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    Wanting advice on which layout to learn

    • Started by ppioz212
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    • Registered: 26-Nov-2020
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    So I've been using qwerty my whole life and very recently discovered touch typing through a video a while ago. I'd been learning it slowly, especially with the help of typingclub and now i get about 60 WPM on typeracer. Then I found out about alternate layouts through penguify's video on workman. Been doing some research and had been finding that colemak is one of the best ones to learn and not being utterly different from qwerty. I've been learning it for about 2 weeks now. Was using keybr.com initially to learning the placements of all the new keys by learning the most common letters and then expanding it to where i now know where all the keys are, atleast in theory.

    Learning colemak hasnt been easy but definitely not as bad as I thought. I'm averaging about 18 WPM on 10fastfingers but then i recently found and read the workman layout page to see what it had to offer. I did notice that the middle row is used more so with colemak and then discovered colemak-mod-dh as well. I do prefer colemak in comparison since less letters are moved around, especially with the bottom row. Is colemak's middle column a major issue and is mod dh necessary? I've been wanting to just hear from people from differing perspectives. I realize preference is a major thing but also just wanna find a more comfortable alternate layout with the home row optimized.

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    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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    Since you sort of come from Workman you may be used to deprioritizing the middle column. But it isn't so bad, really. The biggest issue with vanilla Colemak is the HE/EH bigram I guess. If you're okay with that then you should have no problem.

    There's a lot of minor things you can do to make typing even nicer, though. I use Colemak-CAWS, that's four mods there! And I like all of them of course. They aren't necessary as such, but nice.

    ( のvの) c[_] ~(  See "DreymaR's Big Bag Of Keyboard Tricks"  )
    https://goo.gl/Hox6hH

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

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    So I discovered the extend feature which i think is amazing and I'm realizing how powerful it truly is. One question I had about the bag of tricks is how to activate colemak-dh and the tarmak layouts. I cant find it in the EKPL app already (i just see the colemak and qwerty layout.) Im not sure if theres something in the code that i need to enable but some guidance would be greatly appreciated. I already am loving it and am blown away by the potential. Look forward to hearing about it.

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    I wanted to ask about using extend as well. I've been doing it for a couple hours now and it feels like its already messing with my hand positioning. My left thumb is now naturally doing this thing where its stretched a lot more and kinda bumping into my right hand a bit (as weird and involuntary as that sounds) and my left hand just feels worse having done so. does extend take a while to get used to and get better with? My main focus is on using the backspace shortcut effectively along with the ctrl+backspc combination well so that i can correct mistakes more efficiently. It might also be that i need my pinky to be in the right home row position consistently for it to work effectively as well. again, any advice and wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

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    • From: Viken, Norway
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    I'm not sure what you mean about the left thumb stretching more when using Extend? Is that because you reach for the Caps key with the left pinky? I haven't noticed any such problems in the years I've been using Extend (more and more!), but I play the piano so my hands may be different. Could you please explain the problem in more detail? It's an interesting question!  ( のvの) c[_]

    I know that SteveP uses a thumb key for the Extend modifier. I haven't done that so I couldn't really advise you on the issue. One thing about that is that EPKL has trouble remapping some of the modifiers efficiently, including both Alt keys. So you might run into trouble with that.

    To select layouts you could edit an EPKL_Layouts_Override.ini file yourself. However, if you get the latest commit (not the Release 1-1-6 but the commit, without an EPKL.exe file in it but you can compile that with the enclosed .bat script), there's a Layout/Settings... menu option where you can freely pick your layout(s) and have them written to lines in the Override file. Then you could look at the file if you wish to see how it's done.  (Θώθ )

    Last edited by DreymaR (27-Nov-2020 14:38:19)

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

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    The centre-column thing is somewhat subjective, but I'd say most people seem to disfavour the centre columns but differ on how much of a problem it is. In my (heavily biased) opinion, the DH mod is most certainly worth it! Still, standard Colemak is still good, you can always switch to DH later if you want, it's not too difficult once you already know Colemak.

    Yes, I use LeftAlt as my Extend key (instead of CapsLock). I started with CapsLock, which works well for right-hand keys (arrows, pg up/down, backspace, etc) but I found it to be less than ideal for home-row modifiers S, T etc.  But some people don't like to mess around with modifier keys, and it does depend a bit on where exactly your LeftAlt key is, so each to their own.

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

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    To respond to dreymar, i think the left thumb stretching is because im stretching my left pinky out to reach capslock more often than i ever would and so my left thumb stretches along with it. It's pretty weird and dunno how common of an issue it is. But its also just making things harder to type normally. The typing issue could also be because i need to get used to using extend for backspace instead of having my right hand fly to the top right of the keyboard, so theres probably some muscle memory stuff there thats needs to be worked out over time. And using left alt for extend sounds really interesting actually. it could be something to look into and test out as well maybe.
    '
    As for getting the layouts to be setup correctly I'll have to look into the files and commits and seeing if they work out shortly. I'll let you know if they're more struggles with things like tarmak and colemak-dh on there. Just to give some extra info, i downloaded the zip file from a different spot in the links you'd given instead of downloading the commits from the code window in github if that helps at all.

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    • From: Viken, Norway
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    One trick for using LAlt for Extend and Caps for LAlt (which is okay!) is to swap those keys by Registry Remap. You could use the SharpKeys program. Maybe I'll add a script for doing that with RegEdit in my EPKL Other files at some point, unless someone has one ready already?

    One question I had about the bag of tricks is how to activate colemak-dh and the tarmak layouts.

    As I said above, with the latest EPKL commits you can choose your layout with the "Layouts/Settings..." menu option! What that'll do for you is to write a line in the [pkl] section of your EPKL_Layouts_Override.ini file, which for Tarmak-1 with the Curl(DH)Angle-ANSI mod will look like this:

    [pkl]
    layout = Tarmak\Tmk-VK-Tm1_ANS_CurlAngle:Tarmak-VK-Tm1 CurlAngle(ANS)
    Last edited by DreymaR (29-Nov-2020 11:48:14)

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

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    DreymaR said:

    One trick for using LAlt for Extend and Caps for LAlt (which is okay!) is to swap those keys by Registry Remap. You could use the SharpKeys program. Maybe I'll add a script for doing that with RegEdit in my EPKL Other files at some point, unless someone has one ready already?

    Wait so would i use registry remap or sharpkeys. Or would these be using them both together. I apologize for the questions and such, i very little experience with these sorts of things as is probably evident as is.

    And i also was able to find the layout/settings options once i updated to the latest commit. thank you for that and the other message. I think is should be good with figuring that out now.

    Ans another thing to bring up, which i had briefly mentioned earlier, but does extend have a pretty big learning curve? I find my typing is definitely worse since I've been using it. Mainly the usage of capital letters is tougher since I'll hit capslock instead of shift for them a lot, and also another issue is that using backspace is significantly harder when it comes to my muscle memory. Quickly deleting something, and then retyping is a lot harder and it ends up making me make more mistakes as i have to reposition my hands. I'm just curious if others found that switching took a bit even with doing basic typing let alone using it for more complicated shortcuts and being more efficient in other scenarios.

    Last edited by ppioz212 (29-Nov-2020 23:10:16)
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    ppioz212 said:

    Wait so would i use registry remap or sharpkeys. Or would these be using them both together.

    Ans another thing to bring up, which i had briefly mentioned earlier, but does extend have a pretty big learning curve? I find my typing is definitely worse since I've been using it. Mainly the usage of capital letters is tougher since I'll hit capslock instead of shift for them a lot, and also another issue is that using backspace is significantly harder when it comes to my muscle memory.

    SharpKeys is a program that does your Registry remapping for you, without you having to get your hands dirty by editing arcane files and Registry keys (and possibly hurting your system in the process).

    I haven't heard anything but praise from Extend users, even newly converted ones. I expect your learning curve problems to subside pretty quickly. Of course, you may have been using either the Caps function or Caps-for-Back quite a lot earlier on which would make it more confusing to you right now. But I wouldn't worry unless you feel the same in a couple of weeks' time.

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

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