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    First day on mod-DH and ANSI frustration

    • Started by Viper
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    • Registered: 06-Jul-2018
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    I finally tried mod-DH today; I've spent roughly 6 hours using it and got from 10 to 100wpm on TyperA and 124 on 10ff! This was the fastest I've ever improved at something. I'm proud of my learning pace. However, I've already noticed a few roadblocks.

    My biggest issue is the bottom row for the left index finger, which isn't unique to mod-DH, but it's more noticeable now. On ANSI layout, my left index is forced into having to take care of 3 keys, D, V, and Z, causing me to occasionally miss when typing fast due to the different distances. I'd prefer putting some of that stress to my pinkie finger without having to resort to using the shift key as Z. Another issue is that I used to angle cheat, so I have to relearn more keys and bigrams than the average user switching from vanilla. Because everything else is the same, my brain randomly gets confused and starts thinking in vanilla instead; when I switched from qwerty to Colemak, I changed my typing technique as well, which gave me a clean start. Believe me or not, this switch so far was more frustrating than qwerty to Colemak.

    I believe I'm missing a lot of DH's potential by not having a matrix keyboard, but even then, plenty of words on TyperA feel significantly easier while just a few are harder. As difficult as it is, I'm having fun. I think the effort will definitely be worth it! My finger tendons and wrists hurt quite badly after the practice today. I need to tame my lust for improvement :D

    124WPM Video

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    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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    Grats on that super fast improvement, you impress as always!  ∩(◕‿◕。)∩~♪

    In theory, Colemak-DH should be even nicer for a row-staggered board than a matrix one. Your main issue is with the ANSI Angle-Z mod that usually goes with ANSI Colemak-DH. We ISO boarders have a much more pleasant ride. I've thought that the Angle-Z mod was worth sacrificing the Z position for the benefit of a straight wrist, but in your case you're coming from the Angle-Cheat so your benefit will primarily be a little lower SFB frequency from having the SC bigram as Shai intended instead of the roughly twice as common CT bigram using Angle-Cheat.

    People who have a thumb key to spare or a programmable keyboard might just as well choose the Fat-Z angle mod if they can reclaim the left Shift somehow. But I don't think that's so safe on a standard keyboard with standard tools. Not sure what's best for you then? It'll be interesting to see what you think further on.

    One of Shai's worries concerning the Angle mod has been the slightly worse stretch to the G (Cmk-DH B) position, how do you feel about that? I don't mind but I'm not that fast.

    By the way, have you checked out MonkeyType yet? It's my fave typing site now:
    https://monkeytype.com/

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

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    As we've discussed before, it seems that most people are coming from angle cheat, and it has to be acknowledged that the advantages are less obvious in that case. For people using the traditional technique, the Angle Mod offers a clear and direct benefit, as they are not switching keys between fingers, only to a more comfortable angle-of-approach of the hand. Using the "angle cheat" causes the left index finger to be overused and the middle finger underused somewhat, and of course there is the CT bigram, but generally speaking it feels comfortable.

    Since Z is so rare, I suspect the main issue is not with speed typing, but the displaced Undo shortcut. Instead, I suspect Viper's difficulty is the same problem I had with first changing from angle cheat to the angle mod: that C was previously comfortable and easy, and now feels less good. Obviously I think the other benefits outweigh this inconvenience, but the C change does take quite some getting used to, not least because the first time, it's moved from Qwerty.

    I would anticipate it being better in the long term, not least because of the better left-hand finger balance that results in using middle finger for C. And of course B is no longer miles away too.

    Last edited by stevep99 (09-Dec-2020 15:39:02)

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

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    DreymaR said:

    One of Shai's worries concerning the Angle mod has been the slightly worse stretch to the G (Cmk-DH B) position, how do you feel about that? I don't mind but I'm not that fast.

    By the way, have you checked out MonkeyType yet? It's my fave typing site now:
    https://monkeytype.com/

    If you mean the G being worse than B in DH, they feel roughly equal to me, but I'm not sure if I understood you right. I did try monkeytype today. I like the design a lot more than 10ff! Feels a lot calmer and the customisability is amazing.

    stevep99 said:

    Using the "angle cheat" causes the left index finger to be overused and the middle finger underused somewhat, and of course there is the CT bigram, but generally speaking it feels comfortable.

    Yeah, while it feels comfortable at first, it'd be better to put some effort into balancing the workload between the middle and index fingers just for the CT bigram alone. You could say it's the same like people finding qwerty comfortable just because they're used to it :P

    stevep99 said:

    Instead, I suspect Viper's difficulty is the same problem I had with first changing from angle cheat to the angle mod: that C was previously comfortable and easy, and now feels less good.

    That is one big reason, the other one being having to memorize 3 locations; every time I'm about to use D, V, or Z, my brain sometimes "retrieves" the wrong spot from its memory and hits V instead of D for example. It would be significantly easier if my brain didn't have to worry about 3 spots on the same row. This is however related to the physical layout of the kb, not Mod-DH, although it exaggerates the effect because I don't quite have the same rock-solid muscle memory as on vanilla yet.

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    Remember V is in the same place as Qwerty and vanilla Colemak, even though the Angle Mod makes it seem like it changed. Personally I found the D quite easy to adapt to. I tended to find that keys that have improved are easier to internalize than keys that have got worse, which might explain my C difficulty. But I can easily imagine relearning for speedtyping may well be especially disruptive.

    Yeah, given that Colemak is designed assuming middle-finger C, it's clear to me that the Angle Mod is the best all-round solution. And IMO it makes a standard board closer to the experience of using a matrix-like one, so the transition to non-standard hardware should be easier in theory should you ever decide to go down that route.

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

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    A minor update 3 days in: already in the 140-160wpm range on simple word lists like the ones from monkeytype and 10ff and 110-130 on TyperA! I hardly practised the past 2 days, maybe 20 minutes total spent typing on a site. Most of the improvement is happening in the background naturally. I've noticed that I struggle the most with two keys that didn't move, V and K, which is funny. For V, I usually end up hitting D, and for K, I end up hitting H. I assume it's because I memorized the layout by relative distances between keys, and now I have to rebuild that sense.

    I believe that it's possible to regain most if not all of your vanilla Colemak speed within about 20 hours of proper practice. I doubt I'll be able to reach my previous top speeds of 220+ on simple word lists to compare just how big the difference in ergonomics is, but I believe I can get back to 180wpm on tougher lists soon, which should be enough to form an unbiased opinion and write about my learning experience.

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    That is some super rapid progress there: it's amazing do think you're already twice as fast as me after three days, when I've been using DH for 6 years!

    The V thing is interesting, others have mentioned it too. There must be something in this idea that its the relative distance from other keys is still changed. Our brains also store bigram/trigram patterns, so even if one key in a pair has changed, it's bound to mess up that bigram memory as a whole.

    It'll be interesting to read your considered thoughts when you've gathered them.

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

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    This supports the hypothesis that it's the most rarely used keys that you don't think about, that end up being the hardest to adjust to. V and K are rare, and since they don't actually move in the mod they receive little attention. By contrast, D and H fall into place very rapidly. When switching from Colemak-DHk to DHm recently, I had little trouble with the M but K kept tripping me up for a while. And yes, I seem to remember making a little more V errors after the switch even though it's on the unaffected hand?

    Last edited by DreymaR (11-Dec-2020 13:12:19)

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

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    It's been 6 days since I switched. I don't see any drawback about angle DH; bgdh are all in better positions, m is in an obviously worse position while xcz are neutral (although they provide a benefit by reducing sfb, the positions themselves feel the same to me). The increased comfort to vanilla is more noticeable the faster I type. Law of increasing results?

    I've already surpassed 200wpm on 60s monkeytype. Whether it is the ease of switch or my raw experience with improvement, I can't tell; however, I believe people can reach relatively comfortable speed (3/4 of previous speed) after switching from vanilla to DH within just a few hours of casual usage over the span of a week or two.

    203WPM Video

    Last edited by Viper (14-Dec-2020 13:44:09)
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    Great video, such a speed is a wonder to behold!

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

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