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    Onward to Glory! 100WPM or Bust!

    • Started by galactican
    • 9 Replies:
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    • Registered: 18-Oct-2018
    • Posts: 5

    Hello Everyone,

    I thought I would add my voice to the throngs and catalog a bit of my layout journey. It gives me no small amount of joy to know that communities like this exist, and that a layout such as COLEMAK has sprung up recently enough for both the author and revisionists to actively discuss it. I am very much ready to make the move and say bye bye to QWERTY (save for cellphone and tablet use). See you in hell, antiquated interface!

    Like so many others here, I have decades of typing experience. I started setting keyboards on fire back in the early ‘80s in grade school, then had to retrain in my twenties after an accident. At this stage of my life I clock about 85WPM on QWERTY with a few awkward revisions thanks to a left pinkie that doesn’t work, and a left ring finger that doesn’t move very independently.  More on the relevance of that in a sec.

    I am a professional writer, business owner, and software engineer. I spend a LOT of my life typing.

    Five days back I decided to give COLEMAK a try, spurned on by my recent successes in adapting to the Keymouse (which is an absolutely brilliant peripheral, by the by). The KeyMouse’s layering capability made it a no-brainer to start to fiddle with the basics, and after a painful couple of hours learning the letters, I had seen enough to know I wanted more. Things were going to flow so much better, particularly for my bum hand.

    On day 2, I decided to go cold turkey, informing my team and regular colleagues that responses would be slow and possibly quite childlike.

    On day 3, I stopped swearing as much. I was starting to type with less misfires, albeit at a snail’s pace.

    On day 4, I switched to COLEMAK-DH. Again, it is was easy to program a layer on the KeyMouse, so no harm in trying. I discovered I liked it better, in spite of the heavy swearing having returned. I also mapped the letter A to a thumb button on the left side of the KeyMouse. This tiny bit of inspiration wouldn’t likely change much for others (and most keyboards lack thumb keys anyway), but it was monumental for me and my mildly disabled left hand.

    Today, on day 5, I have finally started to experienced the delightful rolling sensation described by so many. I am nowhere near the fully developed neural pathway stage, but I can feel I am on the precipice of glorious gloriousness. That rolling thing is sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.

    At this early stage I am all in, in part because I really enjoy a brain rewiring exercise, but also because I think I have it in me to crack the 100WPM barrier for the first time since before my accident. Let's do this.

    Wait, where is L again? %*#&!

    Cheers,
    Mike

    Last edited by galactican (18-Oct-2018 07:13:47)
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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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    Nice writeup! Welcome to the wonderful world of Colemak, and best of luck!

    With a bum left pinkie we can't recommend standard Caps-switch Extend, but with a thumb-Extend switch that might be just the thing for you? If you can work the mods with your good fingers it's really powerful and ergonomic.

    On the upside, Extend tends to lead to more praise than swearing. Isn't that nice?

    Last edited by DreymaR (18-Oct-2018 08:51:11)

    *** 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: 14-Apr-2014
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    Sounds like you're making rapid progress. Most people take two or three months to get *really* comfortable, so take your time.

    That KeyMouse is quite interesting. Not so much for the integrated mouse, but for the non-staggered layout, the thumb keys, and the programmability. Judging by the labels, it looks like they have a built-in "sort-of-Extend" layer on the "blue" key, which is accessible via the left thumb, which is a good place for it. And a second layer too on the the "yellow" key which is in the capslock position.

    Its main downside is the rather high cost!

    Last edited by stevep99 (19-Oct-2018 16:40:20)

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

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    It is true that the KeyMouse is prohibitively expensive. I would never have tried it without my business footing the bill, but man am I glad that I did. The programmability is out of this world, as is the ergonomic benefit of having both hands at a natural position. Not ever having to move your hands away from the mouse is more useful than you might think too. It is causing me to rethink some of my workflow.

    Layering is amazing. I am definitely a fan! You can program up to six active layers on the expensive doodad, but as of now I am just getting my head wrapped around two. It is a lot with the new layout as well. I am having a ton of fun with it in any case, smoke out the ears and all.

    Thanks for the encouraging words! It makes me happy to know that a couple of months is standard. I have hit fully functional, but still slow. I have every confidence that the speed is coming, and am enjoying the toddler version of the roller-coaster in the meantime. ;-)

    Last edited by galactican (19-Oct-2018 16:38:09)
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    What I Learned in a Week of COLEMAK-DH:

    1) Errors and misfires at this stage are less about knowing the layout, and more about wanting to go at my old speed before it is time.

    2) When I get going too fast, procedural memory favors decades of QWERTY, which materializes as a complete and utter garbage fire.

    3) The above statements not withstanding, 30 to 40 WPM now! It feels functional and slow. The functional bit is what I am trying to focus on. Cold turkey is cold.

    4) I am still at something like 70 to 80 WPM with QWERTY on touch devices. I never thought I would see the day where I would be extra excited about composing things on an iPhone.

    5) People look at you like you’re nuts when you tell them what you are doing with layout switching. They look just a touch less so when you explain why you’re doing it.

    6) I still have yet to have one friend or colleague say they would do this themselves. Most people like their way, which is totally understandable.

    7) I continue to be 100% committed to this. In addition to the comfort benefits, the daily sense of accomplishment is addictive.

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    A number of posters have previously suggested that it's better to focus on accuracy rather than speed, and the speed increase will come as a consequence.

    Yeah, it's interesting to observe the reaction you get from other people. The funny thing is, most people get that Qwerty is inefficient. But they stick with out of not wanting to take the effort to relearn, and fear of being a contrarian.

    Last edited by stevep99 (24-Oct-2018 10:09:29)

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

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    It is very similar to learning to play an instrument I think. The natural tendency is to want to play that drum fill or that monster guitar lick as fast as the pros, but if you practice slow you develop the finesse that makes it sound right when you finally get up to speed.

    In the case of typing, you end up eating away all the potential WPM gains by fixing the mistakes anyway. Slow is definitely better.

    This is a great reminder to consciously slow down. Thank you! :-)

    (A slow and steady 35 WPM right now. A third of the way to my goal, and having a great time getting there.)

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    stevep99 said:

    Yeah, it's interesting to observe the reaction you get from other people. The funny thing is, most people get that Qwerty is inefficient. But they stick with out of not wanting to take the effort to relearn, and fear of being a contrarian.

    That's MISTER Contrarian to you, ya jackwagon. :P

    In all seriousness, though, those probably are the biggest hurdles for new learners. There are plenty of ways to be courteous about using a new layout, which also require some effort.

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    Friends, I thought I might do a quick update since A) it is a thing worth doing and B) this forum needs a little action! :-)

    I have been at this now for 4 weeks and am officially cruising along at about 45 WPM. If there had been any going back before there most certainly isn't any now. My error count has reduced significantly in just the last couple of days, and while I am still only half-way to my goal, I am way beyond the functional point. Procedural memory is kicking on in, which means the learning phase is in the rear-view and it is all practice practice practice.

    Overall this feels great! The layout is very comfortable and feels wonderfully well-distributed in comparison to good ol' QWERTY. I am super happy I decided to take the plunge.

    On a side note, I did a review last week of the input device I mentioned: the KeyMouse. I thought I might add it here in case anyone is interested in learning more. As will become instantly clear, I bleeding love the thing, and praise it for making these keyboard layout adventures a lot easier to embark upon.

    My review can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7rC9NX89sw

    Happy inputting!

    Last edited by galactican (10-Nov-2018 16:16:45)
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    Nice detailed review on the Key Mouse. Seeing it being used is really useful, makes it apparent how compact it is.

    Yeah, 45 wpm is very functional. Thinking my back to my switch, it was upon reaching 30-40 wpm zone that things started to click (pardon the pun)!

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

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