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    • Started by Colemakintosh
    • 7 Replies:
    • Reputation: 3
    • Registered: 18-Aug-2019
    • Posts: 4

    Hi there!

    I'm currently typing this on Tarmak 3, so I'm not quite on Colemak proper yet, but I figure being more than halfway there should count for something!

    So rewinding a bit, how I got here. I'm a programmer, and have been since I finished University. My partner throughout uni was a DVORAK user who could easily swap between DVORAK and QWERTY. He typed very fast and had great accuracy, so I learned back then that it was possible to switch keyboard layouts and improve your comfort in typing. I spend so much of my day typing that the logic of switching to a more optimal layout was a no brainer to me. I tried switching to DVORAK and failed miserably. I mean MISERABLY. I was around a 90-100 WPM typist on QWERTY at that point and suddenly I just couldn't type at all. I stuck with it for a whole week and still felt like I couldn't be productive at all, so I sheepishly turned QWERTY back on and winced a bit inside.

    I then thought that if I couldn't stomach full DVORAK, that's ok, I might still get improvements other ways. I found a keyboard called a Data Hand, which was still QWERTY-like, but had layers and a mouse mode you steered with your index finger so you didn't move your hand to use the mouse and could keep your hands at shoulder width apart. It was a very comfy upgrade for me, and I used it until it died (optical sensors started giving out). When it did, I searched and the only thing close was the Kinesis. It just didn't seem to offer enough benefit for the price to me, and I didn't feel confident enough to make my own keyboard, so I ended up going with the lazy option and went back to stock keyboards with my macs. This lasted about 10 years.

    A few weeks ago I decided that I should again try to optimise my typing setup. I found this guy and it reminded me a bit of the Data Hand, but you'd still have to move your hand over to the mouse. Hmmm, more research needed.

    Eureka!

    Oh hello there! You look very familiar! Except having a normal mouse on each hand sounds even better than my old Data Hand. Now we're talking! I did a bit of research, 3D printed one of their non-functional models to try out the Medium size:
    64tV184.jpg

    And promptly placed an order for one with QWERTY keycaps. But I noticed something while I was ordering. What's this?

    daXxebu.png

    I knew the others, but Colemak? Wat?

    So as I'm waiting for the Keymouse to come, I started reading up on Colemak. About how it resolves all of my problems with DVORAK, while being just as efficient, and still manages to preserve the major shortcut keys. This sounds too good to be true. I still know from my week of hell with DVORAK that I'm going to have to take a major hit in productivity in order to give it a try.

    Then I found out about DreymaR's Tarmak. About 5 minutes later I had them installed and was already messing up all my Es and Ns on Tarmak 1. I don't look at my keyboard while I type, but I figured I'd want to commit this time publicly, because if I can't handle 3-4 keys at a time, then honestly, what am I doing? I emailed Keymouse and asked them to switch me over to Colemak keycaps, which they're going to do.

    So, in summation, before:

    Mac, QWERTY user, 90-95 wpm with 98% accuracy as measured by Amphetype after learning to touch type when I was about 12 and somehow managing to pick up very few bad habits.

    So far (starting 4 days ago):

    Accuracy
    QQzRLt8.png

    WPM
    HQLQ7Ef.png

    I'll update here how I'm going, particularly once the Keymouse arrives. (Geez it's hard to type 'arrives' when I've just swapped R and S into position!) I think I'll chill on Tarmak 3 for a good while so I'm back up past 60wpm before I advance. I want R and S to be truly comfortable. I'm very very excited to get to use a more optimal layout after watching DVORAK users fly around their keyboards proficiently for more than a decade.

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,660

    Welcome to the wonderful world of alt-layouts! Hope your stay will be as pleasant and fun as mine has been.

    Glad to see that you've found a use for Tarmak. Please let us know how it all works out in the end. Indeed, the R-S step is icky, which is why I made a Tarmak step with that and not much else going on so you can get it in place before proceeding.

    Best of luck with the rest! If you feel brave enough you could jump from Tarmak3 to Colemak in one step, but it's entirely up to you.

    Last edited by DreymaR (19-Aug-2019 14:10:43)

    *** 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: 18-Aug-2019
    • Posts: 4

    Thank you!

    Honestly, "found a use for Tarmak" is dramatically under-selling it. I can guarantee I would not be switching to Colemak without being able to do so incrementally. Tarmak is the single tool that allowed me to have the confidence to give it a go. Each step has been a little disorienting, but much easier than I imagined, and I'm currently sitting here at work typing reasonably enough that I'm still productive. I'm producing an architecture document today, so my whole day is basically typing. The fact that I don't have to scurry back to QWERTY to be productive is massive. Thank you!

    Colemak itself is genius, and Tarmak makes it accessible.

    On jumping from Tarmak 3 to Colemak, as a programmer I use the semi-colon quite a bit, so moving that around will probably mess me up almost as much as the R and S switch has. Because of that I still plan to do the LUI loop separately. I think I'll be on Tarmak 4 in the next few days as it's feeling a lot less forced today.

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    • Registered: 18-Aug-2019
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    Hit 60wpm with 97% accuracy tonight on Tarmak 3, so I went on to Tarmak 4.

    'O' and 'Y' are much harder than ';' to remember thus far. Will post Amphetype graphs when I'm on Colemak proper.

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,660

    Thanks for the praise, much appreciated. Maybe I/we do need to sell Tarmak better. Over at the Discord they mostly don't see the point, but those are the hardcore layout switchers who'd happily switch to completely new layouts three times if it suited them. And they are generally speaking at a leisure to do so, with the time to spare for it.

    In my experience, it's the most rarely used letters that trip you up the most. Therefore, Tarmak4 may be one of the harder steps as it has several of those at once. The LUI loop seems comparatively easy to learn; originally it was earlier in the progression for that reason but eventually we decided on finishing the "big loop" in step 4 instead. What's funny though is just how much nicer Colemak is than Tarmak4! So many n-grams click into place with that last step, giving that smooth smooth typing experience we love. All that goodness doesn't necessarily show up in computer effort models, which goes to show that you cannot (yet) base really good layout design solely on modeling.

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

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    • From: Chicago
    • Registered: 27-Apr-2016
    • Posts: 214

    Welcome to the Colemak world!
    I had quite similar experience as you had with Dvorak and then with switching to Colemak via Tarmak. I tried to switched to Dvorak about 16 years ago, well, may be I did not try too hard, but that did not happen. I, as you said, "sheepishly turned qwerty back" and did not looked toward alternative layouts for another decade and more. Many people who vote for "cold turkey" kind of switch then ends up to be able to spend several hours a day practicing at 10fastfingers, this is not my case by any mean. I had to switch at worktime and be reasonably productive during the switch, I did not have a 2-3 month break while I could learn the layout, and Tarmak helped in that transition greatly. It may not have all great n-grams in place, but the real understanding of them comes even after using Colemak for a while. We just need to not be completely useless during transition, and Tarmak serves that purpose very well.

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    • Registered: 06-Jun-2013
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    I too went the Tarmak route. It is a superb bit of pedagogical work. If there are groups out there questioning its worth I think they are doing it a great disservice? Its a very clever bit of engineering.

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    • Registered: 18-Aug-2019
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    bph said:

    I too went the Tarmak route. It is a superb bit of pedagogical work. If there are groups out there questioning its worth I think they are doing it a great disservice? Its a very clever bit of engineering.

    Completely agree! I originally thought the rip the band aid off approach would make more sense, but that was me trying dvorak, and look how that turned out. If that approach works for others then they're welcome to it, it's not for me.

    The things I produce with typing are what allow me to eat and have shelter while still enjoying myself. I am reticent to mess with that skill willy nilly, and I think that's a pretty reasonable position to take.

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