I had a dream that I was typing on an old Model-M keyboard. And then, also, in the dream, I tried out a keyboard with lighter, more sensitive keyswitches.

My main keyboard, a Moonlander (ergo, split, columnar, mechanical keyboard with an open source programmable firmware) has hostswap switches (Cherry Browns).

Is my subconsious telling me to buy replacement switches?

Further evidence that I'm weird, I guess.

At least it wasn't another school-related nightmare again.

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@RyuKurisu Ortholinear is linear in both directions. The Moonlander has a slight vertical stagger from one column to the next.

I've included a tight crop of a photo to show how it's not really a pure ortholinear grid and another of a Planck keyboard to show how the keys line up vertically and horizontally.

It's definitely different from a normal staggered keyboard though! 😁

@garrett is the moonlander actually good & worth the cost & relearning? I covet a fancy ortholinear split keyboard, but my trusty 8-year-old filco still works fine and allows me to enter text into a computer, so it's hard to justify…

@garrett (really I need to find a human in the same area as me who has one, and try it, when it is legal & safe to do so...)

@wjt I love my Moonlander keyboard.

It does take getting used to. Even a few months in, I'm not perfect. But I was pretty decently back up to a reasonable speed within three days of usage. And typing quickly after a week.

Now? I'm fast again, but programming is still slower due to the curly braces.

You can (& should) program it how you like.

Thankfully, they provide tools for Linux and it's all open source, including the firmware. Their graphical configurator is nice too.

@wjt The huge thing for me is that it majorly helped to reduce my finger, hand, wrist, and shoulder pain.

(I still have some pain, but it's nothing like before.)

So, just from that viewpoint, it was more than worth it.

Here's my current custom layout:

I still have some ideas and will always optimize it further, but this works very well for me.

(Also: I switch to my laptop's normal keyboard every once in a while, so my fingers won't forget. 😉)

@garrett I can feel a terrifying rabbit hole opening below my feet…

@wjt I have a ton of ergonomic devices. The keyboard is one of the latest ones.

(Previously, I had a Microsoft Sculpt keyboard. While it's great, it had a few tiny issues and a big one: the wireless dongle. No way to repair or replace it.)

For cursor moving input devices, I have (among others): a Kensington Blade trackball, Logitech MX Ergo, Apple Touchpad 2, Microsoft Sculpt Mouse, Wacom tablet.

It's a lot, but I switch between them to what's most comfortable at the moment.

@brainwane @wjt @mhoye Ah, cool.

Excellent points on that blog post.

The Moonlander (& Ergodox EZ before it) addresses most of those minor complaints.

The 6TGB / 7YHN duplication can even be set up, if desired... at least for the top 3 keys on each half. (Sorry, B/N keys.) Unless one moves all the keys one step outward (all keys are interchangeable and reprogrammable), then B/N too!

Multifunction keys & layers are possible to make up the diff.

@brainwane @wjt @mhoye It's also possible to build your own Ergodox
or Redox too... or even something even more wild like the Dactyl/Manuform

There are people and even businesses that will build these too, if you don't want to go totally overboard.

(However, I love how easy ZSA's configuration website is, and they do a good job overall. I'm happy with my Moonlander.)

@wjt I'm happy to talk about any of them that you want to know about, to spare you from buying all of them too. 😂

As I sit in front of a computer all day and have painful hands, I kind of have to do what I can. Switching between devices helps a lot.

I even switch between hands too.

Now I can even put a trackball or touchpad in the middle, with a split keyboard.

Going w/o the tenkey keypad was already a big win previously, getting the mouse/trackball closer.

@garrett @wjt I got a MX Ergo after Garrett's recommendation, and very happy with it. Moving to a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard was also great... so much that I want to replace my office keyboard (which is full width) but that will happen when, you know, it's again possible to go regularly to the office. Without experience with split or ortho keyboards I can't say for sure, but I expect people are using them for good reason. We spend so much time with computers that all adds up 👌

@aperezdc @garrett my current Filco is tenkeyless – transformative. (I have enjoyed the Apple keyboard and a ThinkPad USB keyboard in the past for the same reason.) I don't get on with trackballs – ended up with a painful thumb. I've tried two touchpads but the Logitech one was really hard to operate accurately (perhaps the second-hand one was broken, or my fingers are incompatible) and the Apple one causes kernel panics over USB, and drops off Bluetooth every 20 mins. Cursed!

@aperezdc @garrett I have enough conceptual pain from having switched to Dvorak in 2005 – bugs, apps & games assuming QWERTY, my daughter confused by my computer – that I am reluctant to go further into custom layouts. I think I just want literally my Filco but cut in half and maybe ortho. Seems Kinesis make basically that...

@wjt @aperezdc Ah, if I were to use another completely different layout, I'd assign it or Qwerty to another layer to toggle.

I've seen a lot of people using Dvorak (and Colemak and Workman and so on) with their Moonlander and Ergodox layouts and have a Qwerty layer for games and other things.

You can physically swap any key with any other key too. I shuffled around arrows, for example. (But it doesn't matter much for touch typing.)

@wjt @aperezdc I'm not sure how much it's like your Filco, but there's the UHK (Ultimate Hacking Keyboard):

It's a split staggered keyboard and it's programmable.

And here's a review:

I also loved the MS Sculpt Ergo, which has minimal transition time, but: membrane (not too bad though), tiny F# keys, tiny escape, breaks down in a year, issues after 3 years, dongle is not replaceable, not programmable, not open source.

@garrett @aperezdc Looks nice! Buuuutttttt… I like L-shaped Enter keys with # on the middle row, and even their "UK" layout has a long Enter key with # above it. Sigh. I could probably relearn.

@wjt @garrett I tried switching to Dvorak a few times and could not stick with it. I also like ISO (tall) Enter keys, otherwise I am all the time pressing the wrong one... truth be told I never tried getting used to an ANSI keyboard for long enough, thoug.

@wjt @garrett a keyboard I have been eyeing is the remake the classic Model F, in its compact version:

Maybe to replace the full length one at the office some day 😅

@aperezdc @wjt Yeah, I hate using ISO keyboards, as I grew up on ANSI.

However, now I have my main keyboard with enter under my right thumb (where I decided to put it), soooooo...

I guess the preference of ISO vs. ANSI is just what we grew up with, and they're similar but just different enough to be annoying?

@garrett @wjt Yeah, I am quite sure that we all kind of favor what we grew up with, and that if I try very hard I would eventually shake up the preference...

OTOH being in the EU most keyboard around are ISO and have tall Enter keys so it's not like being used to the ISO layout is an issue 😉️

@wjt @aperezdc I love the MX ergo, but my thumb started hurting too much a couple months ago and I got a Kensington Slim Blade. It's a huge ball in comparison, but I instantly felt at home.

I still swap out for the MX Ergo sometimes and also a Logtech MX Vertical mouse. And I'm really enjoying the Apple Trackpad 2 with GNOME 40 on Fedora 34 beta.

I have way too many input devices, but love and use them all from time to time. 😅

@garrett @wjt I have a Kensington at the office desk and it's great, indeed! The MX is at home and sometimes on the go (because Bluetooth). Having both has been great and my shoulder has been much better since the switch to trackballs 🖲️

@aperezdc @wjt After decades of using a Logitech thumb trackball, I was shocked at how natural it was to use a Kensington big ball (Slim Blade specifically). There was absolutely no learning curve at all for me.

(I expected it to feel weird for a few days. But it never ever felt weird. And the twist to scroll is ace.)

@garrett heh. Well, compared to a Model M, Cherry Brown already *is* a lighter switch. (Not really sure how you define more sensitive.)

@kepstin Yeah, it was an odd dream for all sorts of reasons.

From what I've read there are Speed Silvers (for example) from both Cherry and Kailh that only need an extremely light touch. Not sure if I'd like that.

It's really meant for gaming, but I guess some people type on the lighter switches and enjoy softer, shallower keypresses? 🤷

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