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    My Colemak experience

    • Started by jimmy
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    • Registered: 24-Apr-2017
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    I have been using qwerty layout since 1980. Oh dear, that's 37 years ...

    I remember looking at Dvorak years ago but it never seemed worth the trouble. I heard about Colemak about six months ago and it got me thinking. Eventually I decided to give it a go. I started last Friday, the 21st of April. I started to change the layout for some applications but not all, as my typing dropped 40+ wpm. I have to run Windows at work and Linux at home. During the weekend I used only Colemak, so at work today I decided to go all in and use Colemak all day.

    I use 10fastfingers.com to measure my progress and to compare if and how my qwerty typing will decline. I'm not that happy with 10fastfinger as it's just random words. When typing normally it's much faster as I know what to write instead of having to read it first and type the same thing. But I will stay with it as I can test both English and Swedish. So far I type about 56 wpm in English and 64 wpm in Swedish using qwerty. Three days ago I dropped to 8 wpm in English and 12 wpm in Swedish using Colemak. Today I had the same speed in qwerty but an average of 13-15 wpm in Colemak. Interesting that in Colemak I didn't see any difference between English or Swedish today. I thought it would be hard with the Swedish characters but turned out it wasn't.

    I also had some fears about using Vim, which I do a lot, but it was a quick transition from the Swedish qwerty layout to a standard US Colemak layout. No need to rearrange keys.

    I printed the keyboard layout, taped to my screen, but only had to check it the first couple of days. Now I just need to get that muscle memory going to get the speed up!

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    • From: Bærum, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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    Welcome – va kul va! Hope you've looked at my sig topics to know your options. In particular, the Extend mod is very awesome. As a vim user, you can relate.

    Also, these days some prefer a DH-mod (mine and SteveP's being the main ones).

    Since you've started learning already, I don't suppose we can interest you in the Tarmak experience? ^_^

    Last edited by DreymaR (25-Apr-2017 12:54:50)
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    Welcome to Colemak world.

    The first weeks are the hardest. Be patient and you will get a reward in a month or two.

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    Yes, it actually is "kul", however not everyone around really gets the fun in typing so slowly again or to what use it is. We'll see in some weeks time!

    I looked at the Tarmak but I was a bit reluctant to changing a couple of things at a time. I imagine it would confuse me, however from what I read people find it much helpful. Then again I'm stubborn and think if I go all in at once I just have to learn faster. We'll see how that pans out but I did learn the layout in my head in just a short time. Now if only my fingers could move the same way ...

    I don't have any problems with vim actually, sure hjkl is not on my home row but they are still within reach and I recall the actual letter for movement instead of muscle memory so it's working out. I will look into extended mode later on though as there are some advantages I'd like to try out. But first I want to get the ordinary letters going and some wpm speed up. I use Colemak now as default on my computers, but I had to regress to qwerty while taking notes in meetings as I was way too slow. Luckily in my work outside meetings it's not crucial for me to speed type so I can get along with my 15 wpm on Colemak. I see some small steady improvements in speed every day which is nice.

    DreymaR said:

    Welcome – va kul va! Hope you've looked at my sig topics to know your options. In particular, the Extend mod is very awesome. As a vim user, you can relate.

    Also, these days some prefer a DH-mod (mine and SteveP's being the main ones).

    Since you've started learning already, I don't suppose we can interest you in the Tarmak experience? ^_^

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    It's getting better but slowly. Also I was sick for a week and didn't type almost at all during that time. I do a type test every morning at work and I notice that I now sometimes press a "colemak" key instead of a "qwerty" one when typing in "qwerty".

    10o3bea.png

    I also noticed a significant dip in qwerty this morning when I started to use colemak for a short while before doing the test.

    Last edited by jimmy (10-May-2017 08:36:38)
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    • From: Bærum, Norway
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    Wow, that is thorough. :-)

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    Haha well yes. I'm damaged from work where I do organisation development with lean and agile methods. All improvements should be measurable. :P

    DreymaR said:

    Wow, that is thorough. :-)

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    • From: Bærum, Norway
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    I do believe that your thorough methodogy may get in the way of rapid results. Multilingual kids often lag behind at first. But eventually, of course, they grow up multilingual which is a strength in itself!

    So if you're really dead set to keep your QWERTY skills, both US and locale, then probably your way is best – but expect it to be a bit slow.

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    Ah no I'm not aiming to keep up my qwerty skills or speed but is curious to track its decline as my colemak speed picks up. I notice that my brain so far resets during the weekend when I don't type that much.

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    Not sure if you remember learning how to touch type Qwerty and your speed?  If it's any consolation, when I started out with Dvorak, I remember being stuck around the 17WPM mark thinking it would never look up.  And even thinking I'd be satisfied with a comfortable 30 or 40WPM.   But eventually it clicks.  I was only trying to get familiar with the one layout however.  (Blimey that was 7 years ago.)  Got a stubborn W key on the laptop that is impeding speed and comfort at the moment, even so, I just scored 80WPM on tenfastfingers.

    Last edited by pinkyache (18-May-2017 10:56:06)

    --
    Physicians deafen our ears with the Honorificabilitudinitatibus of their heavenly Panacaea, their sovereign Guiacum.

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    jimmy said:

    Haha well yes. I'm damaged from work where I do organisation development with lean and agile methods. All improvements should be measurable. :P

    DreymaR said:

    Wow, that is thorough. :-)

    I like that! :) Data driven approach +1
    How did you get that data?

    Last edited by abhixec (18-May-2017 18:13:04)
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    I type in https://10fastfingers.com/ every morning at work, then I enter the score into a spreadsheet which produce the merry chart.

    abhixec said:

    I like that! :) Data driven approach +1
    How did you get that data?

    In the beginning I did a test in the afternoon as well and also ran three tests on every setting, but I quickly grew tired of that. :P

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    After 6 weeks my qwerty skills have now dropped below my Colemak writing. Still my Colemak speed is around a low 25 wpm, but I expect it to climb again after this stagnation.

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    That kind of stagnation is expected. Please focus on accuracy, and the speed will go up on its own accord.

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    • From: Bærum, Norway
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    Accuracy is one thing, yes. If you really want to beat stagnation though, I suggest varying your exercises. I've used Typing of the Dead and different Amphetype drills (see my sig topic) at times, and beat stagnation with those when mere accuracy focus wasn't getting me anywhere. That's after having typed Colemak for years, for sure, but I believe the budding colemakist may benefit similarly. I've revisited my drills every time I've tweaked my layout like I just did with the unified Colemak-CurlAngle(Wide).

    Last edited by DreymaR (08-Jun-2017 08:20:08)
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    Hej, och välkommen.

    Do you use AltGr+{q,w,;} for the Swedish letters or did you find something better?

    I also use Vim keys (Emacs' evil-mode) in their standard locations, and since starting Colemak about 6 months ago I'm happy to say that the Vim commands and movements (hjkl) feel completely natural nowadays.

    I think writing Swedish with Colemak doesn't feel quite as fluent as English, though. Probably it would improve a lot by just remapping the umlaut letters to better keys, but I haven't gotten around to it.

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    I just discovered that Vim JKLH are better placed with Colemak-Curl(DH) – especially if you thumb the H for navigation which is surprisingly cool! :-) I'll still stick to using Extend-arrow navigation though.

    I use the brackets and LSGT keys for ÄÖÅ (or rather, the Norwegian ÆØÅ), as per my locale page. I think that works brilliantly. Indeed, Colemak isn't perfect for Scandinavian languages since some letter and bigram frequencies are different. But I'm fine with that, as I type a lot of English and Colemak isn't bad for Norwegian either. When I didn't remap the ÆØÅ at first, it felt horrible. So I really recommend that.

    The bracket and LSGT keys are all in the middle of my keyboard since I use a WideAngle mod. I recommend that, too.

        Cmk-eD-fi%2Bse-usym-aw_Xmc.png?raw=1
        Finnish+Swedish 'Unified Symbols' Colemak[eD]

    Last edited by DreymaR (13-Jun-2017 14:06:54)
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    Hi,

    yes I use the standard settings. I thought I would start to learn the standard setup first and see if I wanted to deviate later on. So far I haven't felt a need. Also a lot of my everyday writing is in English.


    joncol said:

    Hej, och välkommen.

    Do you use AltGr+{q,w,;} for the Swedish letters or did you find something better?

    I also use Vim keys (Emacs' evil-mode) in their standard locations, and since starting Colemak about 6 months ago I'm happy to say that the Vim commands and movements (hjkl) feel completely natural nowadays.

    I think writing Swedish with Colemak doesn't feel quite as fluent as English, though. Probably it would improve a lot by just remapping the umlaut letters to better keys, but I haven't gotten around to it.

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