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    Adopted Colemak in a weekend

    • Started by benzolius
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    • Registered: 22-Jan-2018
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    I'm very happy, I've found Colemak recently. I was convinced to try it by some posts in this forum.
    I'm not native in English, but I'm working as programmer, so I'm using mostly English words in my job.
    I'm 46 and I have to admit, my typing speed is below average.

    I learned touch typing on Qwerty, about 5 years ago.
    Before that I was using 10 fingers with the "hunt and peck" method for more than 7 years.

    Now I tried Colemak in a weekend, after exercising on Dvorak for about a month.
    I was exercising nearly every day about 10-20 minutes on Dvorak and I started to use it in my daily work.
    Unfortunately I didn't measure my typing speed on Qwerty before, I guess I was a bit below average, perhaps about 30 wpm.

    In a month I could type on Dvorak by 20 wpm and my Qwerty speed dropped below 20 wpm.
    Now after three days on Colemak my speed is near 20 wpm, but it feels much better than any other and I decided to use Colemak in my daily work.

    Unfortunately I have to learn by "cold turkey" method, because I use tools like Vim, Bash, ...
    Would be too complicated and time consuming to go by Tarmak.

    I use only Linux systems and I exercised/measured my speed by the excellent Klavaro application.

    Regards.

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    • Registered: 08-Oct-2017
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    Good to hear that you're enjoying it :) For me too, there really wasn't any other keyboardlayout that is as comfortable as colemak.

    Vim works pretty well as long as one just get used to that hjkl no longer are in their places, but I use them more than I should anyways :p so good riddiance.

    Colemak is pretty good for multilingual use, I use the standard layout to write English, German and Norwegian on a regular basis.

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    • Registered: 22-Jan-2018
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    Thanks, good to hear about pleasant experiences with Vim.

    For now I changed the navigation keys to the right hand, because I use "Caps Lock" key as "Control" by the left hand and I customized more my bash environment.

    So I'm using a bit customized Colemak and I have in my vimrc:

    set langmap=nh,ek,ij,ol,hn,ke,ji,lo,NH,EK,IJ,OL,HN,KE,JI,LO

    I use the same navigation keys for the arrow keys, configured in Konsole (Ctrl-N -> Left Arrow, Ctrl-E -> Up Arrow, Ctrl-I -> Down Arrow, Ctrl-O -> Right Arrow)

    I had to shift the navigation keys to the right, because Ctrl-H is used by default for "Backspace" in Bash and I want the same keys in Bash, Vim (using by Ctrl in Bash)

    I'll be experimenting further.

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    I'm using the dreymar colemak-extended-caw layout, so I can use caps+neiu for navigation if I want to, just that it works in every application, which is pretty nifty :)

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    benzolius said:

    Ctrl-N -> Left Arrow, Ctrl-E -> Up Arrow, Ctrl-I -> Down Arrow, Ctrl-O -> Right Arrow)

    It sounds like what you need is the Extend layer.
    It gives you what you have already but so much more besides!
    Check out DreymaR's topics.

    Last edited by stevep99 (23-Jan-2018 10:54:43)

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

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    @sotolf, @stevep99  thanks for the tips.

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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    Whether Vim and Bash usage would suffer from the Tarmak path is an interesting question! I'd think not for the most part, since it's mostly about mnemonics. Vim commands are mostly by letter and therefore they'll move with your understanding of the letters' position – I should think.

    The exception would be that accursed HJKL cluster. It's very positional indeed, and some vimmers advocate using other navigational methods as much as possible because it can get clunky. I find that Extend navigation fits well enough with Vim: For instance, you can still use numbers to amplify Extend-commands. I also like that they're omnimode. So I don't care about the HJKL arrows anymore, and leave my vimconfig as it is.

    But if you're reliant on the cluster, it's not hard to leave it invariant while learning Colemak I think. Eventually though, you may want to move beyond it.

    Last edited by DreymaR (23-Jan-2018 16:35:17)

    *** 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 did have troubles with vi(m), mutt, and the like when I switched to Colemak.  Even though most commands are indeed mnemonic, you do develop a lot of muscle memory for their physical positions.  You get used to them of course.

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    For me once I was happy with Colemak I think vim bindings weren't a issue any more.
    But I am still contemplating whether to remap the vim movement keys to n(left), e(down), i(up),o(right) Which I already have mapped in my POK3R for movement.

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
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    In my experience, once you remap anything in Vim you start losing something else and get annoyed whehever you're on another system. I prefer to leave it as it is, and use Extend whenever I can instead.

    *** 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:

    In my experience, once you remap anything in Vim you start losing something else and get annoyed whehever you're on another system. I prefer to leave it as it is, and use Extend whenever I can instead.

    This is my exact feeling as well, on many of our servers here I also share the config with others as well, and they would be annoyed if their vim suddenly behaved differently :p

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    • Registered: 22-Jan-2018
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    Thanks for @all the tips and especially for the scripts @DreymaR

    I installed it on KDE Neon and I am playing with "Extend"
    Navigation is working in any application. It's nice. :)

    Perhaps I'll have some questions later.

    Cheers

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
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    Welcome to Hogwarts! ;-)

    *** 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:

    Welcome to Hogwarts! ;-)

    Slytherin more like.

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

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    At precisely which point was Slytherin not part of Hogwarts, in your opinion? ;-)

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

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    • Registered: 22-Jan-2018
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    Hi,

    Unfortunately I have to admit, I'm not using Colemak anymore.
    Thanks for all, it was a nice experience, especially the Extend layer.

    I tried also the Norman layout for a few month, which is easier for someone used to Qwerty, but now I have my UHK, which is the best.

    My conclusion about all the layouts I've ever tried:

    Qwerty < Dvorak < Colemak (+Extend) < Norman (+Extend) < UHK (+Custom)

    Cheers

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
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    But... but... Norman sux big time on important stats like same-finger! And the UHK "Extendoid" layer is weaksauce. I have no idea how you came to those conclusions.

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

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    benzolius said:

    My conclusion about all the layouts I've ever tried:

    Qwerty < Dvorak < Colemak (+Extend) < Norman (+Extend) < UHK (+Custom)

    But UHK is not a layout, it's a piece of hardware on which you can program any layout. So what actual layout are you using on it?

    What is this (+Custom) you refer to, and in what way are you claiming it to be better than Extend?

    Last edited by stevep99 (31-Jan-2019 14:37:16)

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

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    I'd be guessing it's the Fn or "Mod" layer on the UHK. Intrigueingly, it's the same nav block as we use in Extend, that I came up with ages ago! I'm curious about whether they thought it up by themselves or knew about my work.... But they miss the home row modifiers and use the right pinky for the unimpressive Insert key instead of Backspace, so it ends up as wishy-washy after all. No Extend-Enter either. I've yet to see someone else getting it right. :-)

    The F# and Esc-on-Q keys are also placed as in our Extend. But those placements may well be coincidential, I don't know.

    At least they have a pair of thumb-Mod/"Extend" keys which should make us happy. ;-)

    mod-layer.png

    Last edited by DreymaR (01-Feb-2019 10:44:24)

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

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    By "Custom" I thought he must have modified it in some way. I was most interested to see what "improvements" these would turn out to be.

    The UHK "Extend" layer is better than most, and the left space is a good place for it. It lacks the home-row modifiers of course, but that may not matter so much on this keyboard with its extra thumb key options. For example, you could make those Fn keys be extra an Shift or Ctrl or whatever, which would make combos still possible.

    On the right-hand side, the most egregious error is indeed the Insert key and lack of Backspace. The person who designed this must really love the Page Up and Page Down keys. Not sure why there needs to be 3 of each.

    Last edited by stevep99 (01-Feb-2019 18:44:41)

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

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    Actually according to this page, there left hand mod keys are different from the pic above

    https://ultimatehackingkeyboard.com/sta … -shortcuts

    They have put window/workspace switching functions.

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

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
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    The left-hand PgUp/Dn and others are modified, and you can see at the bottom of the key which mods are used. So it's not Tab but Alt+Tab to switch apps.

    I use (Shift+)Ctrl+PgUp/Dn a lot, to switch (and move) tabs in browsers and editors. Instead of Ctrl+T to open a new tab, I use Ext+6 (F6) and type something to open, then Ext+A+Spc (Alt+Enter) to open it in a new tab.

    Needless to say, dedicated combo keys are still weak compared to chordable modifier combos. You and I can do that and so much more with a proper Extend, without having to juggle six different PgUp/Dn positions!

    Last edited by DreymaR (02-Feb-2019 17:24:03)

    *** 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 I agree, Norman is not the best (especially for the bigrams: 'de', 'ed' and the change of semicolon, which is important for me), but for someone used to Qwerty feels easier.

    @stevep99 Yes, UHK is a hardware, not a layout, but I can create my own layout by it, easily.
    It has 3 'Extend' layers: Mod, Fn, Mouse
    Any layer is customizable, so I don't use the default settings. May be in the future I'll post my settings, but for now I'm experimenting.
    I have the freedom to do that, so I try to use mostly the home row keys and a few others near the home row

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    If you can and get used to home row modifiers, UHK can become a truly Extended keyboard. It's very important, but not all users understand its importance.

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

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