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    Period problems

    • Started by DreymaR
    • 16 Replies:
    • Reputation: 99
    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,616

    Hi, fellow Colemakers!

    This isn't a big problem but I notice it when using Amphetype a lot: The period isn't pleasant (sorry if that came out as a bad pun, it wasn't... oh, who am I kidding...). It's not horrible, and it doesn't make me want to move keys around or anything drastic like that – especially given that '<' and '>' sit next to each other on the comma/period keys. But it's a bit annoying because the period key sees some use and curling the ring finger down to hit it isn't delightful.

    So what to do about this? Not sure, really. As mentioned, I don't want to do anything drastic and it's not that bad. I've been thinking about trying some alternative fingering but the pinky won't be any better off I think and the middle finger would lead to a lot of hand movement for the benefit. Still, that's not more movement than when hitting Enter on an ISO keyboard...

    What about you guys, do any of you feel this way? I use a Wide mod but that shouldn't matter here since the relative positions of the keys involved don't change.

    Last edited by DreymaR (29-Nov-2018 10:43:25)

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    • From: UK
    • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
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    I'm also not a fan of heavy ring-finger use - not just period/full-stop, but also Y (and W) as well - but maybe I just have weaker than average ring fingers! Combinations that involve ring-finger with pinky are especially less than ideal, e.g. WA, YO.

    That said, ring-finger-bottom-row still beats index-finger-middle-column in my mind.

    I don't think I would be willing to take an action regarding it.

    (If alphabets only had about 16 letters it would be perfect!)

    Last edited by stevep99 (29-Nov-2018 14:43:12)

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

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
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    "YOU is the best word to type!"... said no colemaker ever. ;-)

    To me the upward stretches are much better than the downward curls for the outer fingers, but I see what you mean. The ring fingers may not be so weak per se but they're often very dependent, meaning that they struggle to move around without following their neighbors. The pinkies are quite weak but on the other hand they're very independent and dexterous.

    Last edited by DreymaR (29-Nov-2018 15:30:34)

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    • From: Chicago
    • Registered: 27-Apr-2016
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    IMO position of period is not ideal, but it is good enough. One of the goals of Colemak was to keep shortcuts and non-letters in their qwerty places, that does not sound like a benefit for creating more optimal layout, but in fact the result is happened to be quite good and optimal. As we all know, it is hard to create ideal layout with existing limitation for keys placement in standard (and even non-standard) keyboard. Moving something inevitably cause to move something else, and the final result that will not be Colemak any more. Workman is example for that :)

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    • Registered: 24-Aug-2018
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    Hi,

    I'm currently transitioning from Dvorak to Colemak and also found the period on the right ring finger less than ideal, especially since on Dvorak it was on a middle finger. I experimented with switching the period and comma keys which also seemed to be supported by the Python punctuation character frequencies here: http://xahlee.info/comp/computer_langua … ution.html

    However I found that I also use the comma a lot and after running http://patorjk.com/keyboard-layout-analyzer on some codebases that are more representative of my usage (fast.ai and dask), it suggested that the original period and comma placements are better for my usage.

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    • From: Belgium
    • Registered: 26-Feb-2008
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    Looking at those character frequencies, the elephant in the room (for coding) is not period/comma, but the parentheses (), which are on awkward shifted positions.

    In the past I considered row-swapping [] and -= keys, but maybe it's more beneficial to swap () and [] (the characters, not the whole keys).

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    • Registered: 24-Aug-2018
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    Indeed. I've made a number of changes to the punctuation keys, heavily inspired by the Programmer Dvorak layout, to what I'm calling Programmer Colemak DH.

    I'm finding it pretty comfortable so far but I can't really tell properly yet because I'm still limping along at about 40 to 50 wpm due to the Colemak switch.

    You can see what it currently looks like with this analysis: http://patorjk.com/keyboard-layout-anal … d/0CnPpbCV

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    • From: UK
    • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
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    I don't see how this approach can be better than simply having a dedicated symbols layer containing all your most common programming keys (brackets etc) on the home row.

    Layers 3 and 4 are perfect for this unless you need them for foreign language symbols. But even then most languages don't have so many special symbols that you couldn't also make optimized layers for your own usage patterns. If you only type in English, this is an especially easy quick win.

    Last edited by stevep99 (03-Jun-2019 13:22:28)

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

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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    At the moment I'm becoming convinced that a latch layer beats a switch layer for symbols. So either you could have a "sticky" AltGr (not available in EPKL yet) or put a dedicated symbols dead key somewhere convenient like on the / or \ key. Tap that then another key instead of chording. Even though thumb chording is mostly okay, it seems quite nice I think. I may look into using tap-Extend for that sort of thing. E.g., tap Caps then E for '(' or I for ')'.

    Last edited by DreymaR (03-Jun-2019 13:31:07)

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    • Registered: 24-Aug-2018
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    @stevep99 I would be quite keen to use a dedicated symbols layer and while I'm an avid Extend layer user (can't imagine life without it), I've never gotten around to setting up an AltGr layer. Maybe I've never quite understood how it works. I use Alt quite a lot (mostly in Excel) and I think I was worried how those combos would continue to work.

    I use a modifier setup like in the following (with the difference that I've got Ctrl mapped to the Shift keys) so AltGr combos should still be easy enough to reach.
    8oOzDJM.png

    That said, I'm finding the [ ( { } ) ]  keys on the number row pretty easy to reach with my setup so I'm not sure that will be such a big requirement anymore for me. Numbers and dates have become quite an annoyance now though so what I would like is a good Numpad layer. Something that also sets numbers apart from punctuation and symbols is that number digits tend to come in clusters so that could be optimised for whereas the other symbols tend to be more dispersed in the text and often come only one character at a time.

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
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    My Extend2 layer is a NumPad with trappings. See my Extend topic.

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    • Registered: 24-Aug-2018
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    Thanks DreymaR, looks great. Is there a way to have it activated as a toggle so that Ext+AltGr activates it and it stays active until deactivated with Ext+AltGr again?

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    So far I only have switch (Extend) and latch (dead key) layers, not lock. Maybe in the future. But I'm a bit afraid people will get confused when they accidentally lock a layer without intending to. ;-)

    I've used it for quite a lot of number entries while holding down the Extend key though, and it works well for me at least. You only need to hold down the Extend key alone, AltGr is just for choosing the right layer.

    I'm thinking that AltGr+Shift+Extend could be the lock layer. Little chance of hitting that accidentally, too.  ( ಸ‿ಸ)

    Last edited by DreymaR (04-Jun-2019 13:23:06)

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    • Registered: 24-Aug-2018
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    Thanks. I wanted to try it out last night but I ran into some problems. I've been using a version pkl_eD.exe from about two years so I downloaded the latest EPKL.exe to try out the Extend2 Numpad layer. I used the standard Cmk-eD_ANS_CurlAngle layout but wasn't able to activate extend at all. I looked through the various .ini files to see if there were any settings to be enabled but it didn't look like it to me.

    I suspect this might be due to me having remapped my modifier keys with SharpKeys at the registry level. In particular I have Capslock mapped to the LAlt key so perhaps that's why it's not registering it? I use SharpKeys because modifier key mappings didn't use to work with pkl_eD but perhaps this is fixed now with EPKL so I don't need this anymore?

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    Yep, if you don't have a Caps key anywhere (it's scan code SC03a and you can see it in the default layout.ini and the baselayout.ini files) then obviously you don't have what that key does either! If you wish you can use the LAlt scan code instead (SC038) but beware that if you want to make a LAlt key somewhere else with EPKL it can be a bit tricky to get it to work in all situations. Alt is a tricky key, since the OS reads it differently on key down and up. If that's what you refer to then no, I haven't been able to fix those problems yet.

    But since you want Extend you must have a key you want Extend on; what key is it? Find its scan code and define it as extend as in my examples, and you're good to go.

    Last edited by DreymaR (05-Jun-2019 08:13:16)

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    Sorry, I'm not sure if I expressed myself properly because I never know what the convention is but my LAlt key/button sends the Capslock signal. With pkl_eD that works fine with Capslock as the Extend key.

    To test EPKL I just shut down pkl_eD and started EPKL but it doesn't seem to be working. The usual alphanumeric layer is coming through fine with EPKL though.

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    With advanced mode on (which is the default) you have an EPKL menu choice to see key history. With that you can check what your Alt key does (press the key then F5 and check the key history window). Using SharpKeys it should send the scan code sc03a and be used as the Extend key. But check in your layout.ini and baselayout.ini (my defaults should work) that sc03a is indeed set as the Extend key.

    In PKL_eD I was still using the old PKL way of setting an Extend key explicitly in the layout.ini file (extend_key = CapsLock) but no more. Now you should have the key in question set as <scancode> = Extend Modifier, or you can get fancy and have a Tap-or-Mod Extend key.

    Last edited by DreymaR (05-Jun-2019 08:27:57)

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