reminded me of another issue I wanted to ask in the forum. This is not about Dvorak itself, but about how to put a new layout on the TSLP?I don't mean
how to switch the keyboard layout in Windows, nor how to switch the layout in the TSLP.I do mean
how to actually change the physical surface of the TSLP from Qwerty to Dvorak (or reverse, if that's your case).
I know that the colors are printed directly on the underside of the clear lexan plastic that is the actual surface of the TSLP.
I know (from my 2007 Digitouch review) that the lexan is slightly glued on top of the actual electronic sensor array, very much like a sticker.
This means that actually replacing
the image would require replacing the lexan itself, which requires taking the TSLP apart. Not a good idea!
I've experimented with other solutions
, like printing a custom image on normal paper and sticking the paper on top of the lexan. With some iterations, that approach gave me the best results -- described below. But I'd also like to hear what experiments YOU have done in this regard?My best attempt
was to take the original layout images (jpg file) and clean it up in a graphics program to remove the colors, icons and letters I didn't need. Then I painted my new layout (in my case, Dvorak + Danish characters). This was then printed on paper and put on the TSLP using normal sticky tape.
I found that regular paper was much better than photo paper, transparent overhead sheets, or other materials - because the dry surface of regular paper allows for the smoothest finger slide across the surface. Normal paper also absorbs a bit of finger moisture, so the image might smear a bit if it was made on an inkjet printer, and you'd get a bit of color on your fingertips too. In reality, both of these problems were so small that I could ignore them.
I also found that it is essential to keep the paper directly on the lexan, because a slight gap between paper and lexan caused inaccurate and sporadic sensor readings. To achieve this, I cut the paper to a size exactly fitting inside
the plastic frame of the TSLP, and then I simply used small bits of sticky tape on the TSLP frame and paper edges to keep the paper in place.
The biggest problem in fact (apart from the challenge to re-learn the actual layout) was that the small home row dimples could no longer be felt.
I made some new dimples in the paper by pressing a small object (like a blunt pencil) into (but not through!) the paper from the underside. But because paper is soft, these new dimples were quickly flattened again just by using the surface normally.
I hade more success with a different approach: Dimples disappear but crease lines
are more robust. I folded the paper along the key borders in order to essentially make a "grid" of crease lines. This was a little difficult because the key borders aren't straight lines but somewhat curved; and they don't go all the way from edge to edge of the surface. Still, I managed to crease the paper and create my "key grid". After all that folding, I had to flatten the paper between some heavy books for a while in order to avoid sporadic sensor readings caused by hovering paper, as mentioned above. The crease lines could still be clearly felt without obstructing gestures.The result was impressive
: The tactile feedback to avoid finger drift was much improved compared to the lexan surface. I'm thinking the lexan could've been made with such crease lines as well, and perhaps FingerWorks had some such prototypes but rejected them, possibly because of higher cost or poor crease quality in the lexan.
This experiment was some years back, and I don't have photos to show. But I do still have the image files, though these are easily made from the originals again. I should make another set of paper surfaces and post some photos.
What experiences do you have??