On Ergonomics and Modifiers

Every time I look at my keyboard I wonder why that Menu key is where it is. If you look at the distance from F key to Left Ctrl and take a glance at the right side of your main cluster, then you don't have to be a genius to figure out that there's something fishy here.

No one uses Right Ctrl, people get sore left pinkies because that little fellow gets too much workout and then they do things like swapping Caps Lock or buying HHKBs.

Fellow deskthorities, let's put Menu where it belongs, far far away from the reach of our home-resting fingers, and reclaim Right Ctrl!
1CC

Unread post25 May 2013, 00:34

X
1CC
 
Posts: 4
Joined: 22 Dec 2012, 18:01
Main keyboard: Cherry G80-1851LPMDE
Main mouse: macally trackball
Favorite switch: cherry mx brown
 
1CC wrote:[…] No one uses Right Ctrl […]

:lol: I seem to be "no one" :lol:
I use Right Ctrl all the time together with the arrow keys. Intuitive right-hand use when moving the cursor in texts.
Just perfect where it is.
kbdfr
User avatar

Unread post25 May 2013, 05:36

User avatar
X
kbdfr
 
Posts: 2245
Joined: 24 Mar 2011, 14:06
Location: Berlin, Germany
Main keyboard: Tipro MID-QM-128A + two Tipro matrix modules
Main mouse: Contour Rollermouse Pro
Favorite switch: Cherry black
Club member: 0010
 
What? How? Do you move your thumb all the way up? I've never even attempted this before.

1x1 of Keyboard ergonomics: if you have to type a key together with a modifier, use both hands.
1CC

Unread post25 May 2013, 11:02

X
1CC
 
Posts: 4
Joined: 22 Dec 2012, 18:01
Main keyboard: Cherry G80-1851LPMDE
Main mouse: macally trackball
Favorite switch: cherry mx brown
 
put the thumb/left finger on ctrl and use the arrow keys with the rest of the fingers - i use it sometimes too, when i'm too lazy to use both hands.
dondy

Unread post25 May 2013, 11:12

X
dondy
 
Posts: 105
Joined: 20 May 2013, 10:28
Location: Germany/Berlin
Main keyboard: Ducky DK1087XM (Green ALPS)
Main mouse: Logitech M570
Favorite switch: Ghetto Green
 
Control should be immediately on either side of the spacebar, for easy reach by both thumbs.

Said the Mac user, whose favourite thing about the platform's keyboard is the crucial Command key's placement there; ever since the beginning.

Image
1984. And the direct inspiration for the HHKB.
Muirium
User avatar
µ

Unread post25 May 2013, 11:20

User avatar
X
Muirium
µ
 
Posts: 11558
Joined: 03 Feb 2013, 11:11
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Main keyboard: IBM Model F Kishsaver
Main mouse: Apple Magic Mouse
Favorite switch: Gotta Try 'Em All
Club member: 0047
 
 
Jasker Muir
Project Andala
Said the Mac user and went on, in a flash of complete and utter idiocy, to indulge in a cock size contest, to see who has the longest space bar.

Have fun operating that right Command key with your thumb and try not to get cramps while you're at it. I may give the HHKB a lot of crap, but this is where it clearly improved on its demented ancestor. The bottom row is still a bit too far on the right side of things for my happy hacking needs, but it's not as much of a nightmare as on this Mac board.

The Japanese may have lost the war, but they got the best of us in terms of space bar size.
1CC

Unread post25 May 2013, 13:03

X
1CC
 
Posts: 4
Joined: 22 Dec 2012, 18:01
Main keyboard: Cherry G80-1851LPMDE
Main mouse: macally trackball
Favorite switch: cherry mx brown
 
It was the style of the time. The space bar I use is 5 units wide.

Image

It's an honest question by the way: why isn't Control in that prime position on PC keyboards? I used them for my first decade of computing, and when I got a Mac it was the first thing I noticed about the keyboard: my pinkies didn't cringe from doing shortcuts all day long.

The menu key is plain daft, you're quite right about that. But I'd shove the Alts out of the way, too. They're not as vital as Control. Even for the kind of mainstream user who never goes beyond Copy / Paste by the keyboard. Let alone Vim!
Muirium
User avatar
µ

Unread post25 May 2013, 13:15

User avatar
X
Muirium
µ
 
Posts: 11558
Joined: 03 Feb 2013, 11:11
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Main keyboard: IBM Model F Kishsaver
Main mouse: Apple Magic Mouse
Favorite switch: Gotta Try 'Em All
Club member: 0047
 
 
Jasker Muir
Project Andala
1CC wrote:What? How? Do you move your thumb all the way up? I've never even attempted this before.

Like dondy said: right thumb on right Ctrl and three fingers on the arrows.

This way I can scroll the text I'm editing and exactly target any text spot, and at the same time turn the pages of the printed manuscript with my left hand. Anything else would imply constantly moving at least one of my hands between the printed text and the keyboard and my eyes between the screen and the keyboard.

1x1 of Keyboard ergonomics: if you have to type a key together with a modifier, use both hands.

Excuse my crude words, but that's absolute bullshit.

Right, when quick touch-typing, using both hands allows typing in a flow because you can keep your hands in the "basic" position. But that's true only for the Shift key when you want capitals.
But why should it be more ergonomic to type, say, Ctrl+F10 with both hands than with only the right hand? Muscle memory allows you to find the correct right hand position without looking at your keyboard, which I doubt you can do if using both hands.

On older keyboards, the function keys were not arranged in one row above the alpha cluster, but in two columns left of it. This allowed typing almost any combination of up to two modifiers + a function key with the left hand only, intuitively and without having to look.
I still have that function key layout on my Tipro(s).
If I had to use both hands everytime I use a shortcut (which as a professional user I do a lot), that would noticeably reduce my work speed.

By the way, don't tell me you use both hands for Alt+Tab (assuming you know what it's for).
kbdfr
User avatar

Unread post25 May 2013, 13:35

User avatar
X
kbdfr
 
Posts: 2245
Joined: 24 Mar 2011, 14:06
Location: Berlin, Germany
Main keyboard: Tipro MID-QM-128A + two Tipro matrix modules
Main mouse: Contour Rollermouse Pro
Favorite switch: Cherry black
Club member: 0010
 
Muirium wrote:Said the Mac user, whose favourite thing about the platform's keyboard is the crucial Command key's placement there; ever since the beginning.
...
1984. And the direct inspiration for the HHKB.

The HHKB has the right GUI/Meta/Command key placed right below the '.' (period) key, which I think is much more easier to reach with the thumb.
Most full-sized Mac keyboards have had the bottom-row modifiers in 1.5 - 1.25 - 1.5, which also put the right Command key below the period, but not as centred. Still 0.25 to 0.75 better than right Alt on winkeyless PC keyboards.
Muirium wrote:It's an honest question by the way: why isn't Control in that prime position on PC keyboards?

I think that it is because the designers of the keyboard expected users to use the "touch typing" method, where a finger of the opposite hand is used for the modifier when doing key-combinations. It used to be only the Shift keys before Control and Alt were added.
Muirium wrote:[Alts are] not as vital as Control.

That depends on your layout. In most ISO layouts, the right Alt key ("Alt Gr") is essential for reaching symbols for programming. The [ ] keys are occupied by a letter and a dead key, so the { [ ] } \ symbols have to be accessed though Alt Gr-7 .. 0. Btw, I also think that I Alt-Tab more than I do Control-combos..
Last edited by Findecanor on 25 May 2013, 14:24, edited 1 time in total.
Findecanor

Unread post25 May 2013, 13:38

X
Findecanor
 
Posts: 1720
Joined: 01 Mar 2011, 21:43
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Main keyboard: Changes from day to day
Main mouse: Wowpen Joy (modified)
Favorite switch: I have yet to find it...
Club member: 0011
 
 
Fuck you Google for ruining YouTube!
use of the modifiers mostly depends on the applications you use (vim vs emacs vs cua-style f.e.).

also you're really not limited to use fingers on keys, f.e. i use the palm alot for left ctrl.

additionally, nothing stops you from remapping keys - i always used US layout on german keyboards simply because i consider it alot more comfortable when programming or using unix systems in general (not really sure for what use case german keyboard layouts are better besides writing german text...).

can't really say anything about apple stuff or hhkb - i don't buy crazy overpriced hardware if i can avoid it *ducks and runs for cover* ;)
dondy

Unread post25 May 2013, 13:58

X
dondy
 
Posts: 105
Joined: 20 May 2013, 10:28
Location: Germany/Berlin
Main keyboard: Ducky DK1087XM (Green ALPS)
Main mouse: Logitech M570
Favorite switch: Ghetto Green
 
Findecanor wrote:
Muirium wrote:[Alts are] not as vital as Control.

That depends on your layout. In most ISO layouts, the right Alt key ("Alt Gr") is essential for reaching symbols for programming. The [ ] keys are occupied by a letter and a dead key, so the { [ ] } \ symbols have to be accessed though Alt Gr-7 .. 0. Btw, I also think that I Alt-Tab more than I do Control-combos..

Alt + Tab = Command + Tab on the Mac, which is indeed one of my heaviest used shortcuts of all. Another is right above it: Command + Tilde for cycling through the windows of one app.

Option (the Mac's equivalent of Alt) isn't used for standard shortcuts by itself – apart from entering dead key modes for typing letters like ü, à and é – but you can assign your own custom shortcuts to it, Control and Command; in all combinations.

Back in the 80s, Command + Z, X, C and V for Undo, Cut, Copy and Paste, became the standard across Mac apps. (I'm not sure if the original 1984 Mac already did that, but it was all in place before the decade was out.) On DOS and Windows, different apps used different combos until Microsoft eventually standardised them by borrowing the Mac's, and substituting Control for Command. Unfortunately, MS did that before adding the Windows key. Control on the PC wound up getting double duty. Extra awkward, given its distant location for stretching pinkies down to.
Muirium
User avatar
µ

Unread post25 May 2013, 14:59

User avatar
X
Muirium
µ
 
Posts: 11558
Joined: 03 Feb 2013, 11:11
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Main keyboard: IBM Model F Kishsaver
Main mouse: Apple Magic Mouse
Favorite switch: Gotta Try 'Em All
Club member: 0047
 
 
Jasker Muir
Project Andala
Muirium wrote:It was the style of the time. The space bar I use is 5 units wide.

Image

Congrats, this is way more sane than the standard layout. Though as you might have guessed by now, I'd take issue with not having my Right Ctrl and Menu.

Muirium wrote:The menu key is plain daft, you're quite right about that.

Oh, I did not mean to imply that. While its position seems complete nonsense to me, the function itself is nice to have when navigating GUI menus (which to my dismay still happens quite frequently, the internet be damned).

Muirium wrote:It's an honest question by the way: why isn't Control in that prime position on PC keyboards? I used them for my first decade of computing, and when I got a Mac it was the first thing I noticed about the keyboard: my pinkies didn't cringe from doing shortcuts all day long.

And I think it's a fine question, that brings me to the second complaint I have about your keyboard (and flat laptop style boards in general). You see, I too played around with Ctrl key positions for a long time, until I discovered the ancient secret art of Palm-Pressing. dondy already mentioned it, it's explained over here.
Xha Lee wrote:How to Press the Control Key
Use Your Palm or Semi-Fist

Do not use your pinky to press the Control key.

Try it out on a regular sized board, I think it's magical. It's even possible to press Win/Super this way, though it works best for Left Ctrl and Menu, which is why I swapped Menu with Right Ctrl and never looked back.



kbdfr wrote:
1CC wrote:
kbdfr wrote:I use Right Ctrl all the time together with the arrow keys.
What? How? Do you move your thumb all the way up? I've never even attempted this before.

Like dondy said: right thumb on right Ctrl and three fingers on the arrows.

This way I can scroll the text I'm editing and exactly target any text spot, and at the same time turn the pages of the printed manuscript with my left hand. Anything else would imply constantly moving at least one of my hands between the printed text and the keyboard and my eyes between the screen and the keyboard.

That sounds like a very specific use case to me, but fair enough.

kbdfr wrote:
1x1 of Keyboard ergonomics: if you have to type a key together with a modifier, use both hands.

Excuse my crude words, but that's absolute bullshit.

Don't ask for excuses and go right ahead, we're not on geekhack and I can handle it.

kbdfr wrote:Right, when quick touch-typing, using both hands allows typing in a flow because you can keep your hands in the "basic" position. But that's true only for the Shift key when you want capitals.

Says who? What makes Ctrl, Win, Alt, Super, Meta or Command different? You have to hold one key, while pressing another. The concept is the same.

kbdfr wrote:But why should it be more ergonomic to type, say, Ctrl+F10 with both hands than with only the right hand? Muscle memory allows you to find the correct right hand position without looking at your keyboard, which I doubt you can do if using both hands.

The F-keys are a special case because they aren't reachable from home row. That is why I use them as sparingly as possible.

kbdfr wrote:On older keyboards, the function keys were not arranged in one row above the alpha cluster, but in two columns left of it. This allowed typing almost any combination of up to two modifiers + a function key with the left hand only, intuitively and without having to look.

I like the idea of balancing out the number cluster to the right and giving the left hand more to do.

kbdfr wrote:If I had to use both hands everytime I use a shortcut (which as a professional user I do a lot), that would noticeably reduce my work speed.

That's what I call bullshit. As a professional keyboard abuser, I have my frequently used shortcuts mapped to keys that I can reach from home row position.

kbdfr wrote:By the way, don't tell me you use both hands for Alt+Tab (assuming you know what it's for).

Yeah, I better not tell anyone that I use both hands to operate my keyboard lol.


Anyway, talking in absolutes always provokes such fun. Of course there are people who use the right Ctrl key without remapping it, and of course there are people who frequently operate their keyboard one-handed. Let them have their cake, I do not want to steal it from them. Quite the contrary, I want to give them something to chew on. This thread is doing even better than I expected. I like you, deskthority!
1CC

Unread post25 May 2013, 17:04

X
1CC
 
Posts: 4
Joined: 22 Dec 2012, 18:01
Main keyboard: Cherry G80-1851LPMDE
Main mouse: macally trackball
Favorite switch: cherry mx brown
 
totally relevant to the topic:
Image

as in: do what works best for you :D

--- EDIT

as xah's been quoted more or less i wanted to also post a relevant link from him regarding the pinky stuff:

http://ergoemacs.org/emacs/emacs_pinky.html

you might agree or disagree with it, but i think that his reasoning is sound and that he made a effort.
dondy

Unread post25 May 2013, 17:34

X
dondy
 
Posts: 105
Joined: 20 May 2013, 10:28
Location: Germany/Berlin
Main keyboard: Ducky DK1087XM (Green ALPS)
Main mouse: Logitech M570
Favorite switch: Ghetto Green
 

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: bigpook, Google [Bot], Jimi14, moley, vvp and 37 guests