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my arst-dh-neio experience

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I think now is a good point to post my experience.
I have been typing on qwerty for close to 20 years now and my average wpm on it has been 50wpm(recently started touch typing). I chose to move to colemak for : 1. Speed and 2. wanted to try out other layouts (safe to say I think I am happy that I chose Colemak) didn't do too much research I knew a friend who used colemak(sykora) so made the decision to use colemak.

So as I was saying I started roughly one month ago. I went the cold turkey approach and landed right on my face. I alternated between layouts. Frustrated that my qwerty and colemak took serious hit and that I was typing really slowly I went back to qwerty and decided that I would stick to qwerty. But then my fickle mind kept telling me not to give up easy so I again alternated for a bit. Past few days I went cold turkey again and have stuck to it. My typing speed is 30wpm but still havent gotten the fluidity that I had/have with qwerty (any ideas how I can do that while I try and get my speed up?).

Also I have a doubt about touch typing: Does touch typing mean that fingers shouldn't be floating?

I am now going adopt a more data driven approach to improve my colemak skills. By doing some typing tests and tutorials online on a regular basis. Also once I get better at I will work on changing the key bindings for vim and some other stuff

Last edited by abhixec (14-Nov-2017 20:14:18)
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The fact is that it just takes time.  I'm in my second month and average about 60wpm where my qwerty was 80wpm.  The jury seems to be out as to whether alternative formats are actually faster. However, if you had never really focused on qwerty before and are now focusing on Colemak, you should be able to improve your old qwerty speed at least somewhat.

I used keybr.com extensively for the first month.  I think it was extremely effective.  Keep in mind that you must change the keyboard layout to US Colemak in your keybr settings to do it "right".

Once my keybr speed was past 30wpm I started using Amphetype.  I still use it daily in my hopes to get back over 80wpm.  We shall see.

In short, it just seems to take time, and you can only go so fast.  Your brain needs lots of sleep cycles overnight to reprogram itself and there is no real way to rush that fundamental problem.  I do think based on my experience though that after 60 days of daily practice you should at least be competent enough in the new layout such that you're not too frustrated.

Last edited by acarlow (02-Jun-2017 22:09:33)
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How much you float above the keys is a bit up to you, really. I sometimes rest and sometimes float more. When I try to type at max speeds, I'll float a bit more. But using Colemak Curl-DH I don't have to float much when I want to type comfortably!

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Its about more than 2 months now ant I glad to say that I am at a point where typing in colemak isn't awkward. I actually enjoy it now and qwerty feels weird for me now.
I have reached 30-40wpm. But my accuracy isn't that good I have noticed especially when I want to type fast. Are there any suggestions on how I can boost my accuracy?
Also how do I up my typing speed from here?

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abhixec said:

Its about more than 2 months now ant I glad to say that I am at a point where typing in colemak isn't awkward. I actually enjoy it now and qwerty feels weird for me now.
I have reached 30-40wpm. But my accuracy isn't that good I have noticed especially when I want to type fast. Are there any suggestions on how I can boost my accuracy?
Also how do I up my typing speed from here?

Steady progress, you have reached the crucial point where it starts to fit into place. Most people tend to advise focusing on accuracy, not speed, and speed will improve on its own.

You reminded me of those old stickers on the backs of cars - there should be a variant: "I've upped my typing speed. Up Yours!"

Last edited by stevep99 (11-Jul-2017 14:07:35)

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

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on boosting accuracy, redo typing exercises repeatedly until you exceed 98% accuracy

amphetype is good for this as you can set the accuracy threshold that must be exceeded prior to allowing you to move on to the next section

in typeracer you can redo a race until it turns 'green'

you'll probably have to slow down a bit to succeed but thats fine - as they say, you have to slow down to speed up..

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thanks! I will try that and update after a month or so.

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Check out my Big Bag topic concerning Amphetype and Typing Of The Dead. Depending on your preferences, they both are great ways of upping accuracy and other typing skills.

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DreymaR said:

Check out my Big Bag topic concerning Amphetype and Typing Of The Dead. Depending on your preferences, they both are great ways of upping accuracy and other typing skills.

thanks I will look into it

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I know that it is recommended not to use Colemak on Android but heck I have been using it for quite some time and I actually like it. Except that the text prediction doesnt work so well. Any one know of any good alternatives to Gboard that has better text prediction on Android

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Not sure which other android keyboard supports Colemak. Gboard has Google's servers as text prediction library, so it should do the job pretty well. It should improve the prediction accuracy over time (remember to enable personal word list and sync). Do you happen to also type in another language? Because I have had issues with text prediction when I integrate German keyboard into Gboard a while back.

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I started touch typing with Dvorak (was a rabid random sometimes hunt and pecker).  And I found it agonisingly slow to begin with and wanted raw speed.  I used gtypist.  Which is a hard task master.  I just sat through the first round of the Dvorak course, and was pretty bad at it.  The finger patterns are so different from 'normal' words that it is no wonder that I struggled.  In the end I just picked common word lists and ran them through Klavaro and/or Amphetype.  I figured that if you have the top 100 or so words down pat, the rest can follow.  Having said that I'm still not the fastest typist.  I stopped caring the moment I stopped thinking about typing.  Of course that's easier said than done. My style is varied.  I float some of the time.  I started out not doing so, and I think that strained my fingers somewhat.  As time goes by I think your hands and fingers will try and naturally take short-cuts.  I had a friend that bought a very little keyboard just so he could rest his palms and reach all the keys without straining.  I definitely move my hands when tackling the number row - I'm not that great with that row to be honest.

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pinkyache said:

I started touch typing with Dvorak (was a rabid random sometimes hunt and pecker).  And I found it agonisingly slow to begin with and wanted raw speed.  I used gtypist.  Which is a hard task master.  I just sat through the first round of the Dvorak course, and was pretty bad at it.  The finger patterns are so different from 'normal' words that it is no wonder that I struggled.  In the end I just picked common word lists and ran them through Klavaro and/or Amphetype.  I figured that if you have the top 100 or so words down pat, the rest can follow.  Having said that I'm still not the fastest typist.  I stopped caring the moment I stopped thinking about typing.  Of course that's easier said than done. My style is varied.  I float some of the time.  I started out not doing so, and I think that strained my fingers somewhat.  As time goes by I think your hands and fingers will try and naturally take short-cuts.  I had a friend that bought a very little keyboard just so he could rest his palms and reach all the keys without straining.  I definitely move my hands when tackling the number row - I'm not that great with that row to be honest.

I also use the 60% keyboard for typing when I am at home. It surely does help to a certain degree. I float sometimes and dont do so sometimes.
I am having a hard time getting amphetype on mac because pyqt4 isn't available.

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Just out of curiosity does any one here use colemak for programming?
is colemak optimized for even programming?
Also I might be crazy but I actually started using colemak full time on my android device and kind of liking it as well. slightly annoying at times but still doable :)

Last edited by abhixec (27-Jul-2017 20:50:57)
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I code with Colemak. Colemak as such is optimized for typing English (but works well with many other languages too, incidentally). It deliberately changes no symbol keys, so these are kept where people expect them. Symbol keys generally don't affect typing efficiency much, apart from the most common ones which are placed well enough in QWERTY.

Put another way, Colemak by principle leaves the symbol keys up to you, as a different module from the main letter layout – apart from the semicolon which gets mixed into things because of its placement in QWERTY.

I don't consider the AltGr mappings in Colemak very canon either, so I made my own called Colemak[eD]. But since many don't even use those layers that may not apply to you.

So feel free to optimize for your needs. Depending on language, you may need a lot of square brackets or not, a lot of angled brackets or not, etc etc.

However, what is quite optimal for programming is Extend! Consider how much of your coding consists of actual speed typing, and how much is editing and navigation. In my firm opinion, the biggest boon for the coder is an efficient tool for the latter. And I use Extend a lot when coding. Check out my Extend Extra Extreme topic for examples.

I haven't implemented it yet, but a coder would also benefit from an Extend layer with templates and hotstrings. You could get your boilerplate text in place with a few magic key presses.

In my TMK (USB2USB QUICKIE) files, there are a few examples of Extend macros. One types my email footer and then selects the name so I can change it easily if I want to be more or less formal. That kind of behavior would be very nice for coding. I could probably make something similar with PKL/Windows, but not for XKB/Linux.

Last edited by DreymaR (28-Jul-2017 09:20:10)

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DreymaR said:

I code with Colemak. Colemak as such is optimized for typing English (but works well with many other languages too, incidentally). It deliberately changes no symbol keys, so these are kept where people expect them. Symbol keys generally don't affect typing efficiency much, apart from the most common ones which are placed well enough in QWERTY.

Put another way, Colemak by principle leaves the symbol keys up to you, as a different module from the main letter layout – apart from the semicolon which gets mixed into things because of its placement in QWERTY.

I don't consider the AltGr mappings in Colemak very canon either, so I made my own called Colemak[eD]. But since many don't even use those layers that may not apply to you.

So feel free to optimize for your needs. Depending on language, you may need a lot of square brackets or not, a lot of angled brackets or not, etc etc.

However, what is quite optimal for programming is Extend! Consider how much of your coding consists of actual speed typing, and how much is editing and navigation. In my firm opinion, the biggest boon for the coder is an efficient tool for the latter. And I use Extend a lot when coding. Check out my Extend Extra Extreme topic for examples.

I haven't implemented it yet, but a coder would also benefit from an Extend layer with templates and hotstrings. You could get your boilerplate text in place with a few magic key presses.

In my TMK (USB2USB QUICKIE) files, there are a few examples of Extend macros. One types my email footer and then selects the name so I can change it easily if I want to be more or less formal. That kind of behavior would be very nice for coding. I could probably make something similar with PKL/Windows, but not for XKB/Linux.

thanks! also have you guys ever experienced this feeling of wanting to go back to qwerty? I have been having a lot lately but I am enjoying colemak even though my typing speed is nowhere were I want it to be. But now qwerty feels soo awkward to type on that I sometimes even hate attempting to type on qwerty (dont know why I even change my layout to qwerty). I guess that feeling will be there till I actually get to the typing speed I want to get to so that I dont feel like a newbie in colemak.
Thanks I will checkout the macro section.

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abhixec said:

also have you guys ever experienced this feeling of wanting to go back to qwerty?

Never!

abhixec said:

I have been having a lot lately but I am enjoying colemak even though my typing speed is nowhere were I want it to be. But now qwerty feels soo awkward to type on that I sometimes even hate attempting to type on qwerty (dont know why I even change my layout to qwerty). I guess that feeling will be there till I actually get to the typing speed I want to get to so that I dont feel like a newbie in colemak.

Don't focus too much on speed. Instead think about developing a relaxed and comfortable technique. I understand the eagerness to progress as quickly as possible, but be patient, and the rewards will come.

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

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stevep99 said:
abhixec said:

also have you guys ever experienced this feeling of wanting to go back to qwerty?

Never!

abhixec said:

I have been having a lot lately but I am enjoying colemak even though my typing speed is nowhere were I want it to be. But now qwerty feels soo awkward to type on that I sometimes even hate attempting to type on qwerty (dont know why I even change my layout to qwerty). I guess that feeling will be there till I actually get to the typing speed I want to get to so that I dont feel like a newbie in colemak.

Don't focus too much on speed. Instead think about developing a relaxed and comfortable technique. I understand the eagerness to progress as quickly as possible, but be patient, and the rewards will come.

thanks!

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I never wanted to go back. I changed to Dvorak and struggled at first but enjoyed the challenge. It didn't take me long to feel how much better it was, even though I wasn't very good at it at first.That was before Colemak came; I learnt about Colemak late 2006 when it was less than a year old.

One factor of my transition may have been that I wasn't a very good typist on QWERTY, though still better than the "average Joe" office rat from what I gather. My speeds were around 50 WPM and accuracy was so-so. Now I'm at 75 WPM with 98%+ accuracy for normal typing. That's not very good for this forum I guess, but I enjoy it.

After that, I changed to Colemak and became very happy with it. Later on, I've used first my own and now the unified Curl(DH) mod, along with Angle and Wide mods. All these changes have made me a happier typist than before! :-)

Last edited by DreymaR (02-Aug-2017 11:37:05)

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DreymaR said:

I never wanted to go back. I changed to Dvorak and struggled at first but enjoyed the challenge. It didn't take me long to feel how much better it was, even though I wasn't very good at it at first.That was before Colemak came; I learnt about Colemak late 2006 when it was less than a year old.

One factor of my transition may have been that I wasn't a very good typist on QWERTY, though still better than the "average Joe" office rat from what I gather. My speeds were around 50 WPM and accuracy was so-so. Now I'm at 75 WPM with 98%+ accuracy for normal typing. That's not very good for this forum I guess, but I enjoy it.

After that, I changed to Colemak and became very happy with it. Later on, I've used first my own and now the unified Curl(DH) mod, along with Angle and Wide mods. All these changes have made me a happier typist than before! :-)

I guess the reason for me  to feel that way is that I am still not there yet in terms of speed and accuracy. I do enjoy the layout now though certainly can see that my fingers dont go all over the place that much.
I guess I really need to do the typing lessons to up my speed and accuracy.
I still haven't looked at the mod you suggested will do that over the weekend and let you know how it goes

Last edited by abhixec (03-Aug-2017 17:03:45)
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Maybe if you're frustrated with the Colemak experience you shouldn't go overboard on further mods yet? I don't know. The best would be to make a choice right away and stick with that I guess, but then you don't know what you're choosing before you get a little experience with it. I'd guess that the mods I use would be good for everybody, but I can't say for sure.

Extend is good for sure, though. And it can be learnt gradually and independently from the layout.

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DreymaR said:

Extend is good for sure, though. And it can be learnt gradually and independently from the layout.

Extend should be used by the entire world, including Qwerty users!

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

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DreymaR said:

Maybe if you're frustrated with the Colemak experience you shouldn't go overboard on further mods yet? I don't know. The best would be to make a choice right away and stick with that I guess, but then you don't know what you're choosing before you get a little experience with it. I'd guess that the mods I use would be good for everybody, but I can't say for sure.

Extend is good for sure, though. And it can be learnt gradually and independently from the layout.

I just looked at the extend and realized that my poker layout is kind of like that only because it is a 60% keyboard.
but yeah I have been wanting to have that kind of setup at work where I have my CM storm quickfire rapid keyboard.

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The Poker programmable layer can be used to create something very much like Extend, yes. But its Fn layer is nothing like Extend! It's just a haphazard collection of extended keys, hardly optimized for anything as far as I can see.

The true power of Extend lies in the ability to hit, e.g., Ext+S+T+N (Shift+Ctrl+Left) to select the previous word, Ext+C to copy it, Ext+T+Y (Ctrl+End) to move to the end of the document and Ext+V to paste there. All in a smooth flow while holding down the Extend key.

In other words, home row modifiers are a great boon to Extend. And I've yet to see any preprogrammed Fn layer anywhere near as good. I don't know what those keyboard makers are thinking, but they clearly haven't tried the full power of an optimized mapping layer!

Last edited by DreymaR (07-Aug-2017 08:32:43)

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I will never buy that kind of "sudo-programmable" keyboards after I found out what the real programmable keyboards utilizing QMK can do.

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