Page 1 of 1
Posted: 05 Nov 2013, 21:34
I'm a software engineer, tech geek, quilter, knitter, and I've recently added tatting to my repertoire. I've had my Touchstream LP (burgandy, printed Qwerty, but set to Dvorak) somewhere around 10 years. I've been touch-typing Dvorak since '99, nearly always on a keyboard with Qwerty keycaps, so my brain translates on the few cases where I have to look at my fingers (generally to correct drift on the TS).
My biggest physical stress issue is shoulder & neck pain from having the mouse (or Magic Touchpad) out on the right side, so being able to type and mouse on the same surface was a Godsend. Somewhat to my surprise, I had no problems with arms & wrists while using the MBP. However, after only a week with the standard Apple keyboard and touchpad, I started having problems again. Thanks for keeping this site up & running!
My TS LP was my primary keyboard at work for years, until I got a MacBook Pro as a work station four years ago. Now that I've got a Mac Pro at work, it's come out of retirement (I was using it on my non-gaming machine at home) and is back in the office. I've also got a Digitouch, I think with the Dvorak layout printed, but it's been sitting on the shelf for backup long enough I'm not sure. My LP has seen enough use that the home row + thumb resting spots are all shiny - not worn through, thankfully, but definitely worn compared to the rest of the surface.
Luckily, I've still got an old laptop running 32bit XP that I can run the Fingerworks utilities on... I saw instructions about creating a VM, which I need to look into in the very near future, because that laptop has started getting flaky.
Posted: 06 Nov 2013, 09:33
Welcome, Kyrstellaine! It's fun that your profile says you signed up in 2006 but you write your introduction in 2013, it's never too late to say hi!
I've been preparing a virtual machine and I'm looking into ways to share that, but licensing issues will prevent me from posting it officially.
Given that you're really well settled into Dvorak, how often do you have to deal with Qwerty on other devices? Like your smartphone, mom's computer, hotel kiosk, coworker laptop, etc.? How much of a mental pain point is this difference? I'm asking because when I tried to transition to Dvorak, the thing that distracted me most was that the entire rest of the world was still on Qwerty and I had to deal with it so often.
Posted: 13 Nov 2013, 23:50
Hello everyone! I'm jumping in on this conversation, just because I find the concept of alternate keyboards fascinating.
I am like Kyrstellaine. I've had a Qwerty TS forever, and I touch type Dvorak on it at work. I'm using it now. Somehow my brain makes the transition easily between Dvorak and Qwerty in the rest of the world - in fact, my home machines are all Qwerty. But, for me the trigger seems to be the flatness of the surface.
If I'm typing on a rather standard keyboard, with normal physical keys, I automatically do Qwerty. But, if I sit down to a pretty flat keyboard, like if I borrow someone's laptop with really flat keys, I'll start to type in Dvorak, and I have to pause to "remember" to type Qwerty. Once I get going, however, it's pretty easy to continue in Qwerty.
Posted: 14 Nov 2013, 12:11
Since muscle memory is being discussed, I will point out that I now use TypeMatrix keyboards in Dvorak and have unloaded my TSLPs. It wasn't difficult at all to get used to using Dvorak on the Typematrix, and it didn't make the automatic switch on standard qwerty keyboards any more difficult. Interestingly, after making the switch I would almost always type Dvorak even though the layout was actually set to Qwerty when I would sit at a laptop. As soon as I realized I was doing that, it was easy to switch just by deciding to, no special tricks or extra concentration required. This was after years typing in both Dvorak on my TSLPs and and Qwerty everywhere else, though. I would also sometimes do the same thing on a full size standard Qwerty keyboard. Over time, I find myself doing each of those things less and less, so I think maybe the different keyboard size/shape/layout being a trigger is more of a crutch than anything. However, I have the Qwerty layout memorized from school, and I don't have the Dvorak layout memorized at all (except muscle memory or whatever), so switching in the other direction (intentional dvorak on a standard/laptop Qwerty keyboard or Qwerty on a TypeMatrix) might not be as easy for me. Unfortunately, I don't know for sure because I have no reason to try, but I actually doubt it, because it seems like I have typed Qwerty on both a TSLP and a TypeMatrix before to show someone else without really using the layout memorization too much.
Posted: 15 Nov 2013, 15:06
Dammit Dustin, now you got me looking at TypeMatrix keyboards! If they made a wireless version I'd be all over it already. It's been a long time since I last looked at that. The prices seem to have gone down a fair bit; certainly they're more affordable than the FW devices (dammit again!). Don't you miss being able to do gestures?
For me in particular, the "close window" and "close app" gestures are used all the time, as well as the simple pleasure of never having to reach for a mouse. I'd use my spare TLSP more at work if I didn't often have to do repetitive entries (like "paste, down, home" repeated a lot (but not enough to make it worth moving the thing into another app). As it is, zero-force typing and mousing is awesome but for cursor scrolling and editing it's still faster to use a mechanical keyboard.
Posted: 15 Nov 2013, 15:48
I absolutely hate not being able to do gestures, and typing too much hurts even on this even though it's way better than a standard keyboard, but I didn't really feel I could afford to stay on the FW boat after one of mine got zapped (it got zapped overnight at work, presumably by a cleaning lady or something, and I couldn't bear the thought of having another one zapped the same way, but didn't wat to use a different setup at home vs at work). For the record, I couldn't go back to a mouse without pain, so I had to pair the TypeMatrix 2030 with a Countour RollerMouse Free 2, so that makes it less inexpensive.
Posted: 16 Nov 2013, 07:34
I've pretty much stopped using any Fingerworks device at this point (but I still plan on putting a MacNTouch/DigiTouch into a smaller case and try to use it again). My old Touchstream ST still works, but on occasion static or something else will cause it to stop responding, or output random characters/gestures, and it's frustrating to use at that point. I also type on laptops on a fairly regular basis, so I'm pretty much back to physical keys, with Dvorak about 99% of the time (about 1% of the time, I'm doing system administration work on a system that won't easily change away from Qwerty).
Actually, I've gone the complete opposite of the "zero force" of the Touchstream. When I'm not typing on a laptop, I'm typing on a Truly Ergonomic Computer Keyboard with CherryMX Brown keys. I love the columnar layout and the split angled layout, over the Typematrix. At the work office, I've brought in a cheap CherryMX Blue keyboard from Monoprice. It's a normal staggered layout, but it feels better to type on than the mushy Dell keyboard I previously used.
I've put in an order for the open source keyboard, the ErgoDox. I'm looking forward to putting it together and programming it the way I want.
It's been a good run for the Touchstream keyboards. But at this point, they've been gone for longer than they've been around. Maybe we'll see all the pieces in a keyboard or input device again, in the near future.
Posted: 16 Nov 2013, 20:14
nomaded wrote:It's been a good run for the Touchstream keyboards. But at this point, they've been gone for longer than they've been around.
Seriously, I had not realized that. What a revelation! Thank you for opening my eyes.
Frankly I don't think we'll see anything like the TouchStream ever again. Apple gutted it and took what they could use for their devices and buried the rest in their vaults, Borg-style. By the time the "general public" becomes sufficiently adept at IT to grok zero-force and gestures on this scale, it'll be the year 2031 and everybody will be using their Glasses and Gloves instead. An actual physica input surface? Puh-lease, that's *so* last millenium.
You're right; they've had a good run. More than they could've reasonably demanded. And I'd like to think that we've helped keep the lights on even though the host left the party a long time ago.
Posted: 20 Nov 2013, 18:58
Sorry for the delay in replies - apparently I don't have e-mail notify turned on.
TorbenGB wrote:Given that you're really well settled into Dvorak, how often do you have to deal with Qwerty on other devices? Like your smartphone, mom's computer, hotel kiosk, coworker laptop, etc.? How much of a mental pain point is this difference? I'm asking because when I tried to transition to Dvorak, the thing that distracted me most was that the entire rest of the world was still on Qwerty and I had to deal with it so often.
It's an issue - not so much on the smartphone, because you pretty much have to look at what you're typing there, but when using other random computers with Qwerty, I do have to look and will frequently hit a Dvorak key if I'm not thinking about it. Most of the time, though, I'm on (one of) my own machines, with my Dvorak layout.
Posted: 25 Nov 2013, 12:08
nomaded wrote:Actually, I've gone the complete opposite of the "zero force" of the Touchstream. When I'm not typing on a laptop, I'm typing on a Truly Ergonomic Computer Keyboard with CherryMX Brown keys. I love the columnar layout and the split angled layout, over the Typematrix.
I thought the Truly Ergonomic looked like it would be a better option than the TypeMatrix, but since I couldn't use a rollermouse with it because of the non pointed front end (even without wristwrest), it wasn't a real option for me. Something lead me to think the TypeMatrix was also programmable, so I was disappointed when I couldn't change a few things on it, but I don't remember what they were, so they must not have been more learning curve than true annoyance (vs my TSLP customizations).
Posted: 25 Nov 2013, 21:42
The00Dustin wrote:I thought the Truly Ergonomic looked like it would be a better option than the TypeMatrix, but since I couldn't use a rollermouse with it because of the non pointed front end (even without wristwrest), it wasn't a real option for me.
I use a Logitech Cordless Trackman Optical (recently discontinued) for the most part, when I'm not on a Mac. There are enough buttons and in combination with the uberOptions for the Logitech drivers (for Windows), I'm pretty happy with what it can do. But I don't really have any sort of RSI. I'm just more of a input geek and have problems (according to my wife) with collecting input devices of all sorts.
On my Macs, I'm either using the builtin trackpad (and keyboard because it's a laptop), or the Magic Trackpad paired with a TECK on the Mac mini. The Magic Trackpad (and builtin on the laptops) with Better Touch Tool allows me to map various multi-fingered gestures. It's not the same as the gestures for the FingerWorks devices, but I find it to be the closest. This is OSX-only. There are no drivers that come close in the Windows world (no idea about Linux because I avoid the GUI world; CLI works best, IMO).
Something lead me to think the TypeMatrix was also programmable, so I was disappointed when I couldn't change a few things on it, but I don't remember what they were, so they must not have been more learning curve than true annoyance (vs my TSLP customizations).
Yeah, we have a Typematrix at home too (see above about my input device problem). I do love that it has the Dvorak layout "builtin", so that it doesn't need to be changed on the OS-level, but I'm not thrilled with where some of the keys are, nor am I happy with amount of wrist rotation needed to type on the matrix layout. The TECK provides a better angle for wrists, but it's more flat than I like it. It works, and I'm pretty happy with it, but I'm looking forward to what will be possible with the ErgoDox once I get mine.
Oh, also, when I first got my TECK, it was not programmable at all. Any layout changes I wanted to make, such as putting backspace on the left-side spacebar, required OS-level changes. But now they have a web-based configurator to change the layout and then flash that layout to the keyboard. The flash tool is Windows-based, so I guess we'll see what kinds of problems will be encountered in the future in terms of support of layout changes.