• You are not logged in.

Tarmak progress

  • Started by colemux
  • 46 Replies:
  • Reputation: 9
  • Registered: 24-Aug-2019
  • Posts: 59

I seem a bit stuck at 50 wpm at the moment (as usual measured by Amphetype on "Heart of Darkness" via Performance -> "<ALL TEXTS>" -> and group by "sitting").  Can't believe it's been four and a half months since I started!  I think I need to concentrate more on deliberate practice on common words.

I'll come out of this with a surprising turn of speed on the word "Kurtz".

It occurs to me today that I should try some QWERTY sessions in Amphetype (using a different database to keep the scores separate) to give myself a comparable number.  I'm really not sure what that will be.  Maybe 80?

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 143
  • From: Oslo, Norway
  • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
  • Posts: 4,960

What I'd do at this point is have Amphetype make you a list of your problem words, based on what you've typed so far. Then edit out the names and other words you don't want to practice and generate lessons with the ones you want. Drilling common words that you need to drill can be quite beneficial. Also, drill the most common words as they keep cropping up.

If you need pointers on the hows, see my Amphetype BigBag topic.

Last edited by DreymaR (24-Jan-2020 23:32:47)

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

Offline
  • 1
  • Reputation: 9
  • Registered: 24-Aug-2019
  • Posts: 59
DreymaR said:

What I'd do at this point is have Amphetype make you a list of your problem words, based on what you've typed so far.

I've started doing just this, thanks -- I'd forgotten about it.

Also, I've resolved to not check my speed stats daily, as I'd got into the habit of doing, because that tempts me to optimize for speed instead of deliberate practice and learning.  After two weeks I'll give myself a few typing tests as close as I can make them to how I've measured my speed in the past, and see how I'm doing.

Last edited by colemux (27-Jan-2020 22:51:50)
Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 143
  • From: Oslo, Norway
  • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
  • Posts: 4,960

In periods, I've been simply "type-reading" books with Amphetype, with not-too-high accuracy and speed settings (96%, -20 WPM from my good speeds). That way, I got a lot of mileage in an interesting way and with little stress. It didn't help my speed much, but I got much better flow after a while. I don't bother grinding hard as I find it unfun.

Last edited by DreymaR (29-Jan-2020 11:07:27)

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

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 9
  • Registered: 24-Aug-2019
  • Posts: 59

I just discovered how much just the fact that I'm typing into Amphetype messes up my QWERTY.  So it's not only the keyboard I'm typing on that's a big cue for me!

Right now I'm typing this in QWERTY perfectly fluently with no errors.  Thirty seconds ago I was trying to type QWERTY in Amphetype (as a baseline against which to judge my Colemak) and totally failing to get much above 40 wpm -- sometimes more like 25 -- because of continual mixing up with Colemak key positions.

It amazes me how dramatic the difference is.

It doesn't worry me, I think it just shows up how, though the "switch" is in there somewhere, I don't yet have as good conscious control of it as I thought I did -- another thing that needs a bit of practice I suppose.  But as with typing QWERTY on my ergodox that I usually use just for Colemak, I'm not sure whether the effort is worthwhile: do I want to create layout interference for myself just to measure my QWERTY baseline speed in Amphetype?  Not sure.

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 143
  • From: Oslo, Norway
  • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
  • Posts: 4,960

Yeah, typing "Gestalt" is a thing: If you type a lot in a certain setting it becomes its own thing in a way. But that's not to say it doesn't influence what you do outside the Gestalt! And I think it's a relatively quick effort to make a small change, even though it'll feel strange at the first tries. In a way, that's what's behind the Tarmak progression and some of the small modular mods: You make a change, then everything is strange at first but since the change is small you'll pick up your speed again quite fast.

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

Offline
  • 1
  • Reputation: 9
  • Registered: 24-Aug-2019
  • Posts: 59

I decided despite Dreymar's words of encouragement not to push even the QWERTY-in-Amphetype thing as a baseline measurement and instead just keep going with the practice.

I seem to have broken my recent stasis after concentrating on practice for a few weeks without any speed tests -- only a few day's measurements but I reckon I'm at about 55 wpm now.  This time the I did my tests strictly on first attempts on unseen text only -- so that's likely a bigger improvement than the numbers suggest: previously, I'd been using the average of all my runs on each text -- and it takes me a bunch of runs to get to 98% accuracy typically.

So I think the suggestion to use the Amphetype feature to generate practice texts using words that you stumbled on previously was pretty effective.

Right now I have a thing where I type D all the time when I want a G.  I feel like that's actually a sign of getting a bit more comfortable with the layout -- I think relaxing a bit may have made me stop putting in the effort to reach for that key :-)

Onwards towards 65 wpm!  I'll get there eventually!

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 143
  • From: Oslo, Norway
  • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
  • Posts: 4,960

Oooor... the D-G thing is your subconscious telling you to try out Colemak-DH!  ♪~╰(*°▽°*)╯~♪

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

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 9
  • Registered: 24-Aug-2019
  • Posts: 59

60 wpm!

As usual by now, that's based on doing a few days of sessions in Amphetype where I go for speed rather than deliberate practice, then looking at the Performance tab -- the last few times I've I just been looking at the raw data for Texts and sort of doing a 'robust fit by eye' (i.e. ignoring the outliers).  When looking at this number I don't really try to look for improvements smaller than maybe 2.5 wpm -- you can still get some idea if you're getting better slowly by looking at the moving average, but that lags your current best wpm of course.  Total hours practice right now is roughly 57 (172 practice sessions of about 20 mins each).

Glad my feeling that I'm still making progress has finally shown up in the speed tests!  "Just" 5 wpm to go to hit my original target of 65.  I'm sure I'm going to hit that target now -- for a while at 50 and 55 I wondered if I was making enough real progress to get there, but of course progress does get slower as you get faster.

I also feel more fluent and have to concentrate less, though recently I've been making a lot of mistakes with R and S again.  I'm sure that actually starting to use it "for real" will inevitably throw me back a bit again -- for example I'll have a lot of new "words" to learn if I start doing coding -- lots of key shortcuts that I know very well with QWERTY and not at all with Colemak yet.  Also, my own day-to-day vocab I'm quite sure doesn't exactly match that of Marcel Proust or Joseph Conrad.

And, damn it Dreymar, I am tempted by mod DH.  Good reasons not to:

1. I don't feel enthusiastic to be patching spacemacs to support "KNEI" motion keys -- straightforward enough to start off with, but then I'm in the 0.001% of users who use that and maybe fighting a time consuming battle to keep it working with all the third-party code I end up using.  Spacemacs key bindings are complicated enough to deal with already!  On the other hand I'm probably almost in that position already with plain Colemak, and "K" and "H" are both already motion keys so maybe I won't hit too many extra problems that I won't already with "HNEI".
2. More vertical motion: avoiding that was the whole reason I started using Colemak in the first place.  That was mostly for middle and ring fingers though.
3. Re-learning.  But I think I might enjoy it.

Unfortunately, more persuasive: I think I *like* Colemak mod DH.  :-|

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 9
  • Registered: 24-Aug-2019
  • Posts: 59
colemux said:

60 wpm!

Just to clarify: my best at this point is in the 80s (I don't remember the number): I'm talking here about "normal", fairly reliable, speed, ignoring outliers.

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 143
  • From: Oslo, Norway
  • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
  • Posts: 4,960

It's not "mod DH" anymore, nor is it Curl(DH) although I may keep using that name. Its name is Colemak-DH, or just "the DH mod".

The DH mod won't lead to more vertical motion I think? My index finger resting points are at the lower edge of the home keys, instead of their middle. So while the vertical stretch to B and J do become a bit longer, those are rare enough keys that I don't notice any real difference. Shai didn't like it from what I've heard, but I guess he didn't try it for long and went in with a bit of a bias. Nearly all the feedback I've heard has been praise saying how comfy it is, and I agree.

And it's quite easily learnt.

I haven't used Spacemacs and I don't know what it is, but that sounds like a fairly minor problem. Also, Extend usually fixes any such worries. Unless you're on Windows and Spacemacs is a program with a keyboard hook, in which case it'll conflict with EPKL.

Last edited by DreymaR (11-May-2020 08:32:22)

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

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 9
  • Registered: 24-Aug-2019
  • Posts: 59
DreymaR said:

It's not "mod DH" anymore, nor is it Curl(DH)
although I may keep using that name. Its name is Colemak-DH, or
just "the DH mod".

Oh sorry, I was going on memory and this:

https://colemakmods.github.io/mod-dh/

The DH mod won't lead to more vertical motion I think?

Not in total range of motion, correct.  But in summed total vertical distance travelled, it will.

My index finger resting points are at the lower edge of the home keys, instead of their middle. So while the vertical stretch to B and J do become a bit longer, those are rare enough keys that I don't notice any real difference. Shai didn't like it from what I've heard, but I guess he didn't try it for long and went in with a bit of a bias. Nearly all the feedback I've heard has been praise saying how comfy it is, and I agree.

That's why I like it and am tempted to try it.  But unfortunately I have to accept that I have a couple of very real problems that affect my fingers, quite specific to me, and I'm telling you that I don't think they like this kind of vertical motion -- I do think you'll have to take my word for that (actually there's more to it than that, but really I don't think my medical peculiarities are of general interest...).  Even then, I'm tempted to try it anyway, because as I say at least currently I don't have a problem with my index fingers :-)

I haven't used Spacemacs and I don't know what it is, but that sounds like a fairly minor problem. Also, Extend usually fixes any such worries. Unless you're on Windows and Spacemacs is a program with a keyboard hook, in which case it'll conflict with EPKL.

Ha.  While it's literally true in some sense to say "spacemacs is a program with a keyboard hook", it's not exactly the sense you mean, and also it would be a bit like saying "The Atlas V rocket generates thrust" ;-) Spacemacs is an especially fancy and polished configuration... or maybe distribution is a better word? -- of the "editor and kitchen sink" emacs.  If you're into geeking out about keyboard combinations, maybe you'd like emacs.  Spacemacs favours vim key bindings, which adds complexity, as does spacemacs' configuration 'layers' system (it also adds maaaany key bindings of its own, and emacs' "configuration" is really a gigantic lisp environment in which most of emacs itself and its ecosystem is written, so the key bindings, and everything else, can get arbitrarily complicated).

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 143
  • From: Oslo, Norway
  • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
  • Posts: 4,960

Well, then... Spacemacs can run together with Extend and you can just use Extend-arrows instead of KNEI navigation and Bob's your uncle.

If your index fingers don't have a vertical motion problem, then the DH mod should be fine I hope. Let us know if you experience peculiarities!

Last edited by DreymaR (12-May-2020 10:49:29)

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

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 9
  • Registered: 24-Aug-2019
  • Posts: 59
DreymaR said:

Well, then... Spacemacs can run together with Extend and you can just use Extend-arrows instead of KNEI navigation and Bob's your uncle.

Hm, that's an extra key for a lot of common commands.

If your index fingers don't have a vertical motion problem, then the DH mod should be fine I hope. Let us know if you experience peculiarities!

Yeah I wouldn't be at all surprised if I'm back here posting in another thread about DH sometime -- I reckon I'll stick to plain Colemak until I hit my target and actually start using it for real though.

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 9
  • Registered: 24-Aug-2019
  • Posts: 59

62.5 wpm.

Same way of measuring as before more or less: average over 3 days, judged by eye in Amphetype performance tab looking at "<ALL TEXTS>", no damping, not trying to judge it any finer than in 2.5 wpm steps.

So close!  I thought I was going to hit 65 this weekend.  Tune in next month or three for the next exciting installment...

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 143
  • From: Oslo, Norway
  • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
  • Posts: 4,960

You'll hit 65 WPM shortly, for sure. Best of luck!

P.S.: I really like how you measure honestly, by an average produced with real typing instead of just a peak value.  (b ̄◇ ̄)b

Last edited by DreymaR (15-Jun-2020 09:59:06)

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

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 9
  • Registered: 24-Aug-2019
  • Posts: 59

65 wpm!  Hit my average speed target at last.

10 months 12 days to get here.

Top speed in Amphetype in QWERTY before I started on Colemak was about 110 wpm, top speed in Amphetype so far with Colemak is about 87.5 wpm.  Not really a fair comparison: that underestimates my QWERTY skill because I didn't try that long compared with constant (albeit brief) practice with Colemak.

Ironically today's practice session was terrible, lots and lots of mistakes -- but not bad enough to mess up the average over the three days I measured, and even today not far below 65.

I do still feel quite clumsy with Colemak, but now I feel like I have enough speed to use it daily so I know it will improve from here.  I'm going to start with spare time projects because I rely so much on typing speed at work.  First thing is to get used to working in emacs and coding -- I've started that a little bit already in the past few weeks.

Thanks for the encouragement, especially DreymaR!

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 9
  • Registered: 24-Aug-2019
  • Posts: 59

Incidentally: one thing that's pretty clear in my personal experience here is that the time spent on Tarmak was an insignificant slice of the total time to get here, and I've not made any "Tarmak mistakes" since shortly after switching away from Tarmak 4.  So it's clear that for me, using Tarmak couldn't possibly have slowed down my learning to any significant degree at all.  But as a means of maintaining motivation in the early days, I found it very useful, and I think it made the difference between carrying on and giving up (as I did the first time I tried, sans Tarmak).

Offline
  • 1
  • Reputation: 9
  • Registered: 24-Aug-2019
  • Posts: 59

Also, for the record: I think my average over all practice sessions was probably about 20 minutes (it was more like 30 mins at the beginning), and I did 217 practice sessions up till today.  So that's about 72 hours practice in total.

Last edited by colemux (06-Jul-2020 21:15:03)
Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 9
  • Registered: 24-Aug-2019
  • Posts: 59

I did my first day at work using Colemak last week.  Much more comfortable compared to when I hit 65wpm average, but still learning lots of words that I'm sticky on.  Still slower than QWERTY and worse accuracy, and I'm not sure if I'll ever be faster (wasn't my goal) -- but on the other hand I think full days using it for work and at home have significantly sped up my progress, as you might hope, and I feel like I will get to the same speed eventually if I keep up a little bit of deliberate practice.

I just won my first typeracer race using Colemak (73wpm, 2nd or 3rd game I think) -- I don't think I've been back there since when I logged on this thread that it totally messed up my ability to type at all at the time.  Top Colemak speed in Amphetype still in the mid eighties.

I'm now quite comfortable navigating around the command line, emacs etc. for programming.  Though I still want to maintain QWERTY typing I think I might stick with only Colemak for a few weeks and then see what it's like switching back to QWERTY.

I'd also like to learn to type properly with Colemak on a conventional (staggered keys) keyboard still -- just because of completism I suppose, but I'm not sure I'll bother with that for a while -- I don't think it'll be difficult, just a bit annoying (especially since I've swapped Q and F and put C on the key nearest my thumb -- I'd want to figure out how to make a software layout for that).

One nice thing about re-learning to type is that I've made myself learn to touch type the numbers and symbols on the top row of the keyboard -- so there aren't any keys I have to look at any more.

Top mistake is STILL R/S mixups!

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 143
  • From: Oslo, Norway
  • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
  • Posts: 4,960

Am I right that you put Q on your middle finger and F on the left index? I wouldn't do that... what about the FA/AF bigrams for instance? Putting C on a thumb would make sense, but what did you put on the old C position then?

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

Offline
  • 0
  • Reputation: 9
  • Registered: 24-Aug-2019
  • Posts: 59
DreymaR said:

Am I right that you put Q on your middle finger and F on the left index? I wouldn't do that... what about the FA/AF bigrams for instance? Putting C on a thumb would make sense, but what did you put on the old C position then?

Q is in the QWERTY E position (middle finger) and F is in the QWERTY Q position (little finger).  I'm fine with a little slowdown on a few relatively rare bigrams -- I think I studied them before I picked this swap, though I don't remember in detail now.

There's no letter key in the old C position, that's the point -- to save that finger from... lifting a finger :-) (ok *dipping* a finger)  Right now, F12 is there, which I rarely use for anything.

Offline
  • 0