Give standard Colemak a try, it should work great with the Atreus
So, just an update on using my Atreus. I managed to resist the temptation of reverting to standard Colemak (lol)... but have decided to give DHm a try. Or more accurately, returning to DHm, since that's what I was using originally. My thinking regarding DH/DHm is basically this: On standard boards, DH may be marginally better, but on ortho boards, DHm seems substantially better. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that DH should be for those who are prepared to commit to using standard staggered boards only, and that DHm is a better long-term choice for those who are at all "ortho-curious".
On to the board itself. It was tricky to get used to initially. The inner keys (middle columns) caused me to make errors, the new locations being somewhat lower. I had kind of expected that though. But another thing I didn't expect so much, was the left-hand upper row: I would sometimes type F instead of P etc. Although the top row stagger is normally only ¼ key, the difference seems to be exacerbated by the Atreus's angle. Still, I was able to overcome this with a bit of practise.
My next issue is the bottom (modifier) row. Having lots of thumb keys is great, but I find that their small size and concave profile are not particularly well suited to thumbs. This has turned out to be my biggest issue with it. Definitely my Ergo Pro is still the winner in that department, its two short but chunky spacebars are the still best design I'm aware of.
I haven't missed having number keys, using numpad layer works perfectly well as I'd expect. But I would prefer an extra column of keys on each side. Although such keys should be used sparingly, they are convenient for certain rarer functions.
Despite the tricky initial adjustment, it's a decent keyboard. Very portable, comfortable to type on (thumbs not so much), and the simple symmetrical design looks attractive. And that fact that's it's programmable with layers means it's very handy for those situations where I need to type on other equipment but without having to install or configure anything. All the goodness of DH + Extend + Symbols layer in a conveniently small package.
I'm not sure I want to commit to using it as my main board exclusively though, so the question remains of how easy it would be to frequently switch between using this board and a traditionally staggered one.
On standard boards, DH may be marginally better, but on ortho boards, DHm seems substantially better. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that DH should be for those who are prepared to commit to using standard staggered boards only, and that DHm is a better long-term choice for those who are at all "ortho-curious".
Hmmm. I do disagree that the benefit of DH on a row staggered board is marginal. However, I agree that the benefit of DHm for those involved with ortho, column stagger and manuform appears greater. And it does annoy me that we're still mucking around with two DH variants, which makes my implementation work harder and makes newcomers confused and whatnot.
Another minor issue is the number of keys moved from standard Colemak, where DHm has that one key advantage. For most users that won't matter but for us designers it's worth mentioning. On the other hand, a very slight niceness I discovered with Colemak-CAW was that the V and M keys stay in place from QWERTY – I've actually used that for navigation sometimes.
If we were to cut down to one variant after all, we'd probably need to use a different name for it though. Calling DHm DH henceforth would be too confusing since it's been something else for more than two years, but calling it DHm if we decide to abandon the currrent DH standard is extraneous. Of course, we could just call it Colemak-Curl(DH) but I doubt you'd like that... :-) We could of course call the current DH DHk in analogy with DHm, but I'm not sure that'd actually improve the situation?
I do disagree that the benefit of DH on a row staggered board is marginal
I only say that because I think on a staggered board, the middle-row centre and bottom row diagonal aren't hugely different in quality. But of course that is subjective so YMMV. Yeah, having two variants is annoying but I guess they're here to stay now. When we agreed on the MK switch, I imagined most users would be using the new DH on staggered boards; as it turns out there has been more interest in DHm on ergo boards than I would have anticipated. I also didn't expect to be trying out ergo boards myself eventually. With the benefit of hindsight, I should have just remained on the original DH.
Agree the DHm naming is also not ideal. It does make it sound like a bigger change, but of course it's closer to vanilla Colemak. I have also previously thought about calling the newer variant DHk. If anything the original should have kept the name "DH" and the newer one called "DHk", since it moves the K additionally!
Given where we are though, I guess DHm and DHk at least offers some sort of naming consistency, but I'm also wary of more nomenclature changes as I think people have gotten used to the current names.
Not sure they're here to stay. If you and I decide to push one forward and the other into the undergrowth, it'll have an effect. My old variant is hardly remembered at all anymore... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
q w f p b j l u y a r s t g k n e i o Colemak-Curl(DbgHkm) z x c v d m h , .
Actually, there was this one user at the Discord who came up with that one a week or two ago!