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    Coming back to colemak

    • Started by sotolf
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    So some years ago I found it a good idea to change to dvorak, since it was supposed to be superior to qwerty in all ways, well, I'm not so sure if that was the case for me, while I was able to type faster in it due to finally learning proper touch typing it still was wearing out my right pinky with its placement of the L key. So I took it upon me to find a keyboard layout that didn't have the same problem, and I came over colemak, and I was so happy. I learned it properly, and was up to a typing speed of about 80 WPM which is pretty good to be me, and even faster than I was even able to type dvorak, and it didn't hurt my hands at all.

    So for some years I was very happy with how it had all settled. Then came the problem, I started working as an IT Administator/support guy, and my obnoxious boss didn't let me use colemak, so I had to change back, my writing suffered while I relearned qwerty, this time at least with the awef jioö fingering, which was a tiny bit better, but never really made me feel completely comfortable.

    So fast forward to last week, we have a new boss, and I'm finally allowed to use whatever keyboard I use, as long as I'm able to type still, which is how it should really be, so I'm working on relearning colemak, so far so good, and after about a week of cold turkey I'm at least up to a usable speed of 50 WPM again, and apart from some readjustment pains for my wrists it's feeling so much more comfortable to work with!

    I'm using PKL at work, and just the native mapping on my personal linux machine. And practicing with amphetype, keybr and keyhero really helps me. I still have to work quite a bit on accuracy as it's still really hurting me when my fingers kind of get confused and it wants to map one finger to qwerty again, but I'm getting there.

    I've been looking into the mods a bit, since I'm typing mostly a mix between English, German and Norwegian through the days, and also been looking through Dreymars bag of tricks, but I'm just thinking I'll learn the main layout first, and then see if I want to branch off from that on some later time, as the angle and curl mods look pretty interesting, but we will see where time will bring me.

    So I'm looking forward to being able to write consistently at a more consistently fast pace again, but time will bring me there, I just have to force myself to write slower so that I'm not doing so many mistakes, looking at my practice I can write something that feels slow as molasses, and just do a consistant good 57 WPM, but if I drop focus and concentrate on writing faster it quickly drops down to 49, it's just a bit frustrating still to force myself to slow down.

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    Welcome back! ^_^

    Working at Oslo University Hospital, I'm not allowed to use any personal layout installs either. I eventually solved that by using a QUICKIE device; it even gives me Extend which is great. What it can't do is sort out shift and AltGr mappings which is a bit unfortunate but I'll live with that. The downside is that it costs a little, but then you can take it with you wherever you go if you want to. So I have one in my backpack and one at work.

    I think Colemak[eD]-No is good enough for writing both Norwegian and German beside English, unless you write a ton of German. I at least find the äüö letters very easy due to the good placement of the AltGr+; deadkey combo, and ß is well placed too.

    Last edited by DreymaR (09-Oct-2017 08:05:46)

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    > I came over colemak, and I was so happy.

    Ahem.

    > my obnoxious boss didn't let me use colemak

    What a douche.  But I do understand this from a security perspective if this requires some software installation.

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    Welcome back! ^_^

    Thank you, finally I'm home again :)

    Working at Oslo University Hospital

    Ullevåll that is or? I was really enjoying my time at the University in Oslo :) And when I was in HMKG we were playing there :) It was a lot of fun.

    I think Colemak[eD]-No is good enough for writing both Norwegian and German beside English, unless you write a ton of German. I at least find the äüö letters very easy due to the good placement of the AltGr+; deadkey combo, and ß is well placed too.

    I'll have to look into that then :) I tend to write mainly English (systems administrator) But most of my eMail correspondence is in German, sadly Norwegian is the language that I write the least, but now and then I do write with my siblings or someone from the old country.

    What a douche.  But I do understand this from a security perspective if this requires some software installation.

    The funny thing is it wasn't even a security issue, I was working on linux at the time and it has colemak built in as standard... It's just that he couldn't come over and type on my keyboard without me switching it over that was irking him I think. The other is that I am a systems administrator, and I don't see any security problems with using PKL either, it's a solid piece of software, and I don't see it doing anything fishy coming out to the net or something. So I do lean more towards him just being a douche :p

    Last edited by sotolf (09-Oct-2017 09:47:42)
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    sotolf said:

    Ullevål[l] that is or?

    I sit at Gaustad. They always told me I'd end up here, so here I am... ;-) [Inside joke: It used to be a major mental institution, heh.] But, short walk between us, indeed! Yay!

    sotolf said:

    I tend to write mainly English (systems administrator) But most of my eMail correspondence is in German, sadly Norwegian is the language that I write the least[...]

    Ach so. Then I'd probably recommend having two layouts: One coding (brackets on top of bracket keys; this is my normal "US" Colemak[eD] which allows both German and Norwegian albeit not optimal for long texts), and one German (äüö on bracket/<LSGT> keys, brackets on AltGr) for Deutschsprachlichen Schnellfahrerdampfschiffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerksofortlangweiligtöddelinkludierendeschreibensessionen. :-p

    sotolf said:

    It's just that he couldn't come over and type on my keyboard without me switching it over that was irking him I think. The other is that I am a systems administrator, and I don't see any security problems with using PKL either, it's a solid piece of software, and I don't see it doing anything fishy coming out to the net or something.

    Luckily it isn't a problem for you anymore I take it, but may I add that in this case too a QUICKIE is handy: It lets you attach two USB keyboards to your rig, one for the boss and one with a QUICKIE for you. You could do dual-head coding sessions on different layouts this way, which is hard otherwise! The QUICKIE essentially makes your USB keyboard "fully" programmable. It works on all normal USB keyboards (but not on all "NKRO" boards as those may mount as several boards at once).

    As for PKL: Yes, it's solid. And you can decompile it to inspect and verify that this is the case – or just view the source at my GitHub PKL repo. AHK is as you surely know used by SysAdmins all over, so there's nothing fishy going on at all. Nevertheless, several overzealous security softwares have a record of reporting compiled AHK code as indeed it could be used maliciously and it's hard for them to determine whether that isn't the case here. Tres annoying.

    Last edited by DreymaR (09-Oct-2017 08:26:03)

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    I sit at Gaustad. They always told me I'd end up here, so here I am... ;-) [Inside joke: It used to be a major mental institution, heh.] But, short walk between us, indeed! Yay!

    Hehe a mental institution is still the first thing that I think about when I hear Gaustad :p so it's not gone from memory yet even for a "farmer from Hadeland" :p

    Ach so. Then I'd probably recommend having two layouts: One coding (brackets on top of bracket keys; this is my normal "US" Colemak[eD] which allows both German and Norwegian albeit not optimal for long texts), and one German (äüö on bracket/<LSGT> keys, brackets on AltGr) for

    I've been looking through your repo, but I haven't managed to find the no layout yet, maybe I'm just not seeing it because my eyes are in the way :p I'll have to take some time to look for it later. I'm writing German with the standard layout for now, it works with a bit of practice but still isn't completely practical with the AltGr+y ; keys ;) And since I'm interested in your mods as well it would be something good for me to go for, you're using angle-dh-curl-ext yourself right? I guess it would be some work to get used to the four moved keys again, but not that bad really and I mean when one get's used to a better keyboard, then why not to the best that  one can at once :p

    Luckily it isn't a problem for you anymore I take it

    No luckily not, and I've come to the habit of pushing alt-altgr on my keyboard everytime someone looks like they're coming close to write, and it works ;) He was just a strange person in normal, claiming I was looking at my keyboard for the keys, and that it didn't make any sense to write with a keyboard layout that wasn't printed on them :p

    I add that in this case too a QUICKIE is handy: It lets you attach two USB keyboards to your rig, one for the boss and one with a QUICKIE for you. You could do dual-head coding sessions on different layouts this way, which is hard otherwise! The QUICKIE essentially makes your USB keyboard "fully" programmable. It works on all normal USB keyboards (but not on all "NKRO" boards as those may mount as several boards at once).

    Yeah I've been looking into a programmable mechanical keyboard as well, as they are really good to write on, but we'll see :p I've also been looking at learning plover (open source stenography) for fun some time and then an "NKRO" is needed, the keyboards that I have are no good for that.

    As for PKL: Yes, it's solid. And you can decompile it to inspect and verify that this is the case – or just view the source at my GitHub PKL repo. AHK is as you surely know used by SysAdmins all over, so there's nothing fishy going on at all. Nevertheless, several overzealous security softwares have a record of reporting compiled AHK code as indeed it could be used maliciously and it's hard for them to determine whether that isn't the case here. Tres annoying.

    Yeah I know, there are so many people that are really short sighted, but then again I look at all the strange things that the workers here are doing on their computers and I kind of see the other side as well, (Seriously is there anything people don't do in excel, everything they either force into it, or they want to install a plugin to make it do it :p) But then again I'm here to help people so if anyone here wants PKL they'll get it ;)

    Er det bare meg eller egner colemak seg nesten enda bedre til norsk enn til engelsk, kansje det er fordi norsk staves mer regulært, men jeg har på følelsen at det er bedre ruller og vekselvirkninger på norsken enn på engelsken.

    Last edited by sotolf (09-Oct-2017 09:36:54)
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    Quote tags aid readability. ;-)

    Colemak better for Norwegian? No, I think it's you. Colemak is surprisingly good for Norwegian, but not optimal. For one, the most common letters (ETAOINSHRDLU in English) are ERNTSILAKO, in which you'll notice that K (and J) are way more common than in English. R has a good placement in Colemak so it isn't bad; K and J not so much. But the worst thing is the common KJ bigram which takes some gymnastics using Colemak for Norwegian! I use alternative fingering, stretching the middle finger up to hit J in that awkward spot. It works okay.

    I can of course heartily recommend Colemak[eD]-CAW-Extend! But then again, I would wouldn't I. If you're wary of changing too much, I'd suggest starting with an Angle mod and Extend. Those are very easy to get started with, and have a lot of benefit.

    In my PKL repo, Colemak-No is hidden in the folder of the colemak-eD_ISO-CurlAWide-Sl layout. I'm working with the PKL source code and at some point I'll make it more modular so that locale and ergo mods may be implemented without having to make and edit separate layout folders for each one! For now, it's fairly DIY.

    In my XKB repo, it should be easy enough to find the locale layouts.

    I think a QUICKIE could be programmed to support Plover! But it'd take a controller with more memory like the new Teensy v3.5/3.6 and those haven't got TMK libraries for them yet I think. It'd be fun though, having Plover in your pocket.

    Last edited by DreymaR (09-Oct-2017 09:27:11)

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    Quote tags aid readability. ;-)

    Bah, I'm so used to writing markdown that I didn't realize that it wasn't supported on the forum :/ Fixed it now though.

    Colemak better for Norwegian? No, I think it's you. Colemak is surprisingly good for Norwegian, but not optimal. For one, the most common letters (ETAOINSHRDLU in English) are ERNTSILAKO, in which you'll notice that K (and J) are way more common than in English. R has a good placement in Colemak so it isn't bad; K and J not so much. But the worst thing is the common KJ bigram which takes some gymnastics using Colemak for Norwegian! I use alternative fingering, stretching the middle finger up to hit J in that awkward spot. It works okay.

    Yeah, no, you're right there I didn't quite think of that, maybe I'm just fooling myself because I don't have to think as much in Norwegian as in English ;p

    I can of course heartily recommend Colemak[eD]-CAW-Extend! But then again, I would wouldn't I. If you're wary of changing too much, I'd suggest starting with an Angle mod and Extend. Those are very easy to get started with, and have a lot of benefit.

    I'm already juggling a lot of things around, so I'm not sure if I care that something more is getting changed around, but yeah, that seems like it would be really worth the time yeah.

    In my PKL repo, Colemak-No is hidden in the folder of the colemak-eD_ISO-CurlAWide-Sl layout. I'm working with the PKL source code and at some point I'll make it more modular so that locale and ergo mods may be implemented without having to make and edit separate layout folders for each one! For now, it's fairly DIY.

    Ah that's why I couldn't find it it, for some reason I was thinking that was SL for a slovak version of colemak :p

    I think a QUICKIE could be programmed to support Plover! But it'd take a controller with more memory like the new Teensy v3.5/3.6 and those haven't got TMK libraries for them yet I think. It'd be fun though, having Plover in your pocke

    Wow, that's pretty impressive :) Plover is really cool, it seems to be a lot of work getting used to it, but since I do also handwrite gregg steno I was thinking it would be cool to do it ar well ;) And wow, the speeds that some of the people achieve with that thing is really impressive.

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    I just found a really nice simple trick some time ago. leaning the keyboard away from me makes typing so much more comfortable, why does it then only have feet on the other side? That really doesn't make sense, but now, typing on a keyboard leaning away from me, rather than towards me makes me type less wrong, and it feels a lot more comfortable.

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    I've seen others that swear to the "reverse lean", so you may be on to something there. Myself, I'm used to typing on flat boards now so that's comfy enough for me, but at the very least I wouldn't use those legs to angle the board towards me!

    It's also a matter of sitting and typing positions. The main issue is keeping the wrists straight! If your keyboard is too high so that your arms angle upwards, then tilting the keyboard away will help a lot. But if you can lean your elbows on the desk (which I like to do when I'm relaxed) and maybe additionally float your hands a little (which I don't generally do when I'm relaxed...) then your wrists will have no vertical flexion even without that keyboard tilting.

    So there are several factors to this, but I think you're right in general.

    For the lateral wrist angle, I use the Angle and Wide ergo mods to avoid ulnar deviation.

    Last edited by DreymaR (16-Oct-2017 12:31:58)

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    sotolf said:

    I just found a really nice simple trick some time ago. leaning the keyboard away from me makes typing so much more comfortable, why does it then only have feet on the other side? That really doesn't make sense, but now, typing on a keyboard leaning away from me, rather than towards me makes me type less wrong, and it feels a lot more comfortable.

    Yeah, those feet are only to mimick typewriters from ye olden days. It's bad for your wrists I think. If anything, feet should be at the front as you say. My Ergo Pro has feet at the front, which I find useful, and there are other keyboards that support backward tilt and tenting at all sorts of angles.

    Last edited by stevep99 (16-Oct-2017 12:58:20)

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

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    stevep99 said:

    Yeah, those feet are only to mimick typewriters from ye olden days. It's bad for your wrists I think. If anything, feet should be at the front as you say. My Ergo Pro has feet at the front, which I find useful, and there are other keyboards that support backward tilt and tenting at all sorts of angles.

    When I was trying it out after having read it, I was really feeling strange, I mean I always thought I did myself a service having those feet stretched. I have a handrest that is raised so I was just taking the feet down, and putting the keyboard up there, and man it feels completely different to write on, it's so much easier to hit the right keys, the stretches are so much easier, and my hands get less tired. I also went 5 wpm faster, without any effort on my part :s

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    I've heard the opinion that not only leaning keyboard toward you, but also the stepped profile of some keycaps is because of mimicking of old typewriter's style. With positive incline the key's steps become horizontal as the old typewriters has. In many modern computer keyboards the flat profile is in use nowadays, but legs in the back and staggered columns are still there.
    I may tell you what the next steps of optimizing would be after leaning the keyboard away: improving angle between hands by using angle mod or specially designed keyboard, getting rid of stagger by using columnar or matrix keyboard, then introducing tilt between hands, and a split keyboard is needed for that.
    I've applied all of these changes already except tilting. :)

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    I think a cartesian matrix is a bad idea. That's nothing like the true shape of the hand. I'd rather have a stagger that goes the right way for both hands!

    Bar the really hand-shaped typing surfaces of course. Not sure how convenient they'd be on a laptop though. ;-)

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    Having a bit of a more comfortable keyboard for laptops would be really good.

    I haven't really got around to the angle wide and curl-dh mods yet. I've downloaded dreymars layout but it seems like I have done something wrong in configuring it since it's doing the letters right, but falling back on the standard keyboard for all special characters ()[] {} etc. And also since it's not as easy to switch to it in linux as the standard

    setxbd us colemak

    I've just been too lazy to do it.

    I'm really having fun writing with amphetype though, and it's really helpful as well as it's a nice way to practice typing and still get some stuff read at the same time, I have loads of ebooks on my pc that I'm usually transferring to my kindle and with some conversion rules for pesky ellipsis, book quotes and other characters that I'm not planning to type very often calibre does a great job of converting the books to nice textfiles.

    I'm now up to an average speed of about 59 WPM, so I'm already typing almost as fast as I was able to do with qwerty, so now I just have to regain some speed to be able to write as fast as I was able to do colemak before :)

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    I've used the angle-wide mode for some time, but now it is in the past. It makes way more sense than the classic staggered model though.
    I agree that matrix is not quite good idea, if that matrix is in one piece. Two halves of matrix could be rotated (and tilted) the way it is convenient for hands. Right now I'm mostly using that variant with Let's Split keyboard. Comparing it to columnar ErgoDox, for me personally the columnar stagger the ErgoDox has is not quite convenient, it assumes some predefined proportion of length of fingers, especially pinkies related to other fingers, which is different for different people. What is good about 40% keyboards is their portability. I always carry it with me now in a small stethoscope case. It is way more portable than a regular keyboard or, say, Ergodox or Kinesis keyboards.

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    sotolf said:

    I haven't really got around to the angle wide and curl-dh mods yet. I've downloaded dreymars layout but it seems like I have done something wrong in configuring it since it's doing the letters right, but falling back on the standard keyboard for all special characters ()[] {} etc. And also since it's not as easy to switch to it in linux as the standard

    setxbd us colemak

    I've just been too lazy to do it.

    Did you mean setxkbmap? Because setxkb won't accept the argument 'colemak'. ;-)

    The layout that has letters right but symbols in the old (bad) way is the "ks" or "Keep Locale Symbols" variant. I've made those for conservative people who want the symbols where they're printed on the keys, but the "us" variant is much better and has my dead keys on AltGr+SymbolKeys and whatnot.

    $> ./setxkb.sh -as '5cw no us'

    That's how you activate the ISO-CurlAngleWide-Norway-UnifiedSymbols layout. If you don't want to write it into your .bashrc file just yet so it gets automatically activated, drop the -a.

    Still struggling with anything? Let me know! :-)

    Last edited by DreymaR (Today 08:56:29)

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