Follow heh, I type Dvorak on a QWERTY keyboard, so looking at my keyboard while typing is a distraction. 😃

@harding @emil same reason i don't bother with LED lighted keyboards, even though i think it looks nice it'd be a pointless waste of electricity because i never look at the things 😄

@harding @emil same! programmer dvorak on a qwerty (i usually go for all-black keys now). and yes, i prefer keyboards without the distraction of LED lighting.

@jon @harding @emil

Curious, do you guys ever have to look for non-alphabetic symbols? :) I've been a touch typer (qwerty) for like 35 years or something ridiculous (learnt in my early teens - on a typewriter!) but i still struggle sometimes with symbols, depending on the keyboard.

@waxwing @jon I don't think I ever really look, although sometimes I do a bit of off-by-one-key trial and error. I've been a touch typer also since my teens (20 years) and dvorak for over 10 years.

The one thing I do still look at the keyboard for is one-handed keyboard use when I'm just lazily browsing and want to do things like Ctrl-Tab or trigger some window manager options.

@harding @waxwing @emil What harding said 👍, good points. Same, learned to touch type in school at age 12 or so (what a useful class) but only switched to dvorak a little over a year ago. Was a 90wpm typer in qwerty, now 60ish in dvorak but my hands feel better, especially my left hand which qwerty overuses.

I actually use dvp (programmer dvorak), and so now do off-by-one trial and error more with numbers and less with symbols, since the symbols get more importance and better placement.

@harding @waxwing @emil This is where full-size 104-key keyboards are nice: dvp provides good access to symbols, and the numpad on the right side of the keyboard is handy for entering numbers of more than a digit or two, e.g. pull request numbers, etc.

@jon @harding @emil I always felt so discriminated against as a left hander with those numpads. In the long term I never actually ended up using it.

@waxwing @harding @emil I'm left-handed too, and began using the numpad only quite recently (maybe due to the dvp layout, or frequently typing pull request numbers)

@jon @waxwing Yeah, I switched for relief from repetitive strain injuries that were getting worse every year. If it wasn't for dvorak and the workrave applet, I doubt I'd be writing today.

@harding @waxwing @emil this ^... severe hand/wrist rsi in the middle of a six-month freelance death march for the paris airports made me desperate. in the same month i switched to dvorak, bought kinesis foot pedals, and tried 15+ ergonomic/mechanical/topre keyboards of all sizes and formats.

@harding @waxwing @emil TIL about workrave, ty dave. it's even in the debian dist: apt show workrave. will try. i think what saved my hands the most was no longer using laptop keyboards (the hand/wrist position they induce is really bad) & placing the mech or topre keyboard on my knees sitting straight or leaning back somewhat instead of leaning forward hunched over the laptop, but dvorak helped, perhaps partly by slowing me down

@harding @waxwing @emil and when any pain returns, usually because i had to type on a laptop keyboard, i use the foot controller. it contains 3 pedals which i have assigned to the modifiers (ctrl, alt, shift) which i type *a lot* since i use emacs and that relieves a bunch of hand stress immediately

@jon @harding @waxwing @emil I was just about to ask why you were (all) using dvorak. I had heard about it, but never looked into it.
Can I conclude it is because of RSI? If true, 'just' because of it or is there more to it?

I''ve been using a Microsoft Natural keyboard for many years precisely because it keeps your hand/wrists in a more natural position then a normal keyboard and certainly a laptop keyboard.

@FreePietje @jon @waxwing some of the world's fastest typists use dvorak, although I type the same speed on it that I did on qwerty (80 wpm) and I doubt I'll ever get any faster (except to do transcription work like Bryan Bishop, I don't think typing faster would help me much).

So, for me, it's all about preventing RSI.

One nice side benefit, though, is that it makes shoulder-surfing my passwords harder. E.g. "password123" on qwerty is "ra;;,soh123" on modified dvorak.

@harding @FreePietje @waxwing @emil thanks for the article!

agreed, for me the search for pain prevention was what finally pushed me over the line to learn dvorak.

the opsec is a bonus.

i was a very fast qwerty typer, and so far am slower in dvorak, so the change had nothing to do with speed.

my one complaint is that i find the -/_ key next to <RET> (on ANSI layouts) to be error-prone.

@harding @FreePietje @waxwing @emil error-prone as in, i sometimes hit <RET> when i wanted to type a hyphen or underscore...

in general i find that dvorak uses the right hand more than qwerty does. and the fingers move less.

as a programmer the arguments presented here were also interesting, which is why i went for the programmer variant:

@harding @FreePietje @waxwing @emil fair warning: i found that the dvorak programmer variant is not compatible with some ergo keyboard layouts, specifically the kinesis advantage ergonomic keyboards, which work well for dvorak but not programmer dvorak.

@harding @jon @waxwing @emil Thanks :)
Typing fast isn't important to me as software engineering is far more about thinking then typing.
Preventing RSI has always been important to me and therefor I immediately bought a 'broken' keyboard and I assume it's also because of that, that I've never had any complaints (wrt RSI) :D

Thanks for bringing up workrave as it made me install rsibreak (again) as that's a KDE program, but will probably try workrave as well.

@harding @jon @waxwing @emil And also thanks for bringing up
I use(d) MS's keyboard as that was the only broken keyboard I knew about then, but an open source one sounds better :)

@FreePietje if you want to learn dvorak, this free program enabled me to learn the alphabet keys in 4 days:

following which i used this free one for the non-alphas:

@jon @waxwing In case you want more info, here's an article I wrote about it a decade ago (not much has changed):

For laptop keyboards, I find that I'm ok if I use a full-sized keyboard (e.g. laptops with 14-inch or larger screens) and I'm careful about my hand position. That said, I have a split keyboard[1] for desktop use that allows me to get ideal positioning.

I've never tried foot peddles for shifting keys; that's interesting.


@harding @jon @waxwing @emil @FreePietje Ok this keyboard is EPIC! I need it!

Do you guys have any preferred switches? Especially those with RSI experience? My main kb has MX clears (the heavy-non-clicky ones). I also have a small kb with browns (the lighter variant). My hands sometimes feel tired after an active day on the clears. But on the browns I sometimes feel that my typing goes ahead of me, as if I need the delay of the heavier bump fr my hands to decide which key to go next.


@stevenroose @harding @waxwing @emil @FreePietje This is very much a question of personal taste. I don't game, only type, and have keyboards in many shapes (classic, ergo), formats (40%, 60%, 68%, 75%, tenkeyless, full size), and switches (mostly mx blues and topres with some mathias clicky and ibm) ... and I do continually prefer the various Realforce keyboards with Topre switches: 55g and variable, silenced and normal, and tenkeyless and fullsize. They are solid, classic, and feel wonderful.

@stevenroose @harding @waxwing @emil @FreePietje

I do appreciate being able to change up keyboard sizes, formats, and switches... to keep varying the motions, positions and typing feel.

I'll change keyboards 1-3 times a day when at home.

Sometimes at home nothing beats bashing away on a loud, clicky IBM model M or Mathias switch.

On the road I have a few smaller ones I like, mostly 40% and 68% sizes with mx blues, red or clear (not a fan of browns). I never travel now without a keyboard.

@stevenroose @harding @waxwing @emil @FreePietje I also have two HHKB keyboards (the happy hacking one with 45g topre switches) that i bought for travel or cafes, but i have never liked the hhkb layout that some really love and should resell them.

@stevenroose @harding @waxwing @emil @FreePietje Steven, you could start the day on the clears and switch to the browns (or reds for linear or blues for clicky) as your hands tire. Note that the clears and browns are both tactile switches.

@jon @harding @waxwing @emil @FreePietje Yeah, I think switching keyboards would be a lot of work.. I respect your keyboard enthusiasm though, but swapping multiple times a day would be a bit much.
Why do you note that? I know they are both "bumpy" as opposed to clicky. I don't think I could pull it off typing on a clicky kb very often.
What do you dislike about the browns? That they are too light?
So the clears are not too heavy for heavier users with an RSI history? That helps, thanks!

@stevenroose @harding @waxwing @emil @FreePietje Not sure I would conclude that about clears. I usually type on heavier switches with the keeb in my lap, which likely provides more natural force than with keeb on a desk. I also use lighter switches too (variable topres are quite light) and prefer reds to browns for whatever reason. Browns seem yucky and grainy to me. Maybe it's because of the topre smoothness. I like clicky & box springs too; very satisying but office-hostile, for home use only.

@stevenroose @harding @waxwing @emil @FreePietje I think the only way to know is to try for yourself and return or resell what you don't like. I also only change keebs when I'm at home and feel the need to change. It just happens to be fairly often, except with the realforces.

@stevenroose the "note" was just that you might want to try other switch types than tactile mx, like topre, clicky mx (blue), box springs, alps, mathias, ibm, etc.

@jon MX clicky ones are also tactile, right? I know people love clicky keyboards, I'd personally prefer not to go that road because of my environment :) I already get complaints from time to time with the clears.
How are topre ones? You seem to like them :)

@stevenroose clicky switches are a separate category from tactile. louder. the curve is different.

there are options for silencing loud keyboards.

topres are different from mx switches, or even mechanical ones, since they are a different technology: rubber domes.made in Japan, expensive, and very smooth/buttery. mx switches feel like they have sand in them in comparison. you don't need to bottom topres out when typing. they can be easier on your fingers if you adopt a soft, light typing style.

@stevenroose i'm not a redditor, but a good resource for mechanical keyboard info is

@jon Looks like I'll be able to figure out all those words/terms you used through that URL. Thanks :)

@FreePietje one term i just realised i wrote incorrectly yesterday is "box springs"... i meant "buckling springs". i'm not really into it enough to remember the right words :)

@jon Yeah I've been there a lot before buying my current keyboard :)

@jon @harding @waxwing @emil @FreePietje My brother games and he has blacks. Nothing is more horrible than linear keyboards IMO! You just often miss the key because you went too fast and there's no way to notice..

@stevenroose @jon @waxwing @FreePietje I have the browns and like them, but I haven't experimented with the others, so I don't know how they compare.

@harding @stevenroose @waxwing @emil @FreePietje yeah, and how you like switches can depend a lot on the keyboard they are housed in. for example, my MX brown use has been limited to one keyboard, whereas they could be great in another one

@harding @stevenroose @waxwing @emil @FreePietje for instance, i have MX blues in quite a few keyboards, and my appreciation of them ranges from awful to great depending on that

@harding @jon @waxwing @emil
Thanks for workrave, I had no idea stuff like that existed. Honestly I don't feel I'm using my keyboard enough to really need it today, but that might change fast as I'm seriously learning programming now

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