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Colemak is the best – but the world is stubborn

  • Started by 王凯
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I'm a 15 year old high schooler who types with my two index fingers and my right thumb on an QWERTY (ISO) Mac keyboard. My average speed is from 40-60WPM with 80% accuracy. Right now, I'm still typing on QWERTY that same way, despite it killing my hands and making myself exponentially less productive.

I tried Colemak for about two weeks using thetypingcat.com and I know it is the best keyboard ever. I don't need anyone to prove it to me. Also I learned that I should've learned how to touch type with TEN fingers. But I didn't, and now I type with poor accuracy and speed.

Most Used vs The Best in every way…the most used will always win. Better to have cash than a credit card. Better to speak English than speak Esperanto. Better to take the bus than drive a car (in a city with good public transport) and maintain it constantly. And most of all: better to use a QWERTY keyboard because it's the equivalent of having a 1 US Dollar in your hand rather than 1 Iranian Rial. The fact that QWERTY is universal, destroys every point in favour of Colemak. It's a sad because I wish Colemak was more accepted.

You can type any language using QWERTY. Not Latin based? You can type romanisation with QWERTY. Want to go to any public place ever with a computert? QWERTY is there. Not Dvorak, Colemak or anything else. For those of us pedalling through the education system, anything other than QWERTY is impossible believe it or not. And try typing East Asian languages with Colemak. It's worse than QWERTY.
Point being:
Colemak should never be a primary keyboard layout in the present moment due to it's scarceness.
It's great to learn but only if you're using English, only use your own computer and you're not in school. And only if you have a lot of time and willpower to learn a keyboard layout.
The keyboard is also a bit restrictive. I type on Mac and I can just hold down on any vowel that'll prompt me for an accent I'd like to choose. Colemak can't do that. And typing Japanese Romaji and Korean Romaja and Chinese Pinyin (your right hand is wrecked on Colemak for Chinese)? Nope. Only on QWERTY.
For those sad reasons, I'm out.

If Colemak gets more recognition and more and more multilingual support and acceptance, that'd be great.
But my Mac ABC Extended ISO keyboard is as universal as it gets. Unlike Colemak..which I want to use which I kinda regret learning because the school computers have the preferences blocked.
Thanks for your support. Keep promoting Colemak

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If this argument was accepted by all, change would never come.

Adoption can be personal. The more personal change there is, the greater the scale of possible widespread change.

Don't study because your friends don't. Don't save money because over half the current generation doesn't. Don't eat healthy or exercise because most people don't.

I talked to the IT people in my high school when I was learning Colemak and we made it happen. I was that guy at 10wpm, and a year later the guy at 100wpm.

The average speed or standard that I know is 60. I can still do 60 on Qwerty if I feel like it. The layout is on my phone.

Rise above the standards, don't let the standards rise above you.

Colemak FTW

ColemakDH typist

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Reply to juice43:
Your argument makes sense and I agree — but this only applies to a specific demographic. So only if you...
• You only type English
• You don’t mind not being able to look at the keyboard (which will be QWERTY unless you physically mod it)
• You don’t use your school or library computers
• You don’t mind not being able to type special characters easily
- on Mac, you just hold down on a letter, and the special variations with accents pop up for selection
• You don’t mind hunting and pecking when you have to assist anyone

Not many people fit this tiny demographic. Which is why Colemak will never take off…unless someone with $$ promotes it. And even then, making change happen is horribly slow. And won’t happen in one generation anyway.

I’m still learning to touch type properly on QWERTY. But when I do, I’ll be able to sit down at any computer and type away in most languages. As for East Asian languages, I can change to Pinyin, Romaji and Romaja instantly. You can’t do that with Colemak lol.
If I was raising a child, I wouldn’t teach him/her anything but QWERTY. Why? Because it’s presence is bigger and it’s more versatile. Same way, my parents taught me English, despite being Irish speaking. Why? Because English has more opportunities. So does QWERTY

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王凯 said:

Reply to juice43:
Your argument makes sense and I agree — but this only applies to a specific demographic. So only if you...
• You only type English
• You don’t mind not being able to look at the keyboard (which will be QWERTY unless you physically mod it)
• You don’t use your school or library computers
• You don’t mind not being able to type special characters easily
- on Mac, you just hold down on a letter, and the special variations with accents pop up for selection
• You don’t mind hunting and pecking when you have to assist anyone

Most of that is actually inaccurate.
• Colemak is good for many languages (see my locale topic) – although some need minor additions
• Physical modding is available, and not looking at the keys is the right way to type anyway!
• On other computers, I use QWERTY happily. If I'm typing a lot on them, I whip out my QUICKIE.
• Special chars not available?
    – Firstly, on Windows I have more special characters than any other method I know of (PKL_eD)!
    – On Linux, Colemak[eD] is every bit as rich as any other layout I think. And then some.
    – On Mac, I refuse to believe that it's impossible. There must be an implementation you don't use.
• Assisting someone? I don't see how that's really different from "school/work computers" above.
    – If you want to pair program you can use a QUICKIE for your keyboard.

One disadvantage is that a QUICKIE costs money and a little effort, granted. And indeed, this and the sum of everything will put the uninterested off. So I'm not saying that you're all wrong, just that your list of arguments seems overly pessimistic when there are positive modifications to nearly all the points on it. ;-)

Again, this reminds me of the Board Wars scroll!

As to the OP: I'm a passionate Colemak fan and even I wouldn't say that it's the best layout. I think it's the best layout available in sum, due to several factors around it. And I don't think there's anything better waiting around to replace it so it's what I recommend. But in theory and in modeling there are many layouts that are nearly as good. So it depends on what you mean by "the best", and there personal preference will play in. For a Dvorak user, similarity to QWERTY will seem largely unnecessary. For a hardcore hacker, availability and a community are luxury items. For a layout freak, the Tarmak learning scheme may hold little sway. Etc, etc.

But I do think that Colemak and its little family of bells and whistles is the best option for anyone who wants an improved layout! Today and likely tomorrow. The brilliant early work of Shai plus the many advances this vibrant community have produced over the years make it a wonderful package of layout goodness.

Last edited by DreymaR (13-Mar-2018 09:56:13)

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I'm really not sure why some people feel the need to announce their departure from Colemak either here or on the Colemak subreddit. You tried it, it didn't work out for you, you left it. End of story. No need to throw a tantrum about why you're going back to QWERTY. If you look through all the people's posts who have left, essentially in 99% of all cases they all state the same reason: QWERTY is the standard, Colemak is not. I guess of all people, we know it—it's a struggle to use someone else's or public computers, Colemak isn't available, you aren't allowed to install it etc.

Colemak, after Shai set the fundamentals, has become a ‘community project’. We have bright individuals—Dreymar, stevep99 and others among them—working on Colemak ‘mods’ which makes the Colemak keyboard layout really special. And bear in mind, Dreymar has put a lot of effort into and dedicated a lot of his free time to improve standard Colemak and make it more accessible to the masses. If you were to really dig into his ‘Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks’ and GitHub repository, you would find hours of dedicated work. There's an emphasis on Dreymar's ‘free time’, because (AFAIK) he is not being paid in any way to ‘work’ on Colemak, it's been his hobby.

So if you're comfortable with QWERTY being the standard and ‘the best supported’ keyboard layout as well as that is your sole reason of leaving Colemak, then you're free to go. If you can't be arsed to maintain fluency in multiple keyboard layout, then that's on you—that is your lack of dedication and not Colemak's. And I seriously don't believe there is no way to get Colemak working on macOS—you didn't even provide enough information about this issue in your other forum thread—moreover, getting it to work with Asian characters. (While not macOS) after some fiddling I could even set up Colemak to work with Japaneese and Chinese languages with romaji and pinyin input methods on Linux and it didn't require modifying 15 configuration files as well as compiling 5 programs from source. Fact, I don't type in Asian languages anymore, but I do type in other European languages using Colemak (Colemak-CAW without any locale variants) and it works as intended. As a side note, lack of Colemak support on Windows and macOS is not Colemak's fault, it's Windows' and macOS'.

In my opinion, it's pretty dumb to say, “Colemak's the best, but I'm sticking with QWERTY.” Sounds as if you're comfortable with creating more suffering for yourself, because ‘QWERTY is the standard’. Whatever the real reason is, the reasons you listed above only prove your lack of dedication to help yourself. You're OK with being in the pit that you were thrown into because ‘whatever... I could even climb out of the pit, but I'm not going to, because the standard is being in a pit anyway.’

By the way, you're stubborn, not the world. The world doesn't give 2 shits about Colemak or any other alternative keyboard layout other than maybe AZERTY (bleh) and perhaps Dvorak here and there. But you had the guts to try it out then come back here and say, ‘it didn't work out, I'm leaving’ just after 2 weeks(!). And in the while, you couldn't even learn to touch type or attempt to learn it—again, not Colemak's fault.

I'm keeping my 1 Iranian Rial, you can keep your dollar.

Edit: Typos

Last edited by drujd3ka (13-Mar-2018 16:49:27)
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@drujdeka: I get your frustration, but I didn't read the OP quite as aggressive as that. I hope... ^_^

One thing about Rial, Esperanto etc: These depend on other people. You can't use a Rial or Esperanto unless someone else are willing to interact with you. You can type Colemak on your own though – you don't really need another person to be using the same. I remember Shai making this argument, and it's a good one.

I see the suffering of both the QWERTY and Colemak user. They are different, but it's hard to say which one is hardest. As Shakespeare puts it:

The Bard said:

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them

But I'm glad I chose the path of action at least! So personally satisfying.

Oh, and thanks for the support. Yes, it's been wayyyy too many unpaid hours, so recognition is very welcome.

Last edited by DreymaR (13-Mar-2018 15:47:59)

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I admit, what I wanted to say can come across rather harsh—it wasn't my intention. What I really meant with all the things I said above is, people expect miracles to happen to them without doing anything. I mean, we didn't learn the multiplication table within a day, the same way, you can't expect yourself to learn an almost entirely new keyboard layout within a few days. It requires time and dedication. Also, considering OP's is in a quite good position, too: They're still in school which comes with quite some free time. They could take some of it and dedicate it towards learning Colemak.

Also, nothing is actually stopping OP from stepping up and working out methods for better Colemak support on macOS, even if it involves some ‘hacky’ solution. C'mon, Colemak's is a friendly and welcoming community, I haven't seen anyone being laughed out because they said, “Workman's better” (it really isn't), instead they were explained why that statement isn't true. Even for this reason alone, it's great to be a part of Colemak's community. Plus, there is no circlejerking, I don't hear anyone screaming, ‘COLEMAK MASTERRACE!!1111 QWERTY SUX!!11!1’

All in all, bad Colemak support is really a silly reason for leaving. Support isn't bad, it's just the best that we've got right now.

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Well, QWERTY and Workman are both t3h sux. QWERTY is just way suxier. There, I said it. ^_^

Last edited by DreymaR (13-Mar-2018 16:47:21)

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drujd3ka said:

By the way, you're stubborn, not the world. The world doesn't give 2 shits about Colemak or any other alternative keyboard layout other than maybe AZERTY (bleh)

What, no love for QWERTZ? It's standard in most of central Europe, and it's really crap as well :p

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Apologies for being offline, I only read your replies to the topic now and I'm grateful for the effort put into replies.
This message is a bit long, so I totally understand if you don't answer. I'm just stating my situation. I want to switch to Colemak — but I'm trying to meet certain conditions

My announcing of my departure from Colemak was actually not so I could complain… but to see if I could be persuaded to stick to Colemak
Yes, I cannot be arsed remembering multiple layouts and I am a very lazy person. I'm being swayed from people telling me to stay in QWERTY, and from people telling me to switch to Colemak. I'm very bad at decision making and I wanted to see could I get enough reasons that surpass QWERTY's pros & cons, to make the full switch to Colemak
I'm gonna try provide as much info as possible to my situation and if you could help, it would be appreciated.

I own two devices — MacBook & iPhone SE
MacBook Pro 15" (2017 w/ touch bar) running macOS High Sierra (10.13.3).
I'm sure my keyboard is a backlit British QWERTY keyboard

I use the following input sources:
ABC (Extended) — this types QWERTY + more special characters (hold down on a key & you can select a variation/accent from the popup) — so this can type most languages w/ Latin alphabet
Pinyin - Simplified Chinese — uses QWERTY to type Chinese through romanisation. Most common keyboard type in Mainland China
Hiragana — uses QWERTY to type Japanese (kana + kanji) through romanisation. Can also type Katakana by enabling caps lock / use shift
GongjinCheong Romaja  — uses QWERTY to type Korean through romanisation, since I'm too lazy to learn Dubeolsik (Korean standard layout)
Colemak — Colemak comes preinstalled on macOS. I tried it and had a positive experience, but it's harder to type accents, umlauts and tone marks. And cannot remap all the other layouts to Colemak

Then on my iPhone, I use
English (UK), Pinyin (Simp Chinese) and the Japanese (Romaji) layouts which all use QWERTY (For Korean, I use Dubeolsik (Korea's standard) because it was very easy to type on a phone)

Other devices I used would be the Windows computers in school/uni (always QWERTY), which if I could change the keyboard layout, I would

Typing this post now with QWERTY (yes I know) with two/three fingers. Probably around 40WPM as usual. So I'm definitely considering full switch to Colemak but I want all my other layouts to transfer over, and even then… will it make 汉语/日本語/한국어 less ergonomic and fast to type? That, I do not know.

I'm also really concerned about smartphone typing. QWERTY actually seems better, because my phone has a 4" screen, therefore more finger jumping distance would decrease the error rate in my opinion. But I don't know for sure, I can't prove it. And even then, I'd have to sacrifice typing on an iOS keyboard and use 3rd party.

So I would like to fully switch to Colemak, provided I don't sacrifice ergonomics and speed in French/Chinese/Japanese/Korean and that I could still switch to QWERTY on public computers (unless there's a hack? Probably not). Also, I'd like to point out, Chinese has a lot of vowel bigrams -ei -ao -oi -ai etc… and so, your right hand would be overworked imo.

At the moment, I can type without looking at 30WPM on Colemak in English on thetypingcat.com. I think I will be a bit less lazy for once and learn it to the full, especially since it'd be a first for me actually touch typing with 10 fingers (instead of 3).
I thought about it really hard this time, and once I leave high school to go to college…I'll only be using my own device 99% of the time. So I think I'll kick one of my excuses to the side then.

So my plan is:
Maintain QWERTY minimum speeds — just so I can type on more devices for the time being
Improve my Colemak — I'm learning cold turkey on thetypingcat.com
But after that? Idk. Colemak mods confuse me as I assume it's all geared towards English-only, correct me if I'm wrong.
I want to know more about QUICKIE. If it solved the problem when typing on public computers, that would be amazing.
I want to see how the Asian CJK languages fair on Colemak — as this is a big dealbreaker for me, and might be the biggest thing holding me back
And also, HOW do you all get special characters? I don't thin Karabiner works on macOS Sierra and higher. And maybe integrate the cool feature Mac has where you can long press for accents of pressed key.

If I insulted Colemak, I'm sorry. Please understand that I'm stubborn myself, and lazy.
When you got one friend saying, "Dude stick with the way you type. Don't bother changing. You type 40-60WPM. Why bother?"
And then you got that other friend saying, "Dude, this will totally increase your productivity CHECK it out. Come to Colemak"
— so the swaying from one side to another is daunting ; especially when QWERTY is standard and everyone pulls out that excuse - including me
My post mighn't be as clear as I want it, so if you have any questions? Please ask
If you read as far as here, well done srsly and thank you.
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For phone typing I recommend MessagEase; see my Big Bag topic.

I can't give you good MacOS advice as I don't use it. Hope someone else can help!

Colemak mods are certainly not geared towards English. Most of the mods are layout independent, even. The exception would be the Curl-DH mod if you type a language in which D is more rare than B and H more rare than M and K. I have no idea what language that might be though!

Last edited by DreymaR (14-Mar-2018 10:28:49)

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王凯 said:

I'm also really concerned about smartphone typing. QWERTY actually seems better, because my phone has a 4" screen, therefore more finger jumping distance would decrease the error rate in my opinion. But I don't know for sure, I can't prove it. And even then, I'd have to sacrifice typing on an iOS keyboard and use 3rd party.

I use QWERTY for typing on my phone, that has nothing to do with my knowledge of colemak at all, colemak never was a good experience for me on a phone, so I'm sticking to qwerty or my crazy keyboard of the day thing, messageease for example is great for typing on the phone.

王凯 said:

So I would like to fully switch to Colemak, provided I don't sacrifice ergonomics and speed in French/Chinese/Japanese/Korean and that I could still switch to QWERTY on public computers (unless there's a hack? Probably not). Also, I'd like to point out, Chinese has a lot of vowel bigrams -ei -ao -oi -ai etc… and so, your right hand would be overworked imo.

I'm typing Norwegian, English, German and Japanese using Colemak-CAW, the IME just follows the keyboard that I'm currently using so it works great for Japanese. Norwegian also have a lot of diphtongs, ei, øy, ai, oi, and so on, and German has kind of a bit of them as well, but I never really felt that that is a big problem.

王凯 said:

At the moment, I can type without looking at 30WPM on Colemak in English on thetypingcat.com. I think I will be a bit less lazy for once and learn it to the full, especially since it'd be a first for me actually touch typing with 10 fingers (instead of 3).
I thought about it really hard this time, and once I leave high school to go to college…I'll only be using my own device 99% of the time. So I think I'll kick one of my excuses to the side then.

I'm working in IT, so I'm jumping here and there between PCs, Writing colemak on my own, and qwerty on the others, I'm pretty slow on qwerty, but I can do my work well enough that noone complains, mainly I'm writing on my own though.

王凯 said:

I want to see how the Asian CJK languages fair on Colemak — as this is a big dealbreaker for me, and might be the biggest thing holding me back
And also, HOW do you all get special characters? I don't thin Karabiner works on macOS Sierra and higher. And maybe integrate the cool feature Mac has where you can long press for accents of pressed key.

For me typing in cjk has been no problem at all, I'm just starting the IME, and I continue to type on colemak, and it converts to the right characters.

王凯 said:

But after that? Idk. Colemak mods confuse me as I assume it's all geared towards English-only, correct me if I'm wrong.

I type English German and Norwegian on colemak CAW without any problems, it lets me type accented letters, å ø æ o ó ô ß without any big problems, and for me at least is very much preferable to the qwertz keyboard that I was originally typing on, I used to switch between qwertz and qwerty in different langauges, and it was confusing me, now I'm mainly typing on colemak for all languages, so it's way better for multiple languages for me than what qwertz ever was.

王凯 said:

And then you got that other friend saying, "Dude, this will totally increase your productivity CHECK it out. Come to Colemak"

For me colemak is nothing about speed, if you're just after speed then there is no need to go for colemak, then something like plover, or continue on with qwerty, the fastest typists are still all using qwerty, colemak is about comfort, if you get speed it's possible, but the reason for using it it has never been for me.

王凯 said:

— so the swaying from one side to another is daunting ; especially when QWERTY is standard and everyone pulls out that excuse - including me
My post mighn't be as clear as I want it, so if you have any questions? Please ask
If you read as far as here, well done srsly and thank you.
来自王凯

I can't really help you with your motivation, I can just say that for me colemak has gotten me from near rsi to being able to type comfortably again, and it also has done wonders with my posture while typing on a laptop due to the wide mod.

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@DreymaR: Thanks for the Messagease app recommendation :)
@sotolf: Thanks for your reply. I would like to know, how did you get your IME to follow Colemak? I'd love to able to type Chinese Pinyin in Colemak instead of QWERTY.
Is there a way to actually to dissect and change around default layouts on one's computer?
I'm not sure if you're using Mac, but the only way to remap keys is using Karabiner, and since the Mac software update, there's no software to do that now.
I'd also like to try out the CAW mod but using a Mac, I can't find a way.
Speed is not a big factor for me either. I just want a bit more comfort and I can see Colemak is the way for that to happen.

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王凯 said:

@DreymaR: Thanks for the Messagease app recommendation :)

Message ease is a great keyboard for android, and I guess the ios version is good as well, although I have never had an iphone.

王凯 said:

@sotolf: Thanks for your reply. I would like to know, how did you get your IME to follow Colemak? I'd love to able to type Chinese Pinyin in Colemak instead of QWERTY.

All the IMEs that I use have done this automatically, both in Windows (work) and Linux (home)

王凯 said:

Is there a way to actually to dissect and change around default layouts on one's computer?

On windows not as far as I know, on linux you can go wild and do whatever you what with it, you can do crazy stuff with the keyboard configurations, and with the IMEs as well.

王凯 said:

I'm not sure if you're using Mac, but the only way to remap keys is using Karabiner, and since the Mac software update, there's no software to do that now.
I'd also like to try out the CAW mod but using a Mac, I can't find a way.

Exactly stuff like this is why I don't use a mac, it's nice if you do exactly the stuff that apple wants you to do, but if you do something else it's bound to constantly break, and be needlessly complicated.

王凯 said:

Speed is not a big factor for me either. I just want a bit more comfort and I can see Colemak is the way for that to happen.

Yeah, then I think you're on the right way, at least for me there is nothing more comfortable than using colemak to write.

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Thanks for your reply.
Karabiner continues not to work, therefore I can't remap modified keys etc…but I've came across this software called Ukelele and, I used it to implement my own keyboard layout straight into Mac. So that is pretty neat :)
Still experimenting with this so far

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Coming into this thread all of a sudden (i'm only really replying to OP, it's tl;dr!) and addressing your one main concern - I was in school myself not too long ago (before Colemak) and had to use a bunch of public computers. I really don't think I would have switched just then. Since you're 15, you're gonna be all over public computers for at least the next three years, so in your mind the switch isn't worth it. You're just thinking practically, fair enough. It's probably not worth it for you right now, and that's cool.

The idea that Colemak is scarce would only really apply in your context however. After you go to university (I don't know how the system works where you live but I'm speaking from a British perspective) you can just use your own laptop that has Colemak installed, and carry that everywhere. Once you start real work, if you work from home you'll be fine for the layout, if in an office you can probably ask an IT guy to install the layout (why would they say no? this is super important to you and probably quite easy to implement) or bring in a programmable keyboard with the layout built in. Even if you are the IT guy you could use your programmable keyboard to fix PCs, or just develop good QWERTY dual keyboard skills. What I'm trying to say is: wait a few more years and you'll probably be far away from being forced to use QWERTY like you are now.

At the end of the day, I mainly only use my devices (really only my desktop), and that's got Colemak! The comfort is stupidly higher in typing compared to QWERTY, so it's worth it in my mind. If it's not for you, don't use it, and maybe pick it up again when you're in a better position to give it a shot without having to use as many public computers. You've kind of answered it yourself with 'and once I leave high school to go to college…I'll only be using my own device 99% of the time'!

王凯 said:

And then you got that other friend saying, "Dude, this will totally increase your productivity CHECK it out. Come to Colemak"

It won't do this. Unless you're like, an author and have to type a ridiculous amount. Literally improving the speed at which you type won't help as you want to be typing quality, not quantity. Improving your typing comfort (massively with Colemak) may have a knock on effect of making it more pleasant to finish your typed work at a stretch though.

Wait, you're considering Colemak? Definitely join the Colemak Discord Server and ask away!

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NottNott said:

Coming into this thread all of a sudden (i'm only really replying to OP, it's tl;dr!) and addressing your one main concern - I was in school myself not too long ago (before Colemak) and had to use a bunch of public computers. I really don't think I would have switched just then. Since you're 15, you're gonna be all over public computers for at least the next three years, so in your mind the switch isn't worth it. You're just thinking practically, fair enough. It's probably not worth it for you right now, and that's cool.

The idea that Colemak is scarce would only really apply in your context however. After you go to university (I don't know how the system works where you live but I'm speaking from a British perspective) you can just use your own laptop that has Colemak installed, and carry that everywhere. Once you start real work, if you work from home you'll be fine for the layout, if in an office you can probably ask an IT guy to install the layout (why would they say no? this is super important to you and probably quite easy to implement) or bring in a programmable keyboard with the layout built in. Even if you are the IT guy you could use your programmable keyboard to fix PCs, or just develop good QWERTY dual keyboard skills. What I'm trying to say is: wait a few more years and you'll probably be far away from being forced to use QWERTY like you are now.

At the end of the day, I mainly only use my devices (really only my desktop), and that's got Colemak! The comfort is stupidly higher in typing compared to QWERTY, so it's worth it in my mind. If it's not for you, don't use it, and maybe pick it up again when you're in a better position to give it a shot without having to use as many public computers. You've kind of answered it yourself with 'and once I leave high school to go to college…I'll only be using my own device 99% of the time'!

王凯 said:

And then you got that other friend saying, "Dude, this will totally increase your productivity CHECK it out. Come to Colemak"

It won't do this. Unless you're like, an author and have to type a ridiculous amount. Literally improving the speed at which you type won't help as you want to be typing quality, not quantity. Improving your typing comfort (massively with Colemak) may have a knock on effect of making it more pleasant to finish your typed work at a stretch though.

Thanks for your reply.
I think I'm gonna stick to QWERTY (for now) as my primary keyboard, but I'm still learning Colemak. My speeds in Colemak are increasing everyday, so that's good, and I'm going to the point where I use it all the time (with my own computer). The comfort is worth it and I only have 2 more years of school, and I think I can actually maintain both layouts surprisingly :)
I also used Ukelele to remap to add more special characters, and I even thought about modding but idk.
Do you use Colemak or a modded version of Colemak? (directed to anyone who will answer)
And if modded, is it faster or more comfortable in your opinion

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sotolf said:
王凯 said:

Is there a way to actually to dissect and change around default layouts on one's computer?

On windows not as far as I know

There is. It's MSKLC (Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator), written by Michael Kaplan. It's a front end for kbdutool, a command-line compiler that can do even more (like making the Caps a Backspace, should you want that).

More importantly for me, using PKL (Portable Keyboard Layout) and my variant PKL_eD, you can modify layouts much simpler and get stuff like Extend. It's what I use. But Sotolf knows that.

王凯 said:

Do you use Colemak or a modded version of Colemak? (directed to anyone who will answer)

Colemak-CAW[eD]-Extend, all the way. A little faster, a good deal more comfy, a lot more fun! ^_^

That's a lot of mods rolled into one:
C – Curl(DH)
A – Angle
W – Wide
[eD] – Edition DreymaR AltGr mappings and dead keys
Extend – absolutely awesome Fn-type extra layers

Last edited by DreymaR (18-Mar-2018 17:15:10)

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DreymaR said:

There is. It's MSKLC (Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator), written by Michael Kaplan. It's a front end for kbdutool, a command-line compiler that can do even more (like making the Caps a Backspace, should you want that).

Yeah, I just have the impression that it's very easy to get into a position with that where you mess things up that is hard to get away from, with most of the Linux messing around I can just reboot and stuff gets back to normal :)

DreymaR said:

More importantly for me, using PKL (Portable Keyboard Layout) and my variant PKL_eD, you can modify layouts much simpler and get stuff like Extend. It's what I use. But Sotolf knows that.

Yeah, your PKL layouts are excellent, and they are what I use as well, since it's very convenient for windows, And I can easily deactivate it if someone else has to write on my computer, which while it doesn't happen often does happen.

DreymaR said:

Colemak-CAW[eD]-Extend, all the way. A little faster, a good deal more comfy, a lot more fun! ^_^

That's a lot of mods rolled into one:
C – Curl(DH)
A – Angle
W – Wide
[eD] – Edition DreymaR AltGr mappings and dead keys
Extend – absolutely awesome Fn-type extra layers

That's what I use as well, the Norwegian version of it is nice since I have easy access to æ, ø and å, and writing German also is not hard once I learned where the deadkey for diersis was, there are so many great things about this layout that I'm struggling with finding my favourite, so take that as a big compliment DreymaR, you make every time that I sit down and write a little bit better :)

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Then, Sotolf, you haven't messed around with Linux the way I've messed around with Linux! I once (or was it twice?) managed to brick a Linux install by fiddling with xkb! Good times...

Check out the PKL repo by the way. Developments are happening there these days. So far it's been small steps, but I'm about to make a bit of a revolution. Yay!

Thanks for the big compliment, by the way! And, oh: Your favourite things about the layout are Colemak itself and Extend. There, I even answered that for you. :-p

Last edited by DreymaR (19-Mar-2018 14:01:04)

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DreymaR said:

Then, Sotolf, you haven't messed around with Linux the way I've messed around with Linux! I once (or was it twice?) managed to brick a Linux install by fiddling with xkb! Good times...


Hehe, not with xkb no, I did however manage to mess up my ncurses to the point I that I had to mend my system from a bootcd, good times :p

DreymaR said:

Check out the PKL repo by the way. Developments are happening there these days. So far it's been small steps, but I'm about to make a bit of a revolution. Yay!

Yeah, I did clone it from there some months ago, but it's probably time to do it again some time ;)

DreymaR said:

Thanks for the big compliment, by the way! And, oh: Your favourite things about the layout are Colemak itself and Extend. There, I even answered that for you. :-p

Yeah it really has been very helpful for me, it's kind of a small revolution for me :)

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It's nice to see that you too like the dead keys in Colemak[eD]. I haven't gotten much feedback on them, but I like them myself as they aren't too hard to remember and quite well integrated. I mean, they're only on AltGr+symbol keys so they don't ruin the letter block, and their release symbols can usually also be found on their usual Shift+<key> position so you don't have to do a song-and-dance when coding.

I really like the diaeresis and acute positions, and those two are by far the most important ones – to me at least. Together with ß on AltGr+s, I find typing German quite comfy. Ohne beschränkter Geschwindigkeit! (The only problem seems to be a too poor C position? Ah well, can't have all.)

Last edited by DreymaR (19-Mar-2018 16:04:02)

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For all of these people complaining about Mac support, KarabinerElements works just fine.

Ukelele can also generate whatever you want it to.

ColemakDH typist

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Is Extend working for Mac then, juice43?

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Mac has an in-built Alt+Gr which works just fine under KarabinerElements. I type Spanish and occasionally French, besides English, but I don't program or use nonstandard shortcuts. Having accents, ç and ñ is enough for me.

Mac lacks total customization, a gripe for sure. But the functionality for a full DHmod is alive and well.

Downgrading OS X to El Capitan for use of the original Karabiner might also work for users that really need to have full implementation. With that nifty application, you can script an entire sequence from keys and combinations of keys for endless possibilities.

I've gotten a custom extend working on an older machine, but prefer to use the OS default for cross-compatibility and having everything on High Sierra nowadays. So not exactly, but if there's a will there's a way.

ColemakDH typist

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