60 posts
None
touch typing, keyboard layout and RSI
Yestarday I've found this amazing tutorial online... I was a pretty mediocre 55 wpm writer, and I didn't even know how to put my hands on the keyboard.
http://www.typingstudy.com/

A couple of random things:

-what do you think about colemak layout? Is there someone that can definitively say that it's BETTER than qwerty? (I mean both performance and RSI prevention)

-I'm currently using qwerty, but I've remapped the caps lock to backspace. I highly reccomand it to you, the right pinkie now does much less work.

-I've noticed that my hand posture it's basically bad, with my hands constantly resting on the keyboard: that put a lot of stress on the finger's muscles.
http://www.rsipain.com/equipment.php
I'm thinking about getting one of those tilting keyboard tray, or even this:
http://www.ikea.com/it/it/catalog/products/90278244/
this way the wrists should remain HIGHER then the keyboard.
what do you think about it?

Just wanted to point out these things to the community, I think it's fundamental to type fast, but I think it's even more important to stay healthy.

Leonardo

23 posts
touch typing, keyboard layout and RSI
When I investigated the different keyboard layouts, most of the studies I've found did not find much if any improvements over QWERTY. So it just seems to be whatever one feels comfortable and what they memorize.

In the end I choose to stick with QWERTY due to not needing to worry about my setup if I was sitting at another computer. Especially if the format was not one that came with Windows (or whatever OS) and had to be downloaded first.

I have also tried different hand positions, but it does not take long for my body to tell me that it just feels wrong (and often it starts to hurt). This seems to be unless you are having problems, let your body tell you what feels right.

* switched to mechanical keys. At the moment, I quite like the feel of cherry browns.
* I actually use capslock now. Any more than two capital letters I turn it on.
* I alternate between shift keys. I don't know why, but I pretty much always used my right pinky for shift, and left for alt/ctrl. This meant that my right pinky did a lot of work (especially since I did not use to use capslock). This along with using capslock has grely helped.
* In my text editor (which is what I do nearly all my typing), I inverted the symbols and numbers. If capslock is on (or of course holding shift), I get the numbers. So it's easy to switch between the two.
* I changed '_' key to be inverted, from the default of '-'.
* I exercise more. Though I don't necessarily do any hand/finger exercises, I do a lot of bodyweight exercises which fully use my hands.

Some additional changes that I want to do just have not yet done it:
* Create a next key toggle for shift (and ctrl/alt). Similar to how the mobile keyboards work. I find my hands do not like holding down keys for very long.
* Completely switch to modal editing. I looked at (and have used) vi/vim, but it's not for me. I appreciate its design so I will come up with my own implementation in the editor I like.
497 posts
touch typing, keyboard layout and RSI
windows has a sticky keys feature in its accessibility settings. The default activation is to press the left shift several times in a row.

Though the thing that annoys me the most when typing is that the left control on the keyboard I use most (at work) sticks unless I hit it dead center and press straight down. I'm sure that'll give me emacs pinky before long.

Beyond that I find the fancy new keyboard layouts to be overrated, also I believe many of them focus mostly on writing english prose over programming.
Jeremiah Goerdt
209 posts / 2 projects
Programmer, Linux apologist, and not-so-wiseman.
touch typing, keyboard layout and RSI
There has been some decent "research" on different keyboard layouts. Here is the source that the Colemak site recommends:

http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca/carpalx/?qwerty
http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca/carpalx/?dvorak
http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca/carpalx/?colemak

There is a lot of reading on that site if you want to dig deep. It looks like they did a good job comparing layouts.
60 posts
None
touch typing, keyboard layout and RSI
Thank you guys, interesting points.
I guess I should also link this site, which allows to upload your own code and type it as an exercize.
http://www.speedcoder.net/lessons/

A couple of days ago I finally got my first mechanical keyboard, but I have a problem in my message handling code.
Basically, when I keep a button held, I get totally different messages now:

before, with the basic dome keyboard, I was getting something like:

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 key down key down key down key down key down key down key down key up 

and that' obviously what I want, but now with the new keyboard, I get:
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 key down key up key down key up key down key up key down key up key down key up 

But of course the button is being released just a single time... I would like to ignore, if possible, those repeated keyup messages, but on MSDN I've read that for a wm_keyup message the repeat count is always 0...
Is that a problem with my specific keyboard, or is that a behaviour of all mechanical keyboards?
Should I use another way of getting keyboard input?
Simon Anciaux
1120 posts
touch typing, keyboard layout and RSI
It seems weird. Mechanical keyboard should work the same.

Are you sure you didn't changed anything in your message loop ?
Could you try this application (it should display just pressed / pressed / just released in the console) and see if you get the proper messages ?
60 posts
None
touch typing, keyboard layout and RSI
Same exact behaviour.

Tried with the old dome keyboard: I correctly get only "pressed", until I release the button of course.

The mechanical continues to behave badly:

I don't know what to do, I mean, that's the simplest and clearest test we could have made... could it be an hardware problem?

Simon Anciaux
1120 posts
touch typing, keyboard layout and RSI
I should have mentioned that in test application you can switch between WM_KEYDOWN/UP and RAW input by left clicking on the white window. The output should say RW instead of VK. Does it make any difference ?

If your keyboard has fancy macros or functions check that there isn't something going on there (or windows accessibility settings).

Otherwise you can try contacting the manufacturer/vendor support.
60 posts
None
touch typing, keyboard layout and RSI
mrmixer
I should have mentioned that in test application you can switch between WM_KEYDOWN/UP and RAW input by left clicking on the white window. The output should say RW instead of VK. Does it make any difference ?

If your keyboard has fancy macros or functions check that there isn't something going on there (or windows accessibility settings).

Otherwise you can try contacting the manufacturer/vendor support.

Resolved installing the last available firmware.
Thank you for the help anyway. :)
Mārtiņš Možeiko
2265 posts / 2 projects
touch typing, keyboard layout and RSI
This is just "amazing"... keyboards nowadays don't work properly anymore and require software update. OMG.
Tom
25 posts
None
touch typing, keyboard layout and RSI
mmozeiko
This is just "amazing"... keyboards nowadays don't work properly anymore and require software update. OMG.

@Leonardo, care to tell us what keyboard this is, so we can avoid it? lol
60 posts
None
touch typing, keyboard layout and RSI
Floresy
mmozeiko
This is just "amazing"... keyboards nowadays don't work properly anymore and require software update. OMG.

@Leonardo, care to tell us what keyboard this is, so we can avoid it? lol

ahahahahaha, it's the cooler master rapid-i.
Mārtiņš Možeiko
2265 posts / 2 projects
touch typing, keyboard layout and RSI
Edited by Mārtiņš Možeiko on
It's a feature, not a bug:
Repeat Rate Adjustments Over USB - Execute Commands Faster Than Ever Before
Execute commands up to 8 times faster than other keyboards and competitors by adjusting your keyboard repeat rate at a moment's notice.
60 posts
None
touch typing, keyboard layout and RSI
mmozeiko
It's a feature, not a bug:
Repeat Rate Adjustments Over USB - Execute Commands Faster Than Ever Before
Execute commands up to 8 times faster than other keyboards and competitors by adjusting your keyboard repeat rate at a moment's notice.

There are 4 options on the keyboard, I tried with all of them, but the old firware was bugged with them all.
With the new firmware the things seem normal at 1x.