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- Registered: 13-Jun-2021
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So here I am. For more than 20 years I've been using azerty properly touch typing which I learned when I was a kid. The past five years I switched to qwerty because my work (I'm a SysAdmin) gave me a qwerty laptop. I don't remember exactly why but I got interested in ortholinear keyboards a few weeks ago and found a second hand Drop Planck v6 - which is my first mechanical keyboard. I didn't really have an issue with qwerty. I think I liked it better than azerty because the numbers in azerty need shift.
In my first few moments with the Planck, I noticed the ortholinear layout fixed a problem I had: reliably hitting numbers. That was good. Reading more about the subject online, I also stumbled upon Colemak. Because of my OLKB, I decided to settle on Colemak-dhm. Lucky for me in the default layout, there is a colemak layer preprogrammed on my keyboard. I modded that layer according to mod-dh.
So basically I went from: "there is no problem with staggered qwerty", to "I informed myself multiple problems and I'm not sure if I want to fix them" (ignorance is bliss :lol: ).
But anyway, here are my experiences with colemak:
To be frank, the first week on colemak was mostly miserable. On day one I created an account on typing.com and I learned the location of all the letters. I kept qwerty on the keycaps so cheating/looking at the keyboard is useless. I didn't do that anyway with qwerty but with a new layout, ... I didn't want to start out with bad habits.
My speed dropped from ~80wpm/ ~97%accuracy, to a mere 10wpm at best when typing text displayed on the screen. For some weird reason it slowed down even further when I want to write text myself. When I need to type something quickly, raise-lower-j takes me back to qwerty and raise-lower-k brings me back to Colemak-dhm when I can slow down again.
But that in itself also creates problems. On day 3 or so I was on a conf call with VMware to fix something in our infrastructure. I had to log in to an ESXi host and managed to lock myself out of it for 15 minutes because the password that is engraved in my muscle memory, did no longer come out (correctly). Even switching back to qwerty during the call didn't go very well. I guess for obvious reasons and perhaps because I was also stressed out a bit not being able to gain access.
Now I'm on day 6 and my speed has improved from 10wpm to max 20-24wpm. If I look at my account at typing.com, I see that I spent almost 500 minutes typing colemak with an average accuracy at 97%. I think that's a lot of effort only to get at 24wpm coming from 80wpm in qwerty. I sort of expected that but at times it is hard to hang in there. I hope that by keeping at it the coming weeks, my speed will become to a level which is acceptable to work with or at the very least not constantly frustratingly slow. Apart from the speed, I'm still mixing up mostly R, S, I, P, L and O. From now on, I'm trying to switch back to qwerty as little as possible. Only perhaps on chat and certainly for typing passwords, which is still very difficult.
To end this post on a positive note, I do notice the benefits of Colemak, even at this slow speeds. I can mostly keep my arms, wrists in one place. There's much less movement needed. I now notice that my fingers used to be all over the place. No longer so. That is encouraging!
So let's hope I can come back shortly with some progress.