2010-08-31

Maltron, Kinesis keyboards

On Aug 31, 4:04 am, Tassilo Horn wrote:
> Xah Lee writes:
>
> Hi Xah,
>
> > In these languages, usually there are few extra characters that needs
> > to be typed. There are many standardized layouts for them (e.g.
> > QWERTZ, AZERTY), but often they still requires you to type the special
> > chars by a combination of key press using AltGr modifier, and these
> > layout usually do not consider any ergonomics in the sense of dvorak.
> > (see: Idiocy Of Keyboard Layouts.)
>
> Well, at least with standard QWERTZ and German Dvorak Type II (which I
> use), the keys for äöü can be typed without modifier.  With QWERTZ, even
> ß is not modified, although you don't need it too often in German.

you are right. I glossed over that.

haven't done much study on this but did spend a couple of hours to look at various international layout before...
〈Idiocy Of Keyboard Layouts〉 http://xahlee.org/kbd/keyboard_layouts.html

my impression is that i see lots of them rely on Alt Gr... and i don't really find some of the qwerty variation of swapping 1 or 2 pairs of keys makes any ergonomic sense to me.

it'd be nice to throughly study the various layouts for different langs, to get a sense if the special char needed are a direct key press or not, by what percentage, etc.

(e.g. first step is probably to get to know what special chars are needed in that lang, and how frequent for each, then look at the layout(s) of that lang, see if the char needs AltGr, their position, ... a evaluation of efficiency can come by devicing a formula that maps char frequency to a value of key press ease)

one thing i wondered about the different layout for different lang is that how they came by? is it much designed by a single person just by chance and somehow become the standard? or was it more thru formal study and evaluation... (my random guess is the former)

e.g. here's the Wikipedia page showing different keyboard layouts
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboard_layout

> The problem is that although the German Dvorak Type II is quite
> convenient when writing plain text, it's not that good for programming,
> cause {[]}| and others are all modified.  It's still better than QWERTZ,
> where even / needs a modifier...
>
> I would like to have some programming mode, which assigns more important
> symbols to the äöü keys.  You don't need those when programming anyway.
>
> > It's much better to find ways to create a universal layout that are
> > largely efficient, fixes the hardware layout problem, fixes the number
> > arrangement problem, and can be used for all languages. I think this
> > is quite doable.
>
> I'm far less positive.  I can't even think about a reasonable compromise
> for only latin languages...

humm... i think starting with Maltron or Kinesis, such a keyboard and layout can come...

one thing i always wondered about Kinesis is that why no other keyboard manufacture make those bowl shaped key surface. I vaguely recall it was due to a patent. Can anyone confirm?

Xah

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