Author Topic: Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions  (Read 8776 times)

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Offline Tezkat

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Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« on: Thu, 09 February 2012, 19:03:08 »
Hey all!

I purchased a Truly Ergonomic keyboard based in no small part on comments and reviews here on geekhack. (Thanks, guys!) I spend a large chunk of my day on the PC either writing, coding, or gaming. I've had some mild RSI issues over the years, and I've mainly been using the MS Natural line of keyboards in its various incarnations over the past two decades.


I ordered the 109 key TECK on January 23rd. After almost two weeks of silence, it finally shipped last Friday and arrived yesterday afternoon (February 8th). And my account on their website still lists my order as "Pending".  Their communication needs work. Seriously.


So I've had about a day to play with it now. Plenty of writing. Heck, I'm typing this post on it right now! I also played a bunch of StarCraft 2 to experiment with new hotkey setups that might take advantage of all the new keys at my fingertips. (Split keyboard configurations really starve you for keys in RTS games, and SC2 is easily the most keyboard APM intensive game in my library.) Obviously, that isn't enough time to fully evaluate the keyboard, but it has allowed me to shape some initial impressions, many of which echo what others here have posted.


First impressions...

Build quality feels very solid. It's surprisingly hefty for such a small keyboard. I love the compactness, as it allows me to place my mouse in a more comfortable position next to it on the keyboard tray.

The wrist rest is solid and pretty comfy. I haven't tried removing it yet (and frankly don't see why I'd want to...).

Cherry Browns are utterly delightful to type on. Why do I even tolerate non-mechanical switches? The market needs more selection in mechanical ergo keyoards...

The curved matrix layout is quite comfortable to use overall, and I'm pleasantly surprised at how quickly I've taken to it. The wrist rest and key shape/layout largely compensate for the flat design. (Coming off years of using angled boards that made me hate regular keyboards, that was a concern I was happy to find unjustified.)

My typing accuracy has admittedly taken a bit of a hit, but I mostly attribute that to the matrix layout punishing bad habits I've developed over the years. After a day of practice, I'm starting to get the hang of the layout, and my WPM should be back to normal once I unlearn some of the problem keypresses.

I'm rapidly coming to enjoy the new Backspace key. Given my reduced typing accuracy during this transition, it's seeing a lot of use. It's quite accessible as a finger key (though I found myself happily using it as a thumb key for the gaming tests). The Tab key is nice, too, although that's proving a little harder to get used to.

The new Shift key position will take some practice, but I don't dislike it at all. Given the curved distribution of the rows, it actually feels fairly natural. Accessing the bottom row does feel bit weird, but only the Z and quote marks are hard to modify. The Caps Lock key is honestly a waste of premium real estate on most keyboards, and the increased accessibility of the Ctrl keys is a big plus. One minor complaint: The key itself feels like it's shaped wrong. It's slightly raised and angled back relative to the adjacent letter keys, which makes it feel a bit high for my pinkies. The difference is especially noticeable with a gaming style Shift-WASD home position. I figure  they may have been trying to lower the number of custom keycaps needed, but there's really no excuse for that at this price point.

I dislike the Alt keys. The shape and layout make reaching those corner keys unpleasant, especially as pinky based modifiers, and using them as such requires significant hand movement. Perhaps they should have swapped the positions of the Alt and directional keys. The latter are too unwieldy to use as thumb buttons without repositioning the whole hand anyway, and I suspect that many of us are already quite used to using Alt as a thumb key. In its current position, Alt-Tab is not a comfortable stretch. Neither is Alt-Shift, though I suspect that one might be slightly more workable with the oversized Alt on the 104/105. For people who use such key combinations on a regular basis, that's a fairly significant concern. (Disclaimer: I have kinda small hands. Your mileage may vary...)

Why oh why did they not slope the Enter key forward like the spacebars? Although I can definitely see myself getting used to a thumb based Enter, my thumb is hitting the hard edge of the key instead of the top, which is decidedly uncomfortable. I found myself occasionally swivelling to whack it with my right index finger instead.

At this price, I'd normally expect a USB hub.

The current lack of programming software makes it feel like an incomplete product, especially with the 109 keyboard having four buttons that don't do anything out of the box.


Remappings with which I'm currently experimenting...

Left Space to Enter. I'm liking this. Much more comfortable.

Enter to Alt. The central thumb button is an excellent place for a modifier accessible from both hands, although it still suffers from the shape/comfort issue mentioned above.

I'll probably be keeping the 2nd central key as Delete, but the desire to switch it back to its labelled quote function is growing. The regular '/" key is proving difficult to get used to, and it's not easy to modify with the right shift key.

I'm still not sure what I'll end up doing with the corner keys. Probably a few accented letters for easier typing in French. Depending on how I eventually feel about the new brace key positions, single keypress access to curled braces for coding is also a contender.

I might also move the / key back to the right side of the keyboard (either bottom corner or replacing the quote marks where it's supposed to be), since having it so far away from the brackets is annoying for using any kind of markup language.


The verdict...

Despite a few notable shortcomings and a company that desperately needs to get their act together, I'd rate my overall first impression of the keyboard as positive. Comfort and quality wise, it blows the MS Natural keyboards away. My experience with the higher end ergo keyboards is very limited, so I can't offer much comparison with its direct competitors like the Kinesis. Although it's certainly the most expensive keyboard I've purchased for a PC, I'm inclined to think it's reasonably good value for an ergonomic tool I'll be using every day. On the other hand, it's sufficiently different from other keyboards that I could foresee needing more than one to support multiple computers once I'm used to it, and that could get uncomfortably expensive rather quickly.

Offline Tezkat

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Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 09 February 2012, 19:09:11 »
Quote from: ripster;510591
Welcome to Geekhack.

I will now stand back as half of Geekhack accuses you of being a shill.


If they're planning to pay me for this, I hope the cheque doesn't take anywhere near as long to get to me as the keyboard did. ^.^

Offline dzd

  • Posts: 31
Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 11 February 2012, 02:42:27 »
I've had mine about a a week now, and I like it alot too. I haven't used it much yet (some challenges with getting up to speed on it and the nasty outgassing fumes). But I think it will likely become my main kb.

I like the shape too - it's a simple shape with some nice curves. It imparts a more organic flavor than the typical kb.

I can see maybe getting more in the future - $ ouch! $  Let's hope they drop in price a bit.

Of course, I am also eagerly awaiting all the other promised and rumored future features.  :)

Offline obra

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Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 23:41:45 »
I'm trying to get used to mine, but my god, the apostrophe is NOT supposed to move :/

Offline heuristicist

  • Posts: 57
Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 00:52:40 »
Quote from: obra;512985
I'm trying to get used to mine, but my god, the apostrophe is NOT supposed to move :/

Same with question-mark.

Offline boli

  • Posts: 350
Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 01:14:09 »
Quote from: obra;512985
Quote from: obra;512985
I'm trying to get used to mine, but my god, the apostrophe is NOT supposed to move :/

I'm trying to get used to mine, but my god, the apostrophe is NOT supposed to move :/

Well you could move the /? key back to the normal position, and '" to the top left, but I think that wouldn't make sense in the long run, assuming the ' is used much more often.
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 Tezkat

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Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 01:21:56 »
Heh. I finally got fed up about the /? key and moved it over to replace the bottom right apostrophe key where it belongs, so now the middle button above the tab is back on its labelled punctuation duties. It's actually not a bad place for the apostrophe, at least for typing in English with a QWERTY layout, since 'T is one of the most common combinations and available with a quick finger roll. While it's not as ideal for other languages, I suppose that's the best place for it given that its usual spot next to the semicolon is unavailable.

I also decided to make the bottom corners into extra modifier keys. In particular, I've set them to access the keypad without having to turn NumLock on, which is a feature I consider essential for productive use of any tenkeyless board. I hope the programming software, if and when it's released, will support such combinations.



I decided to go all in and have been using the TECK as my sole home keyboard since it arrived. I'm impressed by how quickly it started feeling natural. (Also... best SC2 hotkey setup evar!)

Although I still don't feel that their position is optimal, I quite like the fact that the directional keys are accessible without too much hand movement. Having the arrows in a standard 4 way layout is one of my requirements for a keyboard. (Laying them out in a row is something I really hate about a lot of laptop keyboards--and one of the reasons many other ergo boards haven't been under consideration). On the other hand, that very feature largely precludes their use as thumb buttons, at least for my hands. If there's one thing the TECK could use more of, it's thumb buttons. Which is interesting, as most of the previous prototypes this guy patented had thumb buttons galore. I suspect a lot of the design decisions that went into the final production model were based more on aesthetics and cost control than functionality or ergonomics, whis is a pity.



I think that, if I were to buy a second one, I'd go with the 105 instead of the 109. I purchased the latter worried about the lack of keys (and also because I wanted the - and + keys in their normal place), but I've been finding that the corner keys are kinda difficult/uncomfortable to reach in this layout anyway (significantly more so than with my curved MS Natural boards). And with the extra programmed modifiers, the lack of keys isn't a huge concern. Big    corner buttons would probably be easier to hit.

However, I don't plan to support them with additional purchases until they demonstrate some evidence of being able to support their products. That means the promised programming software at the very least. I'm also holding out until I see what happens with those RMA requests. Thankfully, aside from a slightly squeaky shift key, everything is working as it should. But there's no telling when something might fail, and t   his is far too expensive a product to throw money at something they can't/won't fix.

I'm afraid I'm not really holding my breath on the prospect a price decrease, though. They sold out of their initial run almost instantly, and we all know what happens to prices when demand exceeds supply...

It's too bad. I think that, at under $200, I'd merely consider this keyboard to be a premium accessory and wouldn't think twice about buying one for each computer. But they priced it above the magic threshold which, for me makes it a specialty product for which incremental changes in price matter less than being able to put the best possible product in front of me.

As it is, I paid nearly $300 for this thing including HST and shipping. At that price, I could probably just hack together my own keyboard, which would be perfectly laid out and programmed just the way I wanted. (I can't believe it... not five days after getting my paws on such an expensive keyboard, and I'm already pondering blowing another few hundred bucks to build a new one. Damn you, geekhack! Damn you!!!)

Offline heuristicist

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Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 06:37:40 »
Quote from: Tezkat;513044
As it is, I paid nearly $300 for this thing including HST and shipping. At that price, I could probably just hack together my own keyboard, which would be perfectly laid out and programmed just the way I wanted. (I can't believe it... not five days after getting my paws on such an expensive keyboard, and I'm already pondering blowing another few hundred bucks to build a new one. Damn you, geekhack! Damn you!!!)

You should check out the ErgoDox keyboard in this thread. Dox has a design similar to the TE, but split, and a lot of people are hoping to get it under $300, but AFAIK to get that we will need a bunch of people in order to get good volume discounting.

Offline boli

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Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 07:34:56 »
Also the ErgoDox has just as many thumb keys as the Kinesis - the number one feature I miss from the TE. :)
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 Tracer

  • Posts: 108
Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 11:50:22 »
Just got my 109 model with blank keys. OMG is matrix layout hard to get used to. I also can't wait for the remapping software.

Offline heuristicist

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Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 12:45:57 »
Quote from: Tracer;513302
Just got my 109 model with blank keys. OMG is matrix layout hard to get used to. I also can't wait for the remapping software.


No doubt! The shift placement was throwing me off a lot but almost equally bad is that I'm accustomed to using my index finger to press c. This doesn't work too well on a non-staggered layout!

Online sordna

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Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #11 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 13:07:03 »
Quote from: ripster;510591
Welcome to Geekhack.

I will now stand back as half of Geekhack accuses you of being a shill.

Nah, shills are easily recognizable by:
1) Repeatedly singing a keyboard's praises months before it ships
2) Comparing its price with competitors' highest possibly priced model variants to portray a price difference when there is practically none
3) Spreading FUD about competitor keyboards with false/misleading "problems" about them
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

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Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 13:18:43 »
Quote from: Tracer;513302
Just got my 109 model with blank keys. OMG is matrix layout hard to get used to. I also can't wait for the remapping software.
Quote from: heuristicist;513321
No doubt! The shift placement was throwing me off a lot but almost equally bad is that I'm accustomed to using my index finger to press c. This doesn't work too well on a non-staggered layout!

I'd definitely recommend taking this opportunity to fix any bad habits such as this. :)

And don't worry, you'll get used to the straight columns in time and most likely love it. Do you have more trouble with your left or right hand? Top row or bottom row? I'd guess left hand, because that's the hand that suffered most from the staggered rows you're used to. You probably didn't have any trouble using a numpad with your right hand, and that's matrix layout as well.

Personally I was already used to the matrix layout (love it), and I'm actually starting to like the central Tab and Enter keys. Backspace still feels weird, but then I'm used to having it under my thumb. :)
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 Lanx

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Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 13:47:23 »
Quote from: heuristicist;513321
No doubt! The shift placement was throwing me off a lot but almost equally bad is that I'm accustomed to using my index finger to press c. This doesn't work too well on a non-staggered layout!
this was my biggest issue, took me weeks to get this taken care of.

Offline Tracer

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Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 14:09:53 »
Quote from: boli;513342
I'd definitely recommend taking this opportunity to fix any bad habits such as this. :)

Having used a Kensis for a while, I'm reluctant to fix bad habits due to having issues getting back onto a "standard" keyboard, like the one of my thinkpad or anybody elses computer. I already have issues with my thinkpad and the annoying placement of the Fn key.

Quote from: boli;513342
And don't worry, you'll get used to the straight columns in time and most likely love it. Do you have more trouble with your left or right hand? Top row or bottom row? I'd guess left hand, because that's the hand that suffered most from the staggered rows you're used to. You probably didn't have any trouble using a numpad with your right hand, and that's matrix layout as well.

Correct. Left is much worse than right and the majority of issues are with the bottom row.
[/QUOTE]

Quote from: boli;513342
Personally I was already used to the matrix layout (love it), and I'm actually starting to like the central Tab and Enter keys. Backspace still feels weird, but then I'm used to having it under my thumb. :)

I hit the Enter key EVERY TIME expecting it to be the spacebar. Sadly, I'm replying to you on a standard keyboard as I had to actually get some work done. My typing speed got reduced to 10%
Sadly, my decision to get blank layout seriously hurt the adoption speed.

Offline Tracer

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Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #15 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 15:05:01 »
Got sharpkeys for windows and remapped some of the boundery keys.

Ctrl to extra corner keys.
Shift to Cntrl
LShift to tab
RShift to Enter
`~ to top left key

this still leaves the \, / and ' in weird places. I think I'll remap Enter to Backspace and shift the number row over from the old ` location to 6 onward allowing me to place backspace where it belongs.

This was typed... slowly on the TE
« Last Edit: Mon, 13 February 2012, 15:30:26 by Tracer »

Online sordna

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Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #16 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 16:05:23 »
Matrix layout is great, there's a reason the numpads are in matrix layout, and we have all seen how fast folks enter numbers with them.

The same speed/comfort advantages apply to matrix layout for letters. Any serious keyboard *must* have the keys in straight columns, the silly zig-zag traditional arrangement is unnecessary and simply bad.
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

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Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #17 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 16:30:54 »
Quote from: Tracer;513381
I hit the Enter key EVERY TIME expecting it to be the spacebar.

Hmm, my thumbs naturally rest on the inside edges of the space bars, close to the Enter key, so I think I might have liked narrower space bars in favor of moving the two movements clusters one position inward, so they would be straight below the home position, making those clusters easier to access. What do you guys think?

Oh well I guess we'll (have to) get used to the way that is, unless anyone is crazy enough to attempt a mod like that. :P You never know.

Quote from: Tracer;513403
Got sharpkeys for windows and remapped some of the boundery keys.

Ctrl to extra corner keys.
Shift to Cntrl
LShift to tab
RShift to Enter
`~ to top left key

this still leaves the \, / and ' in weird places. I think I'll remap Enter to Backspace and shift the number row over from the old ` location to 6 onward allowing me to place backspace where it belongs.

This was typed... slowly on the TE

Hang in there. :)

Looks like you're getting rid of many of the differences to a regular layout. :) Depending on how you press the num row keys on a regular keyboard you might find that moving all numbers one position to the left on the TE to make switching between the TE and a regular keyboard easier. I use that setup on the Kinesis and on the TE as well, though I left the center ` key in place and have 1-6 to the left and 7 to = on the right (no backspace there for me because I have the 105 model, but I like closer backspace anyway)

Quote from: sordna;513453
there's a reason the numpads are in matrix layout

Allow me to rephrase: there is no reason for them not to be in matrix layout - no typewriter heritage. ;)

It boggles my mind that there are so few straight column keyboards out there, all because of inertia?
« Last Edit: Mon, 13 February 2012, 16:53:57 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

Online sordna

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Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #18 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 16:38:35 »
Don't understand it either. The mouse evolved into mainstream alternatives (trackballs and touchpads, and tons to choose from), why has the keyboard physical layout been stagnating in the horrible late 1800's arrangement ???

I hate to say it, but it seems that only if Apple or Microsoft (but especially Apple) released a straight-column keyboard, it would start to be widely adopted.
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
Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #19 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 17:02:34 »
Quote from: sordna;513477
Don't understand it either. The mouse evolved into mainstream alternatives (trackballs and touchpads, and tons to choose from), why has the keyboard physical layout been stagnating in the horrible late 1800's arrangement ???

I hate to say it, but it seems that only if Apple or Microsoft (but especially Apple) released a straight-column keyboard, it would start to be widely adopted.

While I love many of Apple's products (and some not so much) an have been using them for over a decade, even I'm skeptical they'd release something so "alien"... though I guess it could work if they did. Everyone would be weirded out at first, but if forced to stick out the initial "unusualness" it should be a success. One can dream... ^^

Edit: Wrote an email to Apple while I'm still dreaming.
« Last Edit: Mon, 13 February 2012, 18:12:39 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 heuristicist

  • Posts: 57
Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #20 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 08:42:17 »
Quote from: boli;513342
I'd definitely recommend taking this opportunity to fix any bad habits such as this. :)

And don't worry, you'll get used to the straight columns in time and most likely love it. Do you have more trouble with your left or right hand? Top row or bottom row? I'd guess left hand, because that's the hand that suffered most from the staggered rows you're used to. You probably didn't have any trouble using a numpad with your right hand, and that's matrix layout as well.

Personally I was already used to the matrix layout (love it), and I'm actually starting to like the central Tab and Enter keys. Backspace still feels weird, but then I'm used to having it under my thumb. :)


Yes, definitely my left hand that's worse, but 'c' is the big problem---the rest aren't as bad. I'm actually quite convinced that on a regular keyboard, hitting 'c' with the index finger is better. To reach it, my index finger just has to curl back whereas my middle finger has to move laterally (sometimes moving the entire hand a bit as well).

I've also found that my finger-to-key mapping tends to be dynamic. For example, instead of hitting 'rv' with my index finger twice (where if i were to press the letter on its own or in different contexts I'd use the index finger) I'll instead use my middle finger followed by my index finger. This is *much* faster than using the index finger twice, especially for such a distance. This tends to still work out (more or less) on the TE, but I imagine it will take sometime before I start doing it again if I decide to switch to Colemak...

Offline Tracer

  • Posts: 108
Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #21 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 08:50:54 »
I know this is kind of a weird criticism, but the wrist wrests on this keyboard make my palms sweat horribly.

Got to find a solution to this soon.

Offline Snarfangel

  • Posts: 158
Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #22 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 09:14:02 »
Quote from: sordna;513453
Matrix layout is great, there's a reason the numpads are in matrix layout, and we have all seen how fast folks enter numbers with them.

The same speed/comfort advantages apply to matrix layout for letters. Any serious keyboard *must* have the keys in straight columns, the silly zig-zag traditional arrangement is unnecessary and simply bad.


I've been playing with a TypeMatrix 2020 (the old style -- hey, it was pretty cheap on Ebay) for the past week, and I rather like it. I hit instead of sometimes, but even though I have to pay a bit more attention, it's not too bad. (And it's only been a week, so I will almost certainly improve.) And it definitely feels more comfortable for my left hand -- the slant is just wrong on the left side on normal keyboards. One of these days, TrulyErgonomic, you'll end up on Ebay for me to try!

Then again,  I am getting a Unicomp buckling spring keyboard today, so it'll be really interesting switching back and forth. I plan to try the Unicomp in my office, until the boss tells me to take it home. :)
« Last Edit: Tue, 14 February 2012, 09:16:07 by Snarfangel »

Offline Tracer

  • Posts: 108
Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #23 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 09:47:33 »
Quote from: Snarfangel;514102
I am getting a Unicomp buckling spring keyboard today, so it'll be really interesting switching back and forth. I plan to try the Unicomp in my office, until the boss tells me to take it home. :)

My keyboard at home is an original IBM model M. I have to say I much prefer the Cherry MX brown's on this TE board.

Offline RTbar

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Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #24 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 09:55:52 »
I am having a hell of a time adjusting to this board... I'm almost ready to throw in the towel...

Offline Tracer

  • Posts: 108
Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #25 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 10:36:36 »
I've moved the numbers back to their original locations and am using the backspace as intended by TE.

My typing speed is up to 40% of what it was before. Improving but still frustrating.

Overall though I'm noticing much less finger movement on this keyboard that a standard one.

Offline boli

  • Posts: 350
Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #26 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 11:20:27 »
Quote from: RTbar;514147
I am having a hell of a time adjusting to this board... I'm almost ready to throw in the towel...

How long have you been at it? What are your particular problems? It just takes some time to shake off the many years of using a regular keyboard.

It took me 2 weeks to adjust to the Kinesis Advantage enough to be sure I wanna keep it, and I'm so glad I did. The current adjustment to the TE is much easier, as I'm already used to straight columns. Still I struggle with Tab, Backspace and Enter. I didn't even bother with the weird Shift placement and just put them back where they belong. ;) (to be fair I might have given the Shifts a shot if I had expected to stay on the TE and get a second one, but I expect I'll be going back to the Advantage after my trial)
« Last Edit: Tue, 14 February 2012, 11:23:07 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 RTbar

  • Posts: 36
Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #27 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 22:17:20 »
About a week... I just don't want to try to adjust to it only to realize that I don't like it and the return period is up... I am struggling with the shift, alt, and control key placement, the center column, straight layout, basically everything lol... it almost seems like a more radical change like the kinesis would be easier to learn, because you wouldn't try to type on it like a normal keyboard

Offline boli

  • Posts: 350
Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #28 on: Wed, 15 February 2012, 01:48:45 »
Quote from: RTbar;514774
About a week... I just don't want to try to adjust to it only to realize that I don't like it and the return period is up... I am struggling with the shift, alt, and control key placement, the center column, straight layout, basically everything lol...

It's up to you of course, but if you're considering a return within 30 days I would still try it as long and much as possible, say for 3 weeks with 1 week safety margin (or whatever you feel comfortable with).

Also if you can't adapt to some of the key locations there's no shame in adapting them to your liking! Moving some keys to a familiar location will allow you to focus on the changes you want to get used to, such as the matrix layout or center column.

It's sad that their remapping software isn't available, but there are alternatives (a few examples documented somewhere in this subforum). My main problem were the Shift keys, and because I still use a Kinesis at home with "normal" Shift key location I just changed them on the TE (swapped with the Ctrl keys immediately below them). With the Shifts fixed I was already able to type normal text, though I still struggled with ' and / positions as well as the center column. I decided to change ' and / too for ease of transition, but this meant losing the right Ctrl (or Command actually), which I'd rather not lose in the long run.

Another crucial change was setting the left space bar so Command. As many Mac users I used the thumb for Command for years. I think many Windows or Linux users are less accustomed to thumb use because their main modifier (Ctrl) lends itself more to pinky use, but I'm talking out of my a..rm here. What's your history in this respect?

Quote
it almost seems like a more radical change like the kinesis would be easier to learn, because you wouldn't try to type on it like a normal keyboard

Funny you should mention this. Two of my Kinesis are currently with work buddies on a test drive. One of them has a TE of his own (he used to be a TypeMatrix user), the other had my TE to give a try before I started using it last week. Both of them say the Advantage was easier to get used to than the TE. Frankly I was a bit surprised by this, because like you said the changes are more radical.

It's been 4 years since I started using the Advantage, so I don't have a direct comparison and can't confirm or deny their statement. I can say that the fingers on the Advantage can reach top or bottom row slightly easier because of the bowl shape, and they only have to stretch to the left left or right one column width at most, all the other reaching is done by the thumbs - of course the thumb keys require quite a bit of getting used to as well, but I love the thumb keys.

Update: Just had a look at your old posts and noticed you're considering a Kinesis. Don't let me stand in your way. ;) After all the Advantage still is my favorite keyboard, with the TE being the second favorite. Anything with staggered rows doesn't have a chance with me. There's nothing but training and using new equipment to get rid of old habits, so you may want to extend your TE trial a bit...
Though thinking back I quit my TypeMatrix trial after something over one week too and got a Kinesis instead. The TM was alright and is what got me hooked on straight column layouts, but I couldn't cope with its modifier key placement though (back then I didn't know how to remap modifiers in software).
« Last Edit: Wed, 15 February 2012, 02:02:29 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

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Truly Ergonomic - First Impressions
« Reply #29 on: Wed, 15 February 2012, 16:52:55 »
Arggg... I'm hitting a wall here. My typing speed is not improving. Trying to code at the end of a long day on this thing is haaaaard.