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Customize! Using gesture editor is a must

PostPosted: 02 Mar 2006, 15:36
by ivanw
May be I am a little too much enthusiastic about it to make sense anymore but it is like it is anyway. I am an addict, with many bad side effects, but I don't care! I'm on it since the day I did learn about the existence of the TouchStream keyboard. If I am back again with a subject which I have already addressed a long time ago, it is because sometimes I feel that I did not share enough of my experience. It's about a feeling that it goes beyond the satisfaction of being able to play and even master a very powerful and nearly secret tool.

The motivation that made me acquire this device was based on my very long wait for keyboard to evolve. I had nearly forgotten about it but it reappeared when I had to replace my worn-out first generation MS-natural-kb. Then, Google introduced me to Fingerworks -- I am lucky enough to have no RSI issue... yet... and won't have from negligence... ?

Anyway, my first attempts to get fun at juggling with customization were unexpectedly satisfying, I've described everything in this previous thread about the subject Reach no more: TapArea customization. We all know how the device itself is amazing. What is not so much spoken of, is that the customization software is just an emanation of the job done to make it happen. I can tell, because I am now an elder software developer, just to say I've seen bad and good of those now. (BTW-OAUS, here is a good one: WinSplit)

Still, I am afraid that I did not tell enough to really share the amazing outcome of suppressing 100% of the reaches. And I really mean it since you never have to go beyond the home row and the ones above and below, the keyboard could be just wiped out of symbols that it would make no difference. Touch typing means that you don't even think about hitting one of these keys, it just fires out when required. Your fingers don't even need you to do the job.

This is why I expected more forum traffic on the subject. As I see it, reaches are killers for the TouchStream. Do you look at the keyboard when you have to hit out of home row or what? I really don't know because I never had to. As there are gestures for every single function key, these are out of the way but numbers, punctuation and symbols are still to be reached for...


I had to bring the subject to the surface after six months of using the TS with chording customizations. It went beyond my yet high initial expectations. It is simply second-nature now.

You guys who are sharing the great experience we have with the impressive TouchStream keyboard:
:arrow: are you still h&p for some keys?
:arrow: are you still shy with FW gesture editor?
:arrow: or (...shame on you...) do you have smart ideas you did not share here yet?


Here is my current customization ZIP archive

And this is what I get from the right hand near home row area while chording with my left hand:

Left hand chordings:
  • Left 2 Fingers for Numberpad
  • Left Thumb + 3 Fingers for Punctpad
  • Thumb + pinky for Symbolpad

This message was just to trigger some more talks to prolonge those of the previous thread about the subject Reach no more: TapArea customization.

I am willing to help any of us who are concerned with using the editor... like those who are more comfortable at dealing with people than they are with hardware not to mention software :twisted:
[edit]replaced gone link ... ditched former ISP[/edit]

use both sides

PostPosted: 08 Mar 2006, 17:41
by dongadoy
I feel the same way about moving keys closer to home row. All keys should be within one key of home row! But you're only using half of your keyboard. You're using your right hand a lot more than your left.

I have right-hand chords that turn on the numberpad, punctpad, and symbolpad. That doubles the number of available keys. On the punctpad, I moved all the symbols above the numbers down a row, and put all the other symbols on home row and below. On the symbolpad, I put funtion keys, ctrl function keys, and ctrl numberkeys on home row, above, and below. And the left side of the numberpad gets all kinds of macros.

All other keys, like the Shift, Alt, Ctrl, Windows, Popup, and cursor navigation, have gestures.

Touchstream and the Gesture Editor are amazing!

PS. I love your images of your key layouts.

PostPosted: 08 Mar 2006, 19:36
by ivanw
Thanks dongadoy for your comments about this not so successful topic of mine. You are one of the very few who did have some thoughts about where to go from here...

True, for the moment, I've restricted chording activity to my left hand for the most part. You remark just made me realized this unbalanced feature. But this is so just because I am considering that it is still a work in progress. I thought I would consume all left chording possibilities before I would continue with the mirrored combinations... In fact my posts about this customization was meant to collect ideas like yours along the way. At this time, it looks like it took more time than I thought it would. At last, you are giving me something to think about... :)

Anyway, it is important to live with a customized feature for some time before you know if you really can use it or not. I have been very exited with some that looked amazing while I was adjusting them and after a while, I realized that I did no used them...

It is not the case with this layout. I type most of these symbols without even thinking about what my hands are doing. The bad side is that when I type on any other keyboard, I have one more reason to hate it! And this will be true with any other keyboard no matter how good it is :cry:

I know that I am not even allowed to dream of another keyboard with this level of customization. It is not that it is technically impossible. Thinking of the AutoHotKey you mentioned in one of your other message, I think that this could simply be one way to do exactly this: bring everything near the home row with chording. I have not yet read everything about AutoHotKey but I am going there very soon. This make me thing about little but addictive software tools like StrokeIt and WinSplit.

This is just a hot answer to your message. You have obviously built a sense of working the subject. This means that we surely have considered the same issues and may have handled them with a different solution or a different flavour of the same solution. I had to think about many different ways to do the same thing. Yet, some of my decisions were just one of those which could have been rejected only because I had to decide :? -- And, in an alternate reality, I decided another way :wink:

I still have to fill up all the mirror nearly empty layout. I did use some of the SymbolPad right chording for some Text Macros as I illustrated in one of my other threads -- email, address, telephone and a password.

Now that you make me think about it, I am still missing combinations like CTRL-SHIFT-ALT-SomeKey...

And all these unused possibilities, what an unbearable waste of resources! Coming back soon...

PostPosted: 08 Mar 2006, 20:49
by Rqyteqto
Poor tortured souls.

There may come a day when we will have to include an intervention and detox service for those that become overwhelmed with TouchStreamism.

TouchStreamers Anonymous anyone?

PostPosted: 08 Mar 2006, 22:40
by ivanw
You should not make fun of this, I am pretty sure that your former addiction to the tablet had you build up many intricate menu layouts of yours :roll:

PostPosted: 09 Mar 2006, 21:25
by Rqyteqto
Not making fun, more like comiserating with my fellow addicts.

You are right about the tablets. If I were to ever lose my TSs, my first choice would be for a tablet again. I'd still need a keyboard for typing, but at least I would have more than 3 buttons to work with. Might even be able to use the various softwares we have found to add to its functionality.

We do need to find a lifetime solution for this dilemna. How many FWers are there? Could we incorporate and generate enough funds to commision our own? What would it take?

ps: perhaps you have not gotten so much feedback on your topic, but believe me, your information is invaluable and much appreciated. Someday when I have more time, I hope to contribute more.

PostPosted: 09 Mar 2006, 23:04
by ivanw
I knew you were with me. 8) as we suffer from the same disorder, some attraction for futile achievement. We could just take a nap instead, chances are we would not get ourselves into trouble like we do :roll:

PostPosted: 10 Mar 2006, 21:54
by Rqyteqto
Nap? And perchance to dream? Of TouchStreams and iGestures, multitouch and gestures.

PostPosted: 18 Mar 2006, 01:15
by The Juggler
I've been using a reach-free layout for almost a year now... sadly I don't get to play with the layout much because that requires a reboot into Windows. (There's Linux support, yes, but I've never gotten it working on my 64-bit system)...

Mine's a modified Dvorak layout, though. I decided to learn Dvorak for the same reason I decided to get rid of reaches: to keep things on the home row as much as possible. I also tweaked the layout by editing the xml to move the top row down and the bottom row up as much as possible without them merging. From the printed layouts, my fingers never really leave the home row...

I haven't tried using chords to switch layouts, though... I use Q, W and E from the QWERTY layout. Q for number, W for symbol and E for punctuation. Here are the layouts:

Code: Select all
5 6 7 8 9
0 1 2 3 4
+ - * £ $

< / \ != >

; : _ == %

{ ` " @ }
( ' , . )
[ = ? ! ]

I also moved the tab key into the QWERTY Z position, since as a programmer I use it heavily.

I'd love to spend six months trying different layouts and working towards the perfect setup... but sadly I'm a little busy for that... heh. Maybe one day I'll take another shot at it, but I've been using this one for a long time and I'm pretty happy with it.

Our layouts don't seem to have much in common, apart from the numbers... I wonder which placing of opening/closing braces works better. I'm entirely used to opening with first finger and closing with fourth finger now, so of course I'm biased towards that option :)

Anyway, I still give daily thanks for my TouchStream. Every programmer should have one...

PostPosted: 18 Mar 2006, 16:52
by ivanw
The Juggler wrote:I also tweaked the layout by editing the XML to move the top row down and the bottom row up as much as possible without them merging. From the printed layouts, my fingers never really leave the home row...

In fact I started from your own customization which you described in one of the former forum thread: Setting expectations.

I've even used your layout tightening technique. However, I've reset most keys back to their original position after a while because, as a former hunt&peck typist, I felt I 'd better learn to type correctly first. I may return to the idea when I'm done being able to type on a standard keyboard as well.

The most fruitful part has been about your chording idea that I could transpose to the QWERTY layout. The solution I've chosen looks like playing guitar. Left hand makes a chord and right hand the arpeggios. Still, an interesting difference here is that it is completely reversible. Right hand chording with left hand arpeggios works fine too with the keyboard, not with the guitar. :wink: That means a lot of available combinations!

Our layouts don't seem to have much in common, apart from the numbers... I wonder which placing of opening/closing braces works better. I'm entirely used to opening with first finger and closing with fourth finger now, so of course I'm biased towards that option

My numbers are your numbers!
Other symbol placements are the result of trying to make logical groups, posting my draft, expecting comments from the forum, forgetting about getting any and that's it!
- one row of arithmetic symbols together with numbers.
- accents on one column,
- braces, parenthesis, brackets on two columns.
- lines and angled symbols paired up on two columns.

And I must agree that getting used to type a symbol one way or another is not all about it. After having spent pretty much time thinking about all that now, I have come to some rather simple conclusions:
- Placement has only to be smart enough to avoid the disturbance of reaching - which is a sure way to kill your natural sense of what your finger have within reach. Making sure that this never happens should certainly prove a bonus.
- Memorizing a layout. This means much practice and much time, and I mean more than a few months. Maybe a few years of practice can have your fingers do their job as your tong does when you speak. I have to think about it to realize what is the difference between what happens in my mouth when I say Hello and when I say Helli. I suppose that when I'll reach this point with my fingers on a keyboard, I will be a good typist by then... It's coming, sometimes, after -only- a year of practice, I have the feeling that I've just typed a long word without having to do the job myself.

Here is your DVORAK version of my gif image for these chordings and the related PSD zip for those who can use Photoshop to start from.
I am expecting some adjustments to make this up to date. -- Where is your Tab key exactly? :roll: -- Just tell and I will update both files and their on-line targets.


I've installed my layout image in an html file and used the Desktop-customize-Web feature to make it a background region. With some JavaScript onclick handling, I can make it visible or hidden as needed.

The most I get from all this buzz about typing and layout is to give a taste of challenge to all this.
This makes it sort of fighting way of climbing this fucking learning curve. Image

PostPosted: 18 Mar 2006, 21:47
by The Juggler
Thanks for doing those layouts images :)

My tab key is on the left pad, where the 'Z' key is on QWERTY. Because I moved all the punctuation onto the number/symbol/punctuation pads, I ended up with a key to spare... and found that tab was the best use for it.

It is quite a lot of work learning to type well with a new layout. Personally, I found "Typing of the Dead" to be of great help... possibly a bit violent for some, but it suits me quite well... heh.