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    Learn to touch type Qwerty via Colemak

    • Started by pinkyache
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    • Registered: 21-Apr-2010
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    Just read this.  Article that doesn't actually say that much.  But the basic gist is that learning Dvorak helped the author learn to touch type.  It helped being a different layout as they couldn't tear themselves away from hunt and pecking.

    https://www.theverge.com/2019/2/17/1822 … ergonomics

    "Dvorak made me faster almost entirely because it forced me to learn to touch type. For years I’d tried to do the same using a QWERTY layout, but when my old hunt-and-peck method was so easy to revert to I’d inevitably give up on touch typing when I needed to write something quickly. Dvorak was different. It forced me to learn to type properly, and eventually I did."

    I borked my workstation the other day and was thrown onto the command line with Qwerty and felt totally stranded without a paddle.  At times like that I then consider whether it's worth my time to learn Qwerty.  Or to have a hard coded layout in a keyboard or via a device.

    The above article did make me think that those that want to learn to touch type could even use Colemak as a route to Qwerty.  Perhaps this is the most obscene and irrelevant but radical idea you have ever heard postured?

    Last edited by pinkyache (18-Dec-2022 15:07:53)

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    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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    Hiya Pinkyache! Long time no see, right? Good to see you.

    I don't have any direct responses to your post. Just saying hi, for now.  /(⁎≧∇≦)\

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    Hi @Dreymar.  Glad you are still about.  Hope you are well.

    Last edited by pinkyache (17-Dec-2022 15:36:25)

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    It's possible that learning Colemak - or any other decent layout - would improve your technique, such that you could then apply those lessons to Qwerty touch-typing as well? 

    Even if that were the case, I can't see how that would be better than just learning touch-typing in Qwerty direct, or better yet, learning to touch-type in Colemak and then ditching Qwerty entirely. The backward step to Qwerty after become skilled in something much better is not going to come easy.

    As an aside, I think quite often these sorts of articles are designed to be comforting and reassuring to Qwerty users as the writers don't want to alienate the majority of their readership, most of whom have no desire or interest in switching.

    Using Colemak-DH with Seniply.

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    My take home is that it can be difficult training to touch type when you are already semi-proficient.  Even if it is a weird ad-hoc half peeking style that has been developed.  I know I half heartedly tried to learn to touch type on a few occasions and just didn't follow it through.  It was only when I went the alternative layout route that it forced my hand.

    Then again I have a friend that did try the Colemak route, but didn't stick to it.  He gets by well enough.

    I've come across other videos and what not that state there is little advantage to another layout.  Dvorak having something as small as 5% advantage (see below).  Which kind of makes it more trouble than it's worth if that is indeed true.

    I hadn't thought about these articles as being some kind of comfort piece.  That's an interesting take.

    Saw the 5% claim via the engineerguy: Why the Dvorak keyboard didn't take over the world.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnUBl90tayI at 2m 50s

    Referencing:
    Why alphabetic keyboards are not easy to use: Keyboard layout doesn't much matter - Norman and Fisher (1981)
    https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio … uch_Matter

    Last edited by pinkyache (18-Dec-2022 15:10:58)

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    Physicians deafen our ears with the Honorificabilitudinitatibus of their heavenly Panacaea, their sovereign Guiacum.

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    • From: Viken, Norway
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    That kind of claims makes me laugh, they're just pulled out of people's anuses. Where's that number from? It smells of offal.

    Typically, someone did an ill-advised calculation, or performed a poorly-designed experiment then just gobbled up the results thereof. Highly untrustworthy.

    That said, it does seem that better layouts don't offer much of a raw speed advantage. The fastest typists say that even at 220+ WPM they don't feel that physical factors are the most speed-limiting. Rather, it's the mental task that keeps them from even higher speeds. And that task isn't highly dependent on layout efficiency I think.

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    @dreymar, added a reference, haven't bothered to read the paper.

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    Thanks for the reference! I see that in this particular case my critique was too harshly formulated: EngineerGuy did look up rigorous attempts at measuring real layout efficiency.

    Unfortunately, the issue still stands. Even the best studies to date have done little to measure how people actually learn a layout properly, to the best of my knowledge. Such an actually interesting study would be very costly and time-consuming to conduct. I think it's fair to say that we may be able to measure relative quality between layouts, hopefully fairly well, but not really numerically.

    What is probably true though, is that if speed is your only endpoint then better layouts likely won't be much more than 5–10% more efficient after all. As mentioned, even top typists do not feel that speed limited by different layouts. Jashe famously learnt QWERTY, Dvorak and Colemak to ≈200 WPM for a MonkeyType LayoutFluid challenge, and reported that Colemak feels best at that speed followed by Dvorak (which had a little too much alternation for such a high speed according to him). And while it's easily seen that the top typists using QWERTY is more a matter of habit and experience with it than anything else, this is still the situation. It's quite easy to brush off any dreamer's claim that their new layout is n% faster or something like that.

    Last edited by DreymaR (19-Dec-2022 09:40:56)

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    @dreymar, yep all interesting, and would love to have something a little bit more concrete.  Glad you made me dig out a reference.

    Sadly for now we'll just have to accept that Dvorak is the best layout in the universe.  It has made me very rich and since I have been very proficient in using it I have had to  bat off thousands of beautiful people that want to get close to me.  Sadly I just don't have the space in my waking life to have all these groupies wake to me clacking away on my keyboard, and the chorus of them complementing me on my amazing finger technique would soon get tiring.

    Speed has never been my end point.  I would prefer to concentrate on comfortable non-fatiguing artistry.

    Last edited by pinkyache (19-Dec-2022 16:48:09)

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    Indeed. And another bump in the road for the debate, is that you and I at least may not be able to discern the differences very well at our speeds. Hell, I type slowly enough that I'd probably find even Workman comfy enough. I try to keep an ear to the ground and listen to what the best typists say about layout quality, so I can join in when people discuss it – but I may not be fast enough myself to really feel any of the differences very well.

    I still like my layout choice a lot of course. It's soooo nice. Especially when adding in the extra bells and whistles of the Big Bag.

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    Soooo nice.  Is good.  And feedback that something feels more comfortable at speed is good.  My hands can vary enormously.  Depending on what I'm typing.  Mood.  Heat.  And what not.  And that's before we discuss keyboards.  I grabbed a new keyboard the other day.  Not really as a daily driver.  But as a stop gap.  I got on with it.  Didn't particularly love it.  Went back to my daily driver, and that felt sooo nice by comparison.  But on a normal day it doesn't feel that amazing to me.

    I once converted some popular words in Colemak to the Dvorak positions.  And it felt quite different on the fingers.  Patterns that just aren't there in Dvorak.  I should do the same for Qwerty to Dvorak, just to get a feel for how good or bad it is by comparison, and whether there are any fingering positions that appeal to me.  Ironically I quite like using my right pinky finger these days (I hated it at first), but I'm not that sure it's that good for my general posture.  There's something about me striking it that can aggravate previous injury in my neck area.  Same when I am right hand shifting.  My style might  be all wrong.  For months I floated my hands, but recently I'm back resting my forearms and that feels okay for now.  Soo many variables.

    Last edited by pinkyache (19-Dec-2022 18:45:12)

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    pinkyache said:

    Soooo nice.  Is good.  And feedback that something feels more comfortable at speed is good.  My hands can vary enormously.  Depending on what I'm typing.  Mood.  Heat.  And what not.  And that's before we discuss keyboards.  I grabbed a new keyboard the other day.  Not really as a daily driver.  But as a stop gap.  I got on with it.  Didn't particularly love it.  Went back to my daily driver, and that felt sooo nice by comparison.  But on a normal day it doesn't feel that amazing to me.

    I once converted some popular words in Colemak to the Dvorak positions.  And it felt quite different on the fingers.  Patterns that just aren't there in Dvorak.  I should do the same for Qwerty to Dvorak, just to get a feel for how good or bad it is by comparison, and whether there are any fingering positions that appeal to me.  Ironically I quite like using my right pinky finger these days (I hated it at first), but I'm not that sure it's that good for my general posture.  There's something about me striking it that can aggravate previous injury in my neck area.  Same when I am right hand shifting.  My style might  be all wrong.  For months I floated my hands, but recently I'm back resting my forearms and that feels okay for now.  Soo many variables.

    Great reading and you are right Colemak QWERTY felt quite unique or different on fingers. But my point of view is that learning the QWERTY is good thing but taking it in routine rather then touch keyboards is not a good option. I may be wrong but it's just my opinion.

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