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    42 Days Later...

    • Started by aLlamaWithARifle
    • 8 Replies:
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 02-Dec-2018
    • Posts: 2

    Just like everyone else I've been a QWERTY typer since birth, so roughly been typing 25ish years. About a year ago my speed was between 80-90wpm using just 3 fingers on my left hand and 2 on my right, I then decided to learn proper touch typing which I found fairly easy and I was soon able to break my original record.

    Throughout the year though I became more and more frustrated with the layout, I found so many words have such unnatural movement patterns and knew that I wanted to look into alternative layouts.

    I already knew of DVORAK but wanted to do more research before changing layouts. I later found Colemak when browsing the Mechanical Keyboards subredit and decided to do a bit of googling, I was instantly impressed to learn it has better stats over DVORAK all whilst leaving a lot more keys unchanged and more importantly leaving more shortcuts in their original locations. It took a few days of pondering if I really wanted to learn a new layout but eventually decided to give it a go.

    My fastest QWERTY speed taken just before making the change was 116wpm.

    Day 1 - As you'd expect for the first day
    Day 2 - 13wpm
    Day 3 - 18wpm using a lot less effort and taking fewer pauses but speed obviously still slow
    Day 4 - 22wpm
    Day 5 - 28wpm starting to feel a little optimistic but a few trouble letters, I find the S and R difficult, I'm also regularly reaching for the original location for the N key
    Day 6 - 31wpm
    Day 7 - 34wpm this is the first time I've started to gain any sort of rhythm while typing, still a few combinations that trouble me (mainly the top row)
    Day 8 - 38wpm
    Day 9 - 41wpm felt really sloppy today need to be careful to prevent bad habits and poor accuracy. F, P, G, J are still my trouble letters
    Day 10 - 43wpm first day I've started to see the benefits of Colemak, when I get a string of words I'm confident with I start to feel the flow and get a sense of the finger rolls that Colemak is known for
    Day 11 - 47wpm
    Day 12 - 50wpm
    Day 13 - 53wpm
    Day 14 - 55wpm
    Day 15 - 58wpm
    Day 16 - 59wpm
    Day 17 - 60wpm
    Day 18 - 64wpm
    Day 19 - 67wpm
    Day 20 - 70wpm
    Day 21 - 73wpm
    Day 22 - 74wpm
    Day 23 - 76wpm
    Day 24 - 76wpm
    Day 25 - 78wpm finding a few old QWERTY habits are trying to force their way back in when I type quickly and get into a rhythm
    Day 26 - 77wpm
    Day 27 - 78wpm
    Day 28 - 80wpm Accuracy has previously been pretty good but the last few days it's been really inconsistent, something I'm going to concentrate a lot on
    Day 29 - 84wpm
    Day 30 - 86wpm
    Day 31 - 86wpm
    Day 32 - 87wpm
    Day 33 - 88wpm
    Day 34 - 90wpm
    Day 35 - 89wpm
    Day 36 - 96wpm... no idea where this came from (next closest result was 90wpm), must have just been a perfect string of words. I've been working hard on improving my accuracy and the past few days it's definitely improved but toady I felt like it's taken a big nose dive apart from this one anomaly
    Day 37 - 95wpm This one didn't feel like a one off and was backed up with a 94wpm, accuracy was much improved compared to the previous day too
    Day 38 - 96wpm
    Day 39 - 98wpm wrists felt on fire after this, although I've done faster on QWERTY before this felt like the fastest my hands have ever moved. Accuracy also much improved both today and yesterday
    Day 40 - 98wpm
    Day 41 - 96wpm
    Day 42 - 99wpm

    My main complaint is the L and K placement, with both keys being typed by the right index finger I find any words with those letters in even when spaced by one or two letters really awkward. I'm aware the Mod-DH layout would fix this but I'm not sure it's worth me learning that especially since I actually quite like the current DH keys.

    The awkwardness of pressing Control + Caps Lock to remove a whole word is now a lot harder, this isn't really a big complaint since the ability to use the original backspace key is still an option.

    Overall though, Colemak is a big improvement over QWERTY and I think any issues I point out are merely going to be down to personal preference. The real question is should you invest the time and effort into making the switch? My answer is a big it depends. I could afford to lose efficiency at work while making the switch since I don't do an awful lot of typing. For me, progress was steady and within under two weeks the major frustrations of learning a new layout were gone and I was already quicker than the "average" typist.  I spent roughly half an hour daily dedicated to learning Colemak, and after the first few days I completely abandoned QWERTY.

    I don't necessarily think everyone should switch to Colemak but I do think everyone should at least be aware that there are other more efficient layouts available. I think once you've made the switch and become decent with Colemak then you definitely won't regret it. It's whether or not you can justify the time, effort and any potential lack of work efficiency whilst you switch, if you can then great, that's one more Colemak user if not then that's totally understandable.

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,497

    Grats on your rapid improvement! ^_^

    For LK/KL I use alt-fingering. I slide in just enough to let the middle finger hit L. This works both with the DH mod and with vanilla Colemak. I have a few such alt-fingerings; NK/KN is another one.

    For deleting words, I use Extend! I hit Caps+T+O for Ctrl+Back, which sounds like a lot since it's three keys but it's a home row chord that with some practice will feel very smooth. Extend is just great.

    Last edited by DreymaR (03-Dec-2018 16:09:00)

    *** 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: 12-Oct-2017
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    Congrats, this is incredible progress. In 10 days you already felt the benefits, within 30 days you were a better typist than most would ever be. You should be proud of your learning agility. The good thing is you kept a good log of the progress so that this can serve as a good inspiration for new starters.

    As for the LK.. well, it is only the 297th most common bigram (0.02% frequency, ref - Norvig). In any layout the index finger would have to man 5 letters, so some jumping is inevitable. In fact, in the DH mod, the equivalent would be LM, which is fact (ever so slightly) more common. In QWERTY the same would be UN, which is just terrible.

    So enjoy the ride :).

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    • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
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    realArst said:

    As for the LK.. well, it is only the 297th most common bigram

    It's interesting how alternative layout users become so attuned to typing efficiently that they notice even the minor flaws. Yet compare that with Qwerty and its DE, LO and UN, which people don't even seem to notice.

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

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
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    To be fair, it was NK/KN that had me learn the technique. I don't know the frequency of that, but I suspect it's a bit higher on the list?

    Also, be sure to add up the bigrams both ways. It usually makes more sense I think. So you should report both LK and KL. But I guess they're both rare?

    *** 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:

    To be fair, it was NK/KN that had me learn the technique. I don't know the frequency of that, but I suspect it's a bit higher on the list?

    Also, be sure to add up the bigrams both ways. It usually makes more sense I think. So you should report both LK and KL. But I guess they're both rare?

    LK can be noticeable, especially for those don't just talk the talk, but walk the walk.

    Last edited by stevep99 (04-Dec-2018 16:08:07)

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

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
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    Haha, Steve! I'd never think you'd thunk that out – lest a drink you drank made you drunk enough? ^_^

    *** 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: 02-Dec-2018
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    I love the idea of the extend layer, I haven't used it yet but it's definitely something I'm going to play around with.

    For the LK combo I think it's something I'm probably just going to live with, as people have mentioned it's not particularly common and I don't have any issues with mistyping the combo, it's just awkward and slow. I'm still new to Colemak so I don't want to start changing how I type certain characters just yet, alt-fingering might be something I try in the future though.

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
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    Quite, alt-fingering is an expert technique. Get really comfy with the layout itself first, then it'll start to feel natural to do some extra tricks. I've even started to alt-finger EU lately. Mostly because I'm typing a book on Greek mythology in Amphetype and got tired of all the Zeus and Theseus and other euses there. ^_^

    Extend is really easy to get started with and then you can get more advanced in your own tempo. I'd just learn the arrows and backspace at first, and then learn the left-hand modifiers to use with them. That's enough to keep you quite happy. Then add in Space-Enter, Home/End and PgUp/PgDn, and the W/R scroll keys plus F/P back/forwards for browsing. Then the number row F# keys. And feel the power of it all...

    Last edited by DreymaR (04-Dec-2018 20:11:37)

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

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