Author Topic: taking advantage of a Japanese built-in laptop keyboard  (Read 10573 times)

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Offline jacobolus

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taking advantage of a Japanese built-in laptop keyboard
« on: Wed, 21 June 2017, 19:00:13 »
I just bought a new touchbar MacBook Pro, since the battery of my previous laptop had been broken for a while and I was getting tired of having it turn off when I accidentally knocked out the power cord. Anyway, I finally decided this time to buy the Japanese version, since it has extra keyboard buttons including a reasonably sized (still too big but not absurdly so) spacebar.

Anyway, for now I’ve just tried to imitate a US/ANSI layout,
http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/gists/e6609a563e463d3e5ae0cf65369408a8

... which works just about as well as a regular US/ANSI keyboard, but with a slightly harder to reach return and right shift, and a slightly confusingly placed backtick. (And of course a thumb backspace key.)

The obvious next thing to do is shift the right hand over one key to the right (while we’re at it, let’s swap backspace for delete and move the fn key over to the left):
http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/gists/144dbfb7d342f1be69408069d3370759


Or if we’re feeling even more ambitious:
« Last Edit: Wed, 21 June 2017, 23:42:36 by jacobolus »

Offline jacobolus

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Re: taking advantage of a Japanese built-in laptop keyboard
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 21 June 2017, 19:02:14 »
But at some point I’d like to turn it into something more comfortable. Has anyone tried extreme changes of laptop keyboard layouts? e.g. I’d like to experiment with a layout using fingers like:
http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/gists/0f3612b80ce3aef15c5a77148a4b38d6

(lighter color indicates resting finger positions, not necessarily centered on the keys though)

Obviously this would take making a completely different special-purpose non-QWERTY letter layout, and then learning to type on it.
« Last Edit: Wed, 21 June 2017, 23:44:17 by jacobolus »

Offline jacobolus

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Re: taking advantage of a Japanese built-in laptop keyboard
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 22 June 2017, 00:07:54 »
One unusual layout I saw in a blog comment is the "snoboard":
http://brettterpstra.com/2011/08/13/keybinding-madness/

Offline davkol

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Re: taking advantage of a Japanese built-in laptop keyboard
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 22 June 2017, 05:31:39 »
Yeah.



Notably, the punctuation keys in the middle could be replaced by, for example, diamond-shaped arrows.

Offline jacobolus

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Re: taking advantage of a Japanese built-in laptop keyboard
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 22 June 2017, 14:07:31 »
Nice. Is someone using that layout? Swapping left ctrl and caps lock back is a regression from the Japanese original. I also don’t think I’d especially like the locations of -, =, or `. But the right shift and enter are pretty good in that version.

I’d just put arrows on a layer.

Offline davkol

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Re: taking advantage of a Japanese built-in laptop keyboard
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 22 June 2017, 14:39:42 »
The pictured layout is Topre Realforce 91U with rather randomly assigned key symbols/functions. I'd love to use it, but my Phantom has incorrectly split right Shift, and I haven't bothered to get a proper Japanese keyboard for the most part. Thus, I have only one-column gap between (QWERTY) G and H.

I prefer to avoid the punctuation keys in general, and put those symbols on a layer instead (that's why I got the idea with diamond arrows, because I don't like to use those keys while typing). That layout with large modifiers helps: I have a pair of easily accessible AltGraph keys.


Offline jacobolus

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Re: taking advantage of a Japanese built-in laptop keyboard
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 22 June 2017, 17:55:02 »
I'd love to use it, but my Phantom has incorrectly split right Shift, and I haven't bothered to get a proper Japanese keyboard for the most part.
As in you’re stuck with the ISO gigantic right shift + far away enter + stupidly small left shift combo?

Yeah, whoever came up with the physical ISO keyboard layout was crazy, and not in a good way.

Offline jacobolus

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Re: taking advantage of a Japanese built-in laptop keyboard
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 22 June 2017, 18:23:10 »
As an example, a Malt-like layout might look something like:
http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/gists/fc5eb2199e1ba217c0433bbcf35f505f
« Last Edit: Thu, 22 June 2017, 18:25:17 by jacobolus »

Offline davkol

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Re: taking advantage of a Japanese built-in laptop keyboard
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 22 June 2017, 18:37:29 »
I'd love to use it, but my Phantom has incorrectly split right Shift, and I haven't bothered to get a proper Japanese keyboard for the most part.
As in you’re stuck with the ISO gigantic right shift + far away enter + stupidly small left shift combo?
Nah. The right Shift is split like on ANSI HHKB; the left Shift is like on ISO, but both plate and PCB support swapping those two keys, i.e., I can get a 1.25u inner key and 1u outer key, which is something I might do in the future. I do use only the one-column split.

Offline captain

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Re: taking advantage of a Japanese built-in laptop keyboard
« Reply #10 on: Fri, 23 June 2017, 00:32:55 »
1 and ESC wasting space. Plus no tilde to the left of 1!?!  Fail
Welcome to geekhack -- where we like to type -- but don't care so much about reading.

Offline Findecanor

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Re: taking advantage of a Japanese built-in laptop keyboard
« Reply #11 on: Fri, 23 June 2017, 07:13:47 »
I just bought a new touchbar MacBook Pro...
This thread is pointless; simply because because that keyboard's switches and keycaps lend themselves only to hunt-and-peck typing anyway. You are polishing a turd.

I instead propose that you would design a new external keyboard, and see if it would be possible to integrate a USB Type C hub/dongle of some kind (which are practically compulsory for contemporary MacBooks anyway) into its case for convenience. I know you have the skills to make one. Such a keyboard would also be usable when the laptop is on a desktop stand and you would not be able to reach the MacBook "keyboard" comfortably.
« Last Edit: Fri, 23 June 2017, 07:22:19 by Findecanor »
Man must shape his tools lest they shape him
-- Arthur Miller

Offline jacobolus

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Re: taking advantage of a Japanese built-in laptop keyboard
« Reply #12 on: Fri, 23 June 2017, 09:10:58 »
This thread is pointless; simply because because that keyboard's switches and keycaps lend themselves only to hunt-and-peck typing anyway. You are polishing a turd.
This keyboard is impressively snappy considering how little height they have to work with. Overall the laptop is extremely thin and portable. I wish the key tops were slightly smaller with a bit more space in between though.

USB hubs are certainly not “practically compulsory”. I rarely need more than 2 ports, and this laptop has 4.

I don’t ever use a “desktop stand”.
« Last Edit: Fri, 23 June 2017, 09:14:00 by jacobolus »

Offline jacobolus

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Re: taking advantage of a Japanese built-in laptop keyboard
« Reply #13 on: Fri, 23 June 2017, 09:23:06 »
1 and ESC wasting space. Plus no tilde to the left of 1!?!  Fail
What do you mean esc wasting space? It’s part of the “touch bar”.

As for the lack of a backtick key and the unusually large 1, that is because the Japanese keyboard needs enough space on the right side to fit both the yen key and the 1u backwards delete. In order to fit in the same space Apple allots for their ANSI keyboards (which use a 1.5u delete) everything is shifted half a unit to the left, leaving no room for another key to the left of the 1. Instead of leaving a gap there they just extended the key to the edge. One thing that is nicer about this is that the home row and bottom letter row become horizontally symmetrical.

Arguably the whole general QWERTY/IBM layout is a “failure” in many ways, and ideally everyone would switch to a more rational design, but mainstream computer vendors can’t really fix that at this point.
« Last Edit: Fri, 23 June 2017, 09:30:07 by jacobolus »