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Xah Keyboard Blog Archive

2018-09-30 work in progress Arrow Keys

2018-10-01 work in progress DEC VT220 Terminal

ㄅㄆㄇㄈ ㄉㄊㄋㄌ ㄍㄎㄏ ㄐㄑㄒ ㄓㄔㄕㄖ ㄗㄘㄙ ㄚㄛㄜㄝ ㄞㄟㄠㄡ ㄢㄣㄤㄥ ㄦ ㄧㄨㄩ that's zhuyin, a phonetic system for Chinese, we learned in Taiwan. Chinese in china don't know it. They use pinyin. pinyin is very similar, except it uses English alphabets.

you can see zhuyin in keyboard used in Taiwan for input Chinese.

Chinese Input Methods

Pinyin 拼音, Zhuyin 注音, IPA Comparison

当你看到这个 ㄅㄆㄇㄈ ㄉㄊㄋㄌ 毫无考虑,马上知道这是啥吗?

cc @BContenary @AenonSun @xcv58 @jjustc @cherylnatsu @frankyxhl @shell909090 @ConanChou @r0bertz

twitter poll for mainlainders https://twitter.com/xah_lee/status/1052876445788196864

台湾用。1912发明的. 拼音1950s。和拼音基本一样。 b=ㄅ p=ㄆ m=ㄇ f=ㄈ d=ㄉ d=ㄊ n=ㄋ l=ㄌ. 打字的是,如果是特别排列,可减少按键次数: zhㄓ chㄔ shㄕ rㄖ zㄗ cㄘ sㄙ erㄜ aoㄠ ...

dvorak keyboards 2018-10 bfc7b
dvorak keyboards

List of Dvorak Keyboards (updated)

vortex 75 percent keyboard 52592
Vortex Race 3

and updates to Keyboards without Numeric Keypad

vortexgear cypher keyboard f447e-s453x138
Vortexgear Cypher

new page on its own.

hhkb in anime c0af1
hhkb in anime
hhkb in anime bc065
hhkb in anime

See also: The Idiocy of Happy Hacking Keyboard

reddit https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/comments/9p6ged/hhkb_in_anime/

yeah. to be uncouth, the proper term is Japanese style comics, and, Japanese style animation.

lol, ya all irredeemable faux pop fobs

swing it when u got substance

one button to rule them all
Apple PowerBook Duo 250 cb5db-s289x217
Apple PowerBook Duo 250, 1993
NEC PC8001 c50c4-s289x217
NEC PC8001, 1979

writing about keyboard

started to trickle into actually amassing and writing about Keyboard History ⌨.

Keyboard History ⌨

Added tens of photos in past month, and started to get a sense of keyboard evolution since 1960s. Keyboard history is a black whole. Well actually, not really. Math is, a hole.

Actually, working on keyboard makes me feel bad. It's petty. A petty thing. Writing comp lang tutorials is bad enough. A dismal petty fak complexity mostly of social causes due to programer idts faks. Dear god, when am i gonna be a real mathematian? God: neva!

Panasonic FS-A1 MSX 83b67-s320x195
MSX, 1983
Commodore 64 cee37-s405x154
Commodore 64, 1982

IBM PC Keyboards

history of alt key


The history of the Alt key is a mystery to me still. I bet Marcin Wichary https://twitter.com/mwichary knew the answer.

recently i learned Meta key first appeared on the SAIL keyboard. (hope am correct) I'm not certain the date of SAIL, but must be between 1963 and 1974. SAIL keyboard also has a key labeled ALT. The SAIL became Knight Keyboard and became Space Cadget and other lisp machine keyboards. But in later ones, some of them has Alt Mode instead of Alt. Some also have Alt Lock. But some don't have any type of Alt key, e.g. PN 364000, PN 365407, and Xerox 1109.

it'd be nice if someone can tell us the history.

Also, the Alt on SAIL keyboard is the earliest Alt key i've seen.

The first other apart from lisp line that has Alt i found is: IBM PC model 5150 Keyboard, 1981

now i think the entire modifier business started on lisp machine keyboards, except Shift and Control. The meta alt or super hyper evolved into Mac's Cmd and Option. Alt Graph key may also be evolved from the Alt on lisp machines. The Window key of Microsoft may be inspired from Mac, and Microsoft invented the Menu key (but may be inspired or copy from some Xerox stuff.) Also, keep in mind that the way Alt works in Windows is not the typical modifier. When pressed by itself, it invokes menu, as a leader key of a key sequence. When pressed with other, it call commands, and can also insert chars similar to Alt Graph key. .

todo down the road:

[see Alt Graph Key, Compose Key, Dead Key]

See also: List of Emacs Default Keybinding

IBM Selectric (new page on its own)

Modern Selectric Keycaps

Lisp Machine Keyboards

much update. and the following on their own pages

symbolics keyboard pn364000 mrq3w-s349x179
Symbolics Keyboard PN 364000
Symbolics keyboard PN 365407 130df-s349x179
Symbolics keyboard PN 365407
cec 1 keyboard china 3e572-s289x217
CEC 1 Keyboard, China (1986)
the day i lost control
the day i lost control

emacs keyboard history (work in progress)

CTC DataPoint 3300 ab7d4-s286x218
DataPoint 3300, 1969
PLATO IV keyboard 34856-s289x217
PLATO IV keyboard, 1972
apple bondi blue imac keyboard-s289x217
Apple USB keyboard, 1999. (Bondi Blue iMac)
wooting 1 keyboard b6763-s367x170
Wooting Keyboard

Control Key and Capslock Key Positions in Old Keyboards (major rewrite)

many of the following, i added a keyboard layout diagram, or their user manuals.

Ann Arbor Ambassador 60 terminal 1982 s217x289
Ann Arbor Ambassador 60, 1982
IBM 2741 printing terminal 1ccd8-s289x217
IBM 2741 Printing Terminal
dec vt52 terminal bbd44-s290x216
DEC VT52 Terminal, 1975
terminal ADM 3A
ADM-3A, 1976

Apple Keyboard History

Apple Keyboard History ⌨

updated. and created the following new pages.

Apple IIe w monitor 5b7bd-s217x289
Apple IIe, 1983
Apple IIe Platinum-s277x226
Apple IIe Platinum, 1987

discovered romer g keycaps on amazon

Romer-G key switch keycaps 59a11
Romer-G key switch keycaps

DEC VT100 Terminal (added a keyboard layout diagram)

Guide to Keyboard Key Switch Mechanisms (minor updated. Added Romer g liner, logitech RX clicky, and other update)

here's another wireless mechanical keyboard. Looks like they are beginning to appear amazon

Logitech G513 keyboard 9349b-s330x190
Logitech G513 Keyboard
Logitech G613 keyboard a2a0d-s355x176
Logitech G613, wireless

now, finally, there's wireless mechanical gaming keyboard.

Touch-Typing in Japan

In Japan, the touch-typing rate even among college students is 15 percent. This rate is much lower than the 85 percent of American college students.

from [Graduate School of Maritime Sciences: Is Typing in Roman Letters the Reason for the Low Proficiency of Japanese Language Typists? By Kobe University. At http://www.kobe-u.ac.jp/en/NEWS/topics/2014_06_13_01.html ]

See also: Japanese Keyboard Layouts

TRON Operating System, TRON Encoding

tron keyboard df41c-s307x204
home made TRON keyboard

added to TRON Keyboard

touch pen w mini butt plug 9f6ac
touch pen with mini butt plug buy on amazon
periboard trackball keyboard 0ddca-s366x171
PERIBOARD-322 Keyboard with Trackball

Pirixx is a German company. Seems promising. Before, i thought it's a cheap nameless brand.

Logitech TrackMan Vista, 1995

See also: Trackball History

Ghost in the shell typing hand 4e0bd
Ghost In The Shell, typing hand [image source https://twitter.com/semimaruP/status/1038970614084587521]

See also: Helix Keyboard

ibm monster keyboard 8ee87-s318x197
Doctor Who Keyboard

Design of Math Symbols Input System (minor update)

Programable Keyboards with Onboard Memory

updated on why programable keyboard

huawei laptop camera key image [source https://twitter.com/_MG_/status/1037171922465775616]
diverge tm2 keyboard
Diverge TM2 Keyboard

SmartYao Keyboard

some news about buying 2 of them and use together as a split keyboard. May be a problem on the Mac.

Arrow Keys Efficiency: vim HJKL vs IJKL

added a JavaScript version to compute score.

On the Terminology of Key Chord vs Key Combo

trackball vs mouse

here's epic trackball playing fps (battlefield 1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhY0LcvYyiE

and here's epic trackball playing osu https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfbPwAYdemU

yes, the trackball am refering to is same as you are using, the Logitech Trackman Marble. here's my review and photo of me with it Logitech Trackman Marble Review yes, it's 300 dpi only. i've been sloppy on reddit here.

there is some debate in the comment here you might find interesting Trackball vs Mouse, and How to Choose a Trackball

and i think a “scientific” way to judge is to play osu with different devices. i have collected video of them here Test Your Mousing Efficiency!

maltron right hand keyboard 1eb9d-s289x217
Keyboard Monster

japan diy helix keyboard carrying case. nice.

see https://twitter.com/yohewi/status/1029591617173315585

See also Helix Keyboard Helix Keyboard

mouse and trackball, dpi, internal acceleration?

reddit discussion https://www.reddit.com/r/Trackballs/comments/97abhf/the_physics_of_internal_mouse_acceleration_or_are/

nah, i don't think this makes sense.

as far as i know, no trackball has internal acceleration. Actually, i don't actually know a mouse that has acceleration built in, though i've heard they exist.

there's lots myth about this topic, and seems to be a perennial obsession since optical mouse around 1998 or so.

polling rate does affect cursor speed. e.g. if you have a gaming mouse, and you set polling rate from 1k hz to 0.5k hz, you can notice a speed up in cursor speed, even the dpi is set to 1200 and didn't change.

on linux, the os acceleration is typically, when certain distance is reached within a given time, then multiplier kicks in.

so the curve looks like, beginning with a small flat segment, then a straight line going up. (x axes is speed, y is distance traveled)

i think ms windows acceleration does the same, but not sure.

trackball dpi has very diff effect than mouse dpi. The larger the ball size and smoothness (e.g. can it spin), the more dpi it feels. imagine a maglev ball that can spin for 10 seconds and ball size of palm like in some arcade games. such trackball, even technically 300 dpi, will feel like 3000 dpi.

you can see many comments here (my page) Trackball vs Mouse, and How to Choose a Trackball

and What's Mouse DPI? Does DPI Matter in Gaming?

for lots discussions. There are many nerds who created custom acceleration software for Microsoft Windows. But i think it's not worth the effort. Just get a nice mouse or trackball with good enough dpi, and arguably turn on acceleration.

to trackball or not trackball

reddit discussion https://www.reddit.com/r/Trackballs/comments/95h5t1/is_there_any_objective_evidence_showing_the/

nah, i don't think there's any evidence at all.

i've read a lot articles about trackballs , and am obsessed about how it compared to mouse as a input system, since 1990s. i actually didn't own any, untill few years ago.

now i've used a few trackballs daily for a few years, and i'd say, nah.

there are some wiz kids who use trackball more proficient than mousers at FTP shooter. it's on YouTube. i'll find the link if you need.

I also conclude, trackball can't be controlled as precisely as mouse either. e.g. when you have to say aim at the close window box quickly.

one easy test is to write your first name in print on screen with trackball and mouse, as fast as possible. Am sure, vast majority will be more accurate with less time by using mouse, given same amount of time/training with each device.

trackball is just in general easier to use, and easier on hand.


that video https://www.reddit.com/user/SynBogaNajwyzszego is most annoying. how do we know he's using trackball? well, maybe trust can be established from his reputation or his other video recording showing trackball in parts of the screen... but still, yeah, we need to see that video.

the Logitech Trackman Marble is ancient. I have it. Even last month, i tried to use it again, but decided to put it away. The resolution is too low. (something like 800 dpi?) yes, i have acceleration on. but i also noticed, on the Mac, it makes the cursor jump.

(one interesting thing about polling rate i discovered is that, when OS acceleration is on, higher dpi can make the cursor moving speed significantly slower. here's my story: few months ago i got logitech g502. it has 1k Hz polling rate by default. I have acceleration on. And i set dpi to 1200. And i have another logitech mouse plugged in, the g600, also set to 1200 dpi but polling rate at 250Hz. Then, i noticed, the g502 is a lot slower. If i reduce its polling rate to 500hz, then it becomes faster. while doing all these, i have also my trackball plugged in, the ancient logitech trackman marble. The trackball becomes very jumpy sometimes (when cpu is busy or something) when acceleration is set to highest. )

Addison Reveal keyboard 02889 s311x201
PC Reveal. ~1995

apparently, you can still find this in trash if you are lucky.

qtronics trackball d00d2-s289x217
Qtronix/iOne Trackball

Keyboard Firmware

russian layout heatmap f0502
Russian Keyboard Layout

updated. thx to Max P.

Steno, PianoText, Michela, Englebart

twitter discussion. https://twitter.com/johnkitchin/status/1026206042936340480

Englebart 5-key chord keyboard
Englebart 5-key is stilted because it's bit aligned. (no frequency of use considerations) [image source https://twitter.com/batchout/status/1026264436712120322]
Maltron FrogPad MIDI pads Uq2IC
Maltron, FrogPad, MIDI pads. [image source https://twitter.com/batchout/status/1026264785392939008]

been thinking that too. Something like Akai MPK Mini could work. there's already midi/usb/key interface. @batchout has done it. and there's steno/pianotext/michela as “layouts”. I've been really wanting to do. think it'd be most efficient. Not sure what's the long term effect on hand.

am thinking, would take ~6 months to do this project. e.g. so others can just buy a mini controller keyboard, install software, and read tutorial, as complete PC keyboard replacement, including for ctrl etc shortcuts. (and maybe 2 months to become fluent)

as a personal project i think it'd be very interesting. it can include many ways to do emacs commands. i think the downside is, effort cost is big, but 0 commercial prospect, cuz most people don't want new input system. e.g. maybe 1% of emacs fan might actually buy/try.

See: Input Devices

mitosis keyboard LxmE3-s399x157
Mitosis Keyboard

Input Devices

Rubber Feet for your keyboard

Discovered this product. Rubber Feet, bumper pads Buy at amazon

apple mouse charging bda31-s306x204
Worst Apple Designs
elecom ex-g pro trackball f5d09-s286x218
Elecom EX-G Pro
teletype optical keyboard 201711 cd7dd-s289x217
Teletype Optical Switch Keyboard

Russian Keyboard Layout

now, added letter frequency.

Truly Ergonomic Keyboard 2018, incoming!

truly ergonomic keyboard 2018 0c1b9-s306x204
Truly Ergonomic Keyboard 2018 “cleave”

Xah Keyboard Blog Archive

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  1. Ergo Keyboards
  2. PC Keyboards
  3. Fun Keyboards
  4. Keypads
  5. Do-It-Yourself
  6. History
  7. Design
  8. Layout
  9. Keybinding
  10. Typing
  11. Key How-To
  12. Mouse
  13. Trackball
  14. Trackball History
  15. Misc
  16. Blog