Author Topic: Alternatives for TouchCursor (for PC)?  (Read 5909 times)

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Offline Lunatique

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Alternatives for TouchCursor (for PC)?
« on: Thu, 06 May 2021, 19:24:45 »
I have been using TouchCursor for over a decade and it's been completely integrated into my muscle memory when typing. I love being able to do all kinds of stuff without ever leaving home row. It's also been fairly reliable over the years.

If you're not familiar with TouchCursor, it basically allows you to turn your home row into navigation keys, which makes typing much faster and intuitive, as you can move the cursor (or highlight) one letter, one word, one line, one paragraph, etc., at a time, as well as map other functions to the home row--all activate by simply holding the spacebar (or whatever key you assign).

http://martin-stone.github.io/touchcursor/

Here's what my layout looks like:
267870-0
(C stands for Ctrl, and S stands for shift)

But very recently, the main writing software I use, Scrivener 3, released its latest update and it now does not work with TouchCursor anymore. So I'm on the lookout for an alternative.

I did some searches and found this list of alternatives (https://www.tpsort.com/similar-to/17248-top-15-touchcursor-alternative-and-similar-softwares). I tried a few but none did exactly what TouchCursor could.
« Last Edit: Thu, 06 May 2021, 19:29:50 by Lunatique »
My website + Blog: www.ethereality.info

Offline nevin

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Re: Alternatives for TouchCursor (for PC)?
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 07 May 2021, 08:33:22 »
you could probably accomplish something very similar with QMK firmware on a board that supports that firmware like the GH60 or any of the many custom boards talked about here on the forum. this solution would be built into the keyboard and wouldn't work with the built in keyboard of a laptop. (programming in the keyboard, not an app running on the computer)
- watched part of the video on the touchcursor site, looked like holding multiple keys to activate the alternative keymap...  there are a number of ways to activate "layers" in QMK and being in the alpha block, you could use dual role keys. when tapped you get the key...we'll say... "f", when held it can activate an alternate layer and change the keymap for part of the board or the entire board.

i'll help you try to figure something out.
- what keyboard do you use?
- does it support QMK, TMK, or some other programmable tool?

QMK on github:  https://github.com/qmk/qmk_firmware
QMK docs:   https://docs.qmk.fm/#/
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline TK0

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Re: Alternatives for TouchCursor (for PC)?
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 07 May 2021, 15:36:44 »
As nevin post it, you probably could accomplish it with QMK, if your keyboard supports it. As it modifies the firmware of your kb, you will not be dependent on a software solution and another software should accept it, if it supports regular mouse keys/movement. It will work on basically anything you plug your kb in. On the other side, it doesn't solve your problem if you are using the laptop keyboard, or something else that doesn't support QMK.

I'll just add the QMK documentation for mouse keys/movement: ​https://beta.docs.qmk.fm/using-qmk/advanced-keycodes/feature_mouse_keys. As you can see, it gives you a lot of granularity for mouse movement  (delay, interval, speed, etc).

In QMK configurator (https://config.qmk.fm/#/), you can find a list of keyboards that support it (not sure if the list is exhaustive, i.e., includes all kbs that have QMK support), and the mouse keys are under the tab "App, Media and Mouse".

And, of course, if you have any trouble with it, I'm sure someone here will help.

Offline Lunatique

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Re: Alternatives for TouchCursor (for PC)?
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 09 May 2021, 19:25:23 »
Software solution is more ideal, since I won't have to be tied to any specific keyboard and can use whatever I want. I also don't seem to own any of the keyboards on that list. I mainly use these keyboards:

RealForce 87
Royal Kludge RC930-87
KBParadise V80 TKL x2 (Cherry MX and Matias Quiet key versions)
Ducky One White TKL

So there are no other viable alternatives to TouchCursor?
My website + Blog: www.ethereality.info

Offline nevin

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Re: Alternatives for TouchCursor (for PC)?
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 10 May 2021, 07:35:34 »
what about hasu's usb to usb adapter? https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=69169.0
it runs TMK firmware and can turn just about any keyboard into a programable one.
your keyboard plugs into this little device, then that gets plugged into the computer. it takes the input from your off the shelf keyboard and remaps it to the firmware that's running on the adapter. it's a genius little trick.

there are various remapping softwares, but i don't know if any of them do what touchcursor does. to me, it seems like almost acts like keyboard firmware that runs on the computer.
some other software things to look at? (not sure what OSs you use)
- AutoHotKey - pc
- SharpKeys - pc
- KeyTweak - pc
lifehacker article https://lifehacker.com/the-best-key-remapper-for-windows-5883003

- Karabiner - mac
- controller mate - mac
- KeyRemap4MacBook - mac
- Ukelele - mac

....there are probably others. these are just the couple i know or came up in a search.
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline Lunatique

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Re: Alternatives for TouchCursor (for PC)?
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 10 May 2021, 20:14:28 »
what about hasu's usb to usb adapter? https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=69169.0
it runs TMK firmware and can turn just about any keyboard into a programable one.
your keyboard plugs into this little device, then that gets plugged into the computer. it takes the input from your off the shelf keyboard and remaps it to the firmware that's running on the adapter. it's a genius little trick.

there are various remapping softwares, but i don't know if any of them do what touchcursor does. to me, it seems like almost acts like keyboard firmware that runs on the computer.
some other software things to look at? (not sure what OSs you use)
- AutoHotKey - pc
- SharpKeys - pc
- KeyTweak - pc
lifehacker article https://lifehacker.com/the-best-key-remapper-for-windows-5883003

- Karabiner - mac
- controller mate - mac
- KeyRemap4MacBook - mac
- Ukelele - mac

....there are probably others. these are just the couple i know or came up in a search.

Thanks! Unfortunately, I'm on the PC, and the PC options don't seem to allow multiple keystrokes mapped to single keys (such as recorded macros), or have the ability to create/map a functions key (such as holding down the spacebar like a functions key).

The converter looks promising. A bit expensive, but if it's the only solution, I'm willing to pay for it.
« Last Edit: Mon, 10 May 2021, 20:16:03 by Lunatique »
My website + Blog: www.ethereality.info

Offline gh_pp

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Re: Alternatives for TouchCursor (for PC)?
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 11 May 2021, 02:01:45 »
I used the hasu converter with my real force. It by default run TMK but you can flash it to run QMK, which has more built in features and allows you to program these behaviors if you can spend time understanding the c source code.

But there is a limitation with the firmware size supported by mcu on the hasu converter so you have to be mindful with what features to enable and lines of code you add .

I'm also fairly certain that one can program similar features with autohotkey and autoit v3 , of course given that you learn the ins and outs of either framework and write such program
QFR brown x2, Realforce 45G, Type-S, Keycool 22 blue

Previous keyboards: 55G, IBM Model M, Dell AT101W, Fujitsu FKB4725, G80-3000 clear, QFS green, QFS blue

[WTB] Custom keyboard build

Offline nevin

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Re: Alternatives for TouchCursor (for PC)?
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 11 May 2021, 08:15:25 »
thanks for the suggestions @gh_pp

question for you...
is there anything special you have to do in QMK to get it to work on the ?
or is all the input collection from the non programmable keyboard handled on the hardware side?
do you have source you can share?
what kind of matrix do you use if you're already getting scancodes from the keyboard?

would really like to know as i am much more familliar with QMK than TMK (sadly)
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline Lunatique

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Re: Alternatives for TouchCursor (for PC)?
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 12 May 2021, 18:56:03 »
Thanks for all the help. I managed to get TouchCursor working with Scrivener again. I had to reinstall TouchCursor to make that happen. Very strange because it was working fine with other software and only had problem with Scrivener.
My website + Blog: www.ethereality.info

Offline nevin

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Re: Alternatives for TouchCursor (for PC)?
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 13 May 2021, 07:30:06 »
great! glad you got it working.  :thumb:

got me to re-evaluate & think of other ways i can program my keyboard. this has been a nice little eye opening experience.  .... thanks.
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline gh_pp

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Re: Alternatives for TouchCursor (for PC)?
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 15 May 2021, 17:51:13 »

is there anything special you have to do in QMK to get it to work on the ?
or is all the input collection from the non programmable keyboard handled on the hardware side?
do you have source you can share?
what kind of matrix do you use if you're already getting scancodes from the keyboard?

Not sure what you mean by getting it to work with the '?'
Do you mean you want to output the '?' with just a single stroke?

Hasu controller doesn't deal with matrix as far as I know.
It translate scancode from your keyboard to another scancode to the computer.

So it supports basically all keyboard, as long as scancode is emitted.
In that case, the realforce 'numlock' is handled by the realforce keyboard directly, no scancode is emitted, so hasu cannot catch that signal.
But all keys can be manipulated before sending it to the computer.

I use mod-tap, tap-dance, space-cadet, one-shot modifier as these are QMK unique features.

key remapping can be done by software like sharpkeys on windows or karabiner on macos if you don't need those advanced features.
(one-shot modifier can also be enabled on windows with sticky keys, but it will enable all mods, and karabiner also can do one-shot)


QFR brown x2, Realforce 45G, Type-S, Keycool 22 blue

Previous keyboards: 55G, IBM Model M, Dell AT101W, Fujitsu FKB4725, G80-3000 clear, QFS green, QFS blue

[WTB] Custom keyboard build

Offline nevin

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Re: Alternatives for TouchCursor (for PC)?
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 15 May 2021, 18:37:31 »
don't know where the ? came from....  should have been converter...

i know what hasu's converter does, i was wondering how you got qmk on it instead of tmk.
is it just a large cross reference of scancodes?

do you have the qmk source you used that you can share?
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline gh_pp

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Re: Alternatives for TouchCursor (for PC)?
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 15 May 2021, 19:24:35 »
qmk already has hasu converter support checked in, you can see a bunch of example keymaps here

https://github.com/qmk/qmk_firmware/tree/master/keyboards/converter/usb_usb/keymaps/

following qmk setup instruction https://config.qmk.fm

I use windows linux subsystem 2 on windows. MacOS and linux should be more straight forward

check out qmk source code, then cd into qmk directory

Quote
git submodule init
git submodule update

./bin/qmk config user.keyboard=converter/usb_usb/hasu

./bin/qmk compile -kb converter/usb_usb -km default

# if you want to customize your own keymap

./bin/qmk config user.keymap=your_name
./bin/qmk new-keymap -kb converter/usb_usb

# copy one of the keymap directory above into your_name, then modify anything you want

./bin/qmk compile -kb converter/usb_usb -km your_name

# press reset button on your converter

# you can use QMK tool box instead of command line to flash

# command line follows

dfu-programmer atmega32u4 erase --suppress-validation
dfu-programmer atmega32u4 flash  converter_usb_usb_hasu_your_name.hex
dfu-programmer atmega32u4 reset
« Last Edit: Sat, 15 May 2021, 19:26:08 by gh_pp »
QFR brown x2, Realforce 45G, Type-S, Keycool 22 blue

Previous keyboards: 55G, IBM Model M, Dell AT101W, Fujitsu FKB4725, G80-3000 clear, QFS green, QFS blue

[WTB] Custom keyboard build

Offline nevin

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Re: Alternatives for TouchCursor (for PC)?
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 15 May 2021, 20:30:14 »
Oh wonderful. Didn't realize support was already there.

Thanks a bunch.
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline stevep

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Re: Alternatives for TouchCursor (for PC)?
« Reply #14 on: Sun, 23 May 2021, 07:21:03 »
EPKL has support for all sorts of layout mappings and clever tricks, including a navigation layer similar to yours, known as Extend.

I have also had good results using KMonad, which is cross-platform.