Xah Keyboard Blog 2018-05
fingertips tingling with keyboard usage
another Repetitive Strain Injury
you have pain already? I think you should immediately see a doctor. And, stop at all costs from typing on laptop keyboard, and also stop typing on flat PC keyboard. It is typing on ibook, that got my first RSI in 2005.
Tingling is first sign, but reaching the point of pain is already kinda late, but you can still recover.
Of kinesis, dactyl, maltron, i think kinesis is the way to go. Unless it's ok to spend $200 more. Because basically dactyl or maltron will be $500...
alternatively, keyboardio, or other flat split with mech keys, are also good candidates.
about ergodox, i wouldn't recommend it. It has thumb problems. See this story Ergodox Keyboard Thumb Keys Pain also, a nice pre-built ergodox is about the same price as kinesis.
on key switch, i'd recommend blue or red. (not brown, black)
for exercise, try this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiRC80FJbHU
But, don't just blindly follow that. Try to spend 1 hour per day, for a month, reading about Repetitive Strain Injury. (but note, there are tons on the web. You want to read those who had RSI, not from people who did not have RSI. Beware of many bad advice about RSI. There are many such. Some are from spammer/scammers e.g. They'd say ergo keyboard is useless or that you can heal by pure mind/meditation. Some are from “strong opinion” programers telling you about swapping capslock etc.)
you can find RSI reports by searching here, or r/emacs , hackernews, deskthority, geekhack, stackoverflow.
also, RSI is not fully scientifically understood. So, seeing doctor may be useless. (e.g. lots people have reported that seeing doctor didn't do much. (but see a doctor anyway as one should.))
I have many bouts of Repetitive Strain Injury since 2005. Each time i tried to document it. You might find helpful: Typing Habits, Repetitive Strain Injury ⌨
video review. Kinesis Advantage2 Keyboard
added to Kinesis Advantage2 Keyboard Review
now looking good
Linus Tech Tip Became Stupid
linus @linustech getting more and more idiotic everyday. his video review on gaming gear was popular, maybe 10 years ago, then, he became a YouTube pro. Now, churning out vids like actors, and also hiring others to act. but, it just became stupid.
when you became a pop star, usually you became lame, doesn't matter what field. because, to expand audience to the populace, means you need to fit the masses. so, you become lame. This applies to tech corporations. look at Facebook, google, twitter.
xah window system demo
added a video to the page
so you can see how i work. (you may have to refresh browser)
Tokidoki unicorn wand + Happy Hacking Keyboard
Now, add an extra boost to your gear.
do not buy razer stuff
do not buy razer mouse/keyboard. razer is the worst. they force you to use their cloud for your customized settings to work. get logitech instead. has onboard memory, connecting to cloud optional. #linux
also, razor's mouse are usually 1/3 more expensive than logitech, with less feature. it's that way cuz razor market to ignorant teen gamers, much like girls follow @KimKardashian idol.
typing on the kinesis video from xah
recorded my typing on the kinesis keyboard. Watch at
Mouse Weight Comparison (updated)
a beautiful white kinesis
cheapest logitech mouse with spin wheel
tactile bump stickers for keyboard key
apparently, there's tactile dots you can buy, to stick to keyboard keys. tactile dots
How to Choose a Gaming Mouse? (updated)
Mouse Reviews , massive update
Best Mouse for Programers (updated)
trackball with many buttons? https://www.reddit.com/r/Trackballs/comments/8k56km/recommendation_request_im_looking_for_a_trackball/dz7lvrz/
now on amazon.
discovered contour unimouse
See also: Left Handed Mouse
roccat leadr mouse and logitech spin wheel
currently eyeing the roccat leadr mouse. amazon its basically a wireless version of tyon. Featuring, recharge pad.
first impression, based on reading reviews ROCCAT Leadr Mouse
i desperately miss the spin wheel on my logitech g700. It has double-click/drag issue after 5 years, and i dumped it last year. Also, it's discontinued. Logitech G700s Mouse Review
LZ Ergo Keyboard has staggered layout. and the function keys row is not split into 3. meaning, middle keys e.g. f3 f8 f9 will need eyes to hit.
what's the m.7 layout? also, how much is it? am guessing it's a hundred or more, for prebuilt, than xbows.
Added a video. This mouse, not for programers.
Keyboard Joysticks does it work well? no.
x bows is shipping. it is the best non-tented keyboard.
where is space enter backspace on batman keyboard?
for batman keyboards there is no standard layout. That is, the position of Enter Space ⌫ Backspace can differ wildly depending on keyboard.
but i took a short survey, it seems, they pretty much converge on kinesis advantage's layout.
i.e. Space is right hand thumb, ⌫ Backspace is left hand thumb. Enter is usually middle or right hand to the left of h or n.
why's this important? because when you design a keybinding system, e.g. xah-fly-keys, after consideration of PC keyboard layout, you want to consider common fancy keyboard layout.
taking the x bows out for a spin. am still waiting for them to have a Mac driver. because without, i can't remap the many keys i need. well, you can do it via os key tools, but it's very cumbersome and limited.
I got asked this often. Goes like “am a emacs/vim/heavy keyboard user, which should i buy”. Or, “i have hand pain...”, etc.
any of these would be great. Best Ergonomic Keyboards 2018
and all tips i can give i've placed there.
Japanese Keyboard Layouts (major update)
How to Set Key to Switch to Browser (minor update)
Japan Keyboard Layout Design Community
see New Stickney layout at bottom Japanese Keyboard Layouts
the New Stickney is kana based. and is heavily updated in past 2 years, with new version coming out. it's from the creator of the Esrille New keyboard. The guy uses it. (he's active on twitter)
and, just few days ago, i learned a new japanese layout “eucalyn”. you can see in first pic here Helix Keyboard
and many pictures of it in yesterday's tokyo mech keyboard meetup.
but it seems it's romaji based, but i don't know anything about this layout.
Linux: xmodmap Tutorial (minor updated. added example of swapping numbers)
Keyboard: What's the Most Efficient Layout for Numbers? (minor update)
Ban Extended Pinky Column
recently, had a new chapter of understanding about Repetitive Strain Injury.
i've typed too much again in the past 3 months or so. My left hand, is feeling uncomfortable. Note, the exact cause of RSI is illusive. It can be caused by specific keyboard, and or your particular habit of pressing certain key, and other things.
it seems, this time, the cause is left hand pinky pressing the Caps Lock key too much. or, the a key, or the Tab or left Shift.
Am not 100% sure yet. However, it seems to me, if i stop pressing Caps Lock or keys on that column, i feel comfort.
So, anyway, now i have a new theory. That those Tab, Caps Lock, left Shift, keys, should be ban'd.
Basically, the whole column of keys to the left of 1 q a z should be gone. and similarly for the right hand.
now, this is extreme.
basically, i think once your typing is similar to data-entry clerk or heavy writer (like me) for years, then, the extreme keyboarding advice like the above isn't applicable to others. because, really, most people, do not type that much. Really heavy writer would be something like 1 in 100k users perhaps. (they'd include some gamers. because in some games, such as Second Life, you basically type chat all day.)
but still, this advice, about ban'ing the extended pinky column keys, is still useful, for those ergonomic keyboard designers, such as lots diy keyboards. Think of it as advanced advice for professional athelets.
note, i've already written many articles about past Repetitive Strain Injury, see
Also, for keybinding efficiency and Repetitive Strain Injury advice, there are orders of importance. the above one today is probably not for you.
the order of importance
the order of importance is roughly this:
- Get a Keyboard with mechanical key switches. then, try to get a split sections or 2 pieces one. then, try to get one with many thumb keys.
- if you are a programer, then, you want efficient keybinding. e.g. in emacs, use xah-fly-keys or ergoemacs mode or evil mode. In vi, you want to set esc to be capslock position or a easy thumb key position. (or one of those hack that lets you press df together to switch to command mode.)
- if possible, ban shortcuts that requires you to hold a modifier, e.g. Alt Ctrl ⌘ command. make all frequently used shortcuts to be single key, such as F1 F2 F3. possibly also ban Shift key, turn on sticky key.
- now, if you type a lot, e.g. writing docs, then consider using Dvorak layout.
read more about them at
Apple Facing Massive Keyboard Recall
Apple: Recall MacBook Pro w/ Defective Keyboard, Replace with DIFFERENT Working Keyboard https://www.change.org/p/apple-apple-recall-macbook-pro-w-defective-keyboard-replace-with-different-working-keyboard
ok, tons of updates in past few days.
i thought of like holding them and just post 1 per day... but that just isn't my thing.
if you like my writing, put $5 in my patreon. https://www.patreon.com/xahlee
please don't do $1. Rather, do $5 at least, then you can take off next month.
X No Chord Keyboard (added a keyboard photo)
Helix Keyboard (much update)
Iris Keyboard more photos.
this is the best.
vastly expanded. The worst keyboard possible.
Mac keyboard key unicode symbol change
Mac finally changed its home/end key symbols from the incomprehensible ↖ ↘ to the make sense ⤒ ⤓.
Though, arrows was ⇠ ⇢ ⇡ ⇣ is now ▲ ▼ ◀ ▶.
i guess that match the symbol printed on keycaps.
While page up/down ⇞ ⇟ became generic ↑ ↓. Also worse.
Note that logitech non-gaming keyboards also use ▲ ▼ ◀ ▶. for arrow key's key label.
[see Logitech Keyboards]
Note that the home/end keys on Mac moves to top/bottom of file. While on Microsoft Windows and linux, it moves to beginning/end of line.
See also: Keyboard Home/End Keys Arrangement
for laptop key labels, see Evolution of Laptop Keyboards, No More Page Up/Down Keys!
See also: Unicode Keyboard Symbols ⌘ ⏎ ⌫
Keyboard Menu/App Key (updated)
If you have a question, put $5 at patreon and message me.