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    one handed keyboard Colemak variant

    • Started by one_armed_man
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    • Registered: 21-Jul-2006
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    hi,
    I was searching my internet warehouse site and I came across this keyboard:

    Wolf King Warrior KBWOLDK2388UWT White 55 Normal Keys USB Ergonomics Keyboard - Retail
    ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a … 6823146007 )

    Well, once I pulled up the image I saw it only had about 11 alphabet keys and was terribly disappointed.  Why would they make a keyboard with such a streamlined 1-handed design and only have it used for _computer games_?!  Yes it is a gamer's keyboard.  But I invision it could be used for much more if there are enough talented people who work on it. 

    Anyway, this keyboard nagged me so much as a waste of technology, I found this superior COLEMAK keymap and adapted it for this 1-handed circular design keyboard.  I will see if I can figure out the BB code to post some of the keymappings I made, and look forward to anybody else's opinion on this.  I, myself, am quite excited about how it turned out.

    wtt

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    Research -

    Here is the background research I did when putting the keymap together
    deafandblind.com   information on letter and word frequencies in English
    ( http://deafandblind.com/word_frequency.htm )

    and, of course, because I adapted the 101-key Colemak keyboard to this 55-key keyboard,  I used this schematic:
    https://colemak.com/wiki/images/8/80/Co … yout_2.png

    Last edited by one_armed_man (21-Jul-2006 16:05:47)
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    when devising a good keymap for this nifty 55-key keyboard, this is how I treated the rows of keys:

    middle row - primary
    top row - secondary
    bottom row - tertiary

    The key groupings were then broken down into groupings of 3-4 and put in the most favorable spots, depending on the frequency the letters used

    Version 1:
    http://mysite.verizon.net/vze2bk6y/COLEMAK_LAYOUT_3.jpg
    Version 2:
    In version 2 a few letters were shuffled around on the home row,
    the reason being to cluster all the vowels together for lucidity and quick learning

    H -> L position
    N -> A position
    H -> U position again
    and the remaining vowels on the home row were shuffled into alphabetical order

    http://mysite.verizon.net/vze2bk6y/COLEMAK_LAYOUT_4.jpg
    Version 3:
    In version 3, I decided to swap 2 letters.  This decision was made because the keys were in a better position and had a higher frequency of use,
    even though version 3 deviates from the Colemak keymap it was based upon.  The topmost row still remains faithful (for the most part) to the original Colemak keymap.

    Keys changed:
    D -> B
    L -> V

    http://mysite.verizon.net/vze2bk6y/COLEMAK_LAYOUT_5.jpg

    Looking forward to what anyone else thinks of this
    wtt

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    • Shai
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    I highly recommend you'll learn how to type with one hand on a standard keyboard. Read also: Why One Hand Typing on Standard Keyboards

    The two leading one-hand typing keyboards are Frogpad and Half-QWERTY. Those are better IMO than the solution you mentioned above (although much more expensive).
    Frogpad: it already has it own layout which is designed for one handed keyboards, so making a Colemak-Frogpad makes no sense.

    Matias Half-QWERTY: Also a very good solution. This solution could be a software-only solution and work with existing keyboard. However, Matias are known for making legal threats for any software implementation of their idea. However since the patent claims specifically mention QWERTY/Dvorak, I think a Half-Colemak layout shouldn't infringe on the idea. Moreover in Europe there's no software patents in Europe. In any case, creating a Half-QWERTY software is a very complicated task, because it requires digging into the kernel to modify the behavior of the keyboard. This is not a project I'll be able to embark on anytime soon.

    Colemak can't be well-adapted to the Wolf King Warrior solution you suggest. It requires a complete redesign of the layout optimized for one hand and Wolf King Warrior. If you want to create a new keyboard layout, I suggest using Frogpad or the one-handed Maltron keyboard as the base design for the letter positioning, which is better adapted to one hand typing.

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    Shai said:

    I highly recommend you'll learn how to type with one hand on a standard keyboard. Read also: Why One Hand Typing on Standard Keyboards

    The two leading one-hand typing keyboards are Frogpad and Half-QWERTY. Those are better IMO than the solution you mentioned above (although much more expensive).
    Frogpad: it already has it own layout which is designed for one handed keyboards, so making a Colemak-Frogpad makes no sense.

    Matias Half-QWERTY: Also a very good solution. This solution could be a software-only solution and work with existing keyboard. However, Matias are known for making legal threats for any software implementation of their idea. However since the patent claims specifically mention QWERTY/Dvorak, I think a Half-Colemak layout shouldn't infringe on the idea. Moreover in Europe there's no software patents in Europe. In any case, creating a Half-QWERTY software is a very complicated task, because it requires digging into the kernel to modify the behavior of the keyboard. This is not a project I'll be able to embark on anytime soon.

    Colemak can't be well-adapted to the Wolf King Warrior solution you suggest. It requires a complete redesign of the layout optimized for one hand and Wolf King Warrior. If you want to create a new keyboard layout, I suggest using Frogpad or the one-handed Maltron keyboard as the base design for the letter positioning, which is better adapted to one hand typing.

    bummer you don't like it.  I was playing with the idea of drinking my coffee and typing in web pages at the same time. LOL

    it is interesting you say there are no Software Patents in Europe but it would not matter for my particular design because only the hardware part is patented.  Yes, the Wolf King Warrior gaming keyboard is patented technology with the ergonomic circular pattern and all.  Anyway it sure is a novel keyboard, huh?  Limited usefulness but definitely new grounds!

    Cheers
    wtt

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    I do agree with you, Shai, that my keymap will never be mainstream.  For a one-handed keyboard to be adopted as an International standard the key reaches would have to be aligned and discrete.  As you can see from the picture the concentric circle design  of the Wolf King Warrior keyboard the keys are not really lined up too well from circle to circle, and although it saves space, it does not make it easy to remember exact reaches by feel alone.

    I doubt the Frogpad is superior because that requires pressing encumbering toggles between strokes to access a second letter set.   It is not a "true" one-hand keyboard. And the other alternative, the Maltron, is _hardly_ an aethetically pleasing alternive one-hand keyboard.
    Here is a picture of the Maltron
    ( http://www.abilityhub.com/graphics/equi … nRhand.jpg )

    Just looking at what they currently have available for one hand keyboard typers made my stomach turn.

    Has anyone ever heard of cellphone T9en keyboards?

    wtt

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    • Shai
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    I've placed an experimental version of Half-Colemak (similar to Half-QWERTY) for MS Windows.
    First download and install AutoHotKey and then download and run the Half-Colemak script

    The script is based on the Half-QWERTY AutoHotKey script I've found on the AutoHotKey forums.

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    i could create a Half-Colemak-version of the ENTI-Key++ - System like this: www.entikey.z11.de

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    it should look like this:
    one_hand_colemak.gif

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    To make new modifier keys like a "AltSpace" (NOT "Space-CapsLock" since it doesn't lock anything and certainly not caps; I like "AltSpace" since it reminds me of "alternate realities" hehe), I think you have to hack deep down in most systems. I certainly cannot do it. If you mean moving an existing modifier to the Space key that's doable enough (through registry remapping in Windows and similar methods on other systems).

    There may be a layout-based possibility though and I'm planning to look into it (on Windows only, I'm afraid) at some point: I've noticed that Swiss keyboards have an extra modifier. They use the "CapsLock" key as a fourth modifier instead of CapsLock! That's intrigueing. It seems that the Microsoft KLC app can map to this extra key, but I don't see any extra modifier positions in Unix/Linux layouts so I'm unsure how to do it there. With any luck though, those systems are so flexible that you could just specify and add as many modifiers as you like by some kind of specification with no need for "deep hacking". There's bound to be Swiss Linux users!  :)

    I see now that the AHK method uses Space-on-up to resolve the dual role of modifier and space bar. Interesting concept. That couldn't be done using a layout- or register-based method so maybe the script way is the only one that'll implement this idea well without losing easy access to the vital spacebar that stands for some 20% of keypresses (on a normal layout!).

    The idea of mirroring the keyboard with the extra modifier is intrigueing. But it wouldn't allow one-handed typists to type fast, since half of the most common letters would be on modified presses and therefore slow. Too bad, since it's a hella sexy idea. I almost want to learn it to see if I can get that "coffeecup/mousing layout" they're all talking about.

    On a side note, I loved all the chunky-pressy button designs in that brilliant Pixar movie "The Incredibles", but I was sorely disappointed to see the "nerd keyboard" with lots of extra buttons but in QWERTY?!? A real, full-blown nerd keyboard would at the least have a left-handed programmer's Dvorak (or better! - I hadn't discovered Colemak yet at that time) to enable mousing and typing at the same time.  :)

    Last edited by DreymaR (22-Jun-2007 08:19:43)
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    Yes!  Brilliant!  It works!
    Now testing the other hand...
    tsra
    Wow!  Ah-  one minor edit for the comma, perhaps?  Yeah- it works one way, but not the other...  I'm having no problems with it doing stuff I don't want it to do, though, which is awesome....

    Anyone reading this: go back up to Shai's post where he talks about half colemak.  Do what he says.  This is awesome.  Basically it does exactly what I described a few posts up.  It's always wierd when that happens to me, but hey.  Logic is logic.

    If my series of posts get annoying to anyone, I'll have to combine them...  but I don't want them to lose their sequential effect...
    Ok, doing that now...

    Before posting this, I posted three other things.  I'm combining posts to be less annoying to you guys.

    #10 Today 02:10:36

    @rubo77: Oh, wow.  Hold on.  I think the optimal one handed colemak layout would be something a little different.
    With slight chording.  Don't cringe yet- hear me out.
    Leave everything where it is.  Dont' touch it.  Dont' make it weird.

    Add one modifier key.  Mirror the keyboard.  The modifier?  The space key.  NOT a dead key, of course, just a modifier.

    without space: arstd
    with space:      oienh

    And vise versa.  Then it works for everyone.  Got both hands?  Fine.  Use both.  Left handed?  Right handed?  Whatever.

    This leaves the problem of '.  The solution?  space-capslock.

    I want to do this, but I don't know how.  I don't know how easy it would be to handle keys in such a manner, I don't know how well it would work with people's typing habits, etc.

    But if someone makes it possible, I'll test it for them.  Shai?  What do you think?
    You know what?  I'll just try it right here.
    left hand:
    Tdrs rs a tsst af tds scsrgstcw twprtg swstscx
    This is a test of the emergency typing system.
    I like it.  I'm sorry, but my brain says it's fine, with the exception of being annoyed by the fact that the keys are staggered, of course...  But if it can be implemented...  I think it would work!

    #11 Today 02:29:11

    Oh, man.  I'm already hooked.  Shai, tell us please- is what I proposed even possible?  Using space as a modifier?  Can it be done?

    #12 Today 02:34:22

    Oh my gosh!  That's what you posted already!  Wow!  Sorry for my temporary incompetence...  We love you, Shai!

    Installing immediately.

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    Ok, since posting that, I have successfully migrated from Windows to Ubuntu Linux.

    It's been a while since I've been on these forums, but I've been itching to know this:
    What do I do to get back that one handed glory?  Is there a layout independent feature in X that can use the space key to flip the keyboard?
    --and if so, please see that
    backspace ~ '  and
    tab ~ enter
    If I see that, well, I'll be the happiest typist for 3,000 miles at least (Anchorage, AK).

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    Shai,

    The reasoning you posted praising the QWERTY layout for one handed typing is just the opposite to the benefits of Colemak. Were there any scientific measures made for the QWERTY layout to be ergonomic for one hand typing? I guess no. I also like the idea that you handle the pointing device with one hand and the keyboard with the other. I am not looking for a layout to write a book or something.

    I am a two handed guy, never learned two handed touch typing, but usually -while surfing the net- I just type with one hand. It feels natural to me. But I am also a non native English speaker and I like the benefits of Colemak being a multilingual keyboard. I am also into learning languages, and you know, different languages  have different special characters, so Colemak seems a good option for that too. And I don't think national QWERTY layouts are even as good as international US. They are much worse, with all the national characters just thrown on the right side of the keyboard.

    So what can you recommend as the best solution - for me and folks like me?

    It seems that the lady of Aboutonehandedtyping.com recommends to use your stronger hand for typing and weaker hand to drink coffe, but the programmers of ENTI-Key++ do it the opposite way. It's interesting, though.

    Many thanks!

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    • Shai
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    skippr, we're digging back very old stuff.

    I can't really give a clear cut recommendation, and it all really boils down to a matter of preference and priorities.

    I just did a quick test comparing QWERTY vs Colemak for one hand typing, and there's clearly less hand distance involved with QWERTY.

    I'll recap your options:

    1. Frogpad: chording less than 20% of the time, small keyboard footprint, low finger distance, requires special keyboard. If would be able to type with only one hand, that would probably be my choice. Then again, I've never tried it it

    2. Half-QWERTY/Colemak: chording about 50% of the time, normal keyboard, low finger distance, could be implemented in software. This would be what I'd use if I'd type most of the time with two hands, but would need to type in one hand from time to time, and I didn't want to spend too much time learning a new keyboard layout.

    3. Dvorak Right hand/left hand+Sticky keys. Can use a normal keyboard. For people who don't like chording at all. Comes by default with most operating system.

    4. Standard QWERTY with one hand+Sticky keys. The main advantage is that there's no need to learn a new layout, but obviously it's not optimized for one hand typing. Might be a good skill to have.

    There might have been new technologies developed in the last few years, but these are the ones I know of.

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    Thanks for your replies guys!

    Whoa! This Half-QWERTY is f--- expensive! 600 Buclks for a bunch of keys?? Anyways, that't not my main interest.

    What your replies didn't focus -as it was one of my main requirements were- international accents. The Frogpad and the Half-QWERTY does not address that.

    I also have another requirement -I did not address it so specifically in my first message, but now-, so I told you I am not planning on writing a book, but more of web browsing. And your recommendations only concerned on how I can type (English) text. Okay, so my other requirement is now, more specifically: KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS. Mostly for the browser.

    And now. Let's look from one step further. Why do I want to type with one hand?
    I guess you are all here on this forum because you want some "ergonomic" experience with computing, in some way. That's true for all of you, right?
    Two handed typing: if you want to be ergonomic, and your hand to be in a natural position, you need a "natural" keyboard, like the Microsoft Natural Keyboard (cheap, but bulky), or a folding one (more expensive). For various reasons (proper hand positioning, laptop radiation), ergonomic laptop computing also requires an external keyboard, when possible. Do you think the external keyboard adds much weight to your laptop? Just think of how today's laptopss weight much less than yesteryears' versions. If you don't plan on bringing a bulky MS Natural Kayboard, your other option is the expensive folding one. Or, you can type with one hand, with a much cheaper, basic compact external keyboard for one hand typing.

    Summarizing everything, for the second time: what is your best recommendation for my case, again?

    I truly appreciate your feedback.

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    • Shai
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    I don't think that there is a good hardware solution at the moment for international accents. The best you could do is use a keyboard layout that has dead keys in it, so you'd type ['][e] if you'd wanted é, etc.

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    skippr said:

    Whoa! This Half-QWERTY is f--- expensive! 600 Buclks for a bunch of keys?? Anyways, that't not my main interest.

    It seems the Half-QWERTY is just a hardware version of the mirrorboard I dropped a link to two posts up. What is the problem with it aside from the price? (As the mirrorboard is free. Both as in beer and speech.)

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    • From: Bærum, Norway
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    I made an extend mapping for PKL making a mirrored layout when you press CapsLock. I tried it out and it worked well enough but I don't use it since I need my other extend mappings instead.

    If I were to try one-handed typing at a larger scale, I'd look for a foot pedal. There are some cheap ones at ThinkGeek now (StealthSwitch or something) that can be hardware programmed to send any keystroke so you could map it to an unused key (such as F24) and use that as your mirroring trigger. They can even have slave pedals which could do Shift for instance. Seems nice.

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