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    Toss the spacebar. IBM Model Maltron mod. Kinesis for your keyboard.

    • Started by cevgar
    • 8 Replies:
    • Reputation: 1
    • Registered: 04-Feb-2010
    • Posts: 143

    EDIT: Added a rough (very rough) color coded map of the a.b version at the bottom of this post. If the text art examples make your eyes bleed, look there first. Also, blame the lack of Windows keys on Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator.

    Toss the spacebar. IBM Model Maltron mod. Kinesis for your keyboard.

    Q: What the heck dude, you already have the Wide Board thread going, why the new one?
    A: The Wide Board mod works more or less within the constraints of a standard layout that could be applied through your operating system, like dvorak or colemak. This one requires remapping control keys, and physically removing others. ...also, I was stupid enough to promise no new layouts on the Wide Board thread until the mod was complete. So, while in poor taste, the seeming double thread isn't entirely my fault. Just mostly my fault. Please, don't hurt me.


    Anyway, this is the scoreboard:

    Primary design tenents of Maltron and Kinesis style boards, and workability on an ANSI board:
       Maximize hand seperation, doable.
       Matrix key alignment, not doable.
       Add funtions to the thumbs, doable.
       Place keys in an ergonamic contour around a bloated center console, not doable.
          (For the Maltron this is where the numberpad is located, that is doable)
       
    Arensito for ANSI is awesome, but:
       Favors angle over hand seperation
       Is a full layout instead of a modified keyboard scheme
       
    So... I've come up with this. The MK-Type. Like the Wide Mod, this is layout independent. Since this IS the colemak forum, the examples are also in colemak. Take a look.
       Warnings: Registry or PKL level mod. Key removal. Dramatic key shifts. Eye-straining text art.
       | are key dividers
       * indicates undecided/uncertain keys
       ~ indicates possible swap. Like the Space and Enter keys below.
       ? indicates I have no idea what should go here (the entire bottom row should be these)
       Home Keys are ARST NEIO, in CAPS
       Thumbs should be resting fairly comfortably on the Shift and Space keys

    MK-Type alpha (Version a.a) 
    Space removed.
    ___________________________________________________________
    | q | w | f | p | g | 7 | 8 | 9 | j | l | u | y | ; | BSp |
    | A   | R | S | T | d | 4 | 5 | 6 | h | N | E | I | O | ' |
    | z    | x | c | v | b | 1 | 2 | 3 | k | m | , | . | Entr |
    |*=      |~- | Ta| Sh| BS| 0 |*` |Sp~|~/ | \ | [ | ]      |
    | Ctl~| Wn | Alt |------REMOVED!------| AlG | W | M | Ctl |
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    
    
    MK-Type alpha (Version a.b) 
    Space removed.
    Side function keys moved.
    ___________________________________________________________
    | q | w | f | p | g | 7 | 8 | 9 | j | l | u | y | ; | \   |
    | A   | R | S | T | d | 4 | 5 | 6 | h | N | E | I | O | ' |
    | z    | x | c | v | b | 1 | 2 | 3 | k | m | , | . | /    |
    |*=      |~- | Ta| Sh| BS| 0 |*` |Sp~|~En|*Dl| [ | ]      |
    | Ctl~| Wn | Alt |------REMOVED!------| AlG | W | M | Ctl |
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    
    
    MK-Type alpha (Version b.c) 
    Space removed & R.Alt key moved into space position.
    Full right shift.
    ___________________________________________________________
    | q | w | f | p | g | 7 | 8 | 9 |*` | j | l | u | y | ;   |
    | A   | R | S | T | d | 4 | 5 | 6 |*- | h | N | E | I | O |
    | z    | x | c | v | b | 1 | 2 | 3 |*= | k | m | , | .    |
    |*\      |~/ | Ta| Sh| BS| 0 |*PU|*PD|Sp~|~En|*[ |* ]     |
    | Ctl~| Wn | Alt |------|*'  ~|-------|-Rem-|~AG| M | Ctl |
    -----------------------------------------------------------

    I'm going to leave off the pros/cons this time and let everyone draw their own conclusions. Better images will be provided... um, well, pretty much when/if I ever get around to it, or if someone else steps in.

    I have assembled a KeyTweak file (MKType-ab.ktw) for the ab version (I am uncomforable with posting reg files) for those Windows users who are interested. It can be found here:
    http://FastFreeFileHosting.com/file/336 … b-ktw.html


    So, tell me what you think. You know, after y'all finish laughing at how bad this idea is.

    Edit:
    dd153054eb.jpg

    Last edited by cevgar (18-Feb-2010 00:12:15)
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    • From: Belgium
    • Registered: 26-Feb-2008
    • Posts: 366

    I was thinking about something similar, with the bottom row under the thumbs, but making everything even wider to put a full numeric block in the middle (thus not putting the numbers and their associated symbols on AltGr) is a very good idea!

    I personally lean towards version a.b since it keeps /? in its relative position - while experimenting with wide layouts myself, I found moving the slash a real pain for UNIX command line usage.

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    • Registered: 15-Feb-2010
    • Posts: 14

    Well I popped off my spacebar to get a feel for this type of layout.  I like some aspects but not enough to outweigh all the cons, most notably is that this is a hardware mod and would prevent me from using it on friends computers.  Just imagine, "hey dude.  Can I use your computer?"  "Sure. ... Hey! Why the hell are you prying off my spacebar?!"   LOL.

    I did find your choice of home positions to be wanting.  I would move the left to QWFP and the right to UY;[   That lets my thumbs rest on/near V and M.  Your way produces a wider layout but makes it harder for my thumbs to reach more than 1 key without my wrists bending.  My way, I can easily reach CV and M<  There is still a stretch to BK but its no longer too bad.  I also find it impossible to hit ZX and >? with my thumbs no matter where my home row is.  I assume these keys are hit with fingers instead?  If so, thats quite a stretch and would make those keys next to useless for me.

    The second biggest con I see with this is the key stagger.  From home-row to top-row is only a 1/4 key shift but from top-row to number-row is a 1/2 key shift.  Home-row to bottom-row is also a 1/2 key shift but the bottom-row is used less frequently so I find it easier to deal with if I use the normal home-row as opposed to moving everything up 1.

    Another thing I noticed is that even though I'm using a wrist rest, I would often accidentally hit the Control keys with my palms.  Maybe I could train myself not to do that over time, but its something I'd rather not deal with.

    I can see why someone would choose to use this.  It would be awesome to have backspace, shift, space, and enter under the thumbs.

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    • From: Bærum, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 3,978

    I'm not going to touch this because I think it looks ridiculous, but I want to ask whether you really have to physically remove the space bar? Wouldn't mapping it to nothing to the trick?

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    • Registered: 15-Feb-2010
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    I would assume that if you didnt take the spacebar off, that your thumbs would fatigue because each key-press would hit your target key and the spacebar.  Yes, the thumbs are strong, but they are now doing much more than just pressing space.  Its also harder to tell if you are going to smack an alt key by accident.

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    • From: Bærum, Norway
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    You're right I think. Also, the wrist angle might be worse.

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    • Registered: 05-Jun-2009
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    Maybe this is slightly old, but I'll give a few comments anyway!

    1. This is a keyboard mod, thus not very suitable for laptops, sharing computers, etc.
    2. I did have a go removing the spacebar and shifting keys up a row once. Cons:
        key alignment on a regular keyboard: top row is way off the usual
        one space bar key puts a lot of work on a thumb!

    About wide boards in general:
    3. Like ghen says, moving / is a real pain to get used to
    4. Difficult to change between modded wide-board and usual board (I found worse than changing between colemak/dvorak and qwerty)

    Sorry if that's very negative! However, for extra modifier keys: after getting used to it, I can comfortably use the alt keys from the standard hand-position, and on thinkpad keyboards (slightly shorter space bar) the next key to the right of alt is also usable.

    Last edited by Cyborg16 (22-May-2010 13:59:32)
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    • From: Bærum, Norway
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    I don't know why exactly, but I got used to the new /? key's position in the lower middle surprisingly fast and now I don't think it's a hassle at all! YMMV I guess...

    It's necessary to not expect full comfort the first week of course. The only mod I've tried that worked well in less than a week was the Angle one.

    I disagree that keyboard mods aren't well suited for laptops. In fact, with their somewhat unergonomic keyboards I consider them prime candidates for improvement! And their key caps are often freely interchangeable, unlike many bigger keyboards.

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    @screaminglemon
    Actually, with the spacebar removed your 'qwer iop[' (qwerty marking) home position is much more suitable for the thumb keys on the bottom row, and more comfortable overall. The problem lies in where you put the number keys. The numberblock was the best I could come up with.

    @DreymaR
    Leaving the Spacebar on the keyboard, setting it for a null value and then typing through it is indeed quite doable, but somewhat confusing to the fingers hitting two keys at once. I misunderstood you at first to mean typing OVER it, which would have been simply awful for keys as frequent as Space. screaminglemon's comment helped to clear that up for me. Even if I misunderstood that comment at first as well.

    @Cyborg16
    Odd. I never had an issue with switching from wide to normal boards as long as the key stagger was the same. Also, I never use my left thumb for space, so that is not only a non-issue for me, it is also my primary motivation for trying to develop this layout.


    @ ... um, everybody

    After actually trying to use these layouts, which is significantly different from just testing it, I made some changes. Here they are.

    THE SPACE BAR STAYS!
    That was one of the biggest gripes about the first version, and losing a key was pretty irritating. Turns out that previous recommened space location was awful, and the shift wasn't much better. Long story short; the new Space position is on R.Alt, and the Spacebar now functions as Shift. To make the new Space position comfortable, the R.Home position has been pushed up against the edge of the board. If you are a left or ambidextious spacer, this probably isn't for you. L.Alt is recommended for another high frequency key, as the thumb now has to hit the bottom row AROUND the Spacebar. Not too much of a hardship, but I wouldn't want to put E there.

    The Staggerfix Variant
    As has also been noted, adjusting to the upper row stagger is pretty daunting. Having tested it though, I have found the stagger on Left to be not so bad. It pulls the zxcvb into alignment and the upper row is fairly easy to adapt to, as it is usually counter aligned anyway. The upper row stagger on the Right though is very hard on the wrist. Since the upper right is usually in fairly good alignment, the hand tries to position itself in line with the keys on upper and home rows. With the dramatic stagger increase... yeah. So, this version perserves the right hand stagger, by only shifting the left hand up to use thumbkeys. The right hand remains on the home row and the right thumb is more or less dedicated to Space and the occasional Shift. (Though, I suppose you could switch this to fix the Left hand stagger instead.)


    Note: Undecided keys left blank, but all key locations are negotiable. The Windows and Menu button have not been edited, as not all keyboards have them, or have them in the same place. These represent layout independant keyremappings, and as such I am not messing around with layers. Thumbs seem to rest around the qwerty C and Comma.

    Colemak
    ___________________________________________________________
    | ` | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 0 | - | = | BSp |
    | Tab | q | w | f | p | g | j | l | u | y | ; | [ | ] | \ |
    | BkSp | A | R | S | T | d | h | N | E | I | O | ' | Entr |
    | Shift  | z | x | c | v | b | k | m | , | . | / | Shift  |
    | Ctr | Wn | Alt | Space              | Alt | W | M | Ctl |
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    
    
    Colemak using MK-Type V2.Staggerfix (Left thumb uses bottom row)
    ___________________________________________________________
    | q | w | f | p | g | 7 | 8 | 9 | ` | [ | ] | \ | / | BSp |
    |   A | R | S | T | d | 4 | 5 | 6 | j | l | u | y | ; | ' |
    |    z | x | c | v | b | 1 | 2 | 3 | h | N | E | I | O    |
    |        |   |   |   |   | 0 | - | = | k | m | , | .      |
    | Ctr | Wn |     | Shift              | Spa | W | M | Ctl |
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    
    Colemak using MK-Type V2.Classic (both thumbs use bottom row)
    ___________________________________________________________
    | q | w | f | p | g | 7 | 8 | 9 |   | j | l | u | y | ;   |
    |   A | R | S | T | d | 4 | 5 | 6 |   | h | N | E | I | O |
    |    z | x | c | v | b | 1 | 2 | 3 |   | k | m | , | .    |
    |        |   |   |   |   | 0 | - | = |   |   |   |        |
    | Ctr | Wn |     | Shift              | Spa | W | M | Ctl |
    -----------------------------------------------------------

    If you want Staggerfix for both hands... well I just posted ThumbsPlus over on the Wide-Mod thread. It gives slightly better thumb usage, but it is hardly ideal.

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