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My new ErgoDox keyboard.  Soldered all the diodes, switches, resistors and connectors myself!  It was a fun experience to build it.  However if I could have just bought it (or anything else like it) assembled I would have.  A kit is all that's available right now:  https://www.massdrop.com/buy/ergodox
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What's also a sort of fun experience but sort of wish I could just skip it, is getting used to typing on it.

Obviously the thumb keys are a big difference but they are trivial to acclimate to.  The backspace is the big blue key on the left, which is great. 

And yeah, many of the symbol keys are in totally different places, but those are not needed that often. 

The brain bending part is that the letter keys are in straight columns instead of staggered on a normal keyboard.  That causes my brain to think it knows where the key is, but it's actually almost a centimeter to one side.

So as long as I'm retraining my brain anyway, I'm going full monty:  http://colemak.com/  Bye bye qwerty.  And no I'm not typing this on the new keyboard.
 
+Jeff Weiss, I had no problems getting used to the vertical key columns on my Maltron (or the thumb pads, as you note). The hard part was the new positions of ~, {, }, [ and ]. Those took about six months before I stopped hitting the wrong key, while I got used to the vertical arrays in about three hours.
 
+Nick Alcock ugh not me. I'm still hitting m instead of n and dot instead of comma.
So far, learning colemak seems to have cleared out the muscle memory though.
 
The nice thing is you'll probably adjust back to QWERTY within a couple of seconds of sitting in front of one of those :)

I didn't try learning the alternative layout for alphanumeric keys: the major advantage of that is typing speed, and I was interested more in curing RSI. (Also, with my coordination problems it had the chance of causing me to forget how to type in QWERTY but not learn how to type in anything else: no thanks!)
 
I'd love to learn a more efficient keyboard layout, if I could somehow automatically make it so every keyboard I used switched to that layout. Hmmm, new million-dollar idea: a USB adapter that changes other keyboards' inputs before they make it to the computer.
 
if you are going to go weird anyway, did you consider the Truly Ergonomic Keyboard?
 
+James Jensen, but how do you change the physical key positions? These keyboards don't just reshuffle the alphanumeric keys: they put the keys  in different physical places. e.g. the maltron layout I'm familiar with doesn't even put the E key in the same block as all the others, but puts it on the thumb pad. How on earth would you simulate that with a normal keyboard? I'm not even thinking about somehow magically simulating the contouring that some of these keyboards have...

(I'm fairly sure the ErgoDox has the same problem. If you could call it a 'problem'.)
 
Ah! Sorry for the misunderstanding.
 
+pedro pinto you know, honestly I can't remember why I didn't seriously consider the TECK.  I know I read about it on +Xah Lee 's blog, but I'm not sure, maybe it wasn't for sale when I started looking at it, or maybe it used to be more expensive?  If I had started looking today I probably would not have had the patience for the ergodox and would have gone with the TECK. [edit spelling]
Xah Lee
 
+Jeff Weiss fantastic. Gonna put a short repost on my blog. Jeff, want to take lots photos? i'd love to have.
Xah Lee
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+Nick Alcock Nick tries to indoctrinate you, Jeff! :D
I had problem with my left hand on the matrix layout on the Truly Ergo, for about 2 months.
 
+Xah Lee the programmable layers on the ergo is pretty nifty.  You can either toggle them by holding down a key, or push them and pop them off a 'stack'.  So you can define different keys in a higher layer but leave the rest "transparent" so that it uses the bindings from the next lowest layer. 

You can also do stuff like automatically apply modifiers for keys - like if you want to type an open paren without using shift, you can change the config so it just applies the shift for you.  And the led's are programmable, by default they just indicate the usual caps/scroll/num locks.  But you can also use them to indicate which layers are active (which I plan to do as soon as I figure it out).
 
+Jeff Weiss, I want the firmware for that keyboard on my keyboard :) it has buggy firmware and no macro facility. (This is survivable because I have Emacs.)

I really want a keyboard with an elisp-commandable, elisp-programmable firmware :) best done by having something properly programmable on the keyboard side of the USB link so the two sides could chatter to each other properly. But I suspect nobody has done this...
 
+Jeff Weiss good choice. But I like my Kinesis advantage keyboard with Programmer Dvorak and Emacs with remapping keys. One thing is certain Qwerty it's evil.
 
+Andrew Grytsenko, qwerty isn't evil (I was told as much by the MD of Maltron many years ago, and he's right). It slows typists down compared to better layouts, but is not a primary cause of RSI, though it doesn't help it. The shape of the keyboard is the bad part: the requirement to stretch your fingers when you move off the home row (because of the diagonal layout and the lack of contouring) is horrible for the tendons.

I still use my Maltron's qwerty layout (I didn't want to relearn that much just to speed up typing English when the majority of my typing isn't English anyway, but code). My RSI has vanished nonetheless.

The ErgoDox, I note, appears to be uncontoured (if bipartite), an interesting test-case for this.
 
Great discussion. I went directly to the Norman layout on both of my ergodoxen, but continue with qwerty on normal keyboards. It seems to work out fine.
 
+Matt Harrison Switching between QWERTY and Norman is not a problem for you? Was it always like that, or is it the result of consistent amount of time on QWERTY?
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