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Scott L. Burson...
Posted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:48 am
 
Xah Lee wrote:
Quote:
might be interesting.

〈Dvorak, Matron, de-ergo, NEO, Colemak, Programer Dvorak, Keyboard
Layouts Fight!〉 http://xahlee.org/kbd/dvorak_and_all_keyboard_layouts.html

plain text version follows

--------------------------------------------------
Dvorak, Matron, de-ergo, NEO, Colemak, Programer Dvorak, Keyboard
Layouts Fight!

Xah Lee, 2010-08-30

Noticed that today there are a lot of keyboard layouts. There's your
qwerty, and there's Dvorak. That's good enough, right? No. Apparantly,
a lot people are making a lot layouts. Some are specialized on a
particular language (such as German), some aim for easier transition
from qwerty, some are designed for programers.

Here are two more for you. First, my own YAKL (Yet Another Keyboard
Layout):

q w d f j y u k l p ( ) \
a s e t g h n i o r
z x c v ; b m , . /

I designed this in 1990 or thereabouts and have used it on all my
machines ever since.

David Piepgrass's Asset Keyboard has an almost identical home row:

q w j f g y p u l ; [ ] \
a s e t d h n i o r
z x c v b k m , . /

Asset and YAKL were inspired by the same observation, which is I think
why they turned out so similar: for someone who already knows Qwerty,
Dvorak seems unnecessarily hard to learn. The only two keys that are in
the same location on Dvorak as on Qwerty are A and M. The benefit of an
improved layout is that the high-frequency keys are more accessible; the
locations of the low-frequency keys are not important. Given that, I
and Piepgrass thought, why not a layout that retains the Qwerty
locations for low-frequency keys, and just does the minimal rearranging
needed to get the high-frequency keys onto the home row? Surely this
would be easier to learn than Dvorak.

Once I had actually gone to the trouble of learning YAKL, however, I
concluded that I was mistaken. Learning to touch-type mostly isn't
about learning the locations of individual letters; that doesn't take
long. It's mostly about learning common digraphs, trigraphs, etc., up
to entire common words. Since YAKL intentionally rearranges many of the
most common letters to get them on the home row, the vast majority of
digraphs and practically all longer sequences are different vis-a-vis
Qwerty. These all have to be relearned anyway. Very little learning
effort is saved.

For this reason, even though I still use YAKL (having already gone to
the trouble of learning it), I don't recommend it to others looking for
a better layout. Just go with Dvorak. It has the advantage of being
menu-selectable on practically all OSes these days; setting up a
completely custom layout is quite a bit harder.

-- Scott
 
Thad Floryan...
Posted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 3:02 am
 
On 8/30/2010 3:48 PM, Scott L. Burson wrote:
Quote:
[...]
Here are two more for you. First, my own YAKL (Yet Another Keyboard
Layout):

q w d f j y u k l p ( ) \
a s e t g h n i o r
z x c v ; b m , . /
[...]

That's NOT a layout. Where are the numeral keys and the
Control key, Return, etc.?
 
Xah Lee...
Posted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:51 am
 
On Aug 30, 3:48 pm, "Scott L. Burson" <Sc... at (no spam) ergy.com> wrote:
Quote:
Xah Lee wrote:
might be interesting.

〈Dvorak, Matron, de-ergo, NEO, Colemak, Programer Dvorak, Keyboard
Layouts Fight!〉http://xahlee.org/kbd/dvorak_and_all_keyboard_layouts.html

plain text version follows

--------------------------------------------------
Dvorak, Matron, de-ergo, NEO, Colemak, Programer Dvorak, Keyboard
Layouts Fight!

Xah Lee, 2010-08-30

Noticed that today there are a lot of keyboard layouts. There's your
qwerty, and there's Dvorak. That's good enough, right? No. Apparantly,
a lot people are making a lot layouts. Some are specialized on a
particular language (such as German), some aim for easier transition
from qwerty, some are designed for programers.

Here are two more for you.  First, my own YAKL (Yet Another Keyboard
Layout):

q w d f j y u k l p ( ) \
  a s e t g h n i o r
   z x c v ; b m , . /

I designed this in 1990 or thereabouts and have used it on all my
machines ever since.

David Piepgrass's Asset Keyboard has an almost identical home row:

q w j f g y p u l ; [ ] \
  a s e t d h n i o r
   z x c v b k m , . /

Asset and YAKL were inspired by the same observation, which is I think
why they turned out so similar: for someone who already knows Qwerty,
Dvorak seems unnecessarily hard to learn.  The only two keys that are in
the same location on Dvorak as on Qwerty are A and M.  The benefit of an
improved layout is that the high-frequency keys are more accessible; the
locations of the low-frequency keys are not important.  Given that, I
and Piepgrass thought, why not a layout that retains the Qwerty
locations for low-frequency keys, and just does the minimal rearranging
needed to get the high-frequency keys onto the home row?  Surely this
would be easier to learn than Dvorak.

Once I had actually gone to the trouble of learning YAKL, however, I
concluded that I was mistaken.  Learning to touch-type mostly isn't
about learning the locations of individual letters; that doesn't take
long.  It's mostly about learning common digraphs, trigraphs, etc., up
to entire common words.  Since YAKL intentionally rearranges many of the
most common letters to get them on the home row, the vast majority of
digraphs and practically all longer sequences are different vis-a-vis
Qwerty.  These all have to be relearned anyway.  Very little learning
effort is saved.

For this reason, even though I still use YAKL (having already gone to
the trouble of learning it), I don't recommend it to others looking for
a better layout.  Just go with Dvorak.  It has the advantage of being
menu-selectable on practically all OSes these days; setting up a
completely custom layout is quite a bit harder.

-- Scott

Thanks! interesting finding.

I searched and found David Piepgrass's Asset Keyboard page at:

http://millikeys.sourceforge.net/asset/

have updated my page with thanks to you.

I like your comment about how these new designs are not really worth
it.

part of the equation is standization and practical convenience. Dvorak
isn't available in all popular operating systems until about 10 years
ago. (i think Microsoft is actually the first one to include it out of
the box, in mid 1990s? I know that Mac didn't include a dvorak layout
until OS 9 or OS 8 in about 1998 or so. (i switched to dvorak in 1993
or 1994, and basically created my own layout using ResEdit))

today, dvorak is somewhat well known, and available in basically all
operating systems out of the box. Creating more layout seems a step
backward. Because it worsens the main problem: universal support.

Many have tried to improve dvorak, however, that is basically not
possible unless the language is not english.

there are several sites i've came across in the past years that has
javascript or java code to accept a input text and come out result
comparing efficiency of different layouts. Basically, depending on
what in the class of input text, some might come out marginally better
than dvorak, but worse as soon as the type of input text is changed.
(e.g. shakespear, common mag journals, religious scripture, chat
text.)

Xah ∑ http://xahlee.org/
 
Xah Lee...
Posted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:51 am
 
On Aug 30, 4:02pm, Thad Floryan <t... at (no spam) thadlabs.com> wrote:
Quote:
On 8/30/2010 3:48 PM, Scott L. Burson wrote:

[...]
Here are two more for you. First, my own YAKL (Yet Another Keyboard
Layout):

q w d f j y u k l p ( ) \
a s e t g h n i o r
z x c v ; b m , . /
[...]

That's NOT a layout. Where are the numeral keys and the
Control key, Return, etc.?

when not written out, it's assumed to be the same as qwerty. :)

Xah
 
Xah Lee...
Posted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:08 am
 
On Aug 30, 3:11 am, Xah Lee <xah... at (no spam) gmail.com> wrote:
Quote:
might be interesting.

〈Dvorak, Matron, de-ergo, NEO, Colemak, Programer Dvorak, Keyboard
Layouts Fight!〉http://xahlee.org/kbd/dvorak_and_all_keyboard_layouts.html

added much material. Added text follows.
-----------------------------------------------------------

Which is The Most Efficient?

carPalx (at http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca/carpalx/) is a site dedicated to
studying efficiency of keyboard layouts, by the method of using
computation and statistics to arrive at a best model of efficiency
parametrs, then evaluate the different layouts. The site is created by
a Martin Krzywinski, a Bioinformatics scientist.

According to him, the Colmak is better than Dvorak, but 3 other
computer generated layouts is better than Colmak. See: 〈Full
Optimization - Q*MLW* Layouts 〉 http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca/carpalx/?full_optimization.

------------------------------
No Consideration of Hardware Key Layout Problems

Also note, layout studies online always assume the common PC
keyboard's hardware layout. The PC keyboard hardware key layout has
several major problems with respect to ergonomics. For example, the
Enter, Tab, are important keys but requires the pinky to press. The
right hand has a lot more keys, all for the pinky. The key alignment
are un-naturally jagged. All these, are fixed by both the Maltron
keyboard and Kinesis Contoured Keyboard, and to some degree by
Microsoft's Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. (See: Keyboard Hardware
Design Flaws)

------------------------------
No Consideration of Number Arrangement or Symbols

Another major problem is the very inefficient arrangement of the
number keys, as well as programer's need to type some of the symbols.
None of the layout studies after Dvorak seems to consider this.
(Kinesis arguably fixed the problem by using a left thumb modifier
that turns the right hand keys into a number pad.)

------------------------------
Is Improvement Over Dvorak Necessary?

The science of Ergonomics assumes that the activity is prolonged. For
example, if you just type less than 30 min a day, like vast majority
of people, qwerty is perfectly fine.

If you are a professional coder or writer, who's hands are actively
typing perhaps 3 hours a day, then Dvorak will be significantly
important to you.

If you often have coding or writing sessions that makes you work 70-
hour weeks, or worse, if you are a professional data entry clerk and
you type continuously for 8 hours a day, then a serious ergonomic
keyboard such as Kinesis or Maltron is critical.

When you consider designing the most perfect layout, it's important to
consider practical values of such layout. If you created a most
efficient layout, but the layout is for is standard PC keyboard, you
are likely to get RSI if you need to type continuously for several
hours a day.

(from my recent experience (see: Left Wrist Motion Pain; vi Esc key
Syndrome.), if you just type the Enter key and Tab key all day, just
these two keys and nothing else, on a standard PC keyboard, with hands
at touch-typing positions, say do it once every 30 second, for 8
hours, you'll get RSI FAST.)

------------------------------
What About a Reasonable Efficient Standard Layout for All Languages?

Another common problem is for international users, of non-English
languages. For example, German, Spanish, French, and even Chinese and
Japanese can benefit because their input methods commonly rely on
latin alphabet.

In these languages, usually there are few extra characters that needs
to be typed. There are many standardized layouts for them (e.g.
QWERTZ, AZERTY), but often they still requires you to type the special
chars by a combination of key press using AltGr modifier, and these
layout usually do not consider any ergonomics in the sense of dvorak.
(see: Idiocy Of Keyboard Layouts.)

It's much better to find ways to create a universal layout that are
largely efficient, fixes the hardware layout problem, fixes the number
arrangement problem, and can be used for all languages. I think this
is quite doable.

Xah ∑ http://xahlee.org/
 
Xah Lee...
Posted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:53 am
 
On Aug 31, 4:04 am, Tassilo Horn <tass... at (no spam) member.fsf.org> wrote:
Quote:
Xah Lee <xah... at (no spam) gmail.com> writes:

Hi Xah,

In these languages, usually there are few extra characters that needs
to be typed. There are many standardized layouts for them (e.g.
QWERTZ, AZERTY), but often they still requires you to type the special
chars by a combination of key press using AltGr modifier, and these
layout usually do not consider any ergonomics in the sense of dvorak.
(see: Idiocy Of Keyboard Layouts.)

Well, at least with standard QWERTZ and German Dvorak Type II (which I
use), the keys for äöü can be typed without modifier.  With QWERTZ, even
ß is not modified, although you don't need it too often in German.

you are right. I glossed over that.

haven't done much study on this but did spend a couple of hours to
look at various international layout before...
〈Idiocy Of Keyboard Layouts〉 http://xahlee.org/kbd/keyboard_layouts.html

my impression is that i see lots of them rely on Alt Gr... and i don't
really find some of the qwerty variation of swapping 1 or 2 pairs of
keys makes any ergonomic sense to me.

it'd be nice to throughly study the various layouts for different
langs, to get a sense if the special char needed are a direct key
press or not, by what percentage, etc.

(e.g. first step is probably to get to know what special chars are
needed in that lang, and how frequent for each, then look at the
layout(s) of that lang, see if the char needs AltGr, their
position, ... a evaluation of efficiency can come by devicing a
formula that maps char frequency to a value of key press ease)

one thing i wondered about the different layout for different lang is
that how they came by? is it much designed by a single person just by
chance and somehow become the standard? or was it more thru formal
study and evaluation... (my random guess is the former)

e.g. here's the Wikipedia page showing different keyboard layouts
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboard_layout

Quote:
The problem is that although the German Dvorak Type II is quite
convenient when writing plain text, it's not that good for programming,
cause {[]}| and others are all modified.  It's still better than QWERTZ,
where even / needs a modifier...

I would like to have some programming mode, which assigns more important
symbols to the äöü keys.  You don't need those when programming anyway.

It's much better to find ways to create a universal layout that are
largely efficient, fixes the hardware layout problem, fixes the number
arrangement problem, and can be used for all languages. I think this
is quite doable.

I'm far less positive.  I can't even think about a reasonable compromise
for only latin languages...

humm... i think starting with Maltron or Kinesis, such a keyboard and
layout can come...

one thing i always wondered about Kinesis is that why no other
keyboard manufacture make those bowl shaped key surface and with thumb
key clusters. I vaguely recall it was due to a patent. Can anyone
confirm?

Xah
 
Tassilo Horn...
Posted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 3:04 pm
 
Xah Lee <xahlee at (no spam) gmail.com> writes:

Hi Xah,

Quote:
In these languages, usually there are few extra characters that needs
to be typed. There are many standardized layouts for them (e.g.
QWERTZ, AZERTY), but often they still requires you to type the special
chars by a combination of key press using AltGr modifier, and these
layout usually do not consider any ergonomics in the sense of dvorak.
(see: Idiocy Of Keyboard Layouts.)

Well, at least with standard QWERTZ and German Dvorak Type II (which I
use), the keys for äöü can be typed without modifier. With QWERTZ, even
ß is not modified, although you don't need it too often in German.

The problem is that although the German Dvorak Type II is quite
convenient when writing plain text, it's not that good for programming,
cause {[]}| and others are all modified. It's still better than QWERTZ,
where even / needs a modifier...

I would like to have some programming mode, which assigns more important
symbols to the äöü keys. You don't need those when programming anyway.

Quote:
It's much better to find ways to create a universal layout that are
largely efficient, fixes the hardware layout problem, fixes the number
arrangement problem, and can be used for all languages. I think this
is quite doable.

I'm far less positive. I can't even think about a reasonable compromise
for only latin languages...

Bye,
Tassilo
 
Stefan Nobis...
Posted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:11 pm
 
Tassilo Horn <tassilo at (no spam) member.fsf.org> writes:

Quote:
I would like to have some programming mode, which assigns more
important symbols to the äöü keys. You don't need those when
programming anyway.

You might want to have take a look at

http://www.neo-layout.org/

--
Stefan.
 
Alan Mackenzie...
Posted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:33 pm
 
In comp.emacs Xah Lee <xahlee at (no spam) gmail.com> wrote:

Quote:
Dvorak isn't available in all popular operating systems until about 10
years ago. (i think Microsoft is actually the first one to include it
out of the box, in mid 1990s?

Xah, that's not English. Only a very careless native English speaker
could have written those two sentences. The correct verb tenses in those
two sentences are "Dvorak hadn't been available .... until 10 years ago"
and "Microsoft was the first one". Humour me, just for once, and tell me
what your native language is, please.

Quote:
I know that Mac didn't include a dvorak layout until OS 9 or OS 8 in
about 1998 or so. (i switched to dvorak in 1993 or 1994, and basically
created my own layout using ResEdit))

There seems to be an assumption through this interesting topic that
Dvorak is superior to Qwerty and friends. Is there any solid evidence
for this or is it all anecdotal?

Quote:

--
Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).
 
Xah Lee...
Posted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:43 am
 
On Aug 31, 5:15pm, Claudius Hubig <claudiushu... at (no spam) arcor.de> wrote:
Quote:
Xah Lee <xah... at (no spam) gmail.com> wrote:
A question Claudius, when you create the layout with Microsoft
keyboard layout creator, does Microsoft's on-screen keyboard app show
your unicode chars? (for mac os x, it doesn't, which is partly the
reason i abondoned it)

At first it didnt (at least not all of them) so I just copied these
rectangles over from a text file I opened in Notepad++. After
installing the DejaVu font family in Windows, unicode characters
usually show up nicely, so I assume theyd also work in the keyboard
layout creator. I didnt test that, though.

hi clause, ah you are thinking of unicode font, but no no,
i meant there's a app called On-Screen Keyboard.

look here
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/tips/onscreenkeyboard.mspx

so i wonder if you could take a trouble to launch it, and press your
mod key that would insert the math symbols, and whether the unicode
and layout shows up there correctly?

Xah
 
Xah Lee...
Posted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:18 am
 
just discovered this site
http://hi-games.net/typing-test/

quite fun. My first try is 82 wpm. Smile
those on high score list of top 30 starts at 126, and top is 164. :D

Xah
 
Claudius Hubig...
Posted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:15 am
 
Xah Lee <xahlee at (no spam) gmail.com> wrote:
Quote:
A question Claudius, when you create the layout with Microsoft
keyboard layout creator, does Microsoft's on-screen keyboard app show
your unicode chars? (for mac os x, it doesn't, which is partly the
reason i abondoned it)

At first it didn’t (at least not all of them) so I just copied these
rectangles over from a text file I opened in Notepad++. After
installing the DejaVu font family in Windows, unicode characters
usually show up nicely, so I assume they’d also work in the keyboard
layout creator. I didn’t test that, though.

Best regards,

Claudius
--
Eloquence is logic on fire.

http://chubig.net/
 
Xah Lee...
Posted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:34 am
 
is On Sep 1, 3:02am, Claudius Hubig <claudiushu... at (no spam) arcor.de> wrote:
Quote:
Xah Lee <xah... at (no spam) gmail.com> wrote:
so i wonder if you could take a trouble to launch it, and press your
mod key that would insert the math symbols, and whether the unicode
and layout shows up there correctly?

Good day,

Im sorry, I thought you were referring to the layout creator. The on
screen keyboard itself seems to work fine, but I had to switch the
font used from MS Sans Serif to DejaVu Sans the symbols do appear.
However, it seems to have problems with the fourth level
(AltGr+Shift+?) - the symbol itself is entered, but the layout is
not shown on screen.

i see. interesting. btw, i wonder if you would do a screenshot? for
each of layout when a modifer is pressed.

i'd enjoy seeing that, but i think if you use that for your pages (or
in addition to the hand-drawn ones), i think your readers would enjoy
that too.

anyway, i saw that you mapped the left Win key to Return! Great idea!
I've now copied that. Thanks!

the Return key is a major problem of the PC keyboard.

it's incredible that on qwertz and azerty layouts, there are actually
2 more keys to the right of right pinky before reaching the Return.

i think the Return key is at the same level of RSI risk as qwerty, if
not worse.

Xah
 
Claudius Hubig...
Posted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:02 pm
 
Xah Lee <xahlee at (no spam) gmail.com> wrote:
Quote:
so i wonder if you could take a trouble to launch it, and press your
mod key that would insert the math symbols, and whether the unicode
and layout shows up there correctly?

Good day,

I’m sorry, I thought you were referring to the layout creator. The on
screen keyboard itself seems to work fine, but I had to switch the
font used from MS Sans Serif to DejaVu Sans the symbols do appear.
However, it seems to have problems with the fourth level
(AltGr+Shift+?) - the symbol itself is entered, but the “layout” is
not shown on screen.

Best regards,

Claudius

--
To thine own self be true. (If not that, at least make some money.)

http://chubig.net/
 
Claudius Hubig...
Posted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:14 pm
 
Xah Lee <xahlee at (no spam) gmail.com> wrote:
Quote:
i see. interesting. btw, i wonder if you would do a screenshot? for
each of layout when a modifer is pressed.

I tried that, but it seems to be impossible to press any other keys
(even outside the virtual machine) without releasing the modifier key.

Quote:
i'd enjoy seeing that, but i think if you use that for your pages (or
in addition to the hand-drawn ones), i think your readers would enjoy
that too.

I think the screenshot provided by Gnome’s keyboard layout chooser is
completely sufficient here.

Quote:
anyway, i saw that you mapped the left Win key to Return! Great idea!
I've now copied that. Thanks!

the Return key is a major problem of the PC keyboard.

it's incredible that on qwertz and azerty layouts, there are actually
2 more keys to the right of right pinky before reaching the Return.

You’re welcome. I’m not a real touch-typist since I tend to do most
of my writing with the index finger supported by the others when
necessary. I more or less mapped the left windows key (my only one,
btw, since the only keyboard where I have one is in my X300) because
it’s more convenient to reach when you have your hands away from the
keyboard (watching a film or similar activities).

Quote:
i think the Return key is at the same level of RSI risk as qwerty, if
not worse.

Luckily, I hope not to have any problems with RSI (and not to get
them, either) since most of my work is done at whiteboards, not at
keyboards :)

Best regards,

Claudius
--
Being popular is important. Otherwise people might not like you.

http://chubig.net/
 
 
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