Twiddler 3

Comments specifically about typing on TS keyboards, and about key layouts.

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Location: Paris, France

Twiddler 3

Post by ivanw »

Hi, as I'm always ready for a new addiction, here I come to contaminate the most people I can around here with what got me involved in Twiddler3-Layout on GitHub.


As I am not satisfied with the mapping layout, I had to do something about it.

So, in that order:

- First I bought the thing for CAD365 (of which 127 so it can fly over the Atlantic from Winnipeg to Paris ... anyway, better this than cocaine!)
- Then I googled like crazy, nothing new here, looking for an explanation about why this thing looked so cool that I had to buy it right away.
... for one: kickerstudio created it ... the boss talking on vimeo: Design for Physical Thinking by Jody Medich at the IDSA 2012 International Conference ... and her Blog aimed at users with a brain ... I've read all of them, yet another addiction.
... and they say I can bluetooth to my Xperia Z2 with it ... as a replacement for all(*) these onscreen keyboards that will kill me if I don't get rid of them soon.

The (*) is for MessagEase, an android onscreen keyboard nearly as addictive as Dasher. ...and I am pretty convinced I found a good inspiration for my Twiddler 3 mapping here and I am pushing it on GitHub. ... It looks like it would be possible to use nearly the same spacial memorization mnemonics for both an onscreen keyboard and the physical device.

Then, this evening, I just had a very satisfying mail exchange with George Forester who is the inventor of the last and most noticeably contributing Chorded keyboard so far which is the EkaTetra EkaPad (kind of smarter version of a Twiddler on the firmware side ... no longer available by lack of fingerworkers but the website still has an entertaining story that only fingerfans can fully appreciate )

My initial contact with Ekapad:

I am currently building a wiki on the subject of chorded keyboards and the most valuable resources on the subject I found was on your EkaTetra site.
I am new at chording and I am about to start practicing with a Twiddler 3. As the available layouts are so arbitrarily designed, I went on a quest for something a bit more sensible. Still, as a newcomer, I know better than wanting to come up with yet another clever layout. This is where I stumbled on EkaTra website and all the amazing documentation you made accessible online. Although I can see that the device is not available anymore and there is no news about it since a few years now, I am very appreciative of the information your website provides.

On my study for some clever layout, I am working on GitHub-pages and I would like to cover all the possible arrangements that could be made with an commented selection process - just like you did to prepare the "EkaTetra Chord Icon Data Base" PDF documentation.

All I'm asking is if I may use snapshots from this document for my GitHub pages - with a proper link to where it comes from of coarse.

Anyway, thanks for the serious information source you provide, reading those documents displays a dedication of the authors that is not the norm lately. It looks like TekGear did not bother going this far on the software side of there pretty new device... Maybe that's my chance to spend a good time digging the subject that this new device could bring to life again ... maybe.

My best regards,

Ivan Wellesz
Paris, France
The reply from George a short time later:
A very nice and complimentary email from you. I am the inventor of the EkaPad, and I did try and really analyze the best way to make a single handed keyboard and looked at everyone else’s ideas as well. Perhaps I’m a little biased, but I still think my solution to the whole single handed phenomena is the best that has been devised so far — and I still use my keyboard everyday. My four finger chording layout gives simplicity to the most common symbols, a large number of additional symbols, 100 places to store passwords and common entry phrases, and 100 places to store shortcuts. Unfortunately, only a few hundred people, in the World, thought this was cool, so we had to discontinue the business.

But it’s great you contacted me.

Yes, you are more than welcome to take any screen shoots you need and use them. I believe you can print a pocket fold up page with all the chords. Print it on 8.5 x 11 photo paper, trim it, and fold it twice. You can probably print quite a few of the graphics if you need to. But screen shots are simple and easy to put up on your site. So use what ever there is useful. I would appreciate a proper attribution for the stuff you use.

Thanks for contacting us, and if you want or need more info, I am happy to respond.

Best Regards,

George Forester, President
eNet Press Inc
16580 Maple Circle, Lake Oswego OR 97034
Office: 503-616-4401 Cell: 503-765-8680
And my thankful reply before I came here to see if I could inoculate whatever got me to some fingerworkers:
Thank you George for your kind reply. So I will use your presentation as a helping work base to show those combinations used by a particular mapping layout along with those left available to the user for custom mapping.

Unfortunately, the Twiddler 3 controller is not a state machine as it only supports a mouse-mode aside from its normal alpha-mode. The EkaPad plays in quite another software category. But it's also not that bad because I would not be able to invest the kind of time you spent on this. Even if it were a mere transposition, which would have its own challenges, I would not expect a result in a matter of a few weeks of a pass-time contribution. I know its not a simple task and I have too much respect for scientific approach to expect some magic of mine to come up with a sound solution.

All I'm trying to accomplish is bound to succeed as long as I don't set the stake too high. Pushing some useful documentation and accounting for clearly identified constraints that come with the Twiddler and what it can do along with some sound pieces of information from your pioneering experience cannot fail.

Even if I never reach a point where I'm proficiently using the Twiddler despite the time spent at getting prepared for that, I'll have had a good time learning something new for me. Still, as a former guitar player (classic and folk) I'm not starting behind the flock, and the few other fancy keyboards I've worked with are still associated with some good time spent with novelty (of coarse, I'm writing this on my qwerty keyboard , even though it's a Truly Ergonomic one

The best I've got involved into so far was with the enthusiastic community around the Fingerworks Touch Stream before Apple put an end to the story (though a good one for the owners I presume). I still have it on my desk but its lack of tactile feedback is a real pain. ( and my immersion in the java customization tool I emphasized as ivanw)

The new Twiddler being the only escape door, I'll give it a try and keep the GitHub Wiki running ( ...if running ever happens to be appropriate.

Who knows, Google$ seems to be around the project, things happen... If ever this one becomes popular, as long as a the material aspect of things "appears" quite compatible with the EkaPad, some power-users firmware could have its time...

Thanks again.

Best Regards,
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