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    New mod method splitRest(colemak) for wider, more "At-Rest" Hand Posit

    • Started by tynesjo
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    • Registered: 18-Dec-2019
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    Hi all,

    I've been a colemak user for a few years.

    A few months ago I started looking into hardware improvements for enhanced ergonomics, but opted instead to to see how far it is possible to push ergonomic improvements using software only (mainly so I can keep using my laptop keyboard in all contexts).

    I've developed a mod method for keyboard layouts dubbed splitRest, and I've now been using it in "production" as a full time data science programmer for about half a year. The mod has been applied to colemak, because that is what I use, but in principle can also be applied to other layouts.


    The purposes and advantages of the mod are:

    1. split hand positioning
    (increased distance between hands of two key-widths)

    2. increased "at-rest" hand positioning
    (remove vast majority of contexts when hands need to move away from "home" position)

    3. improved locations of modifier keys
    (through key overloading, using xcape)

    The layout and code can be found at https://github.com/tynesjo/split-rest


    The current implementation works with linux and x windowing system.


    Looking for comments, feedback, ideas, people interested in trying it / collaborating on it :)

    JT

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    • From: UK
    • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
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    Nice post, welcome to the forum. It's interesting to see the different configurations people come up with.

    Have you seen DreymaR's Wide Mod?  What you have there looks quite similar to the "double-wide" mod idea that was discussed in the forum previously.

    I think you have identified good ergonomic principles there, but to offer some (hopefully constructive) criticism, for me the drawbacks or your design are:

    - Incompatible with the "Angle Mod".
    - The Z key will be a problem for those with ANSI keyboards.
    - While keys like CapsLock are a waste of a good space, they can still be repurposed for other things such as a layer activation key, which is a much better use.
    - On some keyboards there is an annoying gap between CapsLock and A.
    - I have previously tried dual space/shift for the spacebar, I found that as typing gets faster I tended to get accidental shifted keys appearing.

    Overall, I think a single-key width gap would make for a better compromise between increasing ergonomics while avoiding some of these drawbacks.

    Personally, I prefer to solve this problem by using a split keyboard, but I appreciate your point about wanting to use a standard laptop keyboard in all contexts.

    Last edited by stevep99 (19-Dec-2019 12:41:43)

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

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    Thanks @stevep99
    yes I saw the wide mod some time ago, but wasn't aware of the idea of an even "wider idea"

    I was actually looking into buying an ultimate hacking keyboard (split), before starting experimenting with this wide mod, but will probably get a hold of one in future to try that

    having a standard-keyboard layout which is more ergonomic is still good in many contexts as I can't always bring custom hardware

    I looked at the angle mod, but has not made it to the top of my list of priorities to implement

    Regarding hardware I have just been blindly focused on making this mod work on my thinkpad keyboard with an ISO layout, so your points regarding ANSI and special layout of caps lock key I just have not thought about

    Using xcape to overload space bar with shift (or the other overloaded keys for that matter) have not presented any practical problems for me, even while doing reasonably fast touch typing, but it is possible that I have adjusted my typing technique to adjust to the new layout mod without realizing it.

    For me the big benefits after some period of use are less the wide hand positions (though nice) and more:
    * having tab and enter and shift on the thumbs
    * having escape and ctrl on either pinky without moving hands
    * having all numbers and key mathematical / technical symbols within muscle memory

    The integrations with a keyboard-controlled window manager like i3 are also really cool because you can shift workspaces and move windows using numerical ideas, again using only finger movements..

    One thought I had about increasing the width by only one key (which I did consider) was that it makes the layout asymmetrical with respect to pointing devices and the modifier keys, but maybe that is not a big deal

    I even considered moving the whole layout up one row, to be able to use the two bottom rows for modifier keys, but ended up not implementing it that way as it would force hand position to be further away from the body by one key-length which seemed less comfortable..

    Thanks again for your inputs, much appreciated!

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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    tynesjo said:

    One thought I had about increasing the width by only one key (which I did consider) was that it makes the layout asymmetrical with respect to pointing devices and the modifier keys, but maybe that is not a big deal

    I even considered moving the whole layout up one row, to be able to use the two bottom rows for modifier keys, but ended up not implementing it that way as it would force hand position to be further away from the body by one key-length which seemed less comfortable...

    Functionality before aestetics is a motto I've come to use in layout design.

    The "lift mod" has been discussed previously. It fell by the wayside then too.  ( のvの)

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

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    Hi @DreymaR

    Thanks a lot for all your work on colemak mods and for taking a look at the mod I'm using.

    I totally agree with the functionality taking precedence over aesthetic (after all you don't spend time looking at your keyboard layout, but if well done it becomes an extended part of your body through muscle memory).

    Actually one of the reasons I focused on making a mod two-widths wider is that it makes the mod keys on the bottom row more easily thumb-accessible, and in an i3 window manager config I also am able to use single-thumb-press modifier chords (two modifiers, one press) to perform window switches and moves which has worked out very well.

    I'm just in the process of switching from vim to spacemacs (emacs based with vim-style modal editing) as a main text editor, so that will provide a good test on how the modifier key locations hold up on a modifier-key-heavy environment :)

    I think I will try a 'lift' mod some time in future, just for fun and to have a chance to validate its inferiority empirically

    JT

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