• You are not logged in.

    Q > ; > ' rotation

    • Started by snth
    • 12 Replies:
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 24-Aug-2018
    • Posts: 13

    So I've noticed that punctuation characters seem to generally not be considered part of the optimisation process here and I found this old post by Shai that explains some of the reasons for this. However I think it might be worth treating '  differently as it is an integral part of standard English prose.

    I admit I started down this road because while coding I was picking up a lot of contention on my right pinky around strings in JSON and value assignments:

    {'key':'value'}
    
    var='value'

    ' " [ { + - = _ ; : } ] are all on the right pinky so that's a lot of same finger bigrams. Moving the ' to another position would be the easiest way to provide some relief. Coming from Dvorak the Q was a natural position to consider. Q > ; > ' is a simple rotation that achieves this. After trying this out I think it actually provides a number of benefits.

    Some benefits of this rotation are:

    • QU becomes a nice inward roll on the right hand (eg quick).

    • 't, 's, 'd and 're also become inward rolls on the left hand (eg don't, he's, she'd, we're).

    • Provides hand alternation in many programming languages where string quoting is likely to be mixed with other punctuation symbols (c='a'+'b').

    • :q also becomes an inward roll for vim users with using alternative ring-finger fingering on the Q.

    • O' is also no longer a same finger bigram which should help the Irish and their descendants.

    The AQ same finger bigram (eg aquarium) is replaced by OQ (soliloquy) but I would guess that these are both pretty rare and this is a neutral change.

    All characters stay on the same finger with Q and ' only swapping hands.

    I've been using this for a couple of days now and the most uncomfortable sequence I've found is 're and while it's not technically a same finger bigram, I find it a bit too close to hit comfortably but perhaps that will improve with practice.

    I know this is two additional switches from QWERTY but other than that I don't see much downside. Is there anything I am missing? While the benefit will be greatest for programmers, there still seem to be plenty of other benefits for normal English prose to make it worth considering.

    Last edited by snth (17-Aug-2019 06:29:44)
    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 112
    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,720

    It's a very interesting thought! Let us know how it works out if you do try it out over time.

    I actually think it also has a slight aesthetic benefit: As you say, the apostrophe is almost a letter in actual usage, and moving the semicolon off the letter block in favor of an actual letter looks nice to me. Neat.

    Last edited by DreymaR (19-Aug-2019 14:18:14)

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

    Online
    • 0
    • Reputation: 20
    • From: Chicago
    • Registered: 27-Apr-2016
    • Posts: 214

    Sounds interesting. One more good point that there is no need for a new keycaps in Colevrak kits of custom keycaps sets because of this change, Q keeps the top row, ; in the middle row is available in qwerty, and ' in the top row is available in Dvorak.

    Last edited by ckofy (20-Aug-2019 16:28:44)
    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 19-Sep-2019
    • Posts: 1

    snth, did you consider only swapping q and ; instead ? It seems to achieve the same results by only changing two keys. I myself am on tarmak atm, but already thinking about the idea of moving ' and ; to different hands. So I wonder if there's any reason to move all three?

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 24-Aug-2018
    • Posts: 13

    For ease of reference, some of us on the Colemak Discord have started calling this mod Colemaq since that makes it easy to combine it with other mods such as Colemaq-DH (which I personally use).

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 112
    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,720

    Having thought more about this, I don't see any real benefit to making QU a roll. It's a comfortable bigram already, using a nice hand alternation.

    However, I still feel that the semicolon gets a too good position in standard Colemak. It must be a remnant of the insane position it has in QWERTY that puts it inside the "letter block" so to speak, where it doesn't deserve to be by any standard. The three symbol keys that do deserve a position among the letters are period, comma and apostrophe/quote, since they occur frequently in text. Next up is the hyphen that's quite common and arguably too far away on the top row.

    Furthermore, using the Wide mod moves the far right keys around already. The ANSI Wide mod moves the apostrophe up and the /? key to a somewhat uncomfortable position in the lower middle, while the ISO Wide mod moves the /? up.

    My current feeling is that a semicolon-slash-apostrophe-hyphen rotation could be quite nice! Trying it out, it seems to make the apostrophe bigrams noticeably more comfy. It;s easier to stretch that pinky out upwards than opening the hand outwards, that;s my clear impression of what;s what.

    But while we;re at that... Let;s take a wider look at punctuation vs letter frequencies in English!  (✿◠‿◠)

    On the McDickens letter frequency page we see the following relative frequencies for English, after the initial SPC e t a o i n s r h l d c u m:

    Excluding code: g f p w y ENT b , . v k ' " - x 0 j 1 q 2 z ) ( : ! ? 5 ; 3 4 9 / ...
    Including code: f g p y w ENT b , . v k - " _ ' x ) ( ; 0 j 1 q = 2 : z / * ! ? $ ...

    It's clear that these punctuation keys are more common than the rare letters x j q z (having <0.16% usage each, all others having >0.8% – the below frequency estimates are based on the numbers on Wikipedia):

           CM    DT                QU    MN
     Bb    ,<    .>    Vv    Kk    '"    -_    Xx    Jj
    1.5   1.2   1.3   1.0   0.8   1.0   0.5*  .15   .15   (Approx. % usage. The -_ key varies 0.3-0.8 w/ coding)

    The semi-/colon (SC) and slash/question (SL) keys are more of a toss-up. These don't quite deserve their good positions when entering text, as frequencywise they are on par with or worse than several number row symbols – especially the parentheses. For coding it feels different as particularly the semicolon is quite common in code. However, my impression is that the text-related symbols are more important for flow. Also, it's not as if the single/double quotes or hyphen-minus are rare in code, either! I think people may be overreporting the importance of the semi-/colon. Incidentally, I was a bit surprised myself that question/slash are as rare as they are.

    Since the backslash is handled differently on ISO and ANSI boards, doesn't have a really good position on either and has a different key cap size on the latter, I'm loath to include it in remaps. I feel that the brackets should be left alone too since they serve many purposes in locale layouts and since they're cool in the middle of the keyboard using the Wide mod. If anyone still wants to improve their role, I suggest a simple brackets-parentheses swap. So in sum, my candidates for worse positions when promoting the more common symbol keys are:

     SC    SL                EQ
     ;:    /?    Qq    Zz    =+
    .13   .16   .10   .08   .07?

    I've included the equals/plus (EQ) key since it goes to the middle of the board in the Wide mod and isn't all that uncommon. Maybe it could take MN's place, and SL its old place? Having the question mark on the top row achieves a symmetry to the exclamation mark. Then, EQ would remain close to MN as it was before but just on a different row – like Dvorak's punctuation placements have it.

    So I'm currently thinking that these cycles might be interesting:

    QU > SC
    MN > SL > EQ

    Using vanilla Colemak, on an ortho board:

    6   7   8   9   0   =   /
    j   l   u   y   '   [   ]
    h   n   e   i   o   ;   \
    k   m   ,   .   -   _____

    With the Wide(ISO) mod, on a staggered board:

      /   7   8   9   0   =
    [   j   l   u   y   '   -
     ]   h   n   e   i   o   ;
       \   k   m   ,   .   _____

    Any insights and thoughts? I'm thinking this could be a "Symbol Rotation" mod on top of the other mods we use. Some optimizers might like it, while other Colemak users wouldn't bother. I may try it out over Yuletide when I have some time, then we'll see how I like it. Is it time for Colemak-CAWS...?

    Last edited by DreymaR (09-Jan-2020 16:02:55)

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

    Online
    • 0
    • Reputation: 112
    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,720

    Yeah, so... This got me (over-)thinking, as you can see...   ̄(=⌒ᆺ⌒=) ̄

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

    Online
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 21-Jun-2017
    • Posts: 6
    DreymaR said:

    Any insights and thoughts?

    I think both the effort of the keys involved and the frequencies of the symbols are hard to assess and there can be no universal solution.

    On the right pinky I prefer the keys in this order (nomenclature after ISO/IEC 9995): C11, B11, C12, D12 and D11. Maybe that’s because I’m a lazy typer and don’t let my hands float. D11 requires a hand movement instead of just the finger movement that’s sufficient for the other keys.

    The frequencies of the symbols can vary dramatically between different people. For instance, outside of coding I never use ' or ". And coding covers a multitude of very different languages. There is no common ground as far as most non-alphanumerics are concerned.

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 112
    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,720

    That ISO nomenclature is too opaque. Please speak in a human readable format, you big non-Turing-test-compliant thing, you!  ♪~└[∵┌]└[・▥・]┘[┐∵]┘~♪

    Torben said:

    Maybe that’s because I’m a lazy typer and don’t let my hands float.
    ...
    For instance, outside of coding I never use ' or ".

    Hmmm... Am I misunderstanding something or did you just disprove your own statement by using three apostrophes in one sentence? Or did you manually enter typographically proper quote marks?  ( のvの)

    For if the latter is the case, then surely you know that most people just plonk down the apostrophe key for their contractions. So it's quite common for nearly all typists.

    Again, I fear you may have failed the Turing test...  (✿◠‿◠)

    Last edited by DreymaR (16-Dec-2019 13:28:15)

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

    Online
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 21-Jun-2017
    • Posts: 6

    That would be oO, /?, '", [{ and ;: in standard Colemak nomenclature.

    I manually enter typographically correct quotation marks and apostrophe. Sure, nearly all typists don’t do that. They have no easy access to these characters. I thought we were different.

    Maybe I am a robot. I do tend to fail at CAPTCHAs.

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 112
    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,720
    Torben said:

    Maybe I am a robot. I do tend to fail at CAPTCHAs.

    ヽ( ⌒o⌒)人(⌒-⌒ )/

    Interesting preferences then. So your fave key after Oo is gone with the Wide mod, or rather, Right Shift becomes nice with it. But your reply does indeed highlight the differences in personal preferences.

    On the other hand, if you don't like the Colemak ;: position much and don't use the '" key much then my proposal might work out well for you after all!
    ฅʕ •ᴥ•ʔฅ

    Last edited by DreymaR (16-Dec-2019 15:24:05)

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

    Online
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 21-Jun-2017
    • Posts: 6

    It would work out for me in that case. But I don’t use Colemak, anyway. I was just giving general thoughts on your idea. I’m using my own dvorakoid layout and have letters on all those keys. Being terribly right-handed I took some load from the left hand and put it on the right one. I’m not using a wide mod and left shift is my main shift key. It’s used for 70 to 80 percent of the uppercase letters.

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 112
    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,720

    Nope, didn't find any time (or, rather, energy) to try out the Colemak-CAWS mod combo yet. Argh. Does anyone else use something like it?

    1   2   3   4   5   6   /   7   8   9   0   =
      Q   W   F   P   B   [   J   L   U   Y   '   -
       A   R   S   T   G   ]   K   N   E   I   O   ;
     Z   X   C   D   V   _   \   M   H   ,   .
    Last edited by DreymaR (07-Jan-2020 11:02:04)

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

    Online
    • 0