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    Left-handedness & Old Colemak

    • Started by ColMark
    • 13 Replies:
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    • Registered: 12-Dec-2016
    • Posts: 6

    Hi—

    I offer this just as a note to anyone else who may be left-handed. I am truly brand-new to Colemak—I've only been using it for a week, and during that week I've done some shifting back and forth between it and other layouts, so I can really only claim to have done pure Colemak for about three days. I have no prior experience with touch typing, although like most journalists, I can do a fairly impressive hunt-and-peck. (I'm not sure how fast I actually am, but I clatter the keys loudly enough to fool most people.)

    Reading around on this forum I discovered there was an older version of Colemak in which the 'r' and 's' keys were inverted, so the home row started 'asrt'. For some counterintuitive reason, the thing that's been bugging me the most is exactly that combination. It had occurred to me that it might be better for me if the 'r' and 's' were flipped—counterintuitive because one would think a left-hander would have less trouble with the ring finger on that hand than a right-hander. But to make a long story short, I created a keyboard layout that flipped that one element, and it's a lot more comfortable.

    Could be it's just a personal idiosyncrasy. Your mileage may vary. But if you're left-handed and have this issue, it might be worth a try. I'll definitely stick with this. If you want to see the original discussion on the 'Old Colemak' that gave me the moral support I needed, here's the link:

    https://forum.colemak.com/topic/93-a-ta … et-please/

    Happy typing :)

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

    Many Colemak newbies struggle with the R-S switch. There's a good reason for it in the long run (bi- and n-grams), but in the start it seems harsh.

    The older versions of Colemak, such as ASETION, were abandoned after careful consideration and much evaluation.

    For the starting colemaker, the effect of efficient n-grams isn't always obvious as the typing hasn't reached full flow yet.

    So while your version may seem more comfy to you now, I predict that you'll regret it in the long run. ;-)

    [P.S.: FWIW, I'm left handed too. Go us, heh.]

    Last edited by DreymaR (13-Dec-2016 09:41:50)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    • Registered: 12-Dec-2016
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    Well, if you're left-handed as well, that does make me think twice. Your warning certainly does sound ominous :)

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    • From: UK
    • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
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    Funny how everyone says that about S when they start. 

    If you switch R and S, the main problem will be that words that contain FR will be more awkward to type.  FR is quite a common pairing so that will happen a lot.

    I know what you are saying though, I had a hard time with S too.  Having bitten the bullet and accepted it though, it does eventually become rather pleasant, for example, words with the ST bigram (which are frequent).

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

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    • Registered: 12-Dec-2016
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    I, too, will bite the bullet and march on, then. Thanks for the input.

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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    The problem is that trying something out for a couple of weeks isn't nearly enough to get a real impression (unless you're a real layout pro I guess). So it's not very easy to determine what'll work best for you in the end.

    I'd recommend giving Colemak a good hard try first, yes.

    Have you considered your mod options yet? Check my signature topics if you're interested in knowing the possibilities. I can heartily recommend at least Extend! And if you have access to an ISO keyboard, Angle or AngleWide. For ANSI boards, Angle is more optional unless you're opting for a DH-mod flavor.

    On a side note, if you make your own layout flavor, you're more on your own when it comes to implementations of other layout goodness. ;-)

    Last edited by DreymaR (14-Dec-2016 10:30:03)

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

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    • Registered: 12-Dec-2016
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    Okay, thanks for the tip about extending the layout. Right now I've probably got my hands full just learning the new letter positions, but I'm sure I'll make of it in the (hopefully not too distant) future.

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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    My take on Extend is that you can use is straight out of the box and add skills later on. The first thing you'll get used to will likely be the arrow and delete keys. Then you may start using the homerow Ctrl+Shift with these.

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

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    DreymaR, I just want to thank you—I looked at your 'bag of tricks' and that led me to the Wide Keyboard that you and/or stevep put together. Given the amount of time I spend in front of the computer everyday, it's hardly an exaggeration to call it 'life-changing'. Well okay, maybe a slight exaggeration. But it really does make a huge difference. I spend most of my time working at a 15" Lenovo notebook, and this mod makes it feel like I've got some species of high-end ergonomic keyboard in front of me. Unbelievable that a difference of one extra key width can do this, but it does. It's as if the notebook is one of those magic rooms in stories that are tiny from the outside but as big as a mansion once you get inside. I highly recommend this mod.

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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    Glad you enjoy it! Now get Extend and your typing experience will be even more delightful, I promise. ;-)

    • Angle was my invention, pretty much (I think). But it's an obvious one. Too bad so many people use ANSI keyboards which aren't as well suited for it.
    • Wide was the work of several people, and it was done well before SteveP's time. There are minor variants, but the main principle is easy.
    • DH-mod was SteveP's baby. I've made a less intrusive (imo) variant, so there's two to choose from now. I really like it.

    Together, I call my ergo mod Colemak-CAW which stands for Colemak with CurlAngleWide mods. "Curl" is another name for the DH-mod, since it lets your fingers curl more naturally/relaxed than the straight home row does.

    So, bigger on the inside, huh. Lessee... Typing Advancement – Row Displacement Increases Spaciousness (T.A.R.D.I.S.)? :-p

    Last edited by DreymaR (22-Dec-2016 15:31:08)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    Oh yes, please, make it T.A.R.D.I.S. No other name could possibly do :) Thanks again for making all these mods and layouts available. I'll be working through them as I gain courage and facility.

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
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    So be it. ;-)

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

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    • From: Houston, Texas
    • Registered: 03-Jan-2007
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    as another long time left-handed Colemak user, I concur with what DreymaR said.  Have been using Colemak for a decade now, it's been a long time since I gave the ARST vs. ASRT issue any thought, that was early on and it didn't last that long as an issue.     ARST has long since been completely comfortable.

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    • Registered: 08-Dec-2010
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    I am also left handed and I find that rs problem is what I had to deal in the first 4 weeks of converting. After these difficult and confusing weeks, you will be ok with that.

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