Xah Keyboard Blog 2017-07
Logitech G700s gaming mouse is discontinued
Do-It-Yourself Keyboards, New Index
keyboard for life
Keyboardio Review (Watch a video of typing on it.)
be my first patreon
now i have a patreon account. be my first patreon. see first post at https://www.patreon.com/xahlee
New. Kailh BOX Switches. Water Proof, Dust Proof
Japanese Keyboard Layouts. Major update.
What questions would you like answered about typing/keyboard?
Marcin Wichary, is writing a book about typing/keyboard.
He asked: “What keyboards should I definitely mention? What questions would you like answered?”
and, there are some 100 replies. I trolled thru. Lots of interesting info.
and here's the questions i asked:
- origin of big space bar. (you covered)
- origin of alt key, and history of its function.
- on 1970/1980s terminal/keyboards, e.g. lisp machine, space cadget, many keys there are a puzzling to us. I never seen a comprehensive site that explains it simply. In general, have no sense of what 1970/80 keyboards/key do. Would love to read an overview (which probably will need to explain the computer (mainframe) at the time.).
- an overview of history of mechanical typewriters and their evolution. In particular, the physical layout, key size. especially things like return, backspace.
- related to all the above. The history of special keys. e.g. tab, page up/down, arrows, numpad, numlock, capslock. who first introduced it, who/when was it popular.
- like to read an overview of keyboard interfaces such as usb, ps2, adb, etc, basics working explained to programers who don't know anything about hardware or electronics. For example, it puzzles me why usb can have only 6nkro, how some keyboard overcome that, why/how keyboard can implement inserting arbitrary unicode such as greek letters without software layout.
German Keyboard Layout (major update)
Russian Keyboard Layout and Programing (major update)
Russian Keyboard Layout (major update)
The French Keyboard Layout is probably the suckest layout that exists, worse than QWERTY for English. See French Keyboard Layout (major update. Thanks to Max P for the detail)
Chinese Input Methods (updated. added detail.)
Japanese input methods and layouts and what i learned
spent some 2 days studying Japanese input methods and layouts.
it seems to me, the Japanese JIS X6004 Layout is the best. (this is just first impression random guess.)
The thumb-shift ones, Nicola and TRON, have the one hand thumb+shift+key strain problem. Though, it can be fixed trivially by using pre-fix shift. (that is, press shift first but not hold)
M-Type look cool before studying it, but is actually the worst, because its romaji based input. But better than QWERTY JIS of course.
was rather surprised, that most people in Japan, use the most inefficient system, the QWERTY JIS. Basically directly borrowed from USA keyboard with least learning required. This is the same situation as with Chinese input, and also English using stupid qwerty and non-ergo keyboard.
[see Chinese Input Methods]
also surprised to learn, that the Happy Hacking Keyboard, is not only the most idiotic for English, it is also the most idiotic for typing Japanese.
All the other Japanese keyboards have fancy input methods and or fancy thumb keys, competing for efficiency, yet the HHKB sticks with the QWERTY JIS.
sometimes, the elite goes for the most idiotic things. e.g. emacs fanatics swear by emacs keybinding, hacker type of coders swear by certain programing language idioms, and keyboard fans with HHKB.
i think the reason is cult factor. Once a cult is formed, some identity elements will not be open to challenge, because it risks disruption of the cult.
Japanese Hiragana Frequency Table
Evaluating Japanese keyboard layout efficiency is very complicated. You have to convert kanji to hiragana, then get frequency table. And, get the ease-of-press scores of left/right thumb combinations with each and every key. (this part is particularly hard, because it's subjective, yet, the score is critical, as many Japanese input methods rely on the left/right thumb combination heavily.)
After that, you multiply each hiragana to the key-ease score of how to type it, sum them. Then, you have the score of that particular input method.
But, that's only the beginning. As there are lots other complications, such as typing kana with diacritic signs, romaji input system, whether they have special keys such as 变换.
See also: Japanese Keyboard Layouts
μTRON Keyboard (major update)
This great keyboard is now discontinued, in March 2017.
apparently, some nerds are still designing keyboard letter layouts.
it's like, is x++ faster or x=x+1? Like, keep hacking a dead horse.
it's by Michael Dickens
His layout is called MTGAP layout. Apparently based on evolutionary algorithm.
I haven't looked into detail what he's doing, but he seems to have spent significant effort, for like 10 years.
he's got a list of layouts, more than that i know. But lots of it is now dead link. See http://mdickens.me/typing/alternative_layouts.html
New photo. μTRON vs Cherry Ergoplus. Cherry G80-5000 Ergoplus keyboard
Quiz of the day. Look at your keyboard. Each row are shifted, but not all by the same distance. What's the pattern? (there is)
Trackball Ball Sizes and Replacement (updated. more choices)
If you have a question, put $5 at patreon and message me.