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    What's your recommended mod?

    • Started by OrthoCube
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    • From: Philippines
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    Hello.

    TL;DR: I'm thinking of switching to Mod DH, and I only have an ANSI keyboard. Which Mod DH implementation would you suggest, or maybe you know of a better mod than Mod DH?

    I switched from QWERTY to Colemak a bit more than a month ago, and I'm loving it. Way better than my experience that week when I tried Dvorak, which I actually tried first before finally getting fed up of Dvorak's L and settling on switching to Colemak. My current Colemak max speed is 76 WPM and my typical (average) speed is around 65 WPM (my previous QWERTY speed is almost the same but right now, I can only hunt-and-peck on QWERTY). Still practicing Colemak everyday, though--I aim for above a hundred WPM someday :)

    Just last night, I discovered about Mod DH and I realized that there are indeed times when I find some letters pretty hard-to-reach and therefore error-prone, especially J, B, and G. I think D and H is a wee bit weird to press but I don't see it as problematic, although I often confuse H with N and D with T, making D and H a bit error-prone. So I am now considering using Mod DH.

    So I'm just asking, in your opinion, is it worth the switch? Are there (better) mods worth knowing?

    I use an ANSI keyboard, and I didn't even know that I have an ISO keyboard until I checked and realized that one of my keyboards is ISO. I never saw any other ISO keyboard in my life, though. Since it's inconvenient to plug an external (ISO) keyboard to my (ANSI) laptop, I'd rather just use ANSI. Besides, what if my ISO keyboard stops functioning? I don't think I can ever find one again XD

    Which layout do you suggest? Like, wide or standard or alt-home?
    As long as it helps me improve comfort and possibly speed, then I'd gladly use it.
    I'd also love for it to retain the AltGr extra characters.
    One problem I have with moving from the default Colemak layout is that I can't use anything but the default Colemak layout on Android (soft keyboard). Ever since I started learning Colemak, my QWERTY skill has dramatically dropped, and even typing QWERTY on my Android phone forces me to hunt-and-peck. Having the exact same layout on both desktop and phone really helps me.

    Thanks!

    Last edited by OrthoCube (05-Jan-2018 05:11:32)
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    My opinion is bound to be less than humble, but I am in no doubt myself: Colemak-CAW[eD] with Extend is very very awesome! ^_^


        Cmk-ISO-eD-CurlAWide_90d_FShui.png?dl=1


        Extend-ISO-AWi-Linux_90d.png?dl=1


    Yes, it helps to have an ISO board, unless you go for one of those more expensive ergo boards. But you can use the CurlAngle-Z modification for ANSI and not be much worse off I think.

    OrthoCube said:

    I realized that there are indeed times when I find some letters pretty hard-to-reach and therefore error-prone, especially J, B, and G. I think D and H is a wee bit weird to press but I don't see it as problematic, although I often confuse H with N and D with T, making D and H a bit error-prone.

    J should be hard to reach, as it's a very rare letter in English. And since it's rare, it'll be one of the last letters to settle properly into muscle memory. Just keep at it. ;-) As for G, I'm quite happy to have it back in its QWERTY position with the Curl(DH) mod. D and H are of course entirely lovely. B is fine; again, that's not a prime position but nor is it a prime letter. Keep in mind though, that by prioritizing DH and the natural hand curl the upper-middle corners become slightly deprioritized using the Curl mod. So B and J (and to some extent the less used KV) will be paying a moderate price for the larger benefit of DH (and to some extent G).

    I really wouldn't recommend using a "full keyboard"-type layout on a phone! The keys are small and it doesn't feel like a real keyboard at all. But check out my MessagEase Colemakoid layout if you wish! I feel that it keeps the similarity to Colemak while being optimized for phone usage with large keys and slides.

    Last edited by DreymaR (03-Jan-2018 16:29:45)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    OrthoCube said:

    Hello.

    TL;DR: I'm thinking of switching to Mod DH, and I only have an ISO keyboard. Which Mod DH implementation would you suggest, or maybe you know of a better mod than Mod DH?

    An ISO keyboard is ideal, but an ANSI keyboard will work perfectly well. Most people go for the standard ANSI option, the only real difference is the location of Z, which is a rare key and so doesn't really matter very much. If you are in the US, then ISO boards are quite rare, but they can still be found I believe.

    Typing on a phone is a totally different skill, and the advantages of Colemak are not great on a touch screen. Despite not having used Qwerty on physical keyboards for several years now, I still find Qwerty with swype works adequately on phones. Or you could take a look at something like MessageEase. If you want to type a lot on Android and use a hardware keyboard, take a look at these Mod-DH layouts for hardware keyboards.

    I echo what DreymaR says regarding Extend. It's the best thing since... um.. even before sliced bread! Sliced bread was never a particularly great innovation anyway.

    Wide mod is also good if you are using a traditional one-piece keyboard, but not necessary if (like me) you have a split keyboard.

    Last edited by stevep99 (03-Jan-2018 11:20:51)

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

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    With a split keyboard, the only advantage of the Wide mod would be less pinky load, I guess? Might still be worth it, though?

    *** 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:

    I really wouldn't recommend using a "full keyboard"-type layout on a phone! The keys are small and it doesn't feel like a real keyboard at all.

    Indeed! I only meant to say that if I were to use a Colemak variant (be it wide or not), it'd be a huge bonus if the layout I use on my phone would be similar to it. So I mean, even if I ever go with DH/ANSI/Wide, not having the symbols in the center of the keyboard on my phone keyboard shouldn't be a problem (I think) but at least the letter order should be the same, like, it should show,

    Q W F P B J L U Y
     A R S T G K N E I O
      X C D V Z M H

    but that's what's troubling me. There's no official support for the Mod DH on Android. MessagEase seems interesting. Even though it isn't your usual keyboard, I'll check it out :) I have not much need for gestures anyway, as I speak in 3 different languages all the time, so gesture doesn't always work and text prediction also rarely works (and most importantly, those two just aren't my thing XD ) Thanks!

    stevep99 said:

    If you are in the US, then ISO boards are quite rare, but they can still be found I believe.

    I'm from the Philippines, and ISO keyboards are virtually nonexistent--except for this keyboard that I once bought for my desktop which died soon after, which I only realized last night to be an ISO keyboard. I bought it from some cheap Chinese store and I highly doubt I'll see another one of those keyboards again, as I've seen countless keyboards in my life and that keyboard is the only ISO keyboard I saw.

    stevep99 said:

    Typing on a phone is a totally different skill, and the advantages of Colemak are not great on a touch screen. Despite not having used Qwerty on physical keyboards for several years now, I still find Qwerty with swype works adequately on phones.

    Well, unfortunately, I don't use swipe-style input at all, and I don't think I will. Just right now I switched my Android to QWERTY and I'm literally typing at like, less that 20 WPM. It's confusing. Although I kinda feel that if I use something like MessagEase (which doesn't resemble the usual keyboard [which reminds me of Japanese kana/flick input--I often type in Japanese]), I won't get confused as typing on computer and phone will seem like two completely different things.

    stevep99 said:

    I echo what DreymaR says regarding Extend. It's the best thing since... um.. even before sliced bread!

    I'm really interested in trying this Extend thing, but I Googled and yet I still don't know what it is and how to try it. Can someone please explain what it is and how I can try it? I'm on Windows 10, and I really don't have the money to buy any extra hardware. The only thing I have is my laptop and its (ANSI) keyboard, and one extra (ISO) keyboard.

    stevep99 said:

    Wide mod is also good if you are using a traditional one-piece keyboard, but not necessary if (like me) you have a split keyboard.

    Yep, I use a traditional one-piece keyboard (and believe me, I would have already bought a mechanical keyboard or some ergo ones if I had the money). I'm willing to use the wide mod. Would you recommend it compared to the standard mod?

    Thanks for explaining things to me--I really appreciate it!

    Last edited by OrthoCube (03-Jan-2018 12:28:34)
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    Indeed, if you use multiple languages so that text prediction starts failing – and especially if you have the need for multiple scripts and special characters like þðß etc! – then MessagEase really shines. I can type almost anything with it on my phone. Japanese included. ;-)

    Oh dear, you haven't seen my Big Bag posts yet? Check out my sig topic, and you'll know what Extend is. And much more.

    If I were to buy an expensive special keyboard, I'd consider something totally different like the DataHand! :-)

    Last edited by DreymaR (03-Jan-2018 12:46:09)

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

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    I'm really happy that I did the switch to colemac caw ed, it's just the most comfortable keyboard layout I've used, and even more for typing on a laptop, the thing about the wide part of the keyboard is not only good for the lesser distance for the shift keys, but also it feels like it scrunches my shoulders less together while typing on the laptop, which really is a plus.

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    Thanks, now I see the Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks XD I still haven't decided what to use, but I'll take into consideration the replies that you guys have.
    MessagEase is kinda frustrating at the start but I feel that if I get used to it, it'll be easy to use.

    Really, thanks for all your suggestions. I appreciate it!

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    I settled with Colemak-CAW[eD] with Extend on ANSI, with the Z moved to QWERTY B.
    Thank you very much! It'll take some time to get used to, but it shouldn't be too hard :)
    The fact that my right index finger is not on a notched key makes it all the more awkward but hey, as long as it benefits me in the end!

    A question, though. My number row is like this.

    ` 1 2 3 4 5 6 = 7 8 9 0 -

    Isn't that supposed to be

    ` 1 2 3 4 5 = 6 7 8 9 0 -

    as shown on the Mod DH homepage?
    mod_dh_keyb_ansi_wide.png

    Unless of course it was intentional. In that case I have no questions :)

    Reading more about Colemak CAW eD, this is probably the best keyboard mod I have ever seen. And Extend is just plain awesome. Simply the best duo!

    Sad thing is I'm back at 20 WPM. Oh, well. No problem. I used to be just 8 WPM when I first started learning Colemak :D
    The fact that I need to move my left hand left-wards (if there is such a word) whenever pressing the lower keys (because of the wide mod) is very confusing but I'll get used to it in time :)

    Last edited by OrthoCube (04-Jan-2018 09:33:49)
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    SteveP and I can't agree on which Wide mod is better. His fave is on the ModDH page and mine on the BigBag page. I wish we'd make that clearer... *scurries off to update page*

    Either way there's decisions to make. Mine is in line with some split keyboards, but there are others – particularly in the matrix scene – that follow the other. In mine there's more keys to the left of the split which may seem unsymmetric at first (and the uneven number of number keys isn't the prettiest thing), but on a standard staggered board the stretch to the = key in my version is the longest one which makes a lot of typing sense! I use to say that it's about typing not aesthetics. ;-) Steve is more geared towards matrix boards than I am though, as my goal is to make the best of the nearly ubiquitous common-stagger keyboard. That's what I get to use at work computers and laptops in the foreseeable future, for instance.

    The missing nub is annoying, yes. On my Unicomp board I moved a couple of black nubbed keys to the index home positions, which looks kinda rad and gives me the nubbage I crave. On my laptop I've left all the keys in place but carefully(!) scratched the N (QWERTY K) key to produce a notch. It's not a proper nub but it's enough to give tactile feedback and I feel it works! I've also seen suggestions to dab a drop of glue on that key, and on one of my older boards I used a soldering iron (again, carefully!) to produce a bump.

    Last edited by DreymaR (04-Jan-2018 11:38:10)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    Here's my modded QWERTY keyboard, originally modded to Colemak. That time, I decided to add the notches using glue (just like you said) and it does do the job, so I guess it's okay :) I then modded it today for CAW[eD].
    W2m7XCQ.jpg
    This is the only ISO keyboard that I have seen in my entire life :D
    Because of that, even though this is an ISO keyboard, I treat it as if it's ANSI, because using two different keyboard layouts will confuse the hell out of me.
    Not to mention that there are a few times that I will need to use another person's keyboard and it will definitely be an ANSI one, and what'd I do if I got used to ISO? I'd really not want to hunt-and peck in QWERTY :D

    So it was intentional. I see.
    Thinking deeply, I think I agree with "6=7". It just looks better, and I think I'll choose it for no good reason, besides that it just looks better. Also, I'm left-handed, so more load on the left hand should be better :-)
    I almost never press the equals key anyway, so to be honest, I guess it doesn't matter. No offense. The "/" key is more worthy of a debate if you were to ask me, but I like it the way it is now. I'd press it with my right hand's left index finger.

    Just right now, I'm already feeling the comfort offered by the Mod DH, so even if I'm still typing slowly, I believe I'll love this even more than standard Colemak :-)
    (Shh. Between you and me, I like it better because the first letter of my name, K, is now on the home row ;-)  ) Just kidding XD

    Anyway, it's been a long journey. Many thanks again to you people for your suggestions.
    I always believed that more popular is not always equal to better--and you just proved that QWERTY really shouldn't be the dominant keyboard. At least that's what I think.

    Man, I love how I can move the cursor using U, E, N, and I using Extend! Just awesome!

    The added benefit of using PKL is also that the Japanese input method that I use is also rearranged to CAW[eD]. Now this is the proper way to type Japanese in Colemak, instead of changing the kana table mappings LOL

    Last edited by OrthoCube (04-Jan-2018 10:46:35)
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    On a Wide-modded ANSI board the apostrophe should certainly be in the upper-right (LeftBracket key) slot. An ISO board has room for the apostrophe to the right so the Slash key gets a better position than the lower middle trench, but it has less priority than apostrophe.

    And I do agree with you not learning ISO boards if you have to type on ANSI a lot. They're a bit better but the US typists wouldn't have it back then so that's that. ;-) Well, they're better with the Angle mod which wasn't invented yet, and they have the weakness of a somewhat worse Enter key – again, this has been relieved with the Extend mod ... which wasn't invented yet...

    Glad you like Extend already! I always say it's the most recommended mod because you can learn it piecewise without breaking anything important. Next up, maybe start using S and T with UNEI to move and select words/lines/paragraphs at a time? ;-) Or even tricks like selecting the rest of the text from the cursor with Ext+S+T+Y (Shift+Ctrl+End selects to end).

    Last edited by DreymaR (04-Jan-2018 10:57:51)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    DreymaR said:

    On an ANSI board the apostrophe should certainly be in the upper-right (LeftBracket key) slot.

    You mean, RightBracket?

    DreymaR said:

    And I do agree with you not learning ISO boards if you have to type on ANSI a lot.

    Yeah, my laptop is ANSI, which I use a lot more than this dirt-cheap keyboard which turned out to be ISO.

    DreymaR said:

    Glad you like Extend already! I always say it's the most recommended mod because you can learn it piecewise without breaking anything important. Next up, maybe start using S and T with UNEI to move and select words/lines/paragraphs at a time? ;-) Or even tricks like selecting the rest of the text from the cursor with Ext+S+T+Y (Shift+Ctrl+End selects to end).

    Yep, it's awesome! I will indeed try to take advantage of it, and I like how I can control music with the external keyboard--I used to lean forward to press Fn+Play/Pause on my laptop to control music playback! Now I can just Ext+F1/F2/F3 :D

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    Oh, darn, I'm a programmer, I use the = key often! How can I forget? LOL
    Well. I guess it's fine. I guess it won't make much difference if it was 6=7 or 5=6. I'll just leave it as 6=7 since as I said, I'm left-handed and I think it looks better :)

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    OrthoCube said:

    You mean, RightBracket?

    (Is the Wide shift already in place) ? no : yes;   ;-)

    Yeah, programmer or not I'd leave the = key at the longest stretch. I find that I blind type symbol keys less even now or at least take more pause before typing them, so they're easier to hit because of the broken flow. Numbers may be speed typed, equal/plus signs usually not. However, for intense numeric entry I'd recommend the second Extend (NumPad) layer. Unfortunately, PKL doesn't support that yet but I've used it with my TMK device.

    Last edited by DreymaR (04-Jan-2018 11:28:57)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    DreymaR said:
    OrthoCube said:

    You mean, RightBracket?

    (Is the Wide shift already in place) ? no : yes;   ;-)

    Indeed XD

    DreymaR said:

    However, for intense numeric entry I'd recommend the second Extend (NumPad) layer. Unfortunately, PKL doesn't support that yet but I've used it with my TMK device.

    My laptop has a numpad so I see no problem there :)

    Last edited by OrthoCube (04-Jan-2018 11:30:01)
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    Good choice in accepting Extend as well! You won't regret it.

    Regarding = and 6, IMO this is a minor detail, and I figure that anyone getting into mods far enough to adopt Colemak, angle mod, wide mod, and Mod-DH, is probably the kind of person who won't have too much trouble making up their own mind it and adjusting if necessary :P

    There isn't consistency which side 6 belongs. I am a fan of split keyboards, and mainly use a Matias Ergo Pro which puts 6 on the right. But there is, for example, the Kinesis Freestyle2 which puts it on the left. This issue was discussed by the UHK guys a while back, they seem to have decided on left as well. If you use a split matrix board though, you'd probably want it on the right.

    Arguably with split keyboards, the need for the wide mod is reduced anyway. But the thing is, if you get used to the 6 being on a certain side, there's no harm in keeping it there. So overall I'd probably advise to put it on whichever side you are used to typing it with.

    Last edited by stevep99 (04-Jan-2018 16:51:16)

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

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    Nevertheless, I've updated my main Big Bag page to show the discord. :-)

    The difference between normal-stagger and matrix boards is central to this issue I believe, and it's also what has caused some uncertainty about which Curl(DH) mod to choose. We have decided on moving M to the lower corner in the standard mod because that's the next-best position on a staggered board; on a pure matrix board however it may not be good enough as the stretch is longer there. Some matrix users have reported that it's okay that way but others are more skeptical.

    Last edited by DreymaR (05-Jan-2018 10:05:24)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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