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Shai's Colemak mod

  • Started by Shai
  • 57 Replies:
  • Reputation: 169
  • From: Viken, Norway
  • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
  • Posts: 5,125

I'm just curious to see if I can develop a feel for how it goes. This kind of modding is so rampant at the Discord these days. As for your arguments:
• Swapping 2 more keys at this point, and even having them change hands, doesn't matter much. This topic is about doing just those things, for a possible minor benefit.
• Moving V is something I've been concerned about a lot since you made the DH mod in 2014, as you know. At first I tried to avoid splitting up ZXCV but eventually I gave that up. Now, this creates trouble for me using Extend since I decided to keep the Extend-Paste mapping on the V key which causes more work for me as I then have to implement Extend both with and without the D-V (B-V) swap. Now with the V-K swap, V goes all the way to the other hand and I'm trying to keep the Extend-Paste mapping next to Extend-Copy again. This is every bit as annoying for me as the letter swap itself right now! But maybe I'll end up using it. I just felt it'd be too strange with the Extend-Paste and V itself on neighboring keys, and now that's no issue anymore.
• I'm not enjoying it so far. The KN bigram used to flow so nicely with alt-fingering, it's worse now. Heh. Overall, it feels awkward. But I know those are beginner misgivings.

[Update: Ditched it. The swap fixes two problems I didn't have since I alt-finger (NK and LK), and causes trouble with CK and VE bigrams – possibly others too. These aren't SFBs nor weak-finger near-finger-bigrams, so the Colemakmods analyzer doesn't pick up on them. But they felt awkward just the same. This swap isn't as beneficial as it first appeared to the naïve observer (me).]

Last edited by DreymaR (03-May-2021 18:30:23)

*** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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triple_a said:

I started using this one and liking it.
Anyone else ?

QWFDG JLUY'
ARSTP MNEIO;
ZXCVB KH,./

I've been using this on my ortholinear preonic keyboard since ~mid-Jan and I am really digging it. Switched from vanilla Colemak. I really do think it is the best of both worlds: less center column usage, the goal of mod-dh (and workman etc), while still staying true to the Colemak philosophy of keeping row 4 shortcuts in the same place.

What are some of the downsides people have noticed with it compared to Colemak-DH? I know there are a ton of mods such as the angle mod for iso keyboards etc but for the sake of simplicity let's limit to grid/matrix/ortholinear/columnar keyboards only.

The reasoning that this mod (Mod-Shai?) assigns the rare 'V' to one of the best positions on the board (just like vanilla Colemak!) does not make sense to me. Maybe one can say that about a layout that has been designed from scratch such as carpalx, but Colemak had very specific design goals such as improving home row usage while retaining row 4 shortcuts and punctuation/special characters from QWERTY.

Last edited by socraticsteely (04-May-2021 04:17:50)
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Thank you so much Shai for sharing these mods with the community! I initially tried vanilla Colemak and then Mod-DH but it really wasn't until these mods that Colemak finally "clicked" (pun intended :) ) for me. I started using the first mod ("Shai1") as my daily layout and have made some small changes that I wanted to share (note that they don't preserve ZXCVB).

I was finding the left index finger stretch to G effortful so the first change I made was swapping G and V to yield:

QWFDV JLUY'
ARSTP MNEIO;
ZXCGB KH,./

This provided a nice "finger symmetry" feeling when typing the GH bigram. As I typed with that layout more I still found the left index stretch to V effortful so I swapped the less common Z with the more common V to yield:

QWFDZ JLUY'
ARSTP MNEIO;
VXCGB KH,./

Though this introduces an AV same finger bigram it makes typing V far easier and feels worth it to me. The Mod-DH keyboard analysis tool gives the first changed layout (using traditional configuration) a same finger frequency of 1.67% and total score of 1.78 while the second received same finger frequency of 2.00% and a total score of 1.798 so I don't *think* there is anything obviously poor in their design and just wanted to share these changes in case they were helpful to anyone else exploring Shai's mods.

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  • From: Viken, Norway
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Looks to me as if you're cherry-picking bigrams, which is a common but dangerous feature in DIY modding? Maybe I'm mistaken.

A SFB% of 2.0 is considered very high today. I'd definitely try to do better than that. In today's modding scene, I'd say that anything with a higher SFB% than Colemak is automatically considered bad. I don't know if the layout designers on the Alt-Layouts Discord may be overly concerned with SFB, but there you have it. The faster typists are, the more they seem to value a low SFB%, with a few exceptions.

You may want to look up the ColemaQ/Colemak-QI crowd and discuss with them as well, as your variants seem to have features in common with theirs?

https://github.com/DreymaR/BigBagKbdTri … /Cmk-Qmods

Last edited by DreymaR (20-Aug-2021 11:32:00)

*** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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Thank you DreymaR for reading my post and providing your thoughtful guidance. I really appreciate it. It is good to know that a SFB% of 2 or more is considered high and I checked out the "Q Crew" website (https://colemaq.github.io/) which gave me some further optimization ideas to explore.

I just thought I would clarify, my intention at the start wasn't to cherry-pick bigrams (though that is an excellent phrase that makes me smile :) ). I was just trying to reduce some strain I felt and happily stumbled on the smoothness of the GH bigram with that particular variant. All the best.

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  • From: Viken, Norway
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Yeah, I'm not saying that you set out to cherry-pick anything! It's just so tempting when modding by hand.   ̄(=⌒ᆺ⌒=) ̄

Myself, I feel that the Q gang are a bit prone to subjective opinions on the quality of mods. Consequently, I don't quite trust their results as you may have seen in my writeup in the EPKL Q-Mods Readme. But I'm no analysis expert, I just have spent a lot of time using and adding to Colemak and talking to people.

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

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socraticsteely said:
QWFDG JLUY'
ARSTP MNEIO;
ZXCVB KH,./

I've been using this on my ortholinear preonic keyboard since ~mid-Jan and I am really digging it. Switched from vanilla Colemak. I really do think it is the best of both worlds: less center column usage, the goal of mod-dh (and workman etc), while still staying true to the Colemak philosophy of keeping row 4 shortcuts in the same place.

What are some of the downsides people have noticed with it compared to Colemak-DH? I know there are a ton of mods such as the angle mod for iso keyboards etc but for the sake of simplicity let's limit to grid/matrix/ortholinear/columnar keyboards only.

I don't see any downsides compared to DH, it's just a preference. Some might argue about the index finger or middle finger usage while pressing 'C' location on qwerty. I don't mind.

I had used Shai's mod for a while and settled on using the Vanilla version for the left side of the layout as I enjoy 'd' being on the home row. Swapping 'm' and 'h' actually makes sense because of heavily used punctuation marks, stretching to 'h' sometimes becomes a problem. Can't argue with that. Hence, the swap between ' and ; is also necessary in my opinion compared to Vanilla.
This is currenty the most comfortable I'm typing with on Monkeytype.com (quote, medium).
I call it Colemak-H

QWFPG JLUY'
ARSTD MNEIO;
ZXCVB KH,./
Last edited by triple_a (02-Sep-2021 14:57:24)
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Yes, Colemak-H would be a good name for it. Glad to see you also symbol modded the apostrophe; did you also mod the hyphen to a better place?

The wrong-way stagger on standard keyboards is still a problem though. I'd suggest considering a pure Angle mod unless you're on an ortho board?

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

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