Can I change my order without losing my place in the queue? I think I’d like to change from a Dvorak to a regular…
Can I change my order without losing my place in the queue? I think I’d like to change from a Dvorak to a regular…
Shouldn’t be a problem. I assume it is the same process that WT recently posted about for changing an address:
Just use the ‘Change’ tab and put in the updated address where your
previous address is. It’s easy and takes less than a minute.
Well I had ordered a Colemak, and then on seeing the negative-nancy attitude of some on this forum, ordered an additional QWERTY. Now I’m thinking of making it just two regulars (ie QWERTYs).
Would the TREGers weigh in? Anyone with a Colemak? Notable differences to Colemak keyboards? I’m pretty touch-typey on QWERTY so may just stick with two of those!
So I guess @dabigkahuna – I see your confirmation – if the regular TB is so much better than regular keebs, I would be inclined to change my order to just two separate (home/office/backup) TBs.
I used getting a TextBlade as a reason to switch to using Colemak. I found the switch to be relatively painless and having keytops (QWERTY) that did not match the Colemak layout forced me quickly into touch typing. I have never used Colemak on any other keyboard for comparison.
I use dvorak, even though the TB I have shows qwerty. But then, I’ve used dvorak for years with qwerty layouts so nothing new there.
I think colemak is supposed to be easier to learn (fewer key changes than dvorak). I’ve read opinions on the advantages of each, but my impression is that few people would ever notice. But I think both are better than qwerty. Even if there is some disagreement over which is faster, both dvorak and colemak involve less effort than qwerty since you spend more time on home keys so that is good enough.
As for what layout to actually display, for your own use, it probably doesn’t matter much if you are touch typing because you do most by feel rather than looking. And I’d say it is harder to see the keys on a TB because the vertical distance is so much less that a higher percentage of keys will be blocked by your fingers - unless you actually are moving your fingers out of the way while you look for some character you aren’t used to.
For friends who may want to try your keyboard, usually they are probably using qwerty and would benefit from seeing the proper layout. Since I’ve ordered two, one qwerty and one dvorak, I’ll keep the dvorak at home since that’s mostly where I use it. But I’ll take the qwerty on trips (though it will still be set up as dvorak), so any friends or relatives I visit can use it as qwerty (I always try to keep one slot set up for qwerty just for this reason).
There is one other thing some may want to keep in mind, since we can customize darn near everything. While I use a dvorak layout, there may be some things people choose to change since they can. IOW, you can create your own modified layout based on one of the major choices - probably usually some symbols/punctuation. If so, whatever layout you order from WT may not be 100% accurate. But that’s your choice. I guess WT could set up something where you could order a customized version, but I don’t think that would be worthwhile. After all, you may do some customization only to later decide you want to customize it a bit differently.
Thanks. I’m getting (whenever it’s GA) colemak keycaps and regular. I guess I can choose then… I don’t intend for anyone to use mine as I have always the laptop qwerty should it be required.
Maybe I should rephrase. On TB is there that much increase in comfort for colemak since the qwerty is already leaps and bounds better than normal keyboards?
On textblade my understanding is that qwerty is already heaps more comfortable than a regular keeb. So is colemak on TB that much better than qwerty on TB? I want to learn and so intend to get colemak TB with correct colemak labels…
I really don’t know about that comparison. I would suspect it is still better since I believe you still spend more time on the home keys. But if you do need to reach to another row, it is certainly easier with the TB regardless of which layout you choose.
It’s a hard thing to know what to recommend. If you’re already a good touch typist, then learning a superior layout will take a while, dramatically reducing your speed whilst you get to grips with it, and then you’ll still be stuck in a world where everything and everyone else is qwerty. Having a good ergonomic keyboard (of any kind, as long as it’s properly good, not just a bit less bad) is a huuuuuge improvement over the standard layout, irrespective of the key maps.
When I started learning colemak it was amazing how the first lesson with the first 2 fingers on each hand already had you typing proper words (nest, ten, net, test, set…) instead of gobbledegook (dfjk, kjfd…) it’s not until you get to all 4 fingers on the home row that qwerty lets you type an actual word! I quickly started referring to qwerty as “stupid mode” after that, because, in contrast, it just is.
The frustrations of living in a qwerty world led to me switching back to it for a while, but having learned a better way it just felt wrong, so eventually I switched back to colemak again. To be honest, I’m probably slower in colemak than I was in qwerty because of those decades of exposure to it, but colemak just feels better. However, if you’ve not experienced a good key layout and are comfy with qwerty you won’t know the feeling that you’re missing. So if you don’t switch you won’t have to balance the pleasure of using your blade with a good layout against the combo of having to interact with other devices in qwerty and having other people be unable to use your stuff etc. It’s a bit like taking the red pill in the matrix - you’ll wake up, see how broken the real world is, and spend the rest of your life fighting a war
I think that this may come off sounding like I’m discouraging you from going to colemak. That’s not exactly what I’m trying to do, rather I just want to make you aware that whilst it is absolutely, categorically better that qwerty, the rest of the world ain’t changing, and we still have to live in it.
I’ve probably lost track of the original context, but I’ve always interpreted these questions the way the first such post I read on the issue. That being that they wanted to know if, since the TB would feel so different anyway, is it probably a good time to switch layouts anyway? I would say if you are planning to switch, it would be good to do so at the same time.
We do still live in a qwerty world, but devices like the TB may make serious inroads. One Keyboard to pair with every device will be a huge help. Unless you job doesn’t let you use your awn keyboard, you no longer have to worry about being forced to qwerty. Or, even if you did set a work computer up to have a qwerty and Colemac layout, if it was also used by someone else, you’d have to remember to switch it back. More than once I’ve taken my laptop into the Apple store and forgot to set it to qwerty and it would really confuse the Genius Bar folks! But with TB, the computer always is qwerty but the switch to Colemak is all done on the TB. Much easier.
I do keep a slot available for qwerty so someone else can use it. When we get more jumps, it will be even better.
Gaaah! Finally found time to action this, then stupidly fat-fingered(moused?) and eviscerated my order by mistake… this is why we cannot have nice things! Appropriate dark magic and forbidden rites have been initiated to reinstate the dead …
Thanks @dabigkahuna for the historical context:
I guess in the mech world the same advice applies (since finger-retraining will take place with any new mech – eg switching to ortholinear) and I am taking your advice here and keeping just the Colemak. Another option briefly considered was to keep my order and buy the second for my brother (who has RSI but balked at the price of a ergodox) except he’s on a different continent.
Thanks @eviltobz for this perspective, but I would ask: "is it Colemak that feels better or TextBlade? That is, how much to ascribe to each? 30/70 in favour of TB? And I presume the Colemak speed is improving?
Tell me about it, I’m a LISP programmer forever tilting at windmills in a Java/GoLang world. In any case I’d rather be slow and right than fast and RSI’ed – although some of my keyboard acquisitions haven’t stood the test of time (especially the Fingerworks, but that’s really Apple’ fault!).
Would you not recommend Colemak keycaps then on the TextBlade? I feel this is a very personal keyboard, and what with the layers etc. it may be best to have pre-printed Colemak labels…
Colemak definitely feels better that qwerty. I started learning it on a traditional keyboard, and could instantly feel its betterfulness. but then, a textblade also feels a whole load better than a traditional keyboard too. but they’re both different & complementary better feelings.
On my trip through the world of ergo keyboards, I started with the MS 4000 thingy. it’s split & contoured and felt like it was on to something, but certainly didn’t go far enough. I then got an ergodox at home and a kinesis advantage at work. The programability of the dox was way better than the kinesis (especially with my really old & crusty second-hand ps/2 one from ebay) but the curves of the kinesis make it much nicer than the dox. I’d been starting to look into rebuilding it as a dactyl (with some of my own additional tweaks) when I got tregged. since getting the blade, it has been my main keyboard. the kinesis only gets a workout if i forget to bring the blade to work, or let it run out of charge (which happened a bit at the start, but i’m much more on the ball with recharges now). It does feel really nice & comfy on the odd occasion that I go back to it - the curves are lovely, but the tiny reaches on the blade win out overall for me.
Hmmmm, I dunno. There’s times when things just flow perfectly, and times when I can’t type for toffee. But I practiced Colemak until I got to a point where I felt comfortable enough to switch full time, and then haven’t bothered with actual practice since, I just do whatever I need to on the board, and fix my copious typos as I go. So I’m not really doing myself any favours, keeping some regimented practice routine would likely help.
Yeah, even though I touch type, it’s still nice to have the labels match. The Colemak legends are U.S. centric, and I’m in the U.K. where we have a few different default places for some of the symbols, but I decided to order the Colemak caps & just swap to the differences with the U.S. layout. You still need to remember all the extra mappings that you configure, but it’s good to have that sort of stuff visible and in the right place. Even if for no other reason that typing in nasty passwords & making sure you’re definitely hitting the right key
After switching to Dvorak I never felt the need for the keycaps to match until I started working in CAD (SolidWorks) regularly where most of the time hands are on a mouse, and when you need to use the keyboard for letters it is only a few at a time. Having the keycaps properly labeled makes this much easier.
That’s a good point. I saw a study where even proficient touch typists, if asked to point to where a specific letter was on a blank keyboard, got a LOT of them wrong! So that is where the right key caps would help, if just needing to reach out and hit a couple letters rather than touch typing.
In my case, since we all have qwerty keyboard caps and I use Dvorak, I created my own sheet showing all the stuff on my keyboard. I then slid it into one of those plexiglass sign holders. In my case, it was one without a stand because I also was using it as a lap desk. But you could get one with a stand and set up up by where you type on a TB. Not as good as on the keys, but it gets the job done.
I still have two on order - one qwerty and one Dvorak. I’ll use the Dvorak at home where most of my typing is done and the qwerty keycaps on the road. I can still do Dvorak just fine on it, but if someone wants to try the TB, then it will have the layout they most expect on the keys.
I do agree, and so my preference is Colemak. And for Emacs shortcuts too, I guess. The TB being so personal and portable, I don’t worry about not having Qwerty – after all the regular keyboard on the laptop has that, so no skin off my back.
Indeed. I once had a chording keyboard. Emacs & Passwords were very frustrating…
Is the Kinesis a Colemak as well? Dactyl was my intent until I found TB and now I just wish either TREG or GA would happen soon (but who doesn’t wish for that, eh!). I have an Atreus already, because the Ergodox is a big bulky, although that could have been a permanent solution too… Speaking of Ergodox, I am of the perhaps unpopular opinion that the TB is waay underpriced as a decent assembled dox costs about 200 USD. Anyway for that amount of money I’m waiting on two, one qwerty and one colemak.
The other thing I found on my keeb journey (particularly with the Fingerworks and the Kinesis I’ve tried) is that limiting the finger travel is half the battle won. Colemak does this, and the smaller the keeb (so TextBlade) the more win you get on that score. So given portability, price and downright coolness, TB is leaps and bounds ahead, even perhaps a different hemisphere… Perhaps once I get mine I shall join those of the opinion that it’s actually a different Universe!
The other half is hand support and positioning where the dactyl or manuform is likely unbeatable, but the problem with designing for the human body is that you end up with an exoskeleton once you’re done addressing all the “points of support” and that isn’t very portable, unless the exoskeleton has it’s own power source, and then, while one’s at it, one could add a couple of SMGs just in case of any aliens…
…aaand I’m sold. Maybe I’ll dabble with a manuform as I have all the switches anyway, and soldering it’ll take my mind off my TB troubles.
Excellent point @eviltobz – I think that’s the part that’s not addressable by the normal keeb/geekhack gang (I even have a chimera board, and though it’s small, it’s not TB small).
Yeah. My proper keyboards are all in colemak. My lappy keyboards I keep as default stupid mode so the legends all line up properly & other people can use em
Mechanical keyboard stuff always gets ridiculously expensive. How a set of keycaps can cost over $100 alone makes no sense. And your typical dox build is a small run with a bunch of hand-madeness, so doesn’t get any economy of scale.
Indeed. I’ve lusted long and hard for a datahand for that very reason. I think that (barring the odd attempt of people to 3d print an updated datahand) that the textblade is the nearest thing to one of them, because of the tiny finger motions.
@eviltobz – I must dig up that old datahand thread (was it on GH?) as I used to be a big fan back in 2004-ish, but thinking about it in some detail (cardboard-mockups basically) – my feeling was the sideways motion of the fingers in the cups is actually very uncomfortable (as in, not ergonomic) because there aren’t really muscles in the hand that make it viable. Also, I re-read this thread and am a bit confused: you are referring to dvorak/colemak on normal keyboards right? As in, you don’t have a textblade? Or you do have one and that’s the source of the “both different & complementary better feelings” ?
@itimpi – What is your typing speed on TextBlade with Colemak? And if you were a touch-typist before, has the speed gone down significantly?
@dabigkahuna – I ‘upgraded’ to the six-pack and kept two Colemaks for myself, and a bunch of QWERTYs to hand out to family. So that fixes my hemming-and-hawing on which keyboard to give to whom! Choice is good, and custom-keycaps are better
I think about getting 6, to give out to friends. But for now, being a risk-adverse person, I’m willing to risk $200, but not $500. Now, that could change if were definite progress was seen. Like sending out the new firmware, at least, to treggers.
BTW, one of the potential “problems” with any keycaps you order is the fact that you can do so much customization. It is always possible you may decide you want to move something. If so, it will most likely be one of the characters most people don’t even use, but perhaps you do. So you may move it to an easier to use position to switch it with something you don’t use.
Everyone has their own level of risk. For me, I really wanted to try this ‘one-keyboard-to-end-them-all’ as despite getting mechanical keyboards of decreasing size (Ergodox, Atreus, Chimera…) they were still hard to carry around and weren’t multi-device. And the asking price was significantly cheaper than the few V-notes I’d already dropped on the mechanicals.
After I paid and forgot about the order, I did some research almost a year later to find out the whole story, naysayers and all, and then got really annoyed with the naysaying and, partly as a reaction to that, and to show support for somebody trying to do something really pioneering, doubled down with a two TB order. Now, a year later, I figured that if I’ve seen it through yet another year, I may as well double down again (roughly speaking).
Basically, around this time every year I figure out gifts and discretionary spending, and I guess this drama has been captivating enough for me to show more support to Mark et al at TextBlade. Besides, having changed my order twice, I’ve got two refunds, and unlike the crazies that think the principals are funding some kind of ponzi (I mean, for heaven’s sake! a ponzi on a 100 bucks in a niche sector for nerds and geeks?) I am certain that one could pull out the money at any time. Not that I have any intention of doing so, but the facts speak for themselves, not to mention the care taken in the web-site design, order and checkout system etc.
I still have some random Nov-Dec spending I am trying to get delivered from a 3-year old Kickstarter, and with all the trouble around Kickstarter and their fulfilment substitute website (as in, they don’t do fulfilment! So another ‘startup’ was created to do that for them) I have seen neither hide nor hair of my other purchases. So I know what an incompetent operation with high rip-off potential looks like, and TB is definitely not that.
For some extra nouvelle-keyboard context, I went through a very similar thing with Fingerworks, there was a forum of crazy fans (fingerfans I think we called it) that shared keymaps, tips etc. but in that case the principals (Esterman I think?) folded and gave in to the Apple-borg. I am so pleased to support an enterprise that stands by its principles, and I hope they understand that they have unwavering support in some quarters.
New firmware to treggers would indeed be a good sign, but I guess I’m not that practical…
Noted on the keycaps, as this is always a problem with layer customizability. In fact, my Atreus and Chimera do not have keycap labels at all. I am also curious to see, when GA comes around, how my siblings, parents, &c., who are all non-technical people, react to the TB. I am quite certain they won’t really be using layers, but before I got the mechanicals, I didn’t either.