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    Swapping zZ and /? in ANSI-CurlAngle mod

    • Started by snth
    • 11 Replies:
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    • Registered: 24-Aug-2018
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    Hi,

    I'm using Colemak DH with the Angle mod on an ANSI keyboard so my bottom left row is XCDVZ. I find the Z really uncomfortable and hard to reach. Also in my analyses of corpora relevant to me [1], the zZ seems to occur more frequently than the /? key so I'm trying out swapping these. This does introduce the ZO and OZ same-finger bigrams (e.g. ozone) but how big a problem is that given how infrequent Z is?

    I also find that Z is used quite a lot in vim and tmux usage. Of course so is / given that it initiates searches and filepaths but there it tends to occur on its own and not part of a key combo like Z.

    Perhaps I'm biased because I come from Dvorak and this swap restores Z to its Dvorak postition. What are your thoughts?

    [1]  http://patorjk.com/keyboard-layout-anal … d/GtK4bDRr
        Here zZ occurrs 1205 times and /? only 755 times.

    Last edited by snth (02-Jul-2019 08:41:59)
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    • From: UK
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    The new Z location might also be a problem if you type a lot of emails about the zoo!! Another (similar) option could be the semicolon key, I guess it depends on your frequency for those keys.

    I think your proposal isn't too bad, but personally I don't like the idea of moving standard punctuation keys.

    A different solution for ANSI keyboards is using left shift for Z. This might seem too extreme at first, but if you consider (like I do) that the default Shift key locations are pretty terrible, then there's no real loss. One of the "Alt" keys makes for a good Shift key alternative - you can easily use your thumb for it - but for some changing modifiers is a step too far. There's always CapsLock too, but I guess you may be using that already for Extend.

    Last edited by stevep99 (03-Jul-2019 16:10:04)

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

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    I will tell my opinion that is not quite popular here, but to forever resolve the issue with the Z position and to do not bother with the Angle mode any more, you may consider to get rid of the standard row-staggered keyboard and switch to an ortho or ergo keyboard which have straight columns. IMO, that should be no brainer for somebody who are already using an alternative layout.

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    ckofy said:

    I will tell my opinion that is not quite popular here, but to forever resolve the issue with the Z position and to do not bother with the Angle mode any more, you may consider to get rid of the standard row-staggered keyboard and switch to an ortho or ergo keyboard which have straight columns.

    I don't think that's an unpopular opinion, I think it's well recognised that the standard stagger is a design fail.

    I haven't switched to ortho mainly because the standard hardware layout is hard to avoid and it's much easier to get decent quality ISO/ANSI keyboards, which, with the angle-mod applied, are good enough. There is also a problem with e.g. laptops - it would be nice if laptop keyboards were standardised so that you can have drop-in replacements of any design.

    I do think it would be good if ortho keyboards become more common and easier to buy... if they became popular enough that you could buy them ready-made from mainstream sellers, then I'd consider switching.

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

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    Widespread of laptops with their integrated keyboards is the major trouble on that route.
    But I would not hold my breath waiting for changes in that area.
    I'm actually always using an external keyboard with my laptop as well as an external mouse, unless there is no room for them (in the case of the true "on the top of your laps" usage). Many people are using external mice with laptops, because an integrated touchpad is not too convenient, this is one step further, do the same for the keyboard. Also, I have 2-in-1 laptop which allows to swing the display over and use keyboard as a pedestal, so save the room in front of the display.   

    The story with the ortho/ergo keyboards is the same as the story with Colemak, they will not become popular enough because of people's inertia and indifference. The most prominent ready-made examples in that area is ErgoDox EZ (https://ergodox-ez.com/) and Planck EZ from the same seller (https://ergodox-ez.com/pages/planck). He is doing really good in delivering such designs to mainstream users.
    Another good example of the mainstream ergonomic keyboard is the Truly Ergonomic (https://trulyergonomic.com/estore/). It is really "truly ergonomic", unlike other mainstream "ergonomic" designs like Microsoft Sculpt, which trying to keep row-staggering by all cost.

    Last edited by ckofy (05-Jul-2019 20:27:34)
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    Interesting, I knew about the Ergodox EZ but I didn't know you could get Plancks now too. Mind you, I'm slightly more drawn to the Atomic, and ideally a split version. That's the problem: there are various designs out there - some I really like too - but most of them are DIY projects, and there is a limited market for each one. And then there's the cost - because a lot of these are niche keyboards, they don't come cheap. I realise I'm caught in a catch-22 - they will never become cheap and ready available until there's a large market, and there won't be a such market until people switch!

    Last edited by stevep99 (06-Jul-2019 14:29:56)

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

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
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    snth said:

    This does introduce the ZO and OZ same-finger bigrams (e.g. ozone) but how big a problem is that given how infrequent Z is?

    I'd like to turn your argument around: Do you have to do this, given how infrequent Z is? I believe you're mostly experiencing a discomfort because of unfamiliarity. Of course, if you really want to solve the issue perfectly then an ISO or column-staggered board is recommended (I don't trust ortho without column stagger but I haven't used one so others may arrest me on this).

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    DreymaR said:

    (I don't trust ortho without column stagger but I haven't used one so others may arrest me on this).

    I haven't used one either but what I suspect is, if you had an ortho board where the two halves were split, you could angle them slightly which would resolve this problem.

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

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    After months of using split ortho and months of using ergo (columnar staggered) I may tell that split ortho is usable, but I still prefer columnar staggered. Pinkies at split ortho do not feel as comfortable as at ergo, thumbs position is also too inwards. One piece ortho feels very different even compared to the split ortho. I do not use it for daily typing, but just occasionally. I do not think that using Planck/Preonic as a daily driver is a good choice.

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    DreymaR said:

    I'd like to turn your argument around: Do you have to do this, given how infrequent Z is? I believe you're mostly experiencing a discomfort because of unfamiliarity.

    A valid point. So while Z doesn't come up much in text I do tend to use it quite a bit in `vim` and `tmux` which is what led me down this path.

    So after some trials I've now remapped it back to stock Mod-DH layout. In typing tests I notice that I think I struggle with the whole left hand bottom row XCD with me not hitting the keys cleanly, despite me using the angle mod for about two years (I applied it to Dvorak with my own resultant Xzorak variant).

    What I think may be happening is that I angle my left hand outwards for a more natural position so that the fingers can do the "curl" motion for the bottom row. That works fine and I can type well like that. However when I then have to reach across for a Z then I fall back into the "sliding" motion of the standard taught left hand fingering (which I used for 20 years before switching to the Angle-Mod).

    I therefore now would like to try out the Z on LShift mapping. Unfortunately I use LShift for LCtrl so it's quite important to me. I think I've seen mentions that I might be able to set it up so that a tap is Z and holding it down continuously activates the modifier mode (LCtrl in my case but LShift otherwise). Is it possible to set this up with EPKL?

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    In the BigBag I've described a "FatZ" mod like you're describing. Yes, it should be doable with EPKL using a tap-mod Z/LShift key definition. Tap-or-Mod as it is today works poorly with rapidly typed keys so I can't yet get it to work with home-row modifiers (e.g., hold down S or E for Shift, tap them for S/E). But Z may be rare enough to be okay. I have no problems using CapsLock as a ToM Dead/Extend key. For Vim etc it shouldn't be problematic as you don't tend to type commands at 100 WPM anyway.

    Last edited by DreymaR (21-Jul-2019 16:42:32)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    Thanks @DreymaR. Would love to try the FatZ mod some time. In the meantime I've switched it back to the default Mod-DH layout. With regards to vim, it's not so much about speed but more about comfort and for fairly common shortcuts you don't want to have to reach too far.

    @ckofy I would love to get an ergonomic split keyboard but if you're not going to build them yourself then they're not cheap. I also have to factor in shipping all the way to the bottom of Africa which can easily add up to $50 as well as import taxes. Therefore it's cheaper to just play around with the layouts using software and existing keyboards.

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