Author Topic: What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?  (Read 6167 times)

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Offline pauld

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 07:59:15 »
After getting quite a lot of RSI pain (and trying and not liking an ergonomic keyboard), I've decided to give Dvorak a go.

The problem is two-fold:

- I'm not a world speed record kind of typist, but I learned qwerty touch typing as a student 35 years ago (gulp!) and that's a lot of ingrained habit to overcome.  I'm a unix user so common commands like cd and ls just trip off the fingers (in qwerty layout, of course)

- I have work to do and it is really hard to get through it typing so slowly.

Having tried it for a couple of weeks, I think Dvorak probably is better; there's certainly less finger gymnastics - I wish I'd learned years ago, but those were manual typewriter days and I didn't, and I can't put the clock back unfortunately.

So, my question is: can I realistically hope to switch after all these years on qwerty and, if so, what's the best way?

I have learned the layout and I'm touch typing, so going for a "deep end" approach, but the main problem is, as I said, that it is incredibly slow and I have work to get through.  I can see that maybe trying a Dvorak course might help, but I don't have time to not type except for lessons for a couple of weeks or more.  I think I am getting a little faster but still MUCH slower than normal, and a LOT more mistakes, esp on key sequences my fingers just "know".

I have a couple of friends who, being of similar vintage to myself, have been having similar RSI problems and they have all decided (some after actually trying an alternative layout, some not) that they cannot now abandon qwerty and are either sticking with it and trying the ergonomic approach, or trying more radical solutions like voice recognition.

Thanks!

Offline Icarium

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 10:31:03 »
Well, I've had the same problem just a couple of weeks ago and while I cannot compete with your 35 years I learned touch typing QWERTZ 10 years ago. I simple decided to take the slow typing. Since I type so much I get a lot of practice! :) I also did some online touch typing courses in between and after about 2 weeks the speed was actually decent again.
Generally I think typing fast is convenient but when programming or something similar more time is spent thinking anyway. :)
I had a sig once but it's gone. It used to display an icon of a Kinesis. Just imagine that.

Offline oneproduct

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 10:35:41 »
You may wish to try Colemak instead. Colemak is widely considered to be equal to or better than Dvorak and is easier to learn since fewer changes are made to the arrangements of the keys in the Qwerty layout. It also keeps ZXCV in their normal positions which is useful for undo/cut/copy/paste and the ls command is a common complaint among Dvorak users using unix and similar.

http://colemak.com/

I think the best way to learn it is to do some of the typing tutor software they recommend on that site. It's better to just learn a few letters at a time rather than just starting to use it normally. With just a few letters, you can write a lot of common words and once you learn those it goes much faster.
Filco Tenkeyless | Realforce Tenkeyless Variable Silent | Truly Ergonomic | Kinesis Contoured Advantage | IBM Model M SSK | Cherry G80-3600LYC | TG3 w/ trackpad | CM Storm QuickFire Rapid | Ducky Shine II | Ergodox
Kensington Slimblade | RollerMouse Free2 | Logitech M570 | Logitech G500 | Evoluent Vertical Mouse 3
Colemak

Offline Keymonger

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 10:52:58 »
The best way to learn Dvorak is to not learn it at all. See post above.

Offline sordna

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 11:50:27 »
I learned Dvorak several years after I finished college. It was slow and painful, but I'm very glad I did. I switched cold turkey, forcing myself to type everything in dvorak, even though 2-3 line emails would take me 5-10 minutes! But I was fairly productive after a month and it kept getting better and better. I'm at around 100WPM in Dvorak now, which is better than my previous QWERTY skills.

By the way, a thing that probably helped me, was I got a Kinesis contoured keyboard at the time I decided to learn Dvorak. So I learnt the new layout on a new and different keyboard. BTW I cannot type QWERTY on the Kinesis, I find it extremely hard since my brain associated the keyboard shape with Dvorak. However, I have no problem typing at 50-70WPM in QWERTY on regular flat keyboards.
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

fossala

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 12:14:42 »
I switched to dvorak cold turkey, it took about a month to get up to my old speed and now I have surpassed it by about 15wpm. I just had the dvorak layout on my monitor and just looked at that whenever I needed.

Offline sordna

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 12:59:37 »
I think I had a printout of the layout for a bit. Oh, and I did practice with some silly software (not dvorak-specific software) that asked you to type some 2 letter words, 3 letter words, etc, slowly adding more letters. That kind of thing is actually helpful for the couple of days, starting this on a free weekend is ideal.
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline Playtrumpet

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 13:59:58 »
Ignore people who are adamant in saying you shouldn't learn Dvorak. Here's how you should go - during your free time, only type with Dvorak. When you need to get something done, switch back to QWERTY. If you consistently practice every day, you'll see yourself using QWERTY less and less. It's completely fine to use both layouts. Cold turkey seems like it should be the most effective, but for any layout, it's not practical when you have work to get done.

When I first got my Das, I was still a QWERTY typist, averaging 120+ wpm. I switched because I love typing, and I type a lot, but I noticed my hands getting fatigued after a short while. It was a hard decision, but when I began training it was so exciting. Each day I noticed a slight increase in my speed. Your fingers start to memorize the feel of digraphs, trigraphs, full words and you can feel how fluent your typing will become.

After learning the layout (did so on my blank keyboard WITHOUT looking at a reference picture) I used TypeRacer to practice (good for tracking progress), but then I heard about KeyHero which allows for a lot more typing.

For fun, here's my TypeRacer improvement graph. You can see what a consistent rate of improvement you should expect if you practice every day.

[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 37805[/ATTACH]
Das S Ultimate Brown | Dvorak

Offline Icarium

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 14:05:17 »
Do we have a collection of layout design stats somewhere on in the forums?
I had a sig once but it's gone. It used to display an icon of a Kinesis. Just imagine that.

Offline sordna

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 14:20:53 »
Quote from: Playtrumpet;492677
If you consistently practice every day, you'll see yourself using QWERTY less and less. It's completely fine to use both layouts./

It will take much more time though. I switched to Dvorak and avoided QWERTY like the plague for a long time (months). Once I mastered Dvorak, I started using QWERTY
now and then (it took me few days to re-learn it) so I maintain both skills.

Quote
Your fingers start to memorize the feel of digraphs, trigraphs, full words and you can feel how fluent your typing will become.

Indeed! I still remember the joy and ease of typing "the". Memorizing common little words like: "the, does, it, and" etc can be done in a day and makes real-world typing faster while you're a Dvorak beginner.
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Online hoggy

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 14:22:21 »
I'd recommend that you don't make the switch during a busy/stressful period at work.  Good quality practice is better than poor quality.
GH Ergonomic Guide (in progress)
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=54680.0

Offline boli

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #11 on: Sun, 22 January 2012, 04:07:53 »
There's a lot of helpful information about switching keyboard layouts at colemak.com. Even though it's about Colemak and not Dvorak I think most advice is sound for switching to any layout.

As for the layout, I decided to go with Colemak rather than Dvorak, as it seemed to be at least equally efficient/ergonomic but easier to learn, and kept a few important keys in place, like the ones for coyping, cutting and pasting as well as closing windows or applications. Anyway, this decision is up to you. Either layout is way better than QWERTY...

As for the process of switching, I don't think there's a generally accepted best method, it depends. Personally I decided to switch cold turkey. I started on a weekend, and I knew I didn't have to do much typing at work in the following few days (which was unusual since I'm a programmer). You can read my switching experience in full detail but the short version is this: the first week was horrible, but I kept at it. After 3 weeks I was half as fast as I was before, which was fast enough for anything I had to do. It took me almost a year (!) to reach my previous speed.
« Last Edit: Sun, 22 January 2012, 04:10:09 by boli »
Keyboard: Kinesis Ergo Advantage (two LF editions with red Cherry switches, one regular with brown switches)
Keyboard layout: basically Colemak, with some remapping to end up with my custom Kinesis Advantage layout
Typing test profiles: typeracer.com / hi-games.net / keybr.com

Offline Tony

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #12 on: Sun, 22 January 2012, 07:06:58 »
I learned Colemak lessons at night for three weeks to get a decent 25wpm speed, then I started to use Colemak full time.

You simply have to type a lot. Typeracer is a good site for practice, and it keeps track of your progress too.

If you cannot be online all the time, you can try offline Amphetype program.
Keyboard: Filco MJ1 104 brown, Filco MJ2 87 brown, Compaq MX11800, Noppoo Choc Brown/Blue/Red, IBM Model M 1996, CMStorm Quickfire Rapid Black
Layout: Colemak experience, speed of 67wpm

Offline pyro

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 26 January 2012, 10:09:14 »
If you only ever type in english and don't do programming, you should probably learn Colemak (since you care about "ls"). Colemak should be preinstalled in Linux.

If you type on a crappy keyboard this won't help you with the pain, though, so your first step should be to get a proper (maybe even ergonomic) keyboard, that works for you. If you bottom out all the time, my guess is you won't see any benefit from typing on Cherry Reds, but should probably get a cushioned rubberdome keyboard, f.i.
« Last Edit: Thu, 26 January 2012, 10:16:42 by pyro »

Offline sordna

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 26 January 2012, 10:37:18 »
I don't think ls is good reason to drop dvorak. I usually use the common la alias.
BTW it doesn't look like colemak is available on my 11.10 ubuntu box, are you sure linux has it preinstalled?
 $ setxkbmap colemak
Error loading new keyboard description

In contrast I can load dvorak, de(neo), and other layouts. How do you load colemak ?

EDIT: boli gave me a good pointer

Answer: setxkbmap 'us(colemak)'
« Last Edit: Thu, 26 January 2012, 13:52:27 by sordna »
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline Gawkbasher

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 26 January 2012, 12:42:18 »
I keep coming back to trying programmer's dvorak but it's difficult...also, I had to make my own version of the layout.  I kept a printout on my monitor but that didn't exactly work and it's tough to find spare time to learn it (as opposed to working time where I need to type fast) because I work so damned much. [ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 38627[/ATTACH] [ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 38628[/ATTACH]  Btw, microsoft keyboard layout creator is pretty groovy.

I'm strongly considering totally removing numbers from the top row and strictly using a numberpad for numerals.  Would make symbols a bit more accessible (though they're pretty alright now).
« Last Edit: Thu, 26 January 2012, 12:44:56 by Gawkbasher »
Topre Realforce 87U 45g / Logitech G9x / Razer Scarab
KBC Poker X (Blue)
/ KBC Poker X (Red)

Offline erw

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 26 January 2012, 14:40:28 »
Quote from: pauld;492367
After getting quite a lot of RSI pain (and trying and not liking an ergonomic keyboard), I've decided to give Dvorak a go.

If you are going to invest weeks/months learning an alternative layout (which I think is a good idea), you should at least give the same honor to ergonomic keyboards (here I'm just assuming you haven't because if you had, I think you'd have written more about it).

It takes time to get used to. When I changed from flat to MS NEK 4000 (which I can't recommend btw), it took some days to get used to it and get back up to speed. When I switched to Kinesis Advantage, it took me months to fully appreciate it but now I love it.
Kinesis Advantage LF (MX Red), Kinesis Advantage (MX Brown), Colemak

Offline Tafryn

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 26 January 2012, 14:53:32 »
If you're committed to making the switch to dvorak then the best way to do so is to completely give up using qwerty while you're learning the new layout. I attempted to pick up dvorak twice in college. The first time I'd switch back to qwerty whenever I had something important to do, and as a result I still hadn't gotten the new layout down after two months. The second time I completely gave up qwerty, and this allowed me to form the new muscle-memory that I needed within a month.

I found this tutorial, gigliwood.com/abcd/lessons/, to be invaluable. It's just a series of text boxes with patterns to mimic, but it does a good job of gradually exposing your hands to many of the new patterns you'll need to type effectively in dvorak. Since you're already touch-typing you may want to skip the first few lessons, but it never hurts to reinforce the basics.

I was making extensive use of the command line when I made the switch, and, like you, also found myself tripping over common commands like cd and ls. I'd advise making a few aliases (e.g. alias no="ls"; alias je="cd", etc.) while you get up to speed on the newer finger patterns for the most common commands. Try not to rely too heavily on this crutch though, and remember to remove it as soon as you can.

Your extensive use of qwerty might mean that it'll take you a little longer to lay down new muscle-memory, but it's entirely realistic to make the switch now (especially if you're dealing with RSI).

Offline Martin227

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #18 on: Sat, 11 February 2012, 15:05:08 »
The world isn't all Dvorak or Colemak as the Colemak-zealots here would like to imply. Even if you've for some reason decided to ignore all the other options out there, you should beyond those two options consider a modified Dvorak (e.g. Capewell-Dvorak), which solves a lot of its perceived problems.

Alternative layouts:
http://deskthority.net/wiki/Keyboard_layouts
http://mtgap.bilfo.com/alternative_layouts.html

I would also like to take this opportunity to call bull on the Colemak design rationale of being similar to QWERTY. If that is in any way a priority you should instead go for an effectivised QWERTY, wherein only a very few keys change position. The first five keyswaps yield 90% of the benefit. Martin Krzywinski writes about it under "Partial optimization". An alternative is the vertical-swap layout, where ERT and UIOP move one row down and the keys they displace move one row up. This keeps everything under the same fingers.

On a third count, I'd like to say that if you're a programmer then availability isn't a problem. No layout has to come pre-installed. Hand-compile an AutoHotkey script for the layout you want, it takes 30 minutes if you're used to AutoHotkey. Shortcuts like Ctrl+C can also be kept in their usual places that way.
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Offline boli

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #19 on: Sat, 11 February 2012, 17:50:21 »
Cheers for the comments and links, Martin227.

Hadn't heard about the vertical-swap layout before, sounds intriguing. The partial optimizations are fascinating as well, even though I had seen those before on the carPalx site.

If I may ask, what layout are you currently using?
Keyboard: Kinesis Ergo Advantage (two LF editions with red Cherry switches, one regular with brown switches)
Keyboard layout: basically Colemak, with some remapping to end up with my custom Kinesis Advantage layout
Typing test profiles: typeracer.com / hi-games.net / keybr.com

Offline Martin227

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #20 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 04:46:18 »
Quote from: boli;512031
If I may ask, what layout are you currently using?

Oh, I used to type a version of Dvorak modified for the Swedish language. I found touch-typing to hurt my fingers though [edit: I typed for 4–6 months] so I went back to multi-finger hunting-and-pecking. I find it more ergonomic because you don't do any "microtwitches" of the fingers, just large sweeping motions. Anyway, I naturally had to return to QWERTY in the process.

I still plan to touch-type, but not before I get a proper keyboard also, and decide on a different layout – I'm leaning towards generating one with MTGAP and/or carPalx that is as different from QWERTY as humanly possible.

I may also try to integrate my multi-finger pecking style into touch-typing so I'm not stuck with a strict rulebook, which I found to be disastrous to comfort. Among other things I must teach each of my fingers to be able to find their way on the entire layout.
« Last Edit: Sun, 12 February 2012, 04:55:21 by Martin227 »
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Offline boli

  • Posts: 350
What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #21 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 07:17:01 »
Quote from: Martin227;512392
I still plan to touch-type, but not before I get a proper keyboard also, and decide on a different layout


Did you have something ergonomic in mind?

If so I'd like to share that my favorite keyboard to date is the Kinesis Advantage, with the TrulyErgonomic being the second favorite (I'm currently using the TE at work to get a feel for it). I had also tried the TypeMatrix 2030 as well as the PLUM keyboard (all of them use matrix layout, which in my opinion is a must-have).

From what I read apparently the Kinesis forces you to touch type, so I dunno how well it would work for you. I can't confirm or deny it since I could touch type when I switched to it. I can say that typing Colemak on a Kinesis Advantage feels very comfortable to me. :)

Quote from: Martin227;512392
I'm leaning towards generating one with MTGAP and/or carPalx that is as different from QWERTY as humanly possible.


That's an interesting design goal. I guess it would be easy to create opposite-to-QWERTY layouts, but I doubt it would be any good. I assume you mean the layout should be excellent according to whatever metrics you choose and you don't mind if it's totally different from QWERTY? (If not: what's your rationale?)

The MTGAP layouts (such as the 2.0 or fully optimized) look quite interesting, too.

I'm looking forward to seeing what the next version will be, given the creator recently got a Kinesis Advantage of his own. :) It should be interesting to see whether the Kinesis optimized layout he created a year ago - apparently without owning a Kinesis keyboard - works out in practice, or if he'll improve on the 2.0 layout (which he's been using the past few years if I understand correctly).

That said I think it unlikely that I'll switch again myself. I'm happy with Colemak, so I doubt switching to something else that is a couple % better in one or other metric is worth the effort.
Keyboard: Kinesis Ergo Advantage (two LF editions with red Cherry switches, one regular with brown switches)
Keyboard layout: basically Colemak, with some remapping to end up with my custom Kinesis Advantage layout
Typing test profiles: typeracer.com / hi-games.net / keybr.com

Offline Martin227

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #22 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 10:28:42 »
Quote from: boli;512425
Did you have something ergonomic in mind?

If so I'd like to share that my favorite keyboard to date is the Kinesis Advantage, with the TrulyErgonomic being the second favorite (I'm currently using the TE at work to get a feel for it). I had also tried the TypeMatrix 2030 as well as the PLUM keyboard (all of them use matrix layout, which in my opinion is a must-have).

Definitely agree with you on the point of matrix layouts. Technically the Kinesis and TE are not "matrix" but staggered vertically. That's why I prefer the term "straight columns". But yes, straight columns are very nearly a must.

I could imagine getting into something with symmetric staggering, like the TRON or this Tipro keyboard, or even regular staggering like on the HHKB Pro JP, though I'd rather not since that one failed to normalise the number-row.

I'm not sure yet if I want something with either split typing-areas or vertical stagger. A perfect contiguous matrix methinks feels logical and would lend itself well to independent motion of fingers, and games with many hotkeys would be easy. There's something appealing in the sthetics of it too.


To be sure, the Kinesis Advantage LF is very attractive. There are so many ups to it: the finger-adjusted columns, the click sound that can be turned on/off, the fact light switches like Reds are claimed to be very suitable on this type of keyboard.

I'm also thinking the Kinesis sits well in your lap and could be modded into a portable input-station, with USB-hub and audio jack.

One of its problems is that it's not very "open" – sometimes it's nice to be able to type one-handed, which per default is impossible on the Advantage. However, I would solve that by getting out my footswitch and modifying one of its pedals so that when pressed the keyboard is mirror-reversed. Has anyone tried this?


I've my eye on Kinesis, TrulyErgonomic, Maltron 1H, Maltron 2H as well as any perfect-matrix board (e.g. Access-IS, X-Keys). But I'm leaning towards the Kinesis. It probably has more good than it has bad, and I'll work around the bad.

The Maltron two-handed (2H) has a couple of advantages over Kinesis.
  • First, the keys are not vertically staggered, and still adjust to your finger-lengths by laying down the columns at different depths.
  • The function-keys are real keys, and what's more, they take advantage of the curvature of the keyboard by being placed immediately above the number-row, which in tandem with the curvature should make them the easiest function-keys to hit in history.
  • There's a central keypad. This is good not due to the keypad itself but due to those keys' proximity to the main typing areas, so they could be used for hotkeys in games for example. I do wish the Maltron transitioned smoothly from keywell to keypad, forming a large contiguous keyboard.
Do you play computer games at all? The Kinesis has rather few columns for that application, I think. One or two more columns next to the index finger would have been enormously beneficial.



Quote
That's an interesting design goal. I guess it would be easy to create opposite-to-QWERTY layouts, but I doubt it would be any good. I assume you mean the layout should be excellent according to whatever metrics you choose and you don't mind if it's totally different from QWERTY? (If not: what's your rationale?)

Well, when typing Dvorak, if I had recently used QWERTY or thought about it in the context of hotkeys setup, I could be momentarily thrown off before my fingers found their stride. The perpetrators of this were mostly the A and M keys, which are on the same locations in QWERTY as in Dvorak.

I'd also like to forbid keys from positions right next to where they used to be, something many keys in Dvorak are guilty of. It feels terribly confusing, though admittedly doesn't have much performance impact.

It may all be nitpicking, but I'd like to seal all backdoors to be sure, if that's a valid idiom.

In particular this may turn out to be important because I'm going to transfer my homegrown typing style, which is how I type QWERTY, and mix it with touch-typing.



Quote
That said I think it unlikely that I'll switch again myself. I'm happy with Colemak, so I doubt switching to something else that is a couple % better in one or other metric is worth the effort.

Definitely don't change. Changing is for people who do feel unhappy with their layouts :)

Percentages are not what you hang yourself up on, but individual tastes, like if you find certain finger-motions uncomfortable etc. The Workman layout is a case-example of this: he built that layout because he found lateral movement much less comfortable than other people seem to.


PS: You're Swiss. How come your layout doesn't have the and sharp-s and stuff?
« Last Edit: Sun, 12 February 2012, 10:43:29 by Martin227 »
New account: bogboar

Offline sordna

  • Posts: 2826
What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #23 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 11:55:53 »
Quote from: Martin227;512488

One of its problems is that it's not very "open" sometimes it's nice to be able to type one-handed, which per default is impossible on the Advantage. However, I would solve that by getting out my footswitch and modifying one of its pedals so that when pressed the keyboard is mirror-reversed. Has anyone tried this?


No, but it's a very interesting idea, and the keyboard's keypad layer can be remapped to do it! If you get this keyboard, please try it and let us know the results in practice.

Quote

Do you play computer games at all? The Kinesis has rather few columns for that application, I think. One or two more columns next to the index finger would have been enormously beneficial.


I agree 100%. In fact this keyboard can benefit from more keys anywhere you can put them, I have added 6 so far:

[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 40239[/ATTACH]
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline boli

  • Posts: 350
What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #24 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 12:55:13 »
Whoa thanks for the extensive answers! :)

Quote from: Martin227;512488
Definitely agree with you on the point of matrix layouts. Technically the Kinesis and TE are not "matrix" but staggered vertically. That's why I prefer the term "straight columns". But yes, straight columns are very nearly a must.

Right, straight columns is definitely a more accurate term, my bad. I sometimes use the term staggered columns, which fits the Advantage and TE, but not the TypeMatrix.

Quote
One of its problems is that it's not very "open" – sometimes it's nice to be able to type one-handed, which per default is impossible on the Advantage. However, I would solve that by getting out my footswitch and modifying one of its pedals so that when pressed the keyboard is mirror-reversed. Has anyone tried this?

Not me (don't have a foot switch), but I read about some software that does this automatically based on a dictionary.


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The Maltron two-handed (2H) has a couple of advantages over Kinesis.
  • First, the keys are not vertically staggered, and still adjust to your finger-lengths by laying down the columns at different depths.
  • The function-keys are real keys, and what's more, they take advantage of the curvature of the keyboard by being placed immediately above the number-row, which in tandem with the curvature should make them the easiest function-keys to hit in history.
  • There's a central keypad. This is good not due to the keypad itself but due to those keys' proximity to the main typing areas, so they could be used for hotkeys in games for example. I do wish the Maltron transitioned smoothly from keywell to keypad, forming a large contiguous keyboard.

Small correction on your first point on the Kinesis Advantage: a) only the pinky columns are staggered, the 8 toward the center are in a matrix. b) All of them have different depths to adjust for finger length as well.

I wholeheartedly agree on the second point, I'm envious of that. :)

On the third point, I don't miss the num pad at all, but I certainly wouldn't mind a few extra buttons in the middle, or an extra column each for the index fingers (like the ErgoDox).

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Do you play computer games at all? The Kinesis has rather few columns for that application, I think. One or two more columns next to the index finger would have been enormously beneficial.

Aye, I play quite a bit actually. Just spent about 2 months in Skyrim (I think I'm at 190 hours played or something, thanks to Xmas holidays), now I'm back to StarCraft 2, where I just today got the avatar for 1'000 quick matches won (as Zerg, I'm in middle platinum ATM). I also played WoW for a couple of years (25 and 10 man hc raiding), but stopped about a year ago. In WoW I used 3 to 4 keyboard layers (normal, Shift, Ctrl and Alt) of stuff all on the left half of the keyboard.
In SC2 I have 6 control groups on the left half, which isn't quite enough at times. I tried moving hatcheries and queens to my mouse side buttons (as with the Dark Grid layout) but still use 4 and 5 as I'm used to. >.< Also I use the grid layout so I don't ever need anything from the right hand side of the keyboard. And then I just got the Mac versions of Rage and Duke Nukem Forever this week, though I haven't played much yet - StarCraft 2 is more addictive. :P
To summarize: I mostly make do with the left half of the keyboard, but a few extra keys certainly wouldn't hurt. Nor would Sordna's mod to add an extra k-shift layer.

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Well, when typing Dvorak, if I had recently used QWERTY or thought about it in the context of hotkeys setup, I could be momentarily thrown off before my fingers found their stride. The perpetrators of this were mostly the A and M keys, which are on the same locations in QWERTY as in Dvorak.

I'd also like to forbid keys from positions right next to where they used to be, something many keys in Dvorak are guilty of. It feels terribly confusing, though admittedly doesn't have much performance impact.

It may all be nitpicking, but I'd like to seal all backdoors to be sure, if that's a valid idiom.

In particular this may turn out to be important because I'm going to transfer my homegrown typing style, which is how I type QWERTY, and mix it with touch-typing.

Thanks for the clarification. I hear you on the keys next to each other, any Colemak user can tell you how hard it was to get used to S (moved 1 spot to the right, to QWERTY D position) or G (moved one spot up to QWERTY T position). :)

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Percentages are not what you hang yourself up on, but individual tastes, like if you find certain finger-motions uncomfortable etc.

Aye, good point. Colemak on the Advantage (or the TE for that matter) feels comfortable to me.

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PS: You're Swiss. How come your layout doesn't have the and sharp-s and stuff?

It does on the Option/AltGr layer (link shows how Apple's Option layer differs from the original Colemak Option/AltGr layer). My last name has an mlt in it s I d need them. :P

BTW we Swiss don't use (sharp-s) like Germans do; we use ss instead. Dunno about Austria. If we did use it it's available with Option + S.
« Last Edit: Sun, 12 February 2012, 13:03:54 by boli »
Keyboard: Kinesis Ergo Advantage (two LF editions with red Cherry switches, one regular with brown switches)
Keyboard layout: basically Colemak, with some remapping to end up with my custom Kinesis Advantage layout
Typing test profiles: typeracer.com / hi-games.net / keybr.com

Offline Martin227

  • Posts: 16
What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #25 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 16:03:15 »
Quote from: boli;512566
Small correction on your first point on the Kinesis Advantage: a) only the pinky columns are staggered, the 8 toward the center are in a matrix. b) All of them have different depths to adjust for finger length as well.

Right, my bad. I guess the Kinesis doesn't sound too bad in that respect.

I'm a little jealous of the Maltron's full-on peppering of "typewriter keys". But it's interesting the way the Kinesis uses those to denote home-keys only. It just might feel really awesome to use.

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To summarize: I mostly make do with the left half of the keyboard, but a few extra keys certainly wouldn't hurt. Nor would Sordna's mod to add an extra k-shift layer.

An extra k-shift layer? What's a k-shift layer?

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Thanks for the clarification. I hear you on the keys next to each other, any Colemak user can tell you how hard it was to get used to S (moved 1 spot to the right, to QWERTY D position) or G (moved one spot up to QWERTY T position). :)

I didn't think it would be necessary to forbid relocating to a key above or below the original position. It seems to me like difference of rows is a difference on a different level altogether. Maybe I'll change my mind with the Advantage.



PS: I'm happy to report that I got Michael ****ens' keyboard layout optimiser to work on my Windows machine. It requires cygwin or mingw to be installed, with which you navigate to the correct folder and compile an executable through "command make" (in mingw's case). If anyone needs more detailed help ask me.

I just don't think it can be used to fine-tune for specific characters being blocked from specific locations. It makes sense, ****ens hasn't had to use such a feature. Of course, the code is all at my fingertips, so maybe I have a project at hand...
« Last Edit: Sun, 12 February 2012, 16:15:31 by Martin227 »
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Offline dorkvader

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What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #26 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 16:33:50 »
Quote from: Martin227;512694
An extra k-shift layer? What's a k-shift layer?

I am pretty sure he means just another layer. You should be able to make one if you've added extra keys under the shifts, like what sordna has done.


Quote from: Martin227;512694
PS: I'm happy to report that I got Michael ****ens' keyboard layout optimiser to work on my Windows machine. It requires cygwin or mingw to be installed, with which you navigate to the correct folder and compile an executable through "command make" (in mingw's case). If anyone needs more detailed help ask me.

I just don't think it can be used to fine-tune for specific characters being blocked from specific locations. It makes sense, ****ens hasn't had to use such a feature. Of course, the code is all at my fingertips, so maybe I have a project at hand...

Ugh. Anything cygwin related: I think it's just easier to run linux in Qemu (or other: VMware, etc.) or COlinux or suchlike. It's just easier for me to do it all in that same environment, then to try and get things playing nice with windows.
Kleptomaniacs are bad with puns: they take everything, literally.
let me put together your keyboard!

Offline boli

  • Posts: 350
What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #27 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 17:35:45 »
Quote from: Martin227;512694
Right, my bad. I guess the Kinesis doesn't sound too bad in that respect.

Aye the key wells feel pretty good. Some like the Maltron thumb areas better, would love to try one. :)

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I'm a little jealous of the Maltron's full-on peppering of "typewriter keys". But it's interesting the way the Kinesis uses those to denote home-keys only. It just might feel really awesome to use.

The spherical home keys do feel distinct, but I'm not overly attached to them. Cylindrical surface replacements feel good too. The home position feels like the home position even without the different key caps. :)

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An extra k-shift layer? What's a k-shift layer?

Quote from: dorkvader;512711
I am pretty sure he means just another layer. You should be able to make one if you've added extra keys under the shifts, like what sordna has done.

Aye, like dorkvader said, an extra layer. I thought sordna posted it here so you might have seen it, but it was in the Maltron 3D for gaming (rollover), and Kinesis Contoured function Keys thread, so I'll summarize:
I meant the extra layer used by default for the embedded key pad on the right side. Normally it's accessible by toggling into with one of those rubber keys in the top most row.
Sordna added extra keys that can activate it momentarily, while the key is held down, like a shift key, but for the keypad layer - hence k-shift. :) The nice part about it is that one can then remap keys to that layer, such as the F# keys for example, right under the fingers, only a k-shift away. I think that's pretty neat.

Quote from: Martin227;512694
I didn't think it would be necessary to forbid relocating to a key above or below the original position. It seems to me like difference of rows is a difference on a different level altogether. Maybe I'll change my mind with the Advantage.

Aye, the vertical position change is much easier to get used to than a finger change, but still was somewhat confusing.

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PS: I'm happy to report that I got Michael ****ens' keyboard layout optimiser to work on my Windows machine. [snip] Of course, the code is all at my fingertips, so maybe I have a project at hand...

Good luck. :)
Keyboard: Kinesis Ergo Advantage (two LF editions with red Cherry switches, one regular with brown switches)
Keyboard layout: basically Colemak, with some remapping to end up with my custom Kinesis Advantage layout
Typing test profiles: typeracer.com / hi-games.net / keybr.com

Offline boli

  • Posts: 350
What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #28 on: Sat, 25 February 2012, 03:21:18 »
Quote from: Martin227;511883
An alternative is the vertical-swap layout, where ERT and UIOP move one row down and the keys they displace move one row up. This keeps everything under the same fingers.


I found a carPalx analysis of the vertical swap layout in the Colemak forum.
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ghen: Within its constraints, it scores as well as it could; much better than Qwerty, almost as good as Dvorak, but not as good as Colemak, of course. ;-)

Code: [Select]
Q W D F G Y J K L ;
A S [B]E R T[/B] H [B]U I O P[/B]
Z X C V B N M , . /


For details, check the what if we switch the top row with the home row in QWERTY? thread at the Colemak forums.
Keyboard: Kinesis Ergo Advantage (two LF editions with red Cherry switches, one regular with brown switches)
Keyboard layout: basically Colemak, with some remapping to end up with my custom Kinesis Advantage layout
Typing test profiles: typeracer.com / hi-games.net / keybr.com

Offline Martin227

  • Posts: 16
What is the quickest/most effective way to learn Dvorak?
« Reply #29 on: Sun, 04 March 2012, 12:15:09 »
Quote from: boli;525309
I found a carPalx analysis of the vertical swap layout in the Colemak forum.

Right, thanks for that! I've updated the layouts wikipage on Deskthority.

It really seems superoptimal if the effort is that close to Dvorak (2.122 vs 2.098). And changing anything else might make it lot harder to (re)learn.

Maybe they should make this a standard...
New account: bogboar