Author Topic: I'm questioning my journey into Colemak  (Read 5459 times)

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Offline FRGMNT

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I'm questioning my journey into Colemak
« on: Mon, 13 March 2017, 16:36:13 »
Just decided to start learning Colemak and I'm questioning the ergo benefits already. I'm normally at 100+WPM on QWERTY and 120+ when I'm in the zone, and I don't really feel that much fatigue typing, although I never type for really long extended periods. I noticed that my right forearm gets fatigued pretty fast practicing Colemak. I can't tell if this is because I'm just not used to the layout yet so my fingers are just tensing up, my fingers are resting on the home row more often (coming from a relaxed "jio;" positioning), or it is because I'm using keybr.com to practice and I'm still stuck practicing mostly the homerow keys. Something about the "el" digraph makes my fingers really tired.

I also normally use my right thumb to press the spacebar, but I noticed that Colemak uses the right side a lot more compared to QWERTY. Should I try switching over to my left thumb as I learn?

I heard that the rolls that Colemak prefers tends to break typing rhythm? If someone is actually fluent with Colemak, is that really the case? I would think the only reason it breaks rhythm is because the brain is not used to Colemak enough to parse the next chain of letters as fast as the finger roll.

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Re: I'm questioning my journey into Colemak
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 13 March 2017, 16:38:31 »
if you find resting to be the issue, then just swap the two ring finger and middle finger keys from middle to top row.

Offline FRGMNT

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Re: I'm questioning my journey into Colemak
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 13 March 2017, 16:52:58 »
One of the reasons I decided to give Colemak a shot is because it's a pretty well established layout that I can add to most computers easily.

I'm trying to get fluent enough to the point where I can fully relax my fingers and just type without thinking before I make any firm opinions about the ergonomics. Its probably unfair for me to compare with only two days of practice. My left doesn't get fatigued even though it's resting on the homerow too so I'm thinking it's probably because I'm just not used to the layout yet.

Offline davkol

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Re: I'm questioning my journey into Colemak
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 13 March 2017, 16:57:04 »
I noticed that my right forearm gets fatigued pretty fast practicing Colemak. I can't tell if this is because I'm just not used to the layout yet so my fingers are just tensing up, my fingers are resting on the home row more often (coming from a relaxed "jio;" positioning), or it is because I'm using keybr.com to practice and I'm still stuck practicing mostly the homerow keys.
I dare say it's a matter of practice—you're getting used to completely new motions and balance—and indeed, it might be the case, that your hand posture is quite forced (I remember seeing of my classmates _curling_ his fingers on the home row very unnaturally, for example). Perhaps it'd help you to float your hands more, if you don't do that already.

I also normally use my right thumb to press the spacebar, but I noticed that Colemak uses the right side a lot more compared to QWERTY. Should I try switching over to my left thumb as I learn?
DSK, for example, favors the right hand even more, and many of its users advocate using the left thumb for spacebar, but I don't think that line of reasoning is necessarily valid.

In part because thumbs are relatively independent on the other digits.

In part because keyboards historically often had large and stiff spacebars, and users were encouraged to strike these with both thumbs… It's a waste, though, if you can have a split spacebar—or better, thumb clusters.

I heard that the rolls that Colemak prefers tends to break typing rhythm? (…) I would think the only reason it breaks rhythm is because the brain is not used to Colemak enough to parse the next chain of letters as fast as the finger roll.
L. Malt (the designer of Maltron layouts, basically the first case of the preference for using adjacent fingers) claims, that it's breaking the "rhythm" that makes expert typists so fast, but I guess it's a matter of understanding what the rhythm actually is.

Its probably unfair for me to compare with only two days of practice.
There you go. Any judgment after only two days is gonna be… not exactly representative.

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Re: I'm questioning my journey into Colemak
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 13 March 2017, 17:53:39 »
The layout has very little to do with ergonomics..


The ergonomics problem of keyboards is due to the physical mismatch between the typing plane and the natural resting plane of the hand @ the neutral wrist angle..

The staggered rows are also bad, but it isn't detrimental. it's a leftover organization from typewriters which should've been changed to columnar .


If you care about ergonomics.. Check out the Ergodox..

Offline FRGMNT

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Re: I'm questioning my journey into Colemak
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 13 March 2017, 19:37:06 »
I noticed that my right forearm gets fatigued pretty fast practicing Colemak. I can't tell if this is because I'm just not used to the layout yet so my fingers are just tensing up, my fingers are resting on the home row more often (coming from a relaxed "jio;" positioning), or it is because I'm using keybr.com to practice and I'm still stuck practicing mostly the homerow keys.
I dare say it's a matter of practice—you're getting used to completely new motions and balance—and indeed, it might be the case, that your hand posture is quite forced (I remember seeing of my classmates _curling_ his fingers on the home row very unnaturally, for example). Perhaps it'd help you to float your hands more, if you don't do that already.

I also normally use my right thumb to press the spacebar, but I noticed that Colemak uses the right side a lot more compared to QWERTY. Should I try switching over to my left thumb as I learn?
DSK, for example, favors the right hand even more, and many of its users advocate using the left thumb for spacebar, but I don't think that line of reasoning is necessarily valid.

In part because thumbs are relatively independent on the other digits.

In part because keyboards historically often had large and stiff spacebars, and users were encouraged to strike these with both thumbs… It's a waste, though, if you can have a split spacebar—or better, thumb clusters.

I heard that the rolls that Colemak prefers tends to break typing rhythm? (…) I would think the only reason it breaks rhythm is because the brain is not used to Colemak enough to parse the next chain of letters as fast as the finger roll.
L. Malt (the designer of Maltron layouts, basically the first case of the preference for using adjacent fingers) claims, that it's breaking the "rhythm" that makes expert typists so fast, but I guess it's a matter of understanding what the rhythm actually is.

Its probably unfair for me to compare with only two days of practice.
There you go. Any judgment after only two days is gonna be… not exactly representative.

Yeah, I just tried using my left thumb more and decided that it'd probably be bad for my recurring CMC injury.

The layout has very little to do with ergonomics..


The ergonomics problem of keyboards is due to the physical mismatch between the typing plane and the natural resting plane of the hand @ the neutral wrist angle..

The staggered rows are also bad, but it isn't detrimental. it's a leftover organization from typewriters which should've been changed to columnar .


If you care about ergonomics.. Check out the Ergodox..

Yeah, currently waiting on the Ergodox to come out on MD. I have an Atreus 62 coming in in the meantime

Offline yellowfour

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Re: I'm questioning my journey into Colemak
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 17 March 2017, 19:07:24 »
DSK, for example, favors the right hand even more, and many of its users advocate using the left thumb for spacebar, but I don't think that line of reasoning is necessarily valid.

Patently false. Both Dvorak and Colemak heavily overwork the right hand. Both are 45% left : 55% right. on the contrary, Qwerty heavily favors the left hand. so people who transition from Q to D or C will feel their right arm getting overworked.

So a real problem is that people only know about these two layouts, when there are many other better layouts with better statistics and balance (thus arguably better ergonomic benefit.) such as HIEAMSTRN, ADNW, MTGAP, and BEAKL. (disclaimer: I created BEAKL.) all these are highly optimized layouts (though theoretically one may find layouts even more optimized. however they have not been publicized yet.)

most of these newer layouts tend to follow Dvorak style of vowels on the same hand and high hand alternation. this makes sense because hand alternation reduces fatigue and confusion on same hand and increases reaction speed with the other hand.

Offline davkol

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Re: I'm questioning my journey into Colemak
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 18 March 2017, 06:09:14 »
DSK, for example, favors the right hand even more, and many of its users advocate using the left thumb for spacebar, but I don't think that line of reasoning is necessarily valid.
Patently false.
What's patently false?

DSK favors right hand: depends on corpus.
Many DSK users advocate using left thumb for spacebar: fact.
I don't think it's valid: you can't dispute that.

So a real problem is that people only know about these two layouts, when there are many other better layouts with better statistics and balance (thus arguably better ergonomic benefit.) such as HIEAMSTRN, ADNW, MTGAP, and BEAKL. (disclaimer: I created BEAKL.) all these are highly optimized layouts (though theoretically one may find layouts even more optimized. however they have not been publicized yet.)
*advocate of an obscure custom layout wildly appears

(I'll go on a tangent…)

The thing is… hardly anyone cares. It's not 1880-1980 anymore. Typing has been largely replaced by automation.

Copying is inherently cheap in computer systems; digitization is automated (e.g., OCR, speech recognition is also relevant); many systems implement increasingly powerful text expansion (esp. typically code in IDEs, input methods in portable devices). Work smart, not hard.

Meanwhile, keyboards *are* used to control user interfaces, although less so since the widespread deployment of *graphical* UIs (and more recently actually reliable speech recognition).

The strictly biomechanical view of typing on a keyboard, as interesting as it might be, isn't all that relevant anymore. There are others though. Is the skill easy to learn? How is the software support? How can we improve user interfaces?

most of these newer layouts tend to follow Dvorak style of vowels on the same hand and high hand alternation. this makes sense because hand alternation reduces fatigue and confusion on same hand and increases reaction speed with the other hand.
Note to self: I really should finally look into the research on left-right coordination/latency.

Offline steve.v

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Re: I'm questioning my journey into Colemak
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 22 March 2017, 23:29:01 »
15 years qwerty 125+ wpm
3 years Colemak 70-90 wpm
Left hander
I don't think I'll ever type as fast as I did with qwerty.
My only gripe with Colemak is that it favors the right hand, some rolls suck, and typing the word 'you'.


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Re: I'm questioning my journey into Colemak
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 22 March 2017, 23:57:38 »
15 years qwerty 125+ wpm
3 years Colemak 70-90 wpm
Left hander
I don't think I'll ever type as fast as I did with qwerty.
My only gripe with Colemak is that it favors the right hand, some rolls suck, and typing the word 'you'.


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what?

3 years ...  @ 70-90 ?

did you switch full time, or just dabbled.. hahahaha


When I first started typing (in school), i got to 70wpm within the time of 1 semester.

I didn't take typing seriously until i started playing with keyboards, and got to 120wpm (from 70) within 3 months of intense training. ~1hr a day

I am now 145, 2 years after that,  but I haven't trained intensely since reaching 145, because i felt a barrier at this speed.



Something odd is holding back ur speed. hahaha

Offline steve.v

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I'm questioning my journey into Colemak
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 25 March 2017, 09:01:10 »
15 years qwerty 125+ wpm
3 years Colemak 70-90 wpm
Left hander
I don't think I'll ever type as fast as I did with qwerty.
My only gripe with Colemak is that it favors the right hand, some rolls suck, and typing the word 'you'.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

what?

3 years ...  @ 70-90 ?

did you switch full time, or just dabbled.. hahahaha


When I first started typing (in school), i got to 70wpm within the time of 1 semester.

I didn't take typing seriously until i started playing with keyboards, and got to 120wpm (from 70) within 3 months of intense training. ~1hr a day

I am now 145, 2 years after that,  but I haven't trained intensely since reaching 145, because i felt a barrier at this speed.



Something odd is holding back ur speed. hahaha

Those are my normal avg typing speed. I can reach 100 wpm on type racer if I tried; max would probably be 110. Yup its different typing colemak for me.

Also this could be a contributing factor, I alternate my thumbs on the space bar depending on the last letter of a word.


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« Last Edit: Sat, 25 March 2017, 09:05:30 by steve.v »

Offline batfink

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Re: I'm questioning my journey into Colemak
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 28 March 2017, 08:23:43 »
Just decided to start learning Colemak and I'm questioning the ergo benefits already.

The transition is bound to be difficult if you have years of Qwerty ingrained. When I switched, I found I experienced some pain for a while. This was largely due to (1) over-practicing, in my eagerness to learn as quickly as possible (2) simultaneously learning proper touch-type technique and (3) getting used to all sorts of new and unfamiliar hand and finger movements. As I got used to it, the pain went away though, and now I type more comfortably than ever.

IMO there's nothing wrong with Colemak's rolls, in fact they are mostly very comfortable.

You should allow several months for it to bed in - you can only make a fair judgement after that time. Most people who complete the transition to a new layout are subsequently very glad they did!

Tip: don't try to type faster than you are ready for. Try to type accurately and comfortably - the speed will naturally follow.

Offline Plan10

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Re: I'm questioning my journey into Colemak
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 03 April 2017, 13:11:13 »
Note to self: I really should finally look into the research on left-right coordination/latency.

Hi Davkol, Pieter here (forgot my other login plus my email).

I'd be very interested to learn what science say about alternation (versus 'rolling') on modern keyboards !

Offline Plan10

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Re: I'm questioning my journey into Colemak
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 03 April 2017, 13:15:28 »
The layout has very little to do with ergonomics. The ergonomics problem of keyboards is due to the physical mismatch between the typing plane and the natural resting plane of the hand @ the neutral wrist angle.

True, the (soft) layout is less important then the physical (hard) layout. BUT - speaking for myself - a more 'logical' layout is easier to learn. I could never really touchtype in Qwerty. But I can in other layouts. Virtually every layout is better than Qwerty, be it Dvorak, Colemak or other, more obscure ones such as AdNW or MTGAP.

Offline Tony

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Re: I'm questioning my journey into Colemak
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 27 April 2017, 03:58:19 »
Don't worry mate. It takes 2-3 months to get good at Colemak but then your fingers will learn the most used key combination and then you will type smoothly.

In 4-6 months you will reach your old Qwerty speed.
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Layout: Colemak experience, speed of 67wpm

Offline ds26gte

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Re: I'm questioning my journey into Colemak
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 31 August 2017, 17:32:29 »
I've used Colemak extensively (2 stretches of ~2 years each) but am back to Qwerty. I really loved Colemak, but I too was puzzled by a certain strain and risky-seeming tingling in the right hand. (I didn't leave Colemak for this though. The reason was predominantly and mundanely social.)

The fact that Qwerty favors the left hand may actually be beneficial to natural right-handers. I think devising layouts that equally stress both hands for typing is missing the point: RHers have an underused left hand in life in general, so it makes sense to give it some extra work whilst typing at least. It can take it! Plus there is another, cognitive reason to left-load, speculative but still appealing:

The late brain specialist and surgeon Dr Leonard Shlain opined (in The Alphabet versus the Goddess) that writing with the right hand, driven as it was by the rational left brain with its linear focus, tends inevitably to authority and authoritarianism, especially in right-handed males where brain functions are more rigidly split. He was pleased that with the advent of typing, the work of writing was split between the hands, and thus a more tolerant and nuanced worldview had a chance of getting expressed. The world may be getting better because more men are typing rather than handwriting. Shlain didn't go into left/right percentages, but if he's right, then in this one aspect at least, Qwerty is better than Colemak is better than Dvorak. (Although I haven't found Colemak and DSK users to be fractionally more intolerant than Qwerty users. :rolleyes:)
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Offline MajorMajor

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Re: I'm questioning my journey into Colemak
« Reply #16 on: Fri, 01 September 2017, 20:25:34 »
It took me 2-3 months to get back to a decent speed with Dvorak, and that was using it full-time, zero Qwerty once I made the switch. Since Colemak is more similar to Qwerty, maybe you only need 1-2 months, but to throw in the towel after a few days is pretty silly IMO. You can't expect to break years or decades of muscle memory and have everything feel comfortable so soon.

I kind of wish I chose Colemak instead of Dvorak simply due to shortcuts like Copy and Paste, but ultimately I decided having Dvorak installed on every major OS by default wins out. Maybe if Colemak starts to come standard I'll retrain myself... again.
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