learning to walk all over again

I’m currently test-driving a Kinesis keyboard, and man, it’s like having to learn to walk again after being in a wheelchair or something. The basics are okay, but so far we’ve discovered that somewhere in between my earliest typing lessons and now I started hitting the C key with my index finger instead of my middle finger — which doesn’t work at all well on this; I keep getting V instead — and also that I’ve become very habituated to certain habits of motion when it comes to things like Ctrl+C, Alt+Tab, and other such keyboard shortcuts, which do not work at all the same with this layout. The placement of Space and Backspace, on the other hand, has been surprisingly easy to adjust to.

Unfortunately, it makes a sound on the computer with every keystroke, and I’m not sure how to turn that off.

Not sure how I’m going to approach this experiment. I was warned that the learning curve on the Kinesis can be unpleasant (but brief), so the best thing to do is bull through, but on the other hand this is slowing me down distinctly, and now is maybe not the best time for me to interfere with my ability to type. Then again, is there ever a good time? When you make your living with your keyboard, probably not.

Anyway, I’ve annoyed myself with this for long enough right now; time to go do something that doesn’t feel like trying to untie a knot by looking in a mirror.

0 Responses to “learning to walk all over again”

  1. wishwords

    I was so tempted to try the Contoured one. But I chickened out.

  2. kathleenfoucart

    I kinda want to try one- I think it would work better with my wrist braces- but I just got a new regular one, and I really like it. Let me know how it works out!

    • Marie Brennan

      Last I checked, they do have a deal wherein you can buy and play with one, then return it if you don’t like it. So you could give it a test-drive, too.

  3. ckd

    There’s a way to turn off the keyclick. (That was about the second thing I did with mine, right after making sure it was in Mac mode so the Cmd key worked the way I expected.)

    Assuming you’re using the Advantage USB model, hold down “Progrm” and press “”.

    (ETA: to turn off the caps lock tone, “Progrm” and “-“.)

  4. erdedrache

    My dad has one of those. I can’t use it. As an aside, European keyboards have a totally different layout that reduced the best American typist to hunting and pecking. On of my friends used to have one, and I couldn’t use her keyboard either.

    • diatryma

      When I was in college, I switched to Dvorak because everyone at Forward Motion was doing it. Then I found out how to switch my keyboard to Spanish, which meant I didn’t have to pause, insert character via mouse or numberpad, and resume thinking via keyboard– I could just apostrophe-vowel along.

      It took me years to reliably find the “, and I still can’t find the question mark without a lot of guessing.

      • Marie Brennan

        I had no idea you were on Forward Motion! They almost persuaded me over to Dvorak, too, but I decided against it because of the amount of work I did on computers that weren’t my own. Teaching my hands to be bilingual seemed more trouble than it was worth.

        • diatryma

          You were, too? Fun.

          I still have a little trouble switching, mostly with passwords and other things I type without thinking. Most of the time, if I was using a different computer, I was typing in Spanish anyway. I think it was easier for me to switch because I learned touch-typing to begin with.

          • Marie Brennan

            You were, too? Fun.

            For a while. I had rather an unpleasant falling-out with both Holly and Sheila, though, on two individual occasions.

          • diatryma

            I drifted away, somewhat helped by some unpleasant falling-outs other people had. There wasn’t enough to hold me after a while. Later, I heard more about it and kind of saw the pattern of community-shedding along the edges.

        • diatryma

          It’s interesting that I don’t recognize the laptop as Mine yet. It’s been less than a week, so it’s understandable. I keep trying to type in QWERTY because all computers but Mine have that keyboard.

  5. diatryma

    I’d like to play with one of those, but I’d want mine to have two keys for everything along the split, so the keys I hit with the wrong hand can still be hit with the wrong hand.

    • Marie Brennan

      They do that for Ctrl and Alt, at least, but those are distinctly Not Thumb Keys in my mind. The spacebar, on the other hand, I habitually strike right-thumbed anyway, so having that on only one side isn’t a problem. (Except that my left thumb sometimes belatedly joins the party, and then I rapid-fire type and then delete a space, ending up back where I started.

  6. Marie Brennan

    Data points are good to have; they persuade me to keep plugging away at it.

    The feel of the whole thing is weird, and so far it feels like the non-homerow keys are more awkward to reach for, not less. But I won’t make a decision based on just one day of casual usage.

  7. fritz_bogott

    kinesis saved my career

    I got a horrible case of tendinitis in the backs of both my hands during a bad part-time job doing key-entry. It flared up again years later when I was working as a coder. I had to take a week off a couple of times. Winced sympathetically whenever I saw anybody grip anything. The Kinesis made the tendinitis go away completely. Took me about three days to regain my old typing speed on it. Their support people have taken good care of me, too, with coffee spills and stuff.

  8. desperance

    If it’s any help: when I got my first divided keyboard, the first day I was mucho slow and my fingers kept coming down in the division, because it turned out that I tended to hit central keys with either hand, depending on what was coming next.

    The second day, I’d pretty much stopped doing that.

    Third day, I was butting close up to former speeds again.

    By the end of the week, I was as fast or faster; and most of the hurting went away, and stays away.

    Also, once you’ve learned to make that adjustment from flat to divided keyboard, you can adjust far more easily to anything; what you’re learning is not one different way to set your brain, it’s fluidity. These days I go from the big divided keyboard to the tiny flat laptop to a regular keyboard with no notice and no noticeable falling-off, just instant shift. It’s cool.

  9. daydreammuse

    Oh, I would never try and type on that. I love my own keyboard so much. I can type around 80 words per minute [rarely, but it happens] and sometimes I don’t even need to look on the keyboard to know what I am pressing. I would die, if I have to learn to do everything all over again, but you are a tough one to crack it seems.

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