I'm gitting – yay!

Okay, feeling safe enough about GitHub now so I'll update the links in my posts. Cool! :-)

Also, I added mirrored Colemak. I'm hoping someone will need it someday...

Last edited by DreymaR (10-Feb-2017 15:31:28)

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DreymaR said:
UPDATE: Everything is now at GitHub! I'm gitting – yay!

Okay, feeling safe enough about GitHub now so I'll update the links in my posts. Cool! :-)

Also, I added mirrored Colemak. I'm hoping someone will need it someday...

Nice work. I just forked your repo so I could keep track of my custom modifications!

In this process, I noticed some things I needed to change - perhaps they could be made optional settings?

1. I needed to run dfu-programmer with sudo for it to work.
2. The wide mod puts the 6 key on the left - which to me is the wrong side, but I can see it's a matter of opinion - perhaps an optional setting?
3. The Extend key is called 'FCap' but since not everyone wants it to be on CapsLock, I think a more generic name like 'Ext1' or something would be good.

Was a bit puzzled by the punctuation keys craziness until I realised I needed to set DREYMARHACK to 0. Ah the joy of hacks!

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

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I think I have a need-for-sudo script snippet in my xkb install script; I'll see if I can implement that for this one as well! I read Hasu's warning that you (may) need sudo but then I didn't after all. So I guess it's a matter of OS flavour.

Running my script with sudo doesn't give the desired results, I take it? (Don't do that when running it with the installing switches!) Oh, and did you notice this bit in the sh script comments?

NOTE: To avoid sudo make for flashing the USB-2-USB, put this into /etc/udev/rules.d/50-atmel-dfu.rules:
# Atmel ATMega32U4
SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="03eb", ATTRS{idProduct}=="2ff4", MODE:="0666"

We debated the position of the 6 key in our original Wide mod thread. If you like matrix keyboards you may prefer it to the right, but otherwise I find it makes more sense to the left. The stretch to 6 on a normal-staggered keyboard is shorter for the left hand, and it's to the left on several split-keyboard models. Furthermore, I think that putting it on the right hand leads to the = key switching hands which isn't ideal?

I won't provide an additional slew of keyboard "models" to cater to your 6-on-the-right needs, I'm afraid, as that would be just too confusing. You should find it easy enough to edit the dreymar.h file to suit your needs; I've gone to great lengths to make the key names therein understandable!

The naming of keys is a difficult matter, it isn't just one of your everyday games. ;-) The issue is that I define certain keys (Tab, Caps, ScrlLck, Pause...) as Fn## keys instead of their old selves, then set their new function in the action key definitions. So this is sort of an endian-ness debate: You want to name them by function, I want to assign their function to the key. For most of the Fn## keys you'll find that I provide a setting to be something, alternatively maybe something else, or their ordinary self. It just wouldn't do to set the "Ext1" key to be something else! I would contend that if you want to change the Caps to non-Extend and LAlt to Extend for instance, then with my way you can change one single setting in the action key defs but with your way you'd have to search-replace two keys in all the layout files.

So for now I'll keep my way. You're free to call your Fn keys whatever you want of course.

I really should set DREYMARHACK to 0 by default, of course. But then I end up using it for my own purposes and leave the lights on. ;-)

Last edited by DreymaR (19-Feb-2017 17:54:09)

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Running the whole script with sudo is a Bad Thing because then it does the compilation and all the generated files are owned by root. Made that mistake already. Instead, I just added sudo in front of the 3 dfu-programmer commands, which seemed like a better solution. Oh, I'll have to try that udev thingy then.

For extend, for now I have just moved FCap,LAlt, and LWin to my preference, that works fine.

The 6 is not a big deal, but my split Ergo Pro has it on the right, so I got used to there.

Ah good tip, it hadn't occurred to me that editing the .h file would be the easiest way.

Last edited by stevep99 (19-Feb-2017 18:43:41)

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

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Isn't it clear enough that the ergo mods reside in the .h file? I tried to make it understandable but I may have taken some things for granted.
[Edit: I went over the posts and made things hopefully more instructive. Have a look at page 1.]

If you move the FCap key and then set EXTENDMODE to 0, that key will become CapsLock or something else (dependent on CAPSBEHAVIOR). Is that what you want?

[edit: I fixed my last commit to use DREYMARHACK 0, and nuked a lot of old and pointless history. I know, I "changed history" and one really shouldn't do that! Please re-clone and add your file again. I'll also use your idea of .gitignore-ing the hexfile folder, thanks!]

For my testing: Can you run dfu-programmer on the command line without any arguments, or does it need sudo for that too? If you can run it directly without sudo, then please find a condition that requires sudo. I'm aiming for something like this in my script:

#MyChip='atmega32u4'
    ## Check whether dfu-programmer needs root access to run (actually, try it with sudo if it doesn't run successfully without)
    [ "`dfu-programmer <anything-needed-here?> 2>/dev/null`" ] && DoSudo='' || DoSudo='sudo'	# check whether it runs as user
    ## The dfu-programmer command has slightly different syntax depending on version
    [[ `dfu-programmer --version 2>&1 | awk '{print $2}'` > '0.7' ]] \
        && UseForce='--force' || UseForce=''
    ${DoSudo} dfu-programmer $MyChip erase $UseForce    || MyError "$MyChip init/erase failed"

I don't think dfu-programmer works at all with Ubuntu-on-Windows10, yet. A web search confirmed that it can't access USB devices properly ("can't init libusb").

You could still use my script with sudo if you only flash with it. So you'd run it once with normal privileges to build and then again with sudo and -bf to flash without building. Obviously don't run cleanup in between, or you'll have to point dfu-programmer towards your backup .hex file. If you re-read my Flashing post on the first page, you'll find this info there. ;-)

[edit: I think <anything-needed-here?> can be 'get bootloader-version', which makes dfu-programmer attempt to contact the USB device]

Last edited by DreymaR (23-Feb-2017 09:56:49)

*** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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Update: Mirrored Colemak, sticky Shift/Ctrl, sudo check for DFU-programmer and more (see the documentation)

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

Actually, the best way for you to move LAlt/LWin/Caps and other keys to suit your preferences and also get your preferred ergo mod might be to create a new ergo model in the .h file (or cannibalize the AWIDEISO model currently in use – but leave mine in there with a different name). That way you won't have to modify any layouts and I think it's a bit more "proper" as this is the way I think about moving keys and not just the glyphs on them. (So for instance the Wide mod is a .h mod, while Curl-DH is a .c mod if you catch my drift.)

Last edited by DreymaR (27-Feb-2017 17:37:30)

*** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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Agree, editing the .h would probably make more sense in my case. I didn't do it that way originally only because I didn't think of it.

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

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This is a dumb, Dumb, DUMB question, but... wireless keyboards? Does this method work at all? I can't imagine it would, but... hope springs eternal, y'know?

How about Bluetooth? In the form of Computer>USB2USB>Bluetooth Dongle>Bluetooth Keyboard.

Could this be made into a Bluetooth/USB-2-Bluetooth/USB project? Theoretically I mean. Requesting that as a feature would be entirely unreasonable, but technically... technically you could use your phone as a go between. BTKeyboard>Phone>Computer is doable with available apps, but that would put a lot of drain on your phone. Having a stand alone box do it, or one that you simply plug into a machine, that would be pretty slick. Kinda a DIY autopairing dongle.


PS. I hate the word "dongle". Whoever came up with it should be drug out into the street and shot. Not fatally you understand. Just, y'know, enough that they can't breed.

Last edited by cevgar (02-Apr-2017 01:32:18)
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cevgar said:

This is a dumb, Dumb, DUMB question, but... wireless keyboards? Does this method work at all? I can't imagine it would, but... hope springs eternal, y'know?

How about Bluetooth? In the form of Computer>USB2USB>Bluetooth Dongle>Bluetooth Keyboard.

I think this is a GREAT question! 

The nearest I'm aware of is apps like Unified Remote which let your phone act as a keyboard, and it does support bluetooth. I did a quick test with it - plugging a physical keyboard into my phone, and sure enough it sends the keypresses over the network (wifi or bluetooth) to the computer. So the missing part we'd need is to have the phone to do the Qwerty -> Colemak conversion.

This does require to install the Unified Remote server though, and if you have to go to the trouble of installing something, maybe that defeats the object. Might there be another more direct way?

Last edited by stevep99 (02-Apr-2017 13:50:45)

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

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I don't see any reason why it shouldn't work, short of a chance there'll be too low voltage for the Bluetooth adapter or something.

In principle, a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth adapter is always mounted as a HID keyboard I think? Which means that you can put the QUICKIE in between the adapter and the computer and Bob's your uncle.

If your keyboard doesn't have an adapter like that but just communicates via your Wi-Fi, it won't work because you don't have any USB HID signals to translate. In this case, one can only hope that you can use an OS solution instead.

*** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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Update: The Curl(DH) mod is updated to the Unified version!

Enjoy! :-)

*** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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Hey Dreymar! (TL;DR at the bottom)

Some time ago I was dealing with making my own PKL keyboard with extend layer. I finnished it but now I need a USB-to-USB or PS/2-to-USB device in order to use the keyboard at my new work. You know, PKL, in fact, is a (non-malicious) keylogger. So, when I used it, bad things happened.

I'm planning to buy a mechanical keyboard, maybe from WASDkeyboards. I've seen that their keyboards are 6KRO over USB but, if you use a USB-to-PS/2 converter that they send with the keyboard, it is NKRO. For me it doesn't matter if it is 6KRO or NKRO.

I've been reading Hasu's threads at GeekHack and and I don't know if I should buy the USB-to-USB one or the PS/2-to-USB one.

The thing that frightens me is the capability to send mouse buttons and movements with the extend layer:
·In the USB-to-USB thread it says that it has no mouse or other pointing devices support. (I understand that it can't remap a keyboard + mouse device)
·In the PS/2-to-USB thread it says that it has the feature that it can emulate mouse moves and button clicks using keyboard. Also, another feature is that it's possible to send key events like: system control(Power down, sleep,...), Volume down/up and Mute, Media control, Application launch, Browser control. (This makes me think that the USB-to-USB can't do that)

TL;DR: So, with the USB-to-USB converter is possible to have a extend layer with mouse button clicks, mouse movements and media buttons as Volume up? Also, USB-to-USB converter has a limited flash space, does your keyboard fit completely in the USB-to-USB memory, including the extend layer? (I know that deadkeys are only available using PKL, that's not a problem)

Thank you very much and sorry for the long text.

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As you may have noticed, I'm no stranger to long text. ;-) So no worries there, heh.

I was in the same situation, my workplace would no longer allow me to run PKL at the work computers which eventually led to my TMK repo!

Personally, I don't see the huge benefit to NKRO over 6KRO. QUICKIE devices won't easily play with most USB NKRO boards I think (as these tend to mount themselves as multiple keyboards, often even using 2 USB plugs – this is likely what WASD's NKRO PS/2-USB converter does too), and any PS/2-USB device would have the same problem since it has to end up with USB. A true PS/2 keyboard is overmuch these days in my opinion, as most computers don't have PS/2 ports anymore.

My TMK files implement mouse clicks and movement as mouse keys. So it doesn't send true mouse input (since it cannot operate as a mouse device), but there are mouse key presses defined that move the pointer and click the buttons/wheel. These you do get on my TMK Extend layer.

The Hasu device (AtMega32U4 based) has sufficient memory for at least two main mapping layers and two Extend layers, including multimedia and system control (which it certainly can do). It won't have space for terribly long hotstrings and stuff in addition, but you can fit some fun stuff in there at least (re my examples). So it does what I need it to!

Last edited by DreymaR (10-Nov-2017 15:19:01)

*** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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I think I didn't understand the PS2 part of your message. WASD keyboards come with USB and 6KRO. In addition, they send a USB-to-PS/2 adapter to enable NKRO (I don't know how, but that's what they say). So, I suppose, the USB-to-USB converter should work fine with the USB keyboard as-is, without adapters, shouldn't it?

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Also, you said that it has enough memory for two main layers and two extend layers. With two main layers you mean lower and upper case or colemak and qwerty, for instance?

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Eraicos said:

WASD keyboards come with USB and 6KRO. In addition, they send a USB-to-PS/2 adapter to enable NKRO (I don't know how, but that's what they say). So, I suppose, the USB-to-USB converter should work fine with the USB keyboard as-is, without adapters, shouldn't it?

I should think so, since the USB keyboard seems to send normal USB protocol (6KRO). I'm really not sure how their adapter could enable NKRO (which PS/2 does support) based on the USB input, without adding more info! One way, as I said, is to use two USB plugs bringing you to 12KRO which is enough unless you're an alien. Another way is to hack the USB protocol's transfer speeds but then I think you'll need something aware on the receiver side which could be how that adapted does it. I don't know.

Eraicos said:

Also, you said that it has enough memory for two main layers and two extend layers. With two main layers you mean lower and upper case or colemak and qwerty, for instance?

Keep in mind that USB sends key events and not input events! So it's not Shift aware and cannot inherently send glyphs whether cased or not. It can send a shift-key-down followed by another key, of course, which would amount to upper case on most systems, but it cannot send upper case as such – bar some clunky, OS dependent hacks like sending Alt+NumPad(####) on Windows.

So what I meant is typically Colemak and QWERTY yes, allowing you to switch the keyboard to guest-friendly or password-friendly mode with a hotkey (I use ScrollLock). For Colemak learners it could be a Tarmak instead. And I think memory should be sufficient for at least a third layer if desirable, but I haven't written the code for that. I think it's better to just re-flash the device as your needs change, to avoid clutter. I haven't implemented any LED feedback to show what you've chosen so there's that too.

Last edited by DreymaR (13-Nov-2017 10:03:27)

*** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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So the keyboard works the same independently of which keyboard layout is configured on the OS, isn't it?

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Ummm, no. The OS layout maps key codes to input events which the TMK (or more precisely, the USB HID or pretty much any keyboard hardware protocol) doesn't. The keyboard/TMK only sends key codes!

So if you've got a low-level remapping in your OS (like registry remapping on Windows) your key code will get translated again by the OS. And more to the point for most, the OS layout will determine what happens when Shift/Ctrl/AltGr states are active. It matters whether you have the plain boring US layout or, say, Canadian International active.

But with the TMK device or any other programmable keyboard, you may redirect any press of the Y key to a [ key press for instance. Then the OS layout will determine what to do with a [ key press; the Norwegian layout would send the letter å (or Å if the Shift state is active in the OS input system).

The keyboard may do some tricks like capture certain key combos (e.g., if you press AltGr+[ it'll send something special), but in the end all it can send is key codes.

*** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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...which makes me think: the whole idea of scan codes just seems to complicate things and impose limitations - maybe there could be a good alternative way of doing keyboards....

Suppose you had a situation where, instead of sending scancodes, the keyboard instead sent a stream of (unicode) characters. Obviously this would have to be recognised as such by the computer. Does such a thing exist? I never heard of it.

It would mean keyboards might need better hardware than is usual, as some of the processing (scancode -> character) that is currently done on the PC would be done on the keyboard instead. That means you'd ideally want it to be programmable too, no bad thing.  But it could lead to a be a better way of doing things: you'd be able to fully program your keyboard with arbitrary Extend and AltGr/symbol layers.

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

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Fine, that f***s up all my keyboard layout because I made it from scratch using PKL, which sends characters.

For instance, the US QWERTY "/?", which is next to the right left, I made it like "?/".
Do you know if its possible to make those kind of remappings with TMK? Something like, if I press "/?" it sends Shift + "/?" and if I press Shift + "/?" it sends "/?".

Here are my normal and shift layers, so you can take a look:
Normal layer
Normal layer

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As long as only a few keys need to swap Shift modes for instance, it's doable with TMK. You have to write a little code to implement it.

You can even send Unicode but that's OS dependent and clunky like sending LAlt+NumPad(####) in Windows. I've talked with Hasu about implementing an easier way.

SteveP: Unicode sending devices would be very hard to implement! I have never heard of such a thing. The USB HID protocol is all about scan codes at least, and that's what input hardware (keyboards, mice, joysticks...) usually uses.

Last edited by DreymaR (14-Nov-2017 16:50:40)

*** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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Do you say that it's doable as long as only a few keys need to be swapped due to the short memory or due to some other thing? Because I could get a PS/2-to-USB converter, which don't have that memory problem.

I've read that some people have tried to do a unicode keyboard but, for that, it's needed to implement a custom driver since any OS would support it. I also read something about that it's not recommendable to do it because it would bypass some Windows layer used for something.

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Fine, that f***s up all my keyboard layout because I made it from scratch using PKL, which sends characters.

You could use my KLFC program to create a TMK layout! You can import your PKL by executing

klfc --from-pkl layout.ini --json layout.json

This will save your layout as `layout.json`. You probably want to make some minor modifications to it. You can then create the TMK files by executing

klfc layout.json --tmk tmk

In order to make the /?-switch work, you have to replace the letters "/" and "?" by "lig:/" and "lig:?". Otherwise, KLFC tries to map it without changing modifiers, which isn't possible.

@Unicode keyboards: recently I saw this issue. It is a plan to extend the USB protocol, but there is money or a USB-IF member needed to do an official proposal. The issue is a bit old, but it shows some interest.

Create advanced keyboard layouts in various formats using my Keyboard Layout Files Creator!

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Mmm... That sounds very interesting, I'll take a look as soon as I can. That lig prefix what does exactly?

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