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    My Ongoing Colemak Experience

    • Started by hotGarbage
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    • Registered: 23-Nov-2017
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    Hello,
    I am a previous QWERTY user that averaged around 80 words per minute. I started being interested in typing playing typeracer in class in order to waste time back in 2013, but I didn't put much time in order to improve. Nethertheless, I peeked at around 70 wpm using two fingers on each hands. I then decided to take thing more seriously a few months ago and learnt how to touch type. After a while a gained around 10 WPM.

    This is my progress in QWERTY:
    DM6le31.png
    (keep in mind that I mostly played 10fastfingers so the X axis is not a good representation of time)

    I've always wanted to try a different layout, but I didn't want to lose all my productivity. However, once I got a friend interested I figured fuck it. I initially picked Colemak over Dvorak since it was marketed as an improved QWERTY and it was built in macOS.

    In a little less than a week I've managed to reach around 40 WPM using keybr and typeracer as training tools. I used the cold turkey method in order to improve as fast as possible.

    My initial thought was that I am not a fan of the "hand rolling" motion that colemak offers. It simply does not feel natural to me. I am however, willing to give it a shot and see how it feels after I am more proficient with it.

    Here's my progress on colemak so far since I started (11/19/2017):
    NaRLqux.png
    S9KQKEg.png
    Ok0QYLt.png

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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    Did you check out Colemak-Curl(DH)? It offers a different rolling experience, with a more natural finger curve. This improves the HE bigram among other.

    *** 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 said:

    Did you check out Colemak-Curl(DH)? It offers a different rolling experience, with a more natural finger curve. This improves the HE bigram among other

    Thanks for the advice, but I don't know if this will help me; I have no issues with the bigram HE. In fact, for some reason H is by far my fastest letter according to keybr. It's words like art, you and key that makes my hands feel uncomfortable.

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    hotGarbage said:

    Thanks for the advice, but I don't know if this will help me; I have no issues with the bigram HE. In fact, for some reason H is by far my fastest letter according to keybr. It's words like art, you and key that makes my hands feel uncomfortable.

    That was the same thoughts that I was having, I was also saying to myself, colemak is already so comfortable, why would I bother going through that again. But then Dreymar here was convincing me, (him always asking gave me a bad concience :p) and now that I've finally got up to an acceptable speed I'm so happy that I did, and I would not go back to normal colemak, caw is just so comfortable, it feels even better than the normal colemak.

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
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    Maybe your pinkies are a little weak? I feel that 'art' is nice!

    Many feel that inward rolls are the best, outward rolls nice, and mixed rolls sometimes problematic. I feel that some rolls may take getting used to and not all rolls are nice rolls, but as a concept they're very effective.

    Imagine how you would produce as rapid drumming as you can on a surface. Certainly not using same-finger, that much is a given! Maybe you could get a good one going with alternating hands but if you ask any hand drummer or arabic tambourine player it's finger rolls that really produce the best result. Worth noting. ;-)

    Last edited by DreymaR (28-Nov-2017 11:23:28)

    *** 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 said:

    Maybe your pinkies are a little weak? I feel that 'art' is nice!

    I also find AR less than ideal in certain circumstances, especially if there is a lot of action of those two fingers in a short space a time, e.g.. WAR, ARR, RAW.

    WAR... what is it good for? Absolutely not your left ring and pinky fingers...  someone should turn that into song :P

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

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    • From: Chicago
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    I had troubles with "ion" and "star" at first, and in general with the home row words, but now "ion" just coming out automatically without any thinking.

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    you is one of the harder ones for me, I never really had any problems with the left hand combinations.

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    For typing 'war' if it bothers you, I'd consider sliding one key to the left so it's handled by the ring and middle fingers. But I don't, because I don't type that word often enough (and as a result, when I tried it I mistyped it as 'was' way too much).

    'You' is quite common, so if you wish you could train yourself to slide and type it centered on the middle finger instead of the ring finger. That seems to work well for me.

    Last edited by DreymaR (02-Jan-2018 12:07:42)

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

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    Quick update, It's been a little more than a month since I've been using the colemak layout and I am now able to type an average of 63 words per minute (according to typeracer). However, I still feel uncomfortable using colemak... I think that the "handroll movement" is simply not made for me. It slows me down tremendously and typing words like "you" makes my hand cramp. Does anyone know a keyboard layout that has a near 50/50 hand alternation like colemak, but does not use a lot of "hand rolls"? I like when the keys are placed in the opposite direction of each other. For example, I find typing words like "esea" extremely easy.

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    hotGarbage said:

    Does anyone know a keyboard layout that has a near 50/50 hand alternation like colemak, but does not use a lot of "hand rolls"? I like when the keys are placed in the opposite direction of each other. For example, I find typing words like "esea" extremely easy.

    Dvorak is usually claimed to have higher alternation, but that has it's own set of other issues, and isn't 50/50 split.

    Words like "you" and "war" can be a little tricky to type quickly, but this has more to do with them using ring and pinky in quick succession, rather than rolls per se. I assume you don't have any problem with rolls on stronger fingers, e.g. involving "st" or "en"?

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

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    hotGarbage said:

    Quick update, It's been a little more than a month since I've been using the colemak layout and I am now able to type an average of 63 words per minute (according to typeracer). However, I still feel uncomfortable using colemak... I think that the "handroll movement" is simply not made for me. It slows me down tremendously and typing words like "you" makes my hand cramp. Does anyone know a keyboard layout that has a near 50/50 hand alternation like colemak, but does not use a lot of "hand rolls"? I like when the keys are placed in the opposite direction of each other. For example, I find typing words like "esea" extremely easy.

    I don't know, but I'm at least getting more and more comfortable with how the outer fingers are getting used, and going for the wide mod really helped in that war since the shift buttons are getting a lot easier to hit when they aren't as far away from where my hands are usually typing as they used to be with the normal placement of the right hand in particular.

    And apart from you, there are so many other words that are so much more comfortable to type with colemak that I don't really particularly care :p In comparison to the left pinkey placement of L in dvorak for example that really dwarves you as an issue, because it made my hand physically hurt. I've never had any other keyboard-layout that managed that feat before.

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    My thought is that it may not be about hand rolls but about pinkies. If your pinkies and ring fingers are weak and/or dependent then 'you' is hell to type on Colemak, and so is 'art', 'war', '-ion' etc. So I reiterate this argument.

    Try alternative fingering for the above mentioned trigrams: Slide your hand one key outwards, so that, e.g., 'you' is typed with fingers 3-4-2 instead of 4-5-3. I know that this type of fingering is used a lot by top QWERTY typists! The Colemak FAQ states that these tricks aren't necessary with Colemak but they can still help you even with a better layout! I use alternative fingering for several common n-grams; after a while it becomes second nature.

    On the other hand, I do believe and have heard from proficient typists that strong and independent fingers are key to really good typing no matter what. So doing some finger exercises (playing the piano for instance!) will help you too. For the piano there are etudes that really run you through the hoops. Hanon is boring as hell, but Sibelius for instance has the loveliest etudes!

    To avoid strain on the weak/dependent fingers, try some of these remedies:
    Wide mod: Relieves pinky strain (by moving keys to the middle, and reducing the distance to Enter/Back)
    Extend: Same (moves navigation and Enter to other fingers, makes Back far more accessible)
    Alternative fingering: Lets stronger fingers take on the most common finger-twisters

    Best of luck!

    Last edited by DreymaR (02-Jan-2018 12:21:42)

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

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