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Messages - iandoug

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Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« on: Yesterday at 01:44:39 PM »
Sorry to hear that.

Are you now gonna devise the perfect one hand layout? For that, I suggest sticky modifiers--so you don't have to hold down shifts, which would demand dexterity.

I did wonder if the universe was pointing me in that direction.

More worryingly so because a few days ago I had been thinking about one-handed layouts for some reason ... but more along the lines of "I'm glad I don't need to work like that" .... and now here I am doing that...

I'll see if the universe throws any bright ideas my way over the next few weeks....

Cheers, Ian

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / not good
« on: January 16, 2018, 07:26:15 AM »
smashed my left wrist. back on ansi keyboard and mouse on right hand and mostly one handed typing for now. At least it has mech switches (gateron red I think)

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Keyboard for mouths
« on: January 13, 2018, 07:35:41 AM »
Stumbled across this:

Tried playing around with it but requirement of having vowels and liquids on home row works at odds with putting common letters on home row. T, N and D can easily be put in better (but not optimal) spots.
Also have H and E on same finger is never going to work.

Came to the conclusion that it may be comfortable for the mind, but we type with fingers not brainwaves, so comfortable for fingers is more important.

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / GhettoDox
« on: January 05, 2018, 04:12:26 AM »
For when you can't afford to buy an ErgoDox.

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Same finger bigrams
« on: January 04, 2018, 02:57:19 PM »

Colemak 82.48
MTGap 93.05
Capewell 128.75
Klausler 181.35
Dvorak 196.04
Dangvu 204.9
Workman 212.57
QGMLWY 350.73
Norman 503.58
QWERTY 525.73

Voice in my head was still complaining... something about finger usage.... so I did a quick experiment, and multiplied each letter pair on same finger by a weighting per finger (simplified model: thumb = 1, pinky = 5).

Overall resulting order was sorta the same, but some differences, here's the revised list:

Colemak 210.78
MTGap 264.3
Capewell 377.79
Klausler 440.98
Dangvu 482.96
Dvorak 523.69
Workman 567.26
QGMLWY 802.54
QWERTY 1426.34
Norman 1446.09

Which is not bad, and except for QGMLWY, compares order-wise with the same-finger list (here in reverse order) on

    Norman: 4.7%
    QWERTY: 4.6%
    Minimak: 3.1%
    Asset: 2.6%
    Workman: 2.4%
    Dvorak: 2.2%
    Klausler: 1.6%
    Capewell: 1.4%
    Arensito: 1.3%
    Colemak: 1.3%
    QGMLWY: 1.3%

Norman is known to have bad same-finger metric.
I assume QGMLWY is out of order for me because of the finger weighting.
It's score was calculated thus: (first digit is KLA finger number)

1 => 'qdz': 0.42
2 => 'gsx': 20.0084
3 => 'mtc': 94.0185
4 => 'lwnrvj': 111.011
5 => ' ': 0
6 => '': 0
7 => 'yfiakp': 447.6328
8 => 'ue': 31.4118
9 => 'bo': 98.0376
10 => 'h': 0
11 => '': 0

Cheers, Ian

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Corpus update
« on: January 03, 2018, 12:09:57 PM »

FWIW an update to the corpus used in tests.

At the moment, for comparison purposes, I am only using the files in EnglishTexts and Programming.

The WordLists, MixedLanguages, and DigitsEtc are useful for fine-tuning particular aspects of a layout, or just cross-comparisons to things non-English or rare English. But don't think it's fair to compare layouts using them as inputs.... my focus is on English and Programming. I believe if you're going to enter hundreds of digits, you should use a numpad....

These versions SHOULD be free of non-ANSI/ASCII characters, ie only stuff found on normal ANSI 104 keyboard. Think one of programming files still has two(?) arrows (or something) hiding somewhere.

The home-alone.txt is the list of words from the various home-key, home-block, easy-block and one-handed tests... the sample long words from the various layouts, deduped. (home == home key/block, alone == one-handed). Yes I know my sense of humour is weird.

Cheers, Ian

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Same finger bigrams
« on: January 03, 2018, 01:22:28 AM »
Added another metric of my own invention, which possibly has some similarities to methodologies used by the scientists in one of those studies comparing QWERTY with Dvorak etc.

The Famous Brands stack up like this: (all standard ANSI variants)

Colemak 46.68
Klausler 60.06
Dangvu 64.53
MTGap 70.13
Workman 81.62
Capewell 94.94
QGMLWY 109.93
Dvorak 129.02
Norman 162.00
QWERTY 181.65

After a restless night of tossing and turning, I finally gave in to the voice at the back of my head and changed the calculation a bit.

Consider qu and et. The chances of u following q, and t following e, are:

qu: 98.7
et: 2.66

So if a layout had qu on same finger, I would have added 98.7 to the score, and only 2.66 if et were on same finger... but clearly having et on same finger is much larger problem than qu, since et are two most common letters.

So now I multiply the above numbers by the frequency of the first letter in English, so we have

qu: 98.7 * 0.1 == 9.87
et: 2.66 * 12.1 == 32.186

which is a much better reflection of reality.

So the Famous Brands now stack up as follows:

Colemak 82.48
MTGap 93.05
Capewell 128.75
Klausler 181.35
Dvorak 196.04
Dangvu 204.9
Workman 212.57
QGMLWY 350.73
Norman 503.58
QWERTY 525.73

The relative percentages are going to have a much wider range, since the scores now range from 8.01 to 1,757.11.

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Same finger bigrams
« on: January 02, 2018, 02:28:52 PM »

Added another metric of my own invention, which possibly has some similarities to methodologies used by the scientists in one of those studies comparing QWERTY with Dvorak etc.

It's based on the probability of one given letter following another ( ) (took me ages to manually type all those probabilities).

Anyway, we see which letters are on a given finger, then look up the probability in both directions for all letters on same finger (ie so we add "er" and "re", for example), and add them all up, and rank the results.

I ignored Capital letters, and also when both letters were on same key (as in CPL layouts), since the idea is to see how much a given finger has to fly around.

No distances were harmed in this production. That's under ToDo, with Row Jumps, Rolls, etc... when I figure out some way to score it.

Anyway the top end looks like this:

1   seelpy-1-1.en.ergolinear   15.48
1   seelpy-1.en.ergolinear   15.48
3   seelpy-1-4.en.ergolinear   15.61
4   beakrak-1-2.en.ergodox   16.06
5   hieaqmtsrn.en.ansi   16.39
6   proxkb.en.ergodox   17.19
6   proxkb-thumbshift.en.ergodox   17.19
8   maltron-us-90-mod-Andreas.en.ergodox   17.51
9   hieamtsrn.en.ansi   17.61
10   dvormax.en.ansi   17.77
11   opuiany.en.ergodox   19.14
12   balance-twelve.en.ansi   20.60
13   seelpy-1-8.en.ergolinear   21.03
14   beakl-clp-0.en.matrix   21.27
15   widely-alternating-A.en.ansi   21.33
16   beakl-modified.en.ergodox   21.88
17   mtgap-mod-joey2216.en.ansi   21.97
18   x1-ou.en.ergolinear   22.71
18   m2-tweak.en.ansi   22.71
20   maltron-us.en.ergolinear   22.86
20   maltron-us-90.en.ergodox   22.86

and the bottom end like this:

354   a-joy.en.ansi   238.65
354   a-joy-rehomed.en.ansi   238.65
356   qwerty-mod-noah.en.ansi   239.73
357   blick.en.ansi   241.01
358   neo2.en.ansi   242.76
359   ina-dv.en.ansi   247.47
360   ward.en.ansi   247.70
361   hoke.en.ansi   255.81
362   reverse-qwerty.en.ansi   258.62
363   rhythmic.en.ansi   269.31
364   tyler.en.ansi   270.50
365   qwerty-q-layout.en.ansi   272.72
366   cyberswarm.en.ansi   274.09
367   dvorak-onehand-right.en.ansi   275.74
368   wong-poiea.en.ansi   293.10
369   trotman.en.ansi   295.47
370   culemak-mod-Ian-hp.en.ansi   299.42
371   as-in-red-hot.en.ansi   308.38
372   mcgunnigle-peoples.en.ansi   343.95
373   tnwmlc.en.ansi   366.12
374   dvorak-onehand-left.en.ansi   384.13

For a change the bottom end is not QWERTY and Alphabetics-dominant.

The Famous Brands stack up like this: (all standard ANSI variants)

Colemak 46.68
Klausler 60.06
Dangvu 64.53
MTGap 70.13
Workman 81.62
Capewell 94.94
QGMLWY 109.93
Dvorak 129.02
Norman 162.00
QWERTY 181.65

Gory details here:

The details of how the score was arrived at are on each layout's page.

The graph showing the spread over all the layouts is actually the smoothest progression of the lot. Which kinda gives me some sort of confidence in the metric... :-) (FWIW)

Cheers, Ian

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« on: December 31, 2017, 11:36:54 PM »
You really put in a lot effort for this.

You're okay with Den3 at the current state?

I accept your reasoning behind it (ie punishing pinky usage). I may not agree with the exact weightings but have not looked at it hard enough to debate it.

Think it will be more useful to first run all the layouts through all the tests and see how they stack up... if for example, QWERTY suddenly comes out ahead of Dvorak, then we will need to talk... :-)

First need to get it running locally and then see where I need to put in extra "write to console" stuff if necessary, to get the data and error conditions I need. Should only be in one or two places I think.

I think I will change the weightings in the "average" calculations, at the moment each score is added once, except for Patrick English, and Den 1 English, which get added twice each, in an attempt to balance the numerous word-based scores.

Think I will change that to Patrick English x 2, Den 1 English x 3, and Den 3 English x 1, because Den 3 already includes some word-based metrics in its score.

My gut feel is still that Den 1 is "most accurate", in being largely agnostic about any particular design philosophy (where Den 3 takes the deliberate position against pinkies. There may be some people (eg Colemak with both A and O on pinkies) who would challenge this.)
But my gut has been known to be wrong :-)

Cheers, Ian


If you find any bugs/issues, please let me know.... probably at least one or two things that I forgot to update.


Still Den's beakl-clp-0.en.matrix.
Congrats :-)

I've rolled the results of the many hours of work over last few months to live... also updated the per-layout pages with extra data.

Added a few more home-key tests of my own invention, dunno how valid they are. And averaged all the tests in two different ways, leading to above result.

Started working on the "author" data, renamed to Inventor. Done mine and Den's and MTGap's (except the mods) so far. Still lots to do.

Next year will get Den3 scoring to work and retest all the layouts with that ....

Happy new year and all that (if it is your new year now ...)

Cheers, Ian

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« on: December 30, 2017, 12:58:21 PM »
Reverting back to BEAKL 9 and immediately see my speed improve.

Amazes me how you wrap your head around all these layouts so fast :-)

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / ZX 1
« on: December 29, 2017, 03:38:36 PM »

Was capturing which tries to improve QWERTY as much as possible by moving as few keys as possible, and started playing around...

Over the last few days I managed to rewrite the page on my site that lets you compare how all the layouts do for the different tests, but this time have combined all previous 4 pages (Patrick + Den 1 scoring for ANSI/Ergo) onto one, and includes over 360 layouts. Still fine-tuning it a bit before going live.

Anyway, I was annoyed because previously my S2 layout was the best "plain ANSI", where the keys were just re-arranged, no fancy tricks or anything (on Den 1 scoring).

Now the results came out as

1   light-anderson-mod-Ian-2.en.ansi
2   vukeys.en.ansi
3   dangvu.en.ansi
4   oneproduct.en.ansi
5   light-anderson-mod-Ian.en.ansi
6   liigol-mod-Ian-2.en.ansi
7   embizone.en.ansi
8   mtgap-tea.en.ansi
9   vukeys-swapped-mod-Ian-2.en.ansi
10   mtgap-iaet.en.ansi
11   goettl-brugh-julstrom.en.ansi
12   box-x.en.ansi
13   colman.en.ansi
14   juli19.en.ansi
15   pietergen-1.en.ansi

My S2 is not in that list because I swapped some keys on the top row, the layouts above don't do that. But it would have been about 4th on the list. Which was annoying because I was somewhat proud of it....
Light-Anderson is a layout I found in a paper, and applied my mind to it a bit (twice).

VuKeys and DangVu are closely related and in KLA.

OneProduct and Embizone I found on Geekhack I think. Colman is a Colemak variant.

Anyway, so I was playing around... and eventually arrived at a new layout which on average JUST makes it to number one, with an effort score of 137.30 (vs the winner above's 137.3923)

Screenshot and json attached.

Distance figure is good, samefinger not so good, because of right index and left middle. Really don't like the right index, with PH and GH and YO ... but could not find better solution.

Left hand will not like to type uncle or unclear or nuclear ...

Den won't like pinky usage. But pinky usage is in line with the other top layouts I was testing against. And hand balance, while terrible, was better than the others.

But the Good Features:

1. maintains ZXCV
2. maintains comma/period/slash/quote
3. maintains top row
4. Home Row seems to be unique (not found amongst all the other layouts, even mirrors).

Vowels ended up on the right for a change...

Called ZX 1 because of ZXCV... yes I know it sounds like a Sony cellphone :-)

If you swap Q and J scores are slightly worse but typing QU will be more comfortable.

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« on: December 28, 2017, 09:11:21 AM »
'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a mouse....

Deathly quiet here lately :-)

Anyway stumbled across this:

Which I thought was interesting, and of course had to have a go at tweaking it ...

I think that sort of design might actually get traction in the market... it's a lot more "normal" that the ergo layouts...

Suspect the designer uses Emacs and Lisp, which led to some of the key placements, which are not optimal for English.

Cheers, Ian

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« on: December 14, 2017, 03:31:42 PM »
Code: [Select]

qhoux ,drcb
yiea. lstnp
j/'kz wmgfv

I was thinking the other day... one of the (many?) criticisms against new layouts is whether they maintain ZXCV at bottom left, for the purposes of short-cuts. And possibly A as well.

But in truth, it is not so much the LETTER that is important, but the closeness of those keys to the left Control key.

So let's say a swanky new layout puts PKQX there instead. Surely we can just tell the OS/keyboard driver to treat Control-P as Undo, Control-K as Cut, etc?

Or do people really need to see the XCV to know what they're going to produce? (FWIW I use the right-hand shortcuts mostly - ctrl-insert, shift-insert, etc) and my fingers do that without me thinking too much... no need to look.)

(Yes I know Den says cut/copy/paste should have dedicated keys, but ANSI/ISO does not always oblige... :-) )

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Ranking
« on: December 14, 2017, 01:54:25 PM »
How do I rank thee? Let me count the ways...

Am fiddling around with averaging rankings from various tests. But have a philosophical problem....

Let's say 5 people take a test with max score of 10, and score as follows:
A and B: 10
C and D: 9
E: 8

Now to rank them, do we say:
A and B: 1st
C and D: 2nd
E: 3rd

A and B: 1st
C and D: 3rd
E: 5th

Or relative ranking:
A and B: 1/5  ... or 1/3 
C and D: 2/5   or 2/3 ... or  3/5
E: 3/5   or 3/3  or 5/5 ?

I can make arguments in favour of all variants, but trying to pick fairest one to use...

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« on: December 14, 2017, 01:47:05 PM »
Didn't like the row jumping in BEAKL 9 (mainly the L in the bottom middle, "cl" "fl"). So messed around again to get something that feels better.

Mmmm... is "hi" not a problem? or "ls"? I remember reading somewhere about someone complaining about one of the well-known layouts (Dvorak, I suppose), putting l and s on same finger ( AND on the pinky...). Becomes a problem in Linux command line.

Today finished testing with Patrick's scoring (Den1 already done, Den3 next), Beakl14 will have to wait for the next batch of test next year... :-)

FWIW Patrick's scoring thinks Essie 2 layout is best. No idea why. From my point of view it was a 'dev' layout, not final.

Cheers, Ian

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Klausler
« on: December 12, 2017, 11:38:14 PM »
Found a link to Klausler's evolved layout process, which was dead, eventually tracked it down on wayback machine.

I suppose the crux is this, which goes to the heart of the Colemak/Dvorak debate (rolls vs alternation):

The next step was to actually try using the layout.  I spent a couple days with it, and learned that my layout evaluation function was just too smart for its own good.  Too many words required complicated patterns using the fingers of the right hand. The word bottom convinced me that Dvorak was on to something when he designed a keyboard that maximized alternation between the hands.

(The insight is that hand alternation increases parallelism.  When the fingers of one hand are hitting keys, the fingers on the other are getting into position atop the next keys.  This should have been obvious, but it wasn't until I started the third experiment and saw some empirical timing data that I realized how much faster things are with high rates of hand alternation.)

So I updated -- simplified, really -- my evaluation function.  Now I charge points when too many keys are hit in succession by fingers of the same hand, with some credits for hitting adjacent keys.  Specifically, the new simplified rules are:

    Every position has an assigned cost that's looked up from a table.  The OEU/HTN positions of Dvorak have no cost.  A and S are 1 unit; I and D are two; <>P and GCR are three; Y and F are four; ", QJK, MWV, and L are five; : and Z are six; and X and B are seven.
    Using the same finger twice in succession on distinct letters costs 10 units.
    When two keys in a row are struck with the same hand, it costs two units if they're on different rows or on the bottom row, and one unit if they're not adjacent.
    If three or more keys are hit in succession by the same hand, one unit is charged for each key after the second.

Now I need to see how much I agree with that, and how to incorporate it into some sort of "comfort" metric for a layout.

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Average rankings...
« on: December 12, 2017, 02:09:12 PM »
Am still busy running tests with Patrick's scoring (about half way through the English stuff), then need to run with Den3 / Klatest scoring.

In the mean time, I've done an experiment. I took the results from finger and word tests, ranked the layouts in order from best to worst in each test, then averaged the ranks, which produces the attached spreadsheet.

Results may change slightly as I finish up with Pat's scores, and may change considerably when I add in Den3 scores.


1. congrats to Den for coming first with beakl-clp-0.en.matrix.
2. the Schizo layouts did considerably better until I added the "efficiency" ranking, I must check that those calculations are correct.

What's in the mix:

1. Patrick's scores, highest to lowest
2. Den1 scores, lowest to highest
3. HomeKeys words, highest to lowest
4. EasyBlock words, highest to lowest
5. HomeBlock words, highest to lowest
6. OneHanded words, lowest to highest
7. Efficiency, highest to lowest, using Den1 distance measurements. Patrick's distance measurements are way off for AltGr style layouts.
Efficiency is calculated by assuming you will need to move 1 key width for every letter typed (plus up and down). So we work out that distance, then compare to ACTUAL distance, to get an efficiency score.

Then take a simple average of  each layout's rank (NOT score) for these 7, and rank that.

As per usual, the tnwmlc.en.ansi, alpha and QWERTY layouts are at the bottom, so as a methodology, it can't be all bad.

You should be able to find all the layouts here:

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Flying fingers
« on: December 12, 2017, 01:42:48 PM »
Was poking around trying to find a way of measuring "ease of use" of a layout ... the Seelpy/Essie variants get top scores, but I have my doubts about how usable they are in real life, so trying to find a way to measure that.

Anyway found this PDF

Which includes this chart (attached) which is very interesting. Basically it says you can type nearly as fast with 1 or 2 fingers as with 10, depending on how well your keyboard/OS allows key rollover, as well as, I suppose, depending on how fast your hands/fingers can fly around to exploit the rollover capabilities.

Which means (possibly....) that the whole KLA model (and anything else based on touch-typing-you-will-use-index-finger-for-this-and-return-to-base-afterwards) is only one way of doing it, and a different model based on 2-finger typing, with no return-to-base is another....

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« on: December 12, 2017, 01:35:53 PM »
Back at the lay-outing again, is there anyway to get the old heatmap back? The one in V3 is really tiny now and doesn't show keycount.
Not sure how you guys use KLA to optimise. I check usage/distance and then go to the heatmap to see what keys I can change.

Suggest you use Den1 version to get the heat maps for now. Den seems to have gone walkabout :-)

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« on: December 04, 2017, 01:30:10 PM »
some patches I forgot yesterday...

1. patch for controllers.js to parse the new names and get the correct form factor
2. slight patch for get-layout.php in /api to work with patch in controllers.

Code can probably be prettied up, but it works.

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« on: December 03, 2017, 03:42:12 PM »
ToDo 2: remove some of my layouts. Still too many in there. Will cull after testing.

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / 1001 Arabian Layouts
« on: December 03, 2017, 03:38:43 PM »
As promised, all the layouts....

Attached zip file contains all (*) the layouts.

0. This collection somewhere between Alpha and Beta. Subject to further improvement.

1. They have been renamed. Like it or leave it :-). Aim was to get standardised naming so that like sorts with like, unlike at present where Dvorak is called Simplified Dvorak and lists far from Programmer's Dvorak or Dvorak with Ordered Numbers, etc etc etc.

2. May (probably) revert back to Prettier Names in KLA... by splitting the "name" part and then uppercasing first letter of each word.

3. Also included in .zip file is copy-and-paste patches for templates.js for Den1, (may also work in Patrick's original if you bypass the 'build' method), as well as for db.js for Den3/Klatest, as well as Ergolinear code (my version, slightly different to Den's) for kb.js. The included Ergolinear layouts work with this version of the Ergolinear, and Den is not using any layouts on his version any more ...

(*) : All means "all that I currently have loaded for KLA". I have other dev and probably broken layouts, and some foreign that were in original KLA that I need to add back in. Not all of these layouts end up in my test suite, because I test for English layouts, and Russian layouts are no good for that. Etc. Also the one-handed Dvorak layouts are not technically valid for KLA purposes.

Attached .ods file is current "Average" score on Den1 scoring, for a range of English tests:
Litte Prince         
Animal Farm         
Scroll II           
Message to Garcia   
Magic Story         
War Prayer           
As a Man Thinketh   
Typing Champ 1       
Typing Champ 2       
Daede Jing           
Uni Decl Human Rights
US Dec Ind           
Magna Carta Eng     
Pangrams lines       
Pangrams paragraphs 
Classic songs       
Nice cup of tea     
Aesop's fables 
Plato's Republic
Fable of the Keys   

Aesop and Plato from Klatest... I fixed a few bugs in Aesop and added some extra line spaces.

@Den: I took a look at the Wikipedia and Scientific papers... the formatting needs a bit of cleaning up, and it seemed like too much work. So I went to look myself and had the same problem with what I found... formatting not good. Line breaks in middle of words etc. Then I came across The Fable of the Keys (about QWERTY vs Dvorak, from an economic rather than ergonomic point of view) which is I suppose "technical writing" ... so used that. Seemed appropriate too, given the subject matter. The paper itself is found freely on the net, and has attracted its own share of criticism. Attached. Also A Nice Cup of Tea (by George Orwell of all people) which I thought was a nice offbeat "different" style of writing.

Current versions of pangrams also attached.

1. Do the "programming" tests, as well as the non-English stuff. Not going to do the word lists, bi/tri/quad-etc-grams, or digits/punctuation ... these things are for optimising particular layouts and IMHO are not real-world enough for comparing layouts against each other with. Also takes a huge amount of time.

2. repeat for Patrick's original scoring
3. repeat for Den3 / Klatest

4. fix all the "Author" fields, a lot are just plain wrong.

5. check the layouts... for example I accidentally discovered that the Colemak JJT Ergodox had the thumbs set to the other thumb's home position... which of course resulted in terrible scores.

Results from Patrick/Den3 will be different.


Dunno if there are any ideas for you here:

Can't remember if I've posted it before... hope not :-)

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: updates to letter layout DB
« on: November 28, 2017, 12:25:21 PM »
Yuch. This is more complex than I thought it would be... have successfully written the patches for db.js for KLatest and templates.js for Den1, but need to modify the loading code as well, since the names are now in a different format to what Patrick invented.
And I so enjoy mucking around in JS and Angular...

Okay after the usual fun and games have got Den1 to load the new-name versions fine. (*)
Also generated iMacros script which runs through fine. Ignoring ISO format layouts because they're typically not for English, but I think there's one or two I need to add in.

Discovered again why I took the two one-handed Dvorak layouts out of the test mix ... KLA barfs because the layouts want you to type two things at the same time with your pinkies, and that doesn't work.
Am contemplating removing them from the "word metrics" on my site, since obviously you can type ALL the words with one hand on a one-handed layout (albeit with the 'wrong' fingers). So that makes everything else look bad.
On the other hand, Ian like "completeness" ... so I dunno...

Also found a few other layouts with minor errors.

Will clean up some more and rerun. Current version of Firefox is writing garbage to console log, apparently fixed in later versions but have to wait for Gentoo devs to release that. Will need to make a plan for how to do these tests when we migrate to Quantum, unless iMacros gets around to releasing an update.

(*) ToDo: rewrite all the layouts to change keyboardType from "standard" to "ansi" and "european" to "iso". Then need to also modify pre-loaded layouts, and Keymaps etc...

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: updates to letter layout DB
« on: November 27, 2017, 03:02:28 PM »
Will upload all the json files here presently, need to add some KLA patches as well.

Yuch. This is more complex than I thought it would be... have successfully written the patches for db.js for KLatest and templates.js for Den1, but need to modify the loading code as well, since the names are now in a different format to what Patrick invented.
And I so enjoy mucking around in JS and Angular...

Wanted to run all the evaluation tests on my laptop, updated things, now Firefox is the new version and iMacros doesn't work and the suggested replacement (Wildfire or somesuch) is overkill and not nice to use.
Tried switching to Chrome but WebDev tools are different and seems to log errors to console that Firefox didn't. Also have to figure out how to extend console buffer to handle all the output.

So will probably end up running the tests on this poor machine, 371 layouts x multiple tests x 3 versions of KLA is going to take a while....

Actually got around to investigating how to run Perl in the browser... since Perl runs way faster for these sort of things than JS....
[speaking of which started looking at CarpalX which is written in Perl, it zips through processing large corpus in fraction of time JS would take.]

Will see how far I get tomorrow.

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / updates to letter layout DB
« on: November 26, 2017, 11:35:48 PM »
For when the USA recovers from Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and whatever else is going on there ...

Implemented some major updates to my letter layout database at

    Bar graphs showing how many words each layout can type on the Home keys, Easyblock, Homeblock, and individually with left and right hand.
    Some statistics for each of those categories, for the layout.
    A quick comparison showing minimum, maximum, and layout score, for each of those categories.
    A customised selection of words for each layout, in effect a month's worth of lessons for helping you to learn any given layout, for use with any of the online typing tutors that lets you load your own inputs.

Probably broke something in the process. If you pick up any errors, please let me know.
I think I may have some selection errors with the One Handed numbers. Will need to check the code.

Will upload all the json files here presently, need to add some KLA patches as well.

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Friday humour
« on: November 24, 2017, 01:10:08 PM »
"The more I look at this keyboard layout the more I want to refer to it by a QWERTY-like name — only, using the home row — and call it ARST. As, in I’m going to learn that ARST keyboard layout. That said, I still intend to give it a serious go."

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Tri layouts
« on: November 24, 2017, 12:24:32 PM »
@ Den... for your work with Chinese/English layouts:

I'd like to add it to the layout collection but not sure how he expects finger allocation to work ... reading between the lines leaves me with the impression that either hand could access the middle keys, but that won't work for KLA.

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« on: November 24, 2017, 11:22:20 AM »
For beakl 9....

Was feeling a bit bombed today from working too late last night, so played around a bit...

It was twenty years ago today
Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play
They've been going in and out of style
But they're guaranteed to raise a smile
So may I introduce to you
The act you've known for all these years
BEAKL 9's Custom HomeKeys Tutor....

Lesson 1:
aba abb aes ait ana ani ann ant ase ass ast ate baa bae ban bas bat bee ben bes bet bib bin bis bit ean eat ebb ens ess eta
iba inn ist its naa nab nae nan nat nea neb nee nei net nib nit saa sab sai san sat sea see sen set sib sie sin sis sit taa tab
tae tai tan tat tea tee ten tib tie tin tit tst

Lesson 2:
abas abet aint anan anba anes anis anna ansa anta ante anti asse assi asta ates atis atta baba babe bain bait bane bani bant
base bass bast bate bats batt bean beat been bees beet bena bene beni benn bent besa best beta bias bibb bibi bien bine bint
bite biti bitt ease east eats ense esne etna ibis inbe isba nabs nain nais nana nane nant nasi nast neat neet nese ness nest
nete neti nibs nine sabe sain sane sans sant sasa sate seat seen seit sent sess seta sett sina sine sise sisi siss sist site snab
sneb snee snib stab sten stet stib taen tain tait tana tane tass tate tean teat teen teet tent test tete tien tine tint tite titi tsia

Lesson 3:
abase abate abbas abnet absit anana anent anise annat annet antes asana assai asset assis babai banat banns bases basin
basis basta baste batea batta beant beast beata bebat beest beisa benab benet benne besan besee beset besin besit betis binna
bisti eaten enate entia inane innet insea insee inset issei nanes nasab nates neese neist nenta niata nisei nisse saint sanai
sansi sasan sasin satan satin seine seise senna sensa sense sesti setae snite staab staia stain stane state stean steen stein
stent stine stint stite tabes tabet taint taise tanan tania tanti tasse taste tatie tatta tease teens teest tenai tenet tenne tense
testa teste tibet tibia tinea tinta tsine

Once again I am reminded of how many English words I just don't know ....
For that matter, neither does the spell checker on this machine....

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Symmetric typing...
« on: November 24, 2017, 11:10:30 AM »

@Den: you could take a look at his approach to scoring. Haven't thought about it deeply yet so no opinion yet.

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« on: November 23, 2017, 12:23:49 PM »
I thought that at some point in the distant past I had tried a left hand home row like this, but seems not... unless it was a discarded experiment.

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / keyboard layout learning
« on: November 23, 2017, 10:09:23 AM »
Found while looking for something else...

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: PanGalactic Keyboard Layout
« on: November 23, 2017, 09:56:55 AM »
As usual, found while looking for something else:

Also came across a keyboard layout for Shavian, of all things...

I see there are entire sites dedicated to the topic ...

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / So you think you can type?
« on: November 22, 2017, 12:11:05 PM »
Attached long words from word metric tests (home keys, home block, easyblock, one-handed) for all current layouts, from Scrabble and Linux word lists.
Ten per line. Not sorted.

All of these can be typed in one of those four categories, by one or more layouts.

Now if someone could write a story using all of these.... :-)

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« on: November 22, 2017, 07:43:00 AM »
Before you ask, "best possible layout" was determined by some researchers auto-generating 50k layouts and then evaluating them.

Why they think 50k is a representative sample out of the possible 30! layouts, I have no idea.

Also, standard method for evaluating seems to be something along the lines of
1. time a bunch of typists typing every possible bigram on qwerty
2. get averages for each bigram
3. use these averages to evaluate new layouts by mapping to same physical keys, run against a corpus.

Which as a methodology, immediately raises red flags with me....
Bigram speed depends on where your fingers were before.

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« on: November 22, 2017, 07:36:38 AM »
Lmao.  people are suppsed to learn typing with this trash home row. But it's "better" than Dvorak and others.

now which first lesson do you think will keep people interested in learning to type? The gibberish home row, or sensible home row that produces actual words?

For beakl 9....

Have switched to using a Linux Word List instead of the Scrabble list ... has longer words, included Proper Nouns, and excludes silliness like "aahs" and "aahing" ...

For what it's worth I have basically decided to try my hand at writing some papers for these esteemed scientific journals... think the first one must be along the lines of "Is Dvorak really only 5% better than QWERTY" (*) or "QWERTY vs Dvorak: Showdown" or somesuch... was actually on Martin's site yesterday and by his metrics Dvorak is like 40% better than QWERTY (IIRC), and other newer layouts even better (as we know).

But will use this approach to sneak in said better layouts to wider audience... :-)

(*) Consensus amongst researchers in papers I've seen so far is : Dvorak 5% better than QWERTY, and "best possible layout" only 1.2% better than Dvorak. Which I think is nonsense and in need of correction.
But with that mindset, it's no wonder mainstream has not switched to better layouts.

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« on: November 21, 2017, 10:21:58 PM »
Pressing, tapping buttons require precision and speed, both of which dominant hand does better. In case of joystick, the buttons need that attention more, so they are operated by dominant right hand.

Think I will disagree with you a bit here ... most early games required precise control in 8 directions with joystick, and buttons relegated to (relatively infrequently, compared to number of frequency of actions on joystick) Fire or Jump.
Even the grand daddy, Space Invaders, had left-right on left hand and fire (one shot at a time) on right.

But this is off topic anyway... :-)

Here's some curious variations on MTGap as we know it: (Posted 22 December 2016 - 06:35 PM)

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / AbKey
« on: November 21, 2017, 09:21:15 AM »
Found out about it while browsing Carpalx site.

Wonder what happened. Or maybe still coming.

Nah, putting A, T and N all on pinkies? Not gonna fly. :-)

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Left hand mouse
« on: November 20, 2017, 12:21:28 AM »
As you may or may not know, I'm a big fan of using the mouse (or trackball) on the left hand.

Someone did a study back in 2003 on this. I have some issues with their results (possibly because of the methodology) because I don't think I'm slower with my left hand than I was with my right. In fact, I find it 'awkward' when I use someone else's computer and the mouse is on the right .. I immediately swap it to the left.

Here's the abstract from "Left-handed versus right-handed computer mouse use: effect on upper-extremity posture"

Alternatives to reduce postural constraints have to be sought in order to reduce musculoskeletal complaints related to computer work. This study aimed at documenting the impact of using the mouse on the left side of a standard keyboard (with a right numeric keypad) on upper-extremity posture. A simulated computer task was performed by 27 subjects in a laboratory before and 1 month after ergonomics training. Shoulder flexion and abduction, as well as wrist extension were reduced with left-handed mouse use. Sixteen of the 27 subjects truly converted to using the mouse with the left hand. After a month of using the mouse with the left hand, the time required to perform the same task reduced, the perceived difficulty and discomfort improved, though the time to perform the task was still longer than when using the mouse with the right hand. For work involving both keyboard and mouse use, and without the need of the numeric keypad, it would probably be preferable to use a keyboard without the numeric keypad if the mouse is to be used on the right-hand side. If such keyboards are unavailable, an interesting alternative would be to use the mouse on the left side provided sufficient time is allowed to get accustomed to it.

They were looking at arm/shoulder/neck issues (ergonomics etc), and totally ignoring other issues like the fact that the Enter key/other nav is on the right, and if you use mouse on right you need to keep moving your hand between keyboard and mouse.

Anyway, once upon a time I was in the video game industry... attached screen shot from typical coin-op video game console, to refresh your memory.

You will observe that the joystick is on the left, even though most people are right handed. Positioning the joystick for left-hand use was industry standard.
When we built home-made cabinets we used to put the joystick in the middle in an attempt to satisfy people who insisted on using their right hands, but that meant an awkward hands-crossed stance because the action buttons still went on the right.

So it has always puzzled me why people were happy to use the joysticks with their left hand, but think they need to use their right hands for the mouse....


Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Preferred layout...
« on: November 20, 2017, 12:07:00 AM »
Also keeping an eye on the dactyl;

Interesting, kinda combines Ergodox with Kineses/Maltron. Found the wrist rests in bottom pic interesting, but have seen some items which caution against supporting the wrist there because it may contribute to carpal tunnel issues (by compressing wrist in wrong spot).

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Preferred layout...
« on: November 19, 2017, 10:30:59 AM »
I note that "this model was the one preferred by subjects in the first laboratory study." ....
which gave me a warm fuzzy feeling... :-)

Pic that went into production, by Nippon Electric if I remember what I sped-read correctly...

I see it has tab keys above the numpad, as well as comma and minus, but no other calculator-type keys.

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Preferred layout...
« on: November 19, 2017, 12:41:56 AM »
Interesting photo. The body looks vaguely similar to the tron keyboards from the 80s ( and the keys seem to be arranged similar to an Iris keyboard;

Interesting solution to the tenting/feet problem... I've been scratching my head for months about how to solve it, did consider similar approach but without the "stuck on the sides" idea. Was looking at screw-in balancing feet like on some furniture, but hard to find something that looks nice, offers adjustability from zero to some distance, and still fits onto the keyboard without interfering with the keys. Ideally would like be be able to do tenting as well as positive or negative forward-backward slope.

Commercial key boards tend to offer zero or some preset angle only. Microsoft has published some papers about their design process for some of their "ergo" style keyboards, and even them, with their vast resources, opted for zero or fixed angles.

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Preferred layout...
« on: November 19, 2017, 12:36:14 AM »
Interesting photo. The body looks vaguely similar to the tron keyboards from the 80s ( and the keys seem to be arranged similar to an Iris keyboard;

Mm interesting.
I thought my designs (eg ) were original but I guess there's still nothing new under the sun... :-)

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Preferred layout...
« on: November 18, 2017, 03:03:30 PM »

Studies on Ergonomically Designed Alphanumeric Keyboards M. NAKASEKO, E. GRANDJEAN, W. HUNTING, and R. GIERER, 1985

Screengrab attached. Fig 5 and Fig 6 refer to sketches of actual keyboard in Fig 7. Layout is suspiciously similar to Ergolinear style although it has a numrow which we've done away with.

I note that "this model was the one preferred by subjects in the first laboratory study." ....
which gave me a warm fuzzy feeling... :-)


Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Monitors etc
« on: November 18, 2017, 04:00:18 AM »
Sorry bit off topic about keyboards, but still about ergonomics etc.

Attached from A METHOD OF EVALUATING THE ERGONOMIC QUALITIES OF COMFUTER WORKSTATIONS, Paul D. Tynan , Ph.D (1981), diagram was borrowed from some Human Factors / Ergonomics guideline that he referenced.

In all my years of using computers I've never had things set up for those sort of angles.... I've always tried to have as close to zero angle (from horizontal) angle between my eyes and CRT or LCD screen.
Observations in various offices tend to show people sticking phone directories etc under monitors to raise them closer to eye level.

Back in the 80s when I was in the video game industry, then yes, we built the cabinets for those sort of angles, but that's because the player was standing, and we had to accommodate a wide range of user sizes, from little kiddies up to adults.

I'm guessing that by aiming at that angle they put the screen closer to the keyboard, and made it easier for the eyes to switch between screen, keyboard, and desk. And probably CRTs were such heavy beasts that advising to "put on books" was just tacky.

I have seen various setups (point of sale, financial services customer support) where the screens are embedded in the desks at an angle, but these are few and far between. It's more normal for the screens to be vertical.

So are the ergonomic experts a bit off here? Or was it just a fashion thing / limit of knowledge at the time?...

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« on: November 17, 2017, 02:03:38 PM »

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« on: November 17, 2017, 06:11:17 AM »
That's where some of the arbitrary penalties can come in. On a flat keyboard, going below what is typically the home row usually requires either curling and extending middle or ring fingers, or hand movement, while the row above home just requires extending (the normal number row is going to vary a lot more). So, whether it's a board with standard 4mm switches, or 1.5mm scissor switches, that relative difficulty remains. Rather than specifically try to work out distances involved down to the keypress distance, make it substantially more of penalty to go to the lower row than the upper one, and similarly follow that for other areas that will tend to need more work to reach. IoW, tweak the effort grid, and weighting of results like alternation, rolls, etc., rather than try to get the analyzer or optimizer to go too low level.

With keyboards gravitating towards thinner designs (shorter key travel distances) it is important to understand how these short travel keyboards may affect typing performance, typing forces and operator comfort. Using 15 subjects (7 males, 8 females), we wanted to determine whether there were differences in typing performance when computer operators typed on three keyboards with the same activation force (0.6 N) but with different key travel distances (2.0mm, 2.5mm and 4.0mm). During a 15 minute typing session on each keyboard, typing performance (speed and accuracy), typing forces and perceived fatigue ratings were measured. There were no differences in typing speed (p = 0.39), typing accuracy (p = 0.33) or keystroke durations (p = 0.15) across the three keyboards. However, typing force differences were measured (p < 0.003) with the longest travel keyboard (4.0mm) having higher mean and peak forces compared to the shorter travel keyboards (2.0 and 2.5 mm). These findings indicate that there is no apparent detriment in physical exposure or typing performance when using shorter travel keyboards.

Abstract from

And this:

Keyboards with shorter key travel are becoming widespread yet it is unknown whether there are any biomechanical differences in the typing forces when using these keyboards. If one keyboard promotes typing with more force, this may increase the risk for developing an upper extremity disorder. A total of 17 subjects typed on two short travel keyboards (<2.5 mm) and one long travel keyboard (4.0 mm). The magnitude and angle of the typing forces were measured in the x-, y- and z-axes using a thin, three-dimensional force platform. The aim of this study was to determine whether there were differences between the short and long travel keyboards in the magnitude and direction of the typing forces and the keystroke durations. In addition we wanted to determine whether there were typing force differences between key rows, hands, and fingers. Keyboards with shorter key travel resulted in less extreme angles and smaller magnitudes for forces applied in the x and y directions. Shorter travel distances were associated with smaller peak and mean vector sum forces and shorter keystroke durations. Although these results indicate keyboards with shorter key travel affect typing biomechanics, it is uncertain whether the small differences in keystroke durations and applied typing forces are physiologically meaningful and would reduce a computer user’s risk for developing an upper extremity musculoskeletal disorder.

Keyboards and Other Interfaces / Pinky crowned champ
« on: November 17, 2017, 03:46:31 AM »
1990 paper by Lachnit and Pieper, Speed and accuracy effects of fingers and dexterity in 5-choice reaction tasks

They took three groups of people (controls, typists, pianists) and gave them some tests using five coloured buttons on a custom keyboard, and measured reaction time and accuracy.

Screengrabs of reaction time (RT) and accuracy attached. I stuck my screen ruler on the RT chart just above Typist Pinky bar, for easy comparisons.

Crux of their findings:

There were clear speed differences between the fingers of the preferred hand; thumb
and little finger showed significantly shorter RTs than those of the other three fingers,
while there was no difference within the two groups of fingers. These effects were
independent of dexterity. Pianists were faster than controls and typists, but there was
no difference between controls and typists although the latter might have been expected
to have greater skills. These results were not confounded by differences in speed accuracy
trade-off between groups. The independence of finger differences and
dexterity suggest that the faster RT of the pianists must be due to an overall
Analyses of accuracy showed a clear superiority of the little finger in all groups, it
was also the most reliable and showed the lowest rates of false alarms.

So while the pinky may be "weaker" it clearly has other skills (reaction time and accuracy) to compensate. Not sure how this will impact current BEAKL theory... :-)

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