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Torben Gundtofte-Bruun (again)

PostPosted: 18 Oct 2010, 14:39
by TorbenGB
I wrote my first introduction 5½ years ago -- wow, that's how long the Fingerfans website has already been active.

With the new version of the forum, and many people revisiting for the first time in ages, I thought I'd introduce myself all over again. As your humble webmaster and forum admin, I'd like you to know that there's a real human being behind all that forum stuff.

So here's the short version of me:

About me
I'm originally from Denmark but I've moved around so much I can hardly count it anymore (~16 movings, 5 countries, 2 continents). I'm now living in Austria, and I've recently settled into banking software (anti-money-laundering - very exciting). My professional background is a very broad mix of IT disciplines, some management, and project management. This is based on a Master degree in business administration and computer science. All in all, you could say I'm all over the place, in every sense.

I enjoy staying up to date on technical stuff, and helping people -- I guess that's why I made this website! I'm no forum guru, but it's fun to work with.

I own a TouchStream that I bought only months before Apple bought and closed FingerWorks. I had seen the technology in a magazine years earlier and dismissed it as ultrageeky. In 2005, I noticed that an IBM coworker used an iGesture, and after a brief demostration I was blown away. Though pricey, I decided to go all the way; hence, my TouchStream. It's probably extremely rare, because it is manufactured with the Danish keyboard layout. It might be the only working one?

Even though I love my TouchStream and once used it a lot, my typing speed and accuracy was too low for continued work, and my work often required operations that quite simply were easier on a regular keyboard. I'm very demanding of myself and I just couldn't accept the comfort of the TS over the sheer productivity when using a normal keyboard. So my TS was packed away in its box for the past 3 years and I've only unpacked it very recently. I now use it at home, but since having a kid (yay!) there's not much time for home computing so it sees little use. I'd like to use it more (at work, even) but I'm still concerned about speed and accuracy. I'd also like to re-learn the advanced gestures and customizations, but it just doesn't get any priority in my life.

I also have a Digitouch which is a brilliant device for my media center in the living room. We do have a TV but never use it; instead we use a ceiling-mounted projector and a computer with a TV tuner. It's great to have a single input device for mousing and typing (and the Windows Media Center remote for simple stuff).

My Digitouch is Dvorak, and the TS is Qwerty (the Danish layout only differs from US in symbols placement). I also have a Qwerty surface for the Digitouch but I started with Dvorak and I like it. I would love to have a Dvorak layout on my TS too, but ready-made OS-support for Dvorak only exists in English which conflicts with my Danish and German typing needs. So I'm using Qwerty everywhere except on the TV couch. Switching to Dvorak is a longtime goal for me; it'd be nice but today's devices just aren't supporting it very well.

Re: Torben Gundtofte-Bruun (again)

PostPosted: 18 Oct 2010, 23:57
by The00Dustin
I've always been against paying extra (10-20 times as much) for a keyboard simply because it is hard-wired for dvorak. That is to say that I, believe that OSes should better support it. Unfortunately, I don't imagine it ever gained internationas recognition, so there isn't much reason for them to. I have a dvorak TS set to dvorak mode with my keyboard set to US-International. It works well for me, as I can get what I want, however, if you were to try some other international, keys would probably be switched (for instance, if I use software that pretends my keyboard (that it thinks is US International) is German, the Y and Z keys are reversed, which would probably never have happened on Dvorak if it had been an International standard with a German version. Anyway, I'm not sure what characters you need that require the Danish and German typing layouts, but US International might work for you, albeit with a couple extra / different strokes here and there. Another alternative would be to figure out how to cross-map the TS (since each key is customizable) to work with your languages while in the dvorak layout, instead of working with US while in the dvorak layout. The latter suggestion would only work with the TS, the former with any hard-wired (or standard/dvorak switchable) keyboard. I may have mentioned all of this before (I could forget a thing or two in 5½ years), but I figured I'd point it out again in case it was helpful.

Re: Torben Gundtofte-Bruun (again)

PostPosted: 29 Oct 2010, 09:10
by TorbenGB
Yes, it would probably be smartest to set Windows' layout to US International, and then set the TouchStream to Dvorak layout with some customizations to get the language-specific extras, because having a "standard Dvorak" layout is surely a big advantage compared to building a custom international Dvorak layout.

Regardless of actual layout, I would need the standard US characters, plus the Danish æøå ÆØÅ, plus the German äöü ÄÖÜ (nevermind the ß which I need once a month). At least for one language, there are enough hidden extra keys on the TS (not on the Digitouch) that can be used for language-specific extras. But for my tri-lingual use I'd need 12 extra characters which exceed the number of hidden keys, so this will require some fancy gesture mapping.

Instead of gesture mapping, I had previously set up the TS with Qwerty but then created a custom keyboard layout in Windows that was based on standard Dvorak but added all those extra characters using Alt-Gr mappings. This had the advantage of working with any keyboard, but required me to install the custom layout as a Windows "application", which of course wasn't allowed at work.

I'll open a thread in the Typing and Layouts forum -- when I get around to it :roll:

Re: Torben Gundtofte-Bruun (again)

PostPosted: 29 Oct 2010, 11:07
by The00Dustin
Or I could tell you how I have access to all of these already! Sure, maybe this should be in typing and layouts, but either of us can respond to someone there or post our setup there later on. The only problem with this setup is that Microsoft has decided to override their own US International layout with shortcuts in MS Office, and it wouldn't surprise me if they did the same thing elsewhere in the future. However, before even getting to the shortcuts, for starters, äÄöÖüÜ can all be typed with double-quotes before the letter (' and " don't show up until you hit a letter or space, in either case, they override the letter or space where relevant [this is also true for ~ ` and ^], so US International users learn to hit space twice or space before the relevant letters [after the relevant modifiers], this is slightly tricky for multi-OS users, as US International has a whole lot more overrides in Linux [and quite possibly OS X] than it does in Windows). To get the rest of the characters you need, I have the key between (Dvorak)i and F5 and the key between (Dvorak)x and F6 reserved for CTRL+ALT and CTRL+ALT+SHIFT (don't remember which is which). Using those two key combinations to modify these letters gives you the following (where your software doesn't override):
So you don't even have to waste any gestures if you have two blank keys available (or if you can find a fancy way to hit CTRL+ALT[+SHIFT] before those keys, so perhaps one or two gestures on each hand instead of two blank keys [perhaps one because technically you can CTRL with one gesture, ALT with the other, and hit the key with a finger from either gesture, just like you can SHIFT with one gesture and hit a key with a finger {not thumb} the same hand]), you just might have to sometimes go to notepad to type what you want and then paste it back to Word (annoying, but that's MS), or switch to Open Office (or Libre Office). The only problem with this is you'll be learning it as Dvorak when really it's US International with a hard-wired (possibly customized and therefore not purchasable in other forms in your case) Dvorak keyboard, so in order to reproduce it later, you would need to learn a regular Dvorak keyboard and continue with US International, because no other scenario would give you the same shortcuts for keys.

Re: Torben Gundtofte-Bruun (again)

PostPosted: 29 Oct 2010, 11:42
by TorbenGB
I haven't played much with the US International layout, so I wasn't aware that there is a silent umlaut key there. That certainly makes things easier.

I know about the silent umlaut key in general; I'm not allowed to install anything at work so I can't install my custom Dvorak keyboard layout. Instead, I just use Windows' built-in Danish layout (Qwerty) so I have my Danish æøåÆØÅ charactes, and use the silent ¨ (which is standard in the Danish layout!) before aouAOU to create my German umlauts = trilingual problem solved, as long as I use Qwerty! For a Dvorak solution, I'd have to go the way you indicate (and bring my TS to work, of which I'm a bit nervous).

Re: Torben Gundtofte-Bruun (again)

PostPosted: 30 Oct 2010, 00:49
by The00Dustin
If you don't want to take the TS to work and you do want to learn Dvorak, you could get a regular USB hardwired dvorak to do all of that, just wouldn't be able to change keys around the way you could with the TS, although I believe other keyboards have been discussed in this very forum (or is it the "TS Alternatives" forum on this very board?) that have customizable keys, depending on how much you want to spend and what you want to do.