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    New to Colemak - swap J and K?

    • Started by Fluegel
    • 4 Replies:
    • Reputation: 1
    • Registered: 23-Jun-2021
    • Posts: 2

    I recently built a split ortholinear keyboard and thought I would give Colemak-DH a try. I've been a QWERTY (boy did I have to think about how to type that) user for close to thirty years and can max out at about 120 words per minute, but when I switched over to the new board I was definitely feeling the stretch.

    I've just jumped right in and aren't using any aids, although faffing around with QMK has definitely helped me learn the layout. I'm on my second day and I can hit about 19 WPM on monkeytype. I use vim quite a bit and it's honestly not been too bad. I'm especially pleased that the hjkl keys aren't spread all over the place.

    There are one or two things about the layout that I'm finding a little odd:

    - "I'm" is a bit of a stretch
    - J seems to be used less often than K, but J is much easier for me to type
    - It looks like O and U could be swapped without much penalty

    The only one that really bothers me is the positioning of K and J. I am very, very tempted to swap them. The other benefit of doing this would be making the LK roll easier. Thoughts? Is there a good reason not to do this on a split ortho board?

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    • From: UK
    • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
    • Posts: 897

    Sounds like good progress, and your ideas are not unreasonable:

    J and K are where they are because most users are going to be using traditional boards, and in that case, J is appreciably worse.  On an ortho board this no longer applies as you point out, so I think it would probably be OK to exchange them. I mostly use a ortho board these days but I have kept J and K unchanged as they they're both infrequent keys and I'd rather maintain compatibility with trad boards.

    For words like *I'm*, I'd recommend switching the apostrophe with semi-colon.

    You are right that for pinky-averse people, O and U can be switched without too much issue. However I think this is mainly psychological: People are usually OK with A, which is more common than O, even though that's also a pinky. With pinkies, frequent characters are acceptable as long as they are kept to the home-row locations, I think.

    Last edited by stevep99 (23-Jun-2021 16:19:34)

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

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    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 5,125

    I don't think those swaps would cause much trouble, like SteveP says. But I also don't think they'll provide much benefit in the long run! And you will make your layout less useful, if, say, you're on another computer where you can get hold of a standard Colemak (for instance, by downloading a script or EPKL, or using Linux/MacOS where Colemak is build-in) but not easily your modded variant.

    I find LK very easy to alt-finger using the middle finger for L, but I'm on a row-staggered board so I don't know how easy it'd be for you.

    Last edited by DreymaR (24-Jun-2021 14:18:29)

    *** 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: 23-Jun-2021
    • Posts: 2

    Heh... something tells me I'm not in much danger of running into Colemak in the wild. I use Linux myself, but I can't remember the last time anyone handed me anything other than a Windows machine. You're right about the alt fingering though, that does seem to make it easier. I'll just stick with it for now. Cheers!

    Although maybe I should buy/make one of those usb-usb adapters... just in case.

    Last edited by Fluegel (24-Jun-2021 16:49:34)
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    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 5,125

    I love my QUICKIE USB-USB adapter for those tight spots. Not just for the Colemak-CAWS, but for Extend which is a drug I'm unashamedly dependent on.

    If you're handed one of those pesky Windows machines and it's got a connection, you're one download away from typing on Colemak. Even better, one EPKL download away from Colemak-CAWS+Extend, or whichever standard mod combo you prefer.

    Last edited by DreymaR (25-Jun-2021 08:32:42)

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

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