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    Combos with Colemak

    • Started by oritron
    • 3 Replies:
    • Reputation: 1
    • Registered: 02-Nov-2021
    • Posts: 2

    I've been using a combo for "you" for a few months now, as it's the most prominently cumbersome of the frequent words I type (I suppose because the roll is changing changing direction, and it's on outer fingers on the same hand).

    Unfortunately the name "combo" for the feature is overloaded, so I should specify what I mean: when pressing both y and u at the same time, the keyboard emits "you". This is a firmware functionality on many programmable keyboards, QMK recently got an improvement merged for it, which I use in conjunction with some handy helper code from Germ but that isn't required.

    I've experimented with emitting a trailing space in that combo, as well as having variants for "you're" and "your," but at the end, the most useful for me was the simplest approach, just the one combo and no trailing space. It composes well with my one-shot shift, which capitalizes the next letter when tapped, so I can tap shift then y-u and get "You"

    Anyone else using or experimenting with combos in conjunction with Colemak? What have you found?

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    • Reputation: 172
    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 5,181

    Sounds nice! Ideally I'd like to have something like that in EPKL but I haven't made it (yet).

    Yes, combo is a very overloaded word. I'd call it a chord! Normal typing is sequenced, while this is a two-key chord – similar to how we chord when using modifiers but without a designated modifier key.

    And yes, 'you' is a much maligned word on Colemak. It's a lot worse for newcomers from QWERTY though, as many typists on that layout underuse their right hand pinky. After a while of using an optimized layout – the good ones all have higher pinky usage – people's pinkies get stronger and the problem is lessened. But it's still a bad thing.

    I actually noted while typing 'layout' just now that I often mistype that word as 'laoyut'! Most of my typing errors are shufflings like that. I think this nicely illustrates that the OY/YO bigram isn't easy even after many years with Colemak. There's not much for it I believe, it's two bad fingers in a row.

    Short of an ingenious solution like yours, I'd suggest compiling a training list of words containing 'ou uo oy yo uy yu' using for instance GFruit's word filter:
    https://gfruit.github.io/typing/words-filter.html

    Here's such a list I just made for training as a Monkeytype Custom text:

    about alloy aloud amount anyone around beyond bought bounce bound bounds boy boys buy buyer buyers buying buys canyon cloud clouds cloudy colour couch cough could count counts county couple coupon course court courts cousin cowboy deploy double doubt duo employ enjoy enjoys enough famous favour flour fought foul found four fourth ground group groups guy guys honour hour hourly hours house houses humour joy labour layout liquor loud lounge loyal mayor mount mounts mouse mouth noun ought ounce ounces our ours out outer outfit outlet output pouch pound pounds pour proud quote quoted quotes rouge rough round rounds route router routes royal scout scouts should shout sought soul souls sound sounds soup sour source south soy spouse though touch tough tour tours toy toys trout voyage would wound wounds yoga you young your yours youth
    Last edited by DreymaR (03-Nov-2021 11:31:26)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    • Registered: 02-Nov-2021
    • Posts: 2

    You're right, chord is the best word for it!

    I actually spent around a year using Colemak without this feature on my keyboard and despite a fair bit keyboarding practice, I still found "you" to be a slow-down word.

    I like that word filter tool, good tip :) It seems like it's particularly "yo" that is my actual slow-down, as I type about/could/etc with a speed-up.

    Anything else you would think to put on a chord for a Colemak improvement? The rest of mine are symbols and shortcuts, not for general typing, and I suspect it needs to be a very common pattern to justify learning a new keying.

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    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 5,181

    The most common usage I've seen for chords like that so far has been special symbols like accented letters. But one thing I'd like to chord would be Ctrl+Back! Being able to delete the previous word with a 2–3 key homerow chord would be very nice.

    If I were to do that I'd probably use TO since Ctrl+Back on Extend is Ext+T+O. But then again, it's best to use one of the rarest bigrams (in both directions) on the home row to minimize misfires for something as destructive as deleting a word, and I don't know what that would be. Maybe not homerow but just an easily accessible pair of keys? Or a three-key chord for safety?

    Last edited by DreymaR (06-Nov-2021 15:40:17)

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

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