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Ask Slashdot: Keyboard Layout To Reduce Right Pinky/Ring Finger Usage? 165

Posted by Soulskill
from the try-upgrading-the-firmware-on-your-hands dept.
Tooke writes "I've developed focal hand dystonia from playing clarinet. It affects my right pinky (and my ring finger, but to a lesser extent). My pinky isn't totally unusable when typing; however, it isn't nearly as agile as it used to be. When I must press a key with it, I tend to keep the whole finger rigid and move my entire hand instead. I also use my ring finger to press the P and semicolon keys (on QWERTY) which is a bit awkward but better than using the pinky. Thus my question: are there any keyboard layouts that are optimized to reduce right pinky/ring finger usage? I switched to Programmer Dvorak a few years ago, but Dvorak seems to make me use my right hand significantly more than my left. I'm considering mirroring the letter keys so my left hand would be used more. I also came across the Workman layout which looks interesting. I might try using that after switching the numbers and symbols around to be more like Programmer Dvorak. Has anyone been in a similar situation? What else could I do to make typing more comfortable? I've got a long career ahead of me as a programmer (I'm currently a high school senior) and I'd like to take care of my hands as much as possible."
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Ask Slashdot: Keyboard Layout To Reduce Right Pinky/Ring Finger Usage?

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    • by houghi (78078)

      Thanks for that. And it is perfect for typing XNXX.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I lost the use of my left pinky in a childhood accident. After I graduated and starting programming professionally I found that the lifeless finger really interfered with my typing. So I quit programming and became a gangster. After a few years I got involved in the lucrative black market whale meat trade, necessitating a move to Japan. Fifteen years on I was, despite my lily-white ass, trusted by the locals and initiated as a full yakuza. The next day I called the boss a cunt and he required me to cut

    • by steelfood (895457)

      There are coder layouts, and typist layouts. Most layouts are for typists. Even DVORAK for one hand is a typist layout. The most used symbols when writing code? Semicolon, period, equals, parenthesis. In some languages, the dollar sign is prevalent too.

      The Workman layout is interesting, but the analysis of each key's reach difficulty is a bit off of what I'm used to. And it's not a programmer's layout either.

      If I had very specific special needs, I'd go with creating a keyboard layout of my own. Start with a

  • by tlambert (566799) on Friday February 15, 2013 @06:37PM (#42916945)

    Working around a treatable condition is pretty silly. How about just treating the dystonia? Standard treatment is sensorimotor retraining.

  • How exactly is your Dystonia affecting your typing? Focal Task Specific Dystonia, by definition, rarely affects tasks other than those where the the symptoms originate. What treatments have you been seeking to deal with your dystonic symptoms? There are several potential treatments. It seems more productive to deal with your symptoms, rather than try to work around them. I'm a member of the Performing Arts Medicine Association, and can recommend several authors/doctors if you are interested. There are also
    • I'm a member of the Performing Arts Medicine Association

      Wow, I feel happy to know that such a thing even exists!

      • http://artsmed.org/ [artsmed.org] also http://www.sciandmed.com/mppa/ [sciandmed.com] its a Pubmed referenced, peer reviewed journal. Focal Dystonia is a pretty specific disorder, and is more common among musicians than most other occupational groups. Finger splints are an effective mode of sensorimotor retraining. I can see how this could be applied to both your typing and clarinet symptoms.
  • by X0563511 (793323) on Friday February 15, 2013 @06:42PM (#42916999) Homepage Journal

    I almost never use my ring or pinky while typing, on either side.

    Just type so that it feels natural to you. Nothing forces you to use any specific fingers.

    Because I learned to type in such a "natural" form, instead of learning home rows and specific zones for each finger, I find I can easily adapt to different typing positions and injuries. Eg, if my index finger on either hand had a cut on it, it only takes a few minutes for me to adjust and type at a near full speed without that finger.

    While I'm not the -fastest- typer around, I still type pretty damn fast and with little fatigue.

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      (watching myself, I actually noticed that if I stop using my index finger, the "assignments" move over a finger. Meaning my middle finger takes over, and the ring finger picks up the slack).

    • I, too, seem to share the same typing style as you.

      I'm in my mid twenties and have been coding since grade 5 (roughly age 10). Starting with HTML, Css and JavaScript/ActionScript.

      I remember learning home row in grade 4 and completely abandoning it when I realized it was so inefficient for the stuff I enjoyed to do. On an unrelated note I was banned from school computters in grade 6 thru 8 (highscool starts in gr 9 here) for "hacking".

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        On an unrelated note I was banned from school computters in grade 6 thru 8 (highscool starts in gr 9 here) for "hacking".

        Sounds like a fun story. Care to share the details?

        I never had any problems like that - but I'm sure a good part of that was, being a rural school, the 4 staff who knew anything about computers thought well of me.

        • Not a particularily fun story. I'm a little fuzzy on the exact details(this was almost 15 years ago), but I am certain it was because the school relied on Active Directory (or something, I really dont know... whatever it was back then on Win98) and I discovered you could unplug the ethernet port, type in any random username and password and it would fail to login, but then still allow you to gain a desktop. Plug the ethernet port back in and voila, you had access to the internet.

          I also recall the good ol' l

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >I almost never use my ring or pinky while typing, on either side.

      Ditto. "Proper" typing technique causes extension of fingers that aren't designed for it. I type only with my first two fingers on each hand, and my right thumb. I typed around 80WPM without error in my IRC and MUD days.

      I've never understood why someone would type with their ring or pinky fingers. The few times I had teachers try to get me to type "correctly" it hurt immensely.

      • by Jmc23 (2353706)

        I've never understood why someone would type with their ring or pinky fingers. The few times I had teachers try to get me to type "correctly" it hurt immensely.

        Maybe because/some of us have normal range of motion that allows us to use all our fingers? Just because you don't know how to move your body properly doesn't mean others are the same.

        • by ShakaUVM (157947)

          >Maybe because/some of us have normal range of motion that allows us to use all our fingers? Just because you don't know how to move your body properly doesn't mean others are the same.

          Did you miss the part where I hit 80WPM?

          If you consider that "not moving your body properly", you have insanely high standards for typing speed.

          And I've never had a lick of carpal tunnel with my typing method, whereas "proper" typists get it all the time. Sample size of one, I know, but from what my wrists felt like after

    • Exactly. If he wants to be a programmer, then he should just learn to type with three fingers, like everybody else.
  • by Art Challenor (2621733) on Friday February 15, 2013 @06:43PM (#42917005)
    Who knew that learning to reed in school could be harmful.
  • I learned the 'home row keys' much too late to be disciplined with them, and probably have slightly longer than average fingers, but I generally only use my left pinky for the Left-Shift key and my right pinky only for the Enter key.

    From left to right:

    Left-Shift, A, W, D, Space - Space, between J and K, between O/0/P, resting on [ but with my fingertip on +, Enter

  • You can try with a single-hand maltron keyboard. I have used the two-hand version and it is quite comfortable for me.

    http://www.maltron.com/keyboard-info/single-hand-keyboards.html [maltron.com]

  • is öäå, right shift and enter(').
    maybe switch to a finnish/swedish layout and move ' somewhere?-)

    point being, you can write in english perfectly with the finnish layout but öäå are right hand pinky characters you'd never use anyhow.
    when you're doing a custom layout, think about more than just switching the keys around the kb - you should also reduce the amount of the characters by combining them behind modifiers. on finnish kb there's no > as a separate key for example like

  • by ljw1004 (764174) on Friday February 15, 2013 @06:51PM (#42917121)

    Can't you just move your hands all around the keyboard?

    I often do that, and type at about 90 words per minute. I'll type both code and prose without using the little finger on my right hand at all, and the ring finger only rarely. It feels much better to have my whole hands flying all over the keyboard. Fixed wrist position always seemed terrible to me from an RSI perspective.

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      I'll take a stab at it and mention... it sounds like you did not learn traditional typing (home row and all that). I do the same thing you do, and I find I can adapt quickly to impairment of any of my fingers without any thought. Those that I know who learned "proper" typing seem to have a harder time with that.

      I should mention that typing doesn't really bother my hands at all, though I do get some forearm fatigue after an extended period of typing. What really bothers my hand(s) are mice. I switch hands, b

      • Replace your rodent with a trackball. Much less hand stress with that.
        • by X0563511 (793323)

          That's what I've been doing, currently.

          At home, I have an old razr diamondback for my right hand. At work, I have a kensington expert mouse on my left.

          Seems to do a decent job of it, but I've been finding the low profile razr bothering me lately. I want to rotate my hand 90-degrees, like shaking hands. Which sucks, because I had gotten the razr because it seemed to be (at the time) the only mouse with a shape that didn't cramp up my hand.

  • Simplest solution I can think of is to map right alt to enter (which I would do even without injury anyway), and then some comfortable substitution for p, ; and /. Some candidate keys would be capslock and tilde, or probably better some chording combinations like left alt o, l and .

    The best solution might involve buying a Kinesis Contoured, which should save stress from pinkies on both hands as it has an extended thumb keywell.

  • by dshk (838175) on Friday February 15, 2013 @06:57PM (#42917167)
    You can use a Kinesis Advantage [kinesis-ergo.com] keyboard. First, important keys are pressed with the thumb, not the right fingers (Enter, Ctrl, Backspace). Second, the keyboard is programmable, so you can map all problematic keys to the left side and type them together with AltGr (right ALT). I am already using this method, because our national characters take the place of almost every symbol characters, which are important for coding. It is working well.
    • by Tomahawk (1343)

      I concur. I've used a Kinesis Ergo keyboard for many years. With a normal keyboard I used to find that I'd get pains in my little finger, especially on the right hand. Shortly after starting to use the Kinesis, those pains vanished.

      The main keys that are normally pressed by the little finger (control, alt, backspace, enter, home, end, windows) are switched to the middle of the keyboard and used by the thumbs. Takes a little getting used to, but before long you'll be using those keys without thinking.
      Shi

  • by hurfy (735314)

    Is this even possible? I don't see anything that one needs to use the right pinky for except possibly /.
    Swap the 'P' with something, perhaps 'Z' ?
    Shift your home keys over one? If you're learning new layouts anyways, this seems easier.

    There is only one letter involved, swap 'P' with ',' and there are none. Not sure how you can avoid it more changing all the other letters around.

    Besides, whatever works for you. Not like i used more than 4-5 fingers to type this. Like someone else above my hands move more tha

    • Is this even possible? I don't see anything that one needs to use the right pinky for except possibly /.

      How about [ ] \ ' ; etc? Or the Enter key?

    • Is this even possible? I don't see anything that one needs to use the right pinky for except possibly /. Swap the 'P' with something, perhaps 'Z' ? Shift your home keys over one? If you're learning new layouts anyways, this seems easier.

      There is only one letter involved, swap 'P' with ',' and there are none. Not sure how you can avoid it more changing all the other letters around.

      Besides, whatever works for you. Not like i used more than 4-5 fingers to type this. Like someone else above my hands move more than my fingers.

      Starting to wonder about Ask Slashdot myself....

      What do you type to, uh, you know, enter something? Or to, say, return to the left side of the space you're editing?

  • by Greyfox (87712)
    Just program EMACS to detect CPU temperature increase and hold down space bar instead!
  • First, I strongly suggest sticking to QWERTY. You'll find yourself typing on large numbers of other people's keyboards over your career - switching all over the place is hard enough when its something little like someone else's pipe sign being in a silly place.

    Even on a laptop you can angle your elbows somewhat out so that your wrists are "straight", using an ergonomic-keyboard position even on a regular flat keyboard like a laptop's. This by itself changes your finger motion significantly. I don't know

    • by xaxa (988988)

      First, I strongly suggest sticking to QWERTY. You'll find yourself typing on large numbers of other people's keyboards over your career - switching all over the place is hard enough when its something little like someone else's pipe sign being in a silly place.

      And I strongly recommend against that.

      Well over 99.9% of what I type is on a keyboard I control (my own computer, or a computer at work under my login). Using Dvorak over 99.9% of the time is well worth the lack of practise I have using Qwerty.

      Shell users complain about ls (etc) on Dvorak. I have some aliases:
      alias 'h=ls'
      alias 'hh=ls -l'
      alias 'ha=ls -a'
      alias 'hq=ls -q'
      alias 'hr=ls -R'
      alias 'lrt=ls -lrt'
      alias 'hrs=ls -lrS'
      (I also have no problem hitting Ctrl-C, X, V or Z, although they aren't all in a line

      • It may be anacdotal, but even typing plain english (reports, homework, etc), I've found my fingers get MUCH less tired. On querty I had to take breaks every half hour or my fingers would completely seize up. On Colemak I can type for 8 hours straight and still have 80% dexterity in my fingers.
        • Colemak is limited by being stuck with Qwerty conventions.

          Dvorak considers the transitions between left and right hand, as well as the row and finger for each symbol.

          Sticking the most recent book from Gutenberg ("The King of the Mountains") through a script which counts hand transitions, I get this:
          Qwerty: 159876 transitions
          Colemak: 170978 transitions
          Dvorak: 199143 transitions

          10MB of Linux kernel source (my Perl script is too slow for more...)
          Qwerty: 4081041 transitions
          Colemak: 4412425 transitions
          Dvorak: 47

      • by jedwidz (1399015)

        Thanks, also came here to suggest an alias for 'ls -l', since that's the worst of the dvorak pinky workouts I've experienced.

        On the cut/copy/paste front, I have a numeric keypad positioned on the left of my keyboard, with those commands mapped to 4/5/6, plus a heap of other commands besides. This makes mousing a two-handed activity, just as Doug Engelbart intended.

    • by seebs (15766)

      Nonsense. I use multiple keyboard layouts, and switching it up is actually a good thing.

      I like Dvorak because it takes a lot less effort to type. I can still type qwerty if I have reason to. Heck, I am right now, on this keyboard. I swap them around. Life's good.

  • by UltraZelda64 (2309504) on Friday February 15, 2013 @07:10PM (#42917291)

    No joke. Look at the below picture--the pinky is so under-utilized in QWERTY it looks looks like it has been cut off in the diagram!
    http://infohost.nmt.edu/~shipman/ergo/fig4.jpg [nmt.edu]

    But really, probably any decently-designed keyboard layout spreads the workload relatively evenly across the fingers. Dvorak does use the pinky and ring fingers quite a bit though, as a result of its design to favor the right hand. I have switched from QWERTY to Dvorak back in early December, and am currently learning Colemak as a second layout... I haven't used Colemak enough to come to a personal opinion on its finger usage, but from what I read it's pretty well evenly split between the fingers.

    Maybe you could go to the CarpalX site and download the program, try setting it up to minimize the use of those fingers and run it yourself to see what it generates. The pre-made fully-optimized CarpalX layouts would probably be of little use, because they were not designed to avoid those fingers at all costs... they were made with the idea of having eight fully-functional fingers, while only slightly reducing the load on those fingers due to their natural weakness.

    Check out this tool to get a nice overview of the hand, finger, row, etc. usage and other stats that might be useful:
    http://patorjk.com/keyboard-layout-analyzer/ [patorjk.com]

    • No joke. Look at the below picture--the pinky is so under-utilized in QWERTY it looks looks like it has been cut off in the diagram!

      Unless you're a programmer, in which case you are using braces, brackets and periods all the time. Also, those special characters reduce the utility of dvorak, as well, because they weren't taken into consideration.

      • by xaxa (988988)

        Unless you're a programmer, in which case you are using braces, brackets and periods all the time. Also, those special characters reduce the utility of dvorak, as well, because they weren't taken into consideration.

        Remap them if you wish, but I think the importance of doing so for a programmer is overstated. The symbols above the numbers don't change between Dvorak and Qwerty, and the others are in better places in Dvorak. The annoying ones are []{}, which take the place of -_=+, but I type the latter (and /?) more often, especially considering I don't type only code, but email, comments, documentation, Slashdot posts, etc.

        See http://pastebin.com/raw.php?i=0VqZDhqX [pastebin.com] for a couple of Java projects and a Perl one. {} a

    • The right pinky is used all the time for the arrow keys! And these get pressed multiple times to move around.

      • What? The arrow keys, as in those ones between the main keyboard section and the numeric keypad? Maybe I'm just weird, but I never heard of that... I use my pointer and middle finger for those. I am lost as to why anyone would use their pinky for that, or whether there is any logic at all in doing it that way. Not to mention, it would feel awkward as all hell.

        • It *is* really awkward - I agree, and especially it's hard to accurately distinguish left-arrow from down-arrow. But if you have hands in typing position (eg for a trackpoint-style keyboard), then the minimal movement of the hands is to use RH pinky. It's the finger I probalby use most, for shift, and the 4 arrow keys.
          [Btw, none of my keyboards, either desktop or laptop, have a numeric keypad]

          • Something tells me it would be far better on your wrist and your pinky if you just moved your entire hand the little extra distance and used one of your other fingers instead of stretching with that pinky. As a general rule, anything above or to the right of the main typing area (including insert, delete, home, end, pg up/dn, function keys, etc.) is pressed with the pointer or middle finger.

            The pinky is the least accurate, the weakest, and the most fragile finger... so it makes sense to cut back on its use

            • Something tells me it would be far better on your wrist and your pinky if you just moved your entire hand the little extra distance and used one of your other fingers instead of stretching with that pinky.

              I agree with this. I've never been able to curl my pinkies without also curling my ring finger, and it hasn't hurt my career as a developer in the least. I just learned to hit a few of the keys with my ring finger instead of my pinky, with small hand movements as needed.

              Keys I hit with my left ring finge

      • by Imagix (695350)
        Yikes. I've never tried to use the pinky for the arrow keys.... too far to reach. I usually move the entire hand.
  • http://normanlayout.info/ [normanlayout.info] This is similar to workman, and might be better. I've been experimenting with Dvorak but find I don't like the lateral movement to i and d, as well as the right pinky for s and l. For qwerty, I would only swap f and t for the left hand. The right hand would need a little more substitution. For me, reaching up with the first three fingers (or down with index) is no problem, but I really don't like the heavy lateral index finger movement.
    • That layout has some killer same hand, same finger, row jumping. The location of P and M in relation to the U will undoubtedly lead to a hell of a bad time, just barely better than QWERTY. Imagine typing "jump" or "hump" or "pumpkin" or many similar words with similar sequences. Hell, even one of the simplest, two-letter words ("up") involves this same hand/finger row jumping! The guy who created the layout made a topic at the Colemak forums where I mentioned these problems, and he never replied. Sad t

  • A smaller format keyboard that you can allow your pinky finger to do less since the other fingers can reach easily, as well as some minor retraining will allow you to type at nearly the same rate without a large learning curve. You can also look at some of the different brands and ergonomic keyboard types and see if the computer function (return, command, alt, etc) are in more suitable locations for your hands.

    With my old EEE I only used 2 fingers for typing since the keyboard was so small.

    Phil

  • You have a disability that affects your ability to work.

    Go on Disability.

    Sue the Clarinet maker and anyone who ever encouraged you to play Clarinet for the difference between your SSDI checks and whatever you would have made as a programmer, including any and all attorney fees and court costs.

    Maybe even go for treble damages (har har) since whomever is responsible for forcing you to play clarinet either knew or should have known that there was a significant risk of a permanent disabling injury, and was ther

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      The OP says he's a high school senior.

      1. I'm doubting he works as a professional programmer for a company yet.
      2. He's likely the one who chose to play the clarinet, and if not him it's his parents who encouraged it (yeah, lets sue them).
      3. He's not likely in his "career" yet.

      This reminds me of the stories of star high school athletes who seem to be all lined up for a college sports scholarship and hopes of making it to the pros -- and then have that unfortunate injury that benches them from the sport.

      The result: ti

  • There might be an obvious reason not to do this, but considering how few keys are typed by the right pinky you might be able to get away with this. It would also have the advantage of being able to easily use other keyboards that you may come across in your regular existence.
  • Have you considered a one-handed wonderbox, like a Twiddler?

    Haven't used, and they always seemed dumb to me, but if you're already considering left handed Dvorak, maybe this is what you're looking for.

  • Pianists move their hands around. So can you! Keeping your fingers on the home row isn't particularly ergonomic or efficient. Typing is like playing an instrument: just keep your wrists relatively straight and relaxed and type with whichever fingers seem most natural. If you don't want to use your pinky, just move your hand over a little and hit a key with your ring finger. If you don't want to use your ring finger either, move over a little further and use your middle finger instead. As long as you s

  • http://www.trulyergonomic.com/store/index.php [trulyergonomic.com]

    Unfortunately, this isn't a layout so much as a rather expensive, different kind of keyboard. But this is an ergonomic keyboard with mechanical switches, so it feels better than all of the rubber dome switch-based keyboard out there.

    Enter, backspace, and tab are moved to the middile of the keyboard, which changes how necessary the pinkies are.

    • by Myopic (18616) *

      I came here to say this.

      Both of my hands and all ten of my digits work fine, but I own this keyboard and love it. It is what I use as a programmer all day long. It is a high-quality keyboard with nice keys. The keys are arranged in columns (my personal favorite feature), which takes about five minutes to get used to. For the OP, the most important part about it is that many of the keys which are accessed by pinkys on a normal keyboard are moved to the center of the layout, accessed by the strong pointer fin

      • Damn, I didn't see this thread. My Truly advice is below. Eh, I'll duplicate it here for easy reading. And yeah, it's not expensive if it lasts for ten years.

        www.trulyergonomic.com

        I bought one a year ago, a blank-keycap version actually. I use in dvorak mode, though I've modified the layout very slightly.

        Regarding your pinky, there are three improvements.

        The biggest is actually that the keys don't have a typewriter stagger. In the vertical axis this are columnar. In the horizontal access, they follow the

    • by jedwidz (1399015)

      That's somewhat similar to my TypeMatrix, but also a bit different. I'd like to try one.

      My experience of the TypeMatrix is generally very positive. However, I find the placement of the '5' and '6' keys to be just too different from a standard keyboard, which made for a steep learning curve and ongoing difficulties switching between TypeMatrix (for my desktop) and regular (for my laptop).

  • by jaffray (6665) on Friday February 15, 2013 @08:29PM (#42918095)

    Speaking as someone who's still struggling with the extensor tendinitis he developed as a young programmer over 15 years ago, with hundreds of nights of pain and hundreds of thousands in lost earnings as a result...

    First: It's a natural hacker impulse to focus on keyboard layouts and hardware and other fun toys like that. Resist that urge. The importance of that stuff is tiny compared to good overall ergonomic habits, good posture, taking breaks, and managing tension. Get all the help that you can on those issues. Watch your own habits. Have someone else watch you. Make adjustments.

    Second: Having said that... when I was first having hand trouble, I switched to Dvorak. This was, for me, a very poor decision. As you've noticed, Dvorak overloads the right pinky finger, which is a bad idea on a typewriter, but a horrible idea on a computer keyboard where other often-used keys are on the right edge of the layout.

    Moving the entire arm to hit Enter and other right-edge keys with a non-pinky finger helped some, but not enough. After a couple weeks of increasing right-pinky pain, I simply swapped the L and P keys, so the commonly-used L was on the left index instead of the right pinky.

    The L/P swap helped with the overloading, but exacerbated my second problem with a new layout, which was greater tension while typing. Even though I felt comfortable with Dvorak on a conscious level, I was still sometimes tensing up before keystrokes as my fingers weren't sure which way to go for an extra few milliseconds. And I was still having to use QWERTY keyboards often enough that I couldn't completely banish that muscle memory. Eventually I just switched back to QWERTY. More finger-mileage, yes, but is finger-mileage really the issue? It wasn't for me.

    Third: No, really. Spend your time on the annoying difficult-to-scientifically-analyze meatspace issues like posture, not on keyboard layouts.

  • The obvious answer is DataHand. Nothing else seems so well designed. But you can't get one anymore, and if you could they'd be more than you could afford. They always were, even when they were making them.

  • I tried Dvorak first when ditching QWERTY as well and ran into the same issue. Having to use only my pinky for ls -l was not acceptable. I ended up switching to Colemak instead and haven't looked back. About half of the keys are unchanged from QWERTY so it's easier than Dvorak to switch back and forth with QWERTY in a pinch. I have mine set up with the caps lock key unmodified though, I need it for C macros and PCB layout etc so no left hand backspace for me. In your case, you might want that left backspace
    • by Burz (138833)

      I'll second the Colemak recommendation. Its a lot more balanced between the L/R hands and doesn't make your right pinky reach upward or downward for letters (the Qwerty 'P' becomes semicolon, and the slash stays put) so most of the time all your right pinky has to worry about is 'O' on the home row. Going by the analysis at the CarpalX site [bcgsc.ca] (which evaluates many different layouts), Colemak gives you about 13% more efficiency overall than Dvorak gives over Qwerty.

      Colemak is also the second most popular alter

    • by xaxa (988988)

      I tried Dvorak first when ditching QWERTY as well and ran into the same issue. Having to use only my pinky for ls -l was not acceptable.

      Presumably you have "ls -l" aliased to "ll". I additionally aliased it to "hh", which makes it very easy to type in Dvorak.
          alias "hh=ls -l"
          alias "lrt=ls -lrt"

      For that single thing it's not worth switching to the sub-optimal Colemak.

  • One of the advantages from Colemak.com "Fast – Most of the typing is done on the strongest and fastest fingers. Low same-finger ratio."
  • www.trulyergonomic.com

    I bought one a year ago, a blank-keycap version actually. I use in dvorak mode, though I've modified the layout very slightly.

    Regarding your pinky, there are three improvements.

    The biggest is actually that the keys don't have a typewriter stagger. In the vertical axis this are columnar. In the horizontal access, they follow the wave that your finger tips follow. The result is that your fingers take a simpler path to farther keys, making your straight pinky more operational.

    Second,

  • Reading other posts saying you 'don't need them' I first thought "ugh, finger-pecking". But having checked myself I do most of the typing with the first and second fingers myself. The left third finger gets a bit of action in the QWASZX region + tab. While the right third is mostly lazy occasionally helping out with a ;'. Right pinky is Return, left pinky Caps lock/Shift.

    I actually got my left pinky knackered in a play fight with an ex girlfriend (she kicked the fingers right back and the little one never r

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