Good point, I forgot that there would ofc. be num lock inside keypad mode. I'd probably want to keep the num lock state on anyway, as related to my window management. It is based on the 8 (9) directions rather than the number values which is also why I'm asking about how easy it is to use keypad mode. Is it easy enough that you do it without looking and without thinking about it, just to type e.g. CTRL+ALT+9 (9 as in north east)?
Using the key-/numpad mode is very comfortable and natural, but getting into it requires pressing said key, which is a bit of a stretch - say about as bad as backspace on a regular keyboard. As the key is in the top-most row it's also one of those less-than-perfect soft keys, which are a bit wobbly and don't have a very precise activation point.
You cannot move (remap) the keypad mode activation key unless you have a foot pedal  BTW (unlike the esc key I mentioned earlier), so if you'd require frequent use of that wobbly button I'd say you'd definitely see room for improvement there. ;) I'd probably want to find an alternative solution, like binding the system shortcuts to say CTRL+ALT+y rather than CTRL+ALT+9 (and so forth for the other numbers) to avoid having to press the wobbly key very often.
To put this in perspective, I use the esc key a couple times a day, which works OK, but if it were as frequent as say a couple times an hour or 10 minutes I'd think about moving it elsewhere. There was a time when I used to have esc on the caps lock key; but now there's `~ on the caps lock key, which - come to think of it - I might use less often than esc. Hmm... :)
If not for your shifted number row, would it make sense to move Esc to the key above Tab?
Depends how much you like the += key, because that's what you'd lose (or probably swap) for it, as you can see in this original Kinesis (Mac mode) layout.
Personally I've been using my adjusted Colemak Kinesis layout for about 3 years and like the fact that the -_ and =+ keys are to the right of 0) as usual, but your suggestion might work better for you. That's the beauty of remapping in the keyboard, you can easily try out stuff and find the arrangement that works best for you.
(Speaking of remapping, my trulyergonomic.com keyboard is still bound to arrive "soon"; I still feel like I'll miss the thumb keys on it, but it has more potential than many other keyboards IMO)
[picture of (context) menu key] It does the same as right clicking
Ah thanks, as you might have guessed I haven't worked with non-Apple/non-special keyboards very much. ;) It doesn't have a key like that AFAIK, well definitely not in Mac mode, and not in Windows mode either from what I remember from browsing the manual.
About casual one-hand typing, I actually meant typing text using one hand, for example while eating with the other :-) Is it feasible?
Oh right, I totally overlooked that part. :o Hmm, it's not feasible well/easily, that's the reason I put all arrow keys as well as a second enter key to the left side. It's also the reason I only use 1 to 6 for my control groups in StarCraft II, 7 and up are too far away. The left and right sides are a lot further apart than on a regular split keyboard, and the right side is made for the right hand, and doesn't fit the left hand well at all. That's the price for an excellent two-hand typing experience; it can't exceed at both 1- and 2-handed.
Aw, there goes my hope of having Colemak keycaps. Well, the blue home keys would stick out anyway. Btw, do the blue keys have any small bumps so you can feel them like normal keyboards have on F and J?
The blue keys do have a smaller and more sunken surface area - a deeper "crater" so to speak, so they do feel different. And not just T and N, but all of the ARST and NEIO keys (well the blue keys say ASDF and JKL; ofc).
I wonder if it's possible to get custom key caps? It's not that I can't learn them by heart, it's just that it'd be nice to have "correct" keycaps when spending so much money on a keyboard. But qwerty would of course make it possible for me to sell my it again if I should change my mind.
Hmm, there are probably only very few Colemak && Kinesis users out there, so I reckon there's at most a slim chance - if at all. It's probably not very economical for Kinesis to even make QWERTY/Dvorak dual-legended key caps (I assume Dvorak may be slightly more widespread than Colemak among Kinesis users, maybe there's 3 instead of 2 :P)
You could ask Kinesis about it, maybe you're not the first. I never bothered tbh, but for a reasonable price wouldn't mind Colemak caps either. Or better yet, caps with my slightly adjusted layout. ;)
About the locations of space and backspace: Did they take any getting used to for you? I noticed that I always use my left hand for space, so it would be hard to relearn, I think.
For me space with right thumb was natural while typing, not sure I ever used the left thumb as well. I do occasionally miss a space key on the left side while using an Adobe app where it could be used to drag around the viewport though.
(btw, does swapping space and backspace also move keypad mode zero to the left hand?)
No, it does not. In fact, in keypad mode the backspace key is still backspace, even when it's remapped to space in normal mode.
 Update 2012-01-22: Sordna at geekhack told me that it is in fact possible to remap the keypad activation key if you have a footswitch. Apparently I missed this in the manual:
The Keypad Shift action turns on the embedded numeric keypad only while the foot switch
remains depressed. It cannot be remapped to another location, although a Keypad toggle
action may be remapped to a key or foot pedal using the Keypad Shift action as the source
Last edited by boli (22-Jan-2012 09:26:27)