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Qwerty to Colemak: Daily experience

  • Started by Tony_VN
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  • Registered: 08-Dec-2010
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Hi all, and greetings from Hochiminh City, Vietnam, South East Asia.

I have been using Qwerty for 20 years. I learned touch typing and reach 60wpm in Qwerty.

I discovered Colemak while seach Google on ergonomics a week ago. At first I tried Dvorak for 2 days, then after some deeper googling, I come to this site. I decided to turn to Colemak instead.

I am learning to type the layout with TypeFaster. My time for training is about 10 hours per week.

I use Windows XP and Windows 7. Right now I still use Qwerty for work, and learn Colemak whenever I have free time.

For fast switching between Qwerty and Colemak, I use Autohotkey with the Colemak ahk file.

My learning tips with Qwerty (it works with me now, too) 
- To make it as easy as possible and never make me pressed to type faster in the first 3 months. Later, when I remembers all keys, then the speed with surely and steadily increase with practice.
- To rest 10 mins after each lesson.

Colemak training experience
===================

Day 1: 4 keys home row. 20wpm
---------------------------------------
I make it easy by setting very low target (only 4 keys) for the first day. Then I rest.

Day 2: 8keys home row: 18wpm.
--------------------------------------
Since I also training in Dvorak for 2 days, this is the time to unlearn both Qwerty and Dvorak on these keys. At first try I can barely get 8wpm. The brain confuses and the fingers errs a lot.
After 2 hours, the fingers slowly increase speed to a decent 18wpm.

Day 3: 8 keys home row + DH: 14wpm
----------------------------------------------
Now the hard work began. Typing D and H feels very awkward (th, sh, the, etc.) I get 10wpm in the first try, then come to 14wpm. Good that a lot of English words can be typed.

Last edited by Tony_VN (25-Sep-2011 08:33:39)
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It'll be interesting to hear further updates!

Also your English is charming. :)

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Thanks for your encouragement.

Day 3 cont.  and Day 4
-----------------------------
I discover that I could go quicker after the home row, which is hardest for me.
I have finished all keys and reach very fast speed of 10wpm :-)
After 2 hrs, I can type 15wpm. Letter u, p and i are the slowest.
These lines was written with Colemak in 2 mins :-)

Last edited by Tony_VN (09-Apr-2011 09:12:29)
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By the end of day 4 I can type 17wpm.
Confusion between Qwerty and Colemak keys are obvious. My brain is too busy rewiring.
Good thing that my hand doesn't hurt any more.

Last edited by Tony_VN (07-Apr-2011 04:05:26)
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^^ 17 wpm after 4 days is really good in my opinion. Especially when you are trying to un-Dvorak/QWERTY from your memory :)

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Day 5: 18wpm only after 2 hours  today.
Now I feel the pain of brain rewiring. 17 keys difference between Qwerty and Colemak are making my head confusing, my left and right brain aching, but not my wrists :-)
G is the most mistakind keys. Dood drief!

Last edited by Tony_VN (07-Apr-2011 04:06:40)
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After nearly three years on Colemak, I'm still mixing up P and G.  Typing "gpg" (an encryption program) and "pgp" (the protocol it implements) always the other way around. :-)

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Sure, unlearning is much harder than we could expect. The brain is working very hard, but there's no physical evidence except high error rate.

The brain muscle is exceptionally strong for all qwerty or dvorak typists. For me, 15 years already.

Anyway, I got 19wpm now! 95% error rate. Lowest speed are  j-:-i-y-p keys

Each day 1pm increase is quite practical for me.

Last edited by Tony_VN (10-Dec-2010 15:03:46)
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Funny, I now hunt and peck now and then again with Qwerty, with the speed about 40wpm. This is not very fast, but it get the job done, while I am free to train Colemak for 2 months, after that I expect to get a good 50++wpm speed. Then I  can type full-time with Colemak.

Last edited by Tony_VN (07-Apr-2011 04:10:05)
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Day 6: 20wpm.

I am progressing slowly. I find that typing each key in Colemak separately is ok, but thousands of word combinations must be relearned Colemak-style for faster flow.

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That's right, typing words is not the same as just typing consecutive letters.  Fast typists (also on Qwerty) type digraphs, trigraphs, and so-called "rolls" in one swift move, this is what makes them fast.  So keep practicing!

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On day 7 I can type 22wpm with 95% accuracy.

The most error keys: f, i, o, u, p. F is so often mistaken.

Right now I try to break the words I need to type into parts 2 or 3 keys each and try to "roll" to get faster speed.

The diagraph: rt, st, sm, es, rs, an, se, wh, he, ly, no, ne, ts, ed.

and trigraph: ion, ism, the, you,one, his, ing, ent, ter, ong.

When I am tired, my fingers automatically type a hilarious mixture of Qwerty and Colemak.

Old habits die hard.

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ghen said:

Typing "gpg" (an encryption program) and "pgp" (the protocol it implements) always the other way around. :-)

I hope you don't try to same-finger those, ghen? That's a prime example of floating your hand up like a butterfly to bee sting the keys with middle AND index fingers if you ask me. Not sure whether that will or will not influence the confusion issue, but I'd like to mention it anyway.  :)

Last edited by DreymaR (14-Dec-2010 09:23:37)

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

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That's how I do it indeed, I just hit them in the wrong order (confusing which one is p and which one g).

I don't have this issue with other words though, where p and g aren't consecutive.  It's a pgp/gpg specific thing. :-)  "pkg" for example, is ok.

Last edited by ghen (14-Dec-2010 09:37:35)
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Day 9. I increase my speed to 27wpm average. but my accuracy rate drop to 94%.
I feel less confusion and more rhythms, that's why my fingers move faster. Some frequent combos are mastered, and I even reach 30wpm on a test.
For work, I still use hunt and peck Qwerty of, about 40wpm.

Last edited by Tony_VN (07-Apr-2011 04:09:14)
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Day 11. 29wpm. 95% accuracy.

I discovered with delight that I can touch-type Qwerty at 40-45wpm at work, but it slows down my Colemak progress. Of course it should.

Mastering 2 layouts at the same time now are a reality for me. The brain have capacity of that, it only requires your conscious effort and lots of practice.

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Day 15: 32wpm with 95% accuracy.

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I use a sort of hybrid layout (switching between two layouts - dvorak and qwerty) on my laptop due to some keys being broken.  I don't use the laptop as my main computer which would probably prove to be a pain.  But for the small amount of time I do use it, I've gotten used to switching layouts mid word - and it feels kind of normal now - even if it's slightly slow going.  Just shows what the brain is capable of and how adaptable the human is.

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

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Day 16: 34wpm with 95% accuracy. Things are improving steadily. Now I use Colemak full time at work as well as at home.

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Day 17: 36wpm with 95% accuracy.

Great difference in hands, they rest mostly in the home row! Bravo Colemak!

For fun typing, I play Typer Shark Deluxe. I use Typing Tutor 7 for drills and daily exercises. After you learn all keys, then any typing programs would do the job fine regardless of the layout (check the worst keys, then do the drill or review lesson, and sometimes do the test.)

Anyone needs these programs could get a copy from torrent sites or me.

Last edited by Tony_VN (23-Dec-2010 03:27:06)
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Game Typer Shark deluxe
http://www.mediafire.com/?3iytml19xm9

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Day 18: 37wpm with 95% accuracy

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Day 19: 39wpm with 95% accuracy. There's still occasional R-S, LUY and E-I mistakes, but I have learned a lot of key rolls, that make my speed increase.

For variety, I play typing games and several other typing tutors such as Ten Thumbs Typing tutor too, to increase accuracy.

I have done some tests on hi-games.net at 40wpm max.

http://hi-games.net/profile/4314

Last edited by Tony_VN (25-Dec-2010 10:34:30)
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Day 20: 40wpm with 96% (+1%) accuracy.

For 1 minutes typing I reach my peak at 45wpm (replay at http://hi-games.net/typing-test,60/watch?u=4314)

It is clear that Qwerty typists are dominating the high score table at hi-games (Dvorak users are also quite good). I think that the Colemak advantage should be comfort, not speed.

For years of Qwerty experience. Qwerty typists have created a lot of fast combos and they have reached a comfortable plateau that is perfect for 5-min typing test to get that high speed. More than 5 mins typing would make their hands a bit sore, however.

After 20 days of Colemak I have reach 66% old Qwerty speed. To be practical I now realize that in order to be fully fluent, comfortable on Colemak keyboard and to reach my old speed of Qwerty, 1 year or more time would pass.

During that time, I would fully enjoy Colemak typing with less distance and learning new combos and rolls in the process.

For all Qwerty users who are new to Colemak layout, I assure you that after 2 weeks of very hard work and mental confusion, from the third week you will be happy that you have switched.

Sean Wrona wins Ultimate Typing Championship with 163wpm Qwerty.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9EXEpjSDEw

Last edited by Tony_VN (26-Sep-2011 07:53:23)
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Day 21: 41 wpm with 96% accuracy.

For accuracy, hi-games.net helps a lot. I have to be more careful with each key :-)

Hopefully, one day I will have a genuine Colemak keyboard like Dellwood's

unicomp.jpg

unicomp_keys.jpg

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