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    JIS Master Race

    • Started by davkol
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    No, I'm talking about Japanese supremacy.

    Today, most keyboards use one of three different mechanical layouts, usually referred to as simply ISO (ISO/IEC 9995-2), ANSI (ANSI-INCITS 154-1988), and JIS (JIS X 6002-1980), referring roughly to the organizations issuing the relevant worldwide, United States, and Japanese standards, respectively. (In fact, the mechanical layouts referred such as “ISO” and “ANSI” comply to the primary recommendations in the named standards, while each of these standards in fact also allows the other way.)

    Keyboard layout @ Wikipedia

    JIS keyboards contain additional characters to support entry of Japanese text. With Windows keys, they are typically referred to as 109-key: they have four more keys compared to ISO, and five more keys compared to ANSI.

    JIS_layout_basic.svg

    The purple keys illustrate the keys that differ from ANSI on a prototypical Japanese keyboard.The specific size and quantity of the Japanese input keys varies between keyboards. Common features to Japanese keyboards are the single-unit backspace, reduced width right shift with additional key (on the opposite side to where ISO adds a key beside shift) and vertical enter. The space bar is greatly reduced in width however remains to be still in centre position. In place for shorter space bar adds extra keys mainly for Japanese character inputs. These are muhenkan, henkan, and kana keys respectively.

    ANSI vs JIS @ Deskthority Wiki

    What does this mean?

    • Wider wide modtwo-column hand separation.

    • Thus, more accessible right-hand-side special keys.

    • More thumb keys.

    One downside is that the exact spacebar-row layout isn't consistent across various keyboards. I have picked Topre's implementation in their current Realforce product line (i.e., 91-/108key models). The spacebar row is then 1.5-1.0-1.5-1.5-2.5-1.5-1.5-1.5-1.0-1.5.

    The main-section layout, that I propose, is following:
    exxzMWK.png

    The features are following:

    • Two-column hand separation.

    • Enter and right Shift keys adjacent to right-hand little finger.

    • Left-hand-controlled spacebar stretching to the right from the C/V key (i.e., in a reasonably natural position).

    • Spacebar-row Backspace key (accessible with minimal stretching).

    • Right-side-corner spacebar-row modifiers as accessible as their left-side counterparts.

    • A pair of extra modifiers.

    • Relatively large (1.5u) modifiers in general.

    • Escape and Delete keys in upper corners of the main section.

    • ISO layout's extra key.

    Attached files are the layout-proposal picture, and a respective JSON configuration for Keyboard Layout Editor.

    Last edited by davkol (05-Jan-2017 14:39:30)
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    that hyper and alt takes a bit of getting used to as I'm finding out on the minila

    the minila looks suspiciously JIS like - unsurprising I suppose as I think filco are japanese right?

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    Much greatness there. :-)

    I'm not sure about the double-wide though! I think it may be a bridge too far. Too much work in the middle, no right-left flexibility in the middle anymore, and the right pinky is actually quite good at hitting for instance apostrophe as it is. Also, with Extend the even closer Enter key won't be really necessary I feel.

    You say "ISO layout's extra key", but it's in the wrong position so that the Angle mod is impossible (or at least, as inconvenient as on ANSI boards), right? That's a major setback in my opinion!

    Might it get confusing with a Del in the standard Back position?

    Last edited by DreymaR (05-Jan-2017 15:44:40)
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    bph said:

    the minila looks suspiciously JIS like - unsurprising I suppose as I think filco are japanese right?

    It is JIS, except remapped in firmware out of the box.

    Filco is Diatec's brand, and Diatec specializes in the Japanese market. The keyboards are usually made by Taiwanese manufacturers (e.g., Costar, Datacomp).

    DreymaR said:

    Too much work in the middle, no right-left flexibility in the middle anymore, and the right pinky is actually quite good at hitting for instance apostrophe as it is.

    Nobody's saying that you have to use these keys at all. I very much prefer to put all of them on a layer on the home row.

    It's also occurred to me, that the middle two columns could accommodate a diamond arrow cluster (see, e.g., PFU's Fn layer for HHKB).

    DreymaR said:

    Also, with Extend the even closer Enter key won't be really necessary I feel.

    LOL

    Ctrl-J for Enter has been around for ages on *nix systems, along with Ctrl-H for Backspace.

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    DreymaR said:

    You say "ISO layout's extra key", but it's in the wrong position so that the Angle mod is impossible (or at least, as inconvenient as on ANSI boards), right? That's a major setback in my opinion!

    If you want to bring ISO layout's shorter left Shift key into the discussion, it's easy… proposal in the OP is built around an existing mass-produced keyboard, that's available for purchase right now.

    Although, an ISO/JIS hybrid is not purely hypothetical—there's the Brazilian layout (ABNT), basically ISO w/ split right Shift—but such keyboards are very rare, because Brazil simply isn't the tech giant, that Japan evolved into.

    I didn't even start with Topre Realforce 91/108*, though. The first iteration of the layout was based on HHKB Pro JP (w/ hasu's replacement controller), which notably featured uniform 0.25u row stagger, i.e., something I'd strongly prefer to "Angle mod". Realforces have more appealing sound (and potentially tall spherical keycaps—HiPro), however, and the spacebar row has turned out better IMHO. In the end, Topre Realforce is one of the few "standard" keyboards, that I actually want.

    If I were to build (yet another) custom keyboard, I wouldn't bother with wide or angle mods, and go straight for something actually symmetrical.

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    Interesting, I think the double-wide mode on the JIS is actually not that bad. I considered it on my ISO keyboard at one point but the main stumbling block was the need to relocate "." which I was very unhappy about. But on the JIS the extra key on the bottom row makes it feasible. It looks a bit weird still, but I think it would work fairly well.

    The big downside is the lack of the ISO key left of the Z though. Shame they didn't add that extra ISO key and instead of adding all those extra ones on the right hand side only.

    Someone should combine the best features of each into a new keyboard. This would have:
    - from ISO: the extra key to the left of Z.
    - from ANSI: the easier to reach return key.
    - from JIS: the extra keys either side of the space bar.
    That keyboard would be better than any of those three.

    Last edited by stevep99 (05-Jan-2017 17:23:03)

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

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    I have a Phantom in (modified) 7bit's layout, and kinda regret getting it.

    • Alignment of the spacebar-row keys is hard to get right. Fortunately, my Phantom is almost the same as the realforce in the OP, except the spacebar is split into two keys (1.5u and 1u). It works the best with two-column hand separation too.

    • Either ANSI, or ISO/JIS Enter is probably better than two smaller keys. In the end, I'd probably prefer ISO/JIS, although it's harder to stabilize and the keycap is much less common.

    • I wish it had the right Shift split the other way around (JIS-like instead of Zenith-/HHKB-like). That's my biggest issue (and I can't change it without making a new plate and resoldering everything) and not quite relevant here (because the JIS layout is already assumed).

    • I hate the Angle mod. As if the too big (0.5u) stagger wasn't enough, turning it into the other direction messes with access to the upper row. Nope, nope, nope…

    • I'd rather have the Shift key closer (i.e., split left Shift, where the right key is 1.25u and the left one only 1u, sort of like on the other side on HHKB/Zenith). I can still change that with minimal resoldering, though.

    All that said, it was a mistake… I could have spent the resources and effort on making a custom keyboard with a proper layout, not an ad-hoc hack like those angle/wide mods. Oh well…

    Typing videos!
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    davkol said:

    [*]I'd rather have the Shift key closer[/*]

    But that keyboard has plenty of thumb keys. Surely with so many spare keys, you would use one of them for Shift instead!?


    davkol said:

    [*]I hate the Angle mod. As if the too big (0.5u) stagger wasn't enough, turning it into the other direction messes with access to the upper row. Nope, nope, nope…[/*]

    I don't get it. The incorrect stagger direction on the left-hand side upper row is annoying, but I don't see how it's made any worse by the angle mod. And the Angle Mod at least makes the bottom row much better.

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

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    back at the logitech mushy pea today

    i take it back about the hyper and alt

    the alts bloody awkward on this one too, just without the benefit of an extra key between it and the space

    a standard space on an ISO keyboard is way too long

    left alt should sit nicely under the left thumb in a perfect world, not a contortion under the palm of the hand

    i'm starting to wonder whether the perfect keyboard is simply the one you decide to focus on to the exclusion of all others and make sure you use the same one everywhere, i.e. lots of great keyboards could be worse than consistently using an average keyboard?

    Last edited by bph (06-Jan-2017 12:20:47)
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    stevep99 said:
    davkol said:
    • I'd rather have the Shift key closer

    But that keyboard has plenty of thumb keys. Surely with so many spare keys, you would use one of them for Shift instead!?

    For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple—and wrong.

    Multiple modifiers are sometimes (or even often) used in chords, and Shift is one of them. Common user interfaces expect the user to press AltGr-Shift-symbol or Control-Shift-something, even Control-Alt-Shift-something… and it may turn into modifiers-Fn-something on compact keyboards. Considering, that humans have two hands with several straight digits and opposable thumbs, I assert that (1) opposite hands ought to be used for modifiers and symbols respectively, and (2) some other digits ought to be used together with thumbs for chording. The choice of Shift controlled by little fingers is somewhat arbitrary, but it's consistent with the mainstream (an argument, that shouldn't be foreign here).

    The other solution would be some more or less sophisticated variation on sticky keys.

    stevep99 said:
    davkol said:
    • I hate the Angle mod. As if the too big (0.5u) stagger wasn't enough, turning it into the other direction messes with access to the upper row. Nope, nope, nope…

    I don't get it. The incorrect stagger direction on the left-hand side upper row is annoying, but I don't see how it's made any worse by the angle mod. And the Angle Mod at least makes the bottom row much better.

    I've explained this before.

    • Hands come at the keyboard at different angles on an asymmetrically row-staggered keyboard.

    • The bottom row is easily accessible by flexing digits as if forming a fist, or shifting the hand (which is natural in case of motion towards ones body).

    • The upper row is accessed by extending digits as if opening the palm (which happens in the opposite direction compared to forming a fist), or again, shifting the hand.

    • Inner digits (ring&middle finger) are unsuitable for lateral motions.

    Reaching the short left Shift from the ISO layout is outside little finger's range of motion (at least in my case), thus hand movement/deviation is necessary; and the left-side bottom-row symbols are relatively uncommon with the exception of C and V, and common shortcuts, thus the result of an angle mod may very well be negligible or even negative.

    I can begrudgingly accept an alternative finger-key mapping with C pressed by the index finger. Begrudgingly, because it overloads that digit (one of the reasons, why I relearned typing along with the switch to Colemak), makes the adjacent strong digit even less utilized, and messes with muscle memory on actually natural (symmetrical) layouts.

    Many variants of the Angle mod also tend to move ZXCV, thus break muscle memory from QWERTY and other keyboards in general.

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    davkol said:

    For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple—and wrong.
    Multiple modifiers are sometimes (or even often) used in chords, and Shift is one of them.

    I definitely don't agree with you, for two reasons:

    1. Even with chords, you can comfortably use a thumb keys with another modifier key. For example, using my left-space-bar key as Shift, I can easily simultaneously hit Control (with a pinkie) or AltGr (with my right thumb) should I need to. In fact this operation is *easier* than it would be if I were using the standard Shift key.
    2. I disapprove of the use of more than two simultaneous modifiers in general. Having some impossible to remember combination of 4 keys, e.g. Ctrl-Shift-Alt-X is silly. Maybe there are some programs that use such "shortcuts", but I'd say this is bad design. The most common commands should be on easy-to-remember shortcuts. After that, better to use some kind of search-by-feature-name.

    So I'd say my thumb-key Shift solution is clear, simple—and right!!

    davkol said:
    • Hands come at the keyboard at different angles on an asymmetrically row-staggered keyboard.

    • The bottom row is easily accessible by flexing digits as if forming a fist, or shifting the hand (which is natural in case of motion towards ones body).

    • The upper row is accessed by extending digits as if opening the palm (which happens in the opposite direction compared to forming a fist), or again, shifting the hand.

    • Inner digits (ring&middle finger) are unsuitable for lateral motions.

    Reaching the short left Shift from the ISO layout is outside little finger's range of motion (at least in my case), thus hand movement/deviation is necessary; and the left-side bottom-row symbols are relatively uncommon with the exception of C and V, and common shortcuts, thus the result of an angle mod may very well be negligible or even negative.

    I can begrudgingly accept an alternative finger-key mapping with C pressed by the index finger. Begrudgingly, because it overloads that digit (one of the reasons, why I relearned typing along with the switch to Colemak), makes the adjacent strong digit even less utilized, and messes with muscle memory on actually natural (symmetrical) layouts.

    So although we are talking about the "angle mod", there are really two different aspects:
    1. moving the ZXCV key locations one space to the left
    2. adopting a different technique so that your fingers move down-and-left instead of down-and-right.

    From your first post about the angle mod, I assumed you were objecting to point 2, i.e. you prefer the "standard" typing technique. But then you said you "begrudgingly accept the alternative finger-key mapping with C pressed by the index finger". So that would suggest you are OK with using the different finger technique, but what you object to is point 1, moving the ZXCV keys.

    I am sympathetic to point 1, moving the keys is a bit of pain, especially if you have an ANSI board. It makes C move to a worse position too. I resisted the angle mod for a long time for that reason. For Colemak users though, there is a tricky dilemma: (1) use the uncomfortable standard fingering technique (2) use the alternative fingering, which is more comfortable but overloads left index finger as you say, or (3) use the angle mod.

    So we are once again talking about legacy of 1870s typewriter design and what is the least-worst way to deal with it. Of those three options, on a standard keyboard, I'd say the angle mod is the best available, closely followed by alternative fingering. Yes the angle mod requires moving of keys, but then, as keyboard layout fans, moving keys is our business and should not be feared if the benefit outweighs the cost! Leaving everything as-is and simply using the "standard technique" is the worst option of all, so terrible as to be a non-starter.

    Last edited by stevep99 (06-Jan-2017 15:54:02)

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

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    davkol said:
    stevep99 said:

    And the Angle Mod at least makes the bottom row much better.

    I've explained this before.

    • Hands come at the keyboard at different angles on an asymmetrically row-staggered keyboard.

    • The bottom row is easily accessible by flexing digits as if forming a fist, or shifting the hand (which is natural in case of motion towards ones body).

    • The upper row is accessed by extending digits as if opening the palm (which happens in the opposite direction compared to forming a fist), or again, shifting the hand.

    • Inner digits (ring&middle finger) are unsuitable for lateral motions.

    Reaching the short left Shift from the ISO layout is outside little finger's range of motion (at least in my case), thus hand movement/deviation is necessary; and the left-side bottom-row symbols are relatively uncommon with the exception of C and V, and common shortcuts, thus the result of an angle mod may very well be negligible or even negative.

    I can begrudgingly accept an alternative finger-key mapping with C pressed by the index finger. Begrudgingly, because it overloads that digit (one of the reasons, why I relearned typing along with the switch to Colemak), makes the adjacent strong digit even less utilized, and messes with muscle memory on actually natural (symmetrical) layouts.

    Many variants of the Angle mod also tend to move ZXCV, thus break muscle memory from QWERTY and other keyboards in general.

    Obviously, the best angle mod is indeed the ISO one that doesn't change any key fingerings. The ANSI angle mods are all compromises to achieve something else.

    You say that "Hands come at the keyboard at different angles on an asymmetrically row-staggered keyboard". Well, that's the problem, isn't it? You want your wrists straight or you'll pay the price of ulnar deviation which creates stresses and tension. Or you'll pay the price of shoulder bunching unless you're a tiny fairy. ;-)

    Opening your hand naturally doesn't happen in parallel lines, but spreading the hand in a fan-like fashion. This means that it's easy enough to reach the upper-row keys with the Angle mod – easier for QWF in fact, since the resting position is angled a little. The stretch to G (DH-mod B) is longer this way, but I find that a very acceptable price to pay and even more so with the DH/Curl mods.

    The pinky-to-left-Shift distance on ISO is exactly the same as the pinky-to-right-Shift distance on pretty much any board. While I do believe that many typists underuse the right Shift, I still hear too much complaining about the left one and none about the right one which suggests to me that it's mostly a matter of habit.

    Using the Angle(Wide) mod right allows me to keep both wrists straight while typing which is a lot more comfortable than how I typed before. I don't feel that upper-row access is impaired at all, although it isn't perfect. Perfect would be equal stagger in different directions for each hand, which some keyboards have. But the CurlAngleWide solution lets me use any standard keyboard which means that even my laptop board becomes ergonomic.

    Last edited by DreymaR (06-Jan-2017 16:13:50)
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    stevep99 said:

    Even with chords, you can comfortably use a thumb keys with another modifier key. For example, using my left-space-bar key as Shift, I can easily simultaneously hit Control (with a pinkie) or AltGr (with my right thumb) should I need to. In fact this operation is *easier* than it would be if I were using the standard Shift key.

    I don't think we're in a complete disagreement.

    The point is that some modifiers are under pinkies and others under thumbs. The proposed JIS-based layout (or any layout, that I propose) has (more or less) symmetrically placed modifiers; their exact permutation is a subject to debate—I just stick to pinkie-controlled Shift keys, while putting Alt/Meta and others under thumbs/knuckles.

    stevep99 said:

    I disapprove of the use of more than two simultaneous modifiers in general. Having some impossible to remember combination of 4 keys, e.g. Ctrl-Shift-Alt-X is silly. Maybe there are some programs that use such "shortcuts", but I'd say this is bad design. The most common commands should be on easy-to-remember shortcuts. After that, better to use some kind of search-by-feature-name.

    That's the issue. The user interfaces are already out there, and the user may stumble upon them without having much of a choice.

    That's why I consider, for example, ANSI HHKB Pro extremely impractical under certain circumstances (such as having to use CUA software).

    stevep99 said:

    So although we are talking about the "angle mod", there are really two different aspects:
    1. moving the ZXCV key locations one space to the left
    2. adopting a different technique so that your fingers move down-and-left instead of down-and-right.

    Good point.

    It would be much clearer to use standard hardware-key positions' codes, say, from ISO/IEC 9995, instead of their default US QWERTY mappings. Well, at least if all parties were familiar with the standard.

    stevep99 said:

    So we are once again talking about legacy of 1870s typewriter design and what is the least-worst way to deal with it. Of those three options, on a standard keyboard, I'd say the angle mod is the best available, closely followed by alternative fingering. Yes the angle mod requires moving of keys, but then, as keyboard layout fans, moving keys is our business and should not be feared if the benefit outweighs the cost! Leaving everything as-is and simply using the "standard technique" is the worst option of all, so terrible as to be a non-starter.

    Well, there's an obvious winner: a [hardware] layout, that isn't necessarily intertwined with Sholes' legacy.

    (Intermezzo: Such an option seems rather unpopular around here, though. I shall flame you, guys, more. :evil:)

    I maintain, that the best way to stay compatible with both kinds of layouts is to keep the muscle memory consistent: whole columns mapped to digits, and keeping columns straight (in some axis), i.e., not warped into some sort of an [non-trivial] arc.

    DreymaR said:

    Obviously, the best angle mod is indeed the ISO one that doesn't change any key fingerings. The ANSI angle mods are all compromises to achieve something else.

    There are compromises on multiple levels:

    • Position of the Shift key (ANSI/ISO)—stevep99 might argue, that it shouldn't be a Shift key, but that's another story—ANSI has it adjacent to pinkie's resting position, which is also symmetrical in case of the proposed wide-mod layout, and that's not the case with ISO.

    • Direction of columns (QWERTY QAZ, WSX,…), which is always an arc on legacy hardware layouts (except for some compact variants with 0.25u bottom-row relative stagger). What bothers me is a potential inflexion point, because it leads to even more motions to learn (moving the hand/finger in opposite directions laterally, when reaching for different rows).

    • Digit-key (physical) mapping. ditto

    DreymaR said:

    You say that "Hands come at the keyboard at different angles on an asymmetrically row-staggered keyboard". Well, that's the problem, isn't it? You want your wrists straight or you'll pay the price of ulnar deviation which creates stresses and tension. Or you'll pay the price of shoulder bunching unless you're a tiny fairy. ;-)

    The legacy layout is asymmetrical (unlike human body, basically). Even with all the mods.

    I have posted a whole lot of typing videos. Have you?

    DreymaR said:

    Opening your hand naturally doesn't happen in parallel lines, but spreading the hand in a fan-like fashion.

    I haven't stated otherwise. I do, however, argue against introducing the aforementioned inflexion point, because that isn't typical for human digits.

    DreymaR said:

    The pinky-to-left-Shift distance on ISO is exactly the same as the pinky-to-right-Shift distance on pretty much any board. While I do believe that many typists underuse the right Shift, I still hear too much complaining about the left one and none about the right one which suggests to me that it's mostly a matter of habit.

    See the proposed layout in the OP.

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    Obviously, the hardware is fundamentally flawed. I'm not saying my mods create a perfectly symmetrical experience, but it's the best I can do with what I have. And I see strong reasons to work with the existing hardware since I use laptops and work computers a lot. Collecting keyboards isn't my hobby so I guess I'm not a really hard-core geekhacker either. ;-)

    In that context, I don't feel that absolute symmetry is a holy grail. The Angle mods improve symmetry a lot, and I think they work just fine even with upper-row asymmetry.

    For those who are willing to change the hardware, there are many interesting options! I too have created a few mockups.

    I don't have any typing videos, no.

    Last edited by DreymaR (17-Feb-2017 11:41:16)
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    Still don't quite understand, how you "type symmetrically" (as you claim), that's why I'm interested in the video.

    You say that "Hands come at the keyboard at different angles on an asymmetrically row-staggered keyboard". Well, that's the problem, isn't it? You want your wrists straight or you'll pay the price of ulnar deviation which creates stresses and tension. Or you'll pay the price of shoulder bunching unless you're a tiny fairy. ;-)

    Because—although my videos are far from perfect—I can show, that my wrists tend to be relatively straight, and my (rather average) upper arms/shoulders are relaxed. Certainly not the case of the contortions shown in this atrocious video.

    Typing videos!
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    Oh, I see! :-)

    I'm not used to making videos and certainly not typing ones (I'm more of a SoundCloud kind of guy I guess, hehe!). Your collection is nice and shows many good boards in action with what looks like good posture from your side.

    I'd say that my typing position is very similar to yours! Less float most of the time I guess, mostly because I find it relaxing. If I actively try to type faster I'll float more (like in your videos, about).

    Sometimes my hands will move in for alternative fingering combos; I believe you do that too? Examples are Colemak NK/KN and NH/HN.

    With the Angle mod I get to keep the left wrist straight, and with the Wide mod I get a relaxing hand separation. The Curl-DH mod reinforces wrist straightness and makes the index fingers strain less. Although there's asymmetry particularly in the upper left half row, that doesn't feel annoying to me because the hand naturally fans out upwards so hitting QWF a bit outwards is no problem. The not-so-nice key position in this arrangement is Colemak G (Curl-mod B), which becomes a bit too much of a stretch. But I don't think it's bad, all in all – about on par with the now-demoted center trench positions (Colemak DH, Curl-mod GK/GM). :-)

    Last edited by DreymaR (17-Feb-2017 11:53:09)
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