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    At the beginning and scared

    • Started by OnAGERYo
    • 4 Replies:
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 26-Apr-2021
    • Posts: 2

    Hello all,

    I have spent some time reviewing different posts on this forum and I thought I would ask for advice here. I hope I'm not on the wrong forum for this.

    Recently, with lockdowns becoming my daily routine, I decided it was time to invest into a standing desk to keep moving a bit. Then I had a surprise: while typing on my macbook while sitting doesn't bother me much, doing so standing is impossible for me: my neck starts hurting after 30 minutes. On a chair I have the (bad) habit of slouching so much my head is almost at the level of the screen and hence, no neck pain.

    Hence, I decided I needed a stand for the laptop and an external keyboard so I could look at the screen without hunching. And down the mechanical keyboard rabbit hole I went... After looking at lots of models and testing none of them thanks to pandemic, I picked a split ortholinear keyboard, having no clue what I was doing. I can switch the keycaps easily so I can easily try colemak now, and I think I need some advice. The keyboard is also fully programmable so I can configure layers, etc. (Well, in theory — keyboard has not arrived yet, I may have surprises when unpacking)

    Here are some bullets points about my typing habits and my goals:

    • I'm a slow and sloppy touch typist (30WPM, lots of mistakes)

    • I type 10-20% french, 30-40% german and the rest in english. And I'm learning russian (let's say 1% russian)

    • I user a Mac since 30 years roughly

    • From time to time (very sporadic) I do have to use other computers, it's rare but when it happens I am stuck for days (on site at customers).

    • I switched to qwerty 15 years ago (I moved to another country, my original keyboard layout, azerty, was not available at all, I was not about to learn yet another local layout (qwertz). Because qwerty was available as well, I chose it thinking I might move to yet another country some time down the road)

    • I consider qwerty uncomfortable. My previous layout (azerty) was worse, but I feel qwerty is uncomfortable simply put. I am after comfort first and maintaining my current speed, not necessarily increasing it.

    • I do code a bit and my time spent coding is increasing.

    • I travel often (well outside of pandemic day-to-day insanity), and while traveling I type on my lap quite a bit, where it would not be possible to use an external keyboard. Hence I want to be able to switch back to the laptop layout when needed. I am ok changing the layout on my macbook with Karabiner for example.

    • I tried colemak once during a one week holiday, but I could give it only 30 minutes a day which was not sufficient to provide me acceptable speed when I went back to work after a week and I gave up, reverted back to qwerty, it was to hampering to my work productivity.

    • I have 30 minutes of free time a day I'd say, the rest is pretty much clockwork. I can't be training hours every day, I just don't have the bandwidth.

    Knowing all of the above, is there any advice you can give me? And be frank please — if it's "colemak is not for you", that's fine as well, as long as you tell me why.

    I feel I should:
    1. first get used to ortholinear layout while keeping qwerty for now
    2. use tarmac to switch to colemak progressively (actually I think colemak dhm is what I should go for)

    this "feeling" is based on zero facts and science, hence asking for opinions here =)

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    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 5,176

    Hi! Hope your experience will be as fun and pleasant as mine has been.  ( のvの) c[_]

    Whether you get used to ortho first or use the ortho to learn Colemak on, is entirely up to you. Some people have reported using different keyboards for different layouts as a way of keeping them mentally apart, so if you're concerned about keeping your QWERTY/AZERTY intact for using other people's keyboards fast (I don't) you could use the ortho for Colemak only. But either way, it's your choice and it's okay. If I were you and had such a lovely board I'd use it for absolutely everything.  (✿◠‿◠)

    Whether to use Tarmak is your own choice too. Even though I invented Tarmak I realize that it's brilliant for some but others are better off with another approach. But since you say you don't have a lot of bandwidth to spare, that sounds like a good application for Tarmak! As you've probably seen already, there have been many happy Tarmak users in similar situations.

    There is a Tarmak for DH which leads you straight to Colemak-DH (DHm is the standard now so that's covered).
    https://dreymar.colemak.org/tarmak.html#tmk-dh

    Recently, a helpful user named Caffae made keylayout files for Tarmak-DH for Mac! But of course, using a programmable board you can just do that too.
    https://dreymar.colemak.org/tarmak-intro.html#downloads

    Last edited by DreymaR (27-Apr-2021 07:40:37)

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

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    • Registered: 26-Apr-2021
    • Posts: 2

    Thanks a lot @DreymaR, this is helpful. I am a bit stressed by this adventure I must say...

    I will endeavour to keep my laptop's keyboard layout as close as possible to my mechanical keyboard, because I do spent ~10% of my working time with the laptop on my desk somewhere not at my desk. Unless you think I should keep the laptop on qwerty so as not to forget qwerty too much?

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    • Reputation: 172
    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 5,176

    I don't use QWERTY anymore, except by eye when I have to and can't be bothered to whip out my USB device. Up to you whether you want to maintain it, but for me QWERTY is way too ugly to type on.  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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

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    • Reputation: 110
    • From: UK
    • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
    • Posts: 923

    Welcome - with a programmable keyboard you have plenty of options. A rabbit hole of mods and layers awaits!
    I'd echo the suggestion of using Colemak on your new board, and maintaining a minimal Qwerty proficiency (if you really have to) on traditional keyboards using a basic hunt-and-peck technique to get by.

    Using Colemak-DH with Seniply.

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