tl;dr: the switch has been difficult but I'm starting to get the hang of it after only a couple of days.
Here's a random smattering of thoughts I've managed to write down over the past couple days:
I spent a good deal of time on keybr.com these last few days (I intend to keep it up for the next little while) and I've learned that I am deficient typing with the bottom row with my left hand, in particular any keys on my weakest two fingers, i.e. my pink and ring fingers. My guess is the stagger on most keyboards masked my issue and let me type with stronger fingers to compensate on the
c keys. I'm beginning to understand this might be ground zero for my wrist pain, as it caused me to rotate my left hand counter clockwise fairly often, particularly to hit the control key.
Update: I tried typing on my old keyboard and the way the keys are staggered I was typing mostly correct after all. The columnar layout is simply different and I'm going to need to practise is all.
The keys on the bottom row are difficult for me to make sense of with my left hand. I apparently rest my left thumb differently than my right. This has the effect of me hitting any number of keys when I want to backspace, particularly annoying in the case of the super key.
That said, things are not much better with my right thumb. Besides the space and enter keys I have no idea what's going on down there. I routinely miss the period key and hit the quote key and vice versa. Don't even get me started on the quote key 😖
I opened up my text editor to take a quick tour of some JS files I had lying around. It is about as painful as I imagined. Particularly the new placement of the shift key has my muscle memory tied in knots. The function layer is my least used set of keys: brackets feel like they're all over the place and the "num pad" style layout is not my favourite. I think when I start modifying this layout, numbers will go to the top row and special characters will follow the same layout, either on another layer or using a shift modifier like on traditional layouts.
Update: I did exactly this and I like typing numbers a lot more so far. I had this conversation with my partner: she's convinced I'm a dummy and the num pad layout is superior. I guess I never really learned to use that layout because I can touch type well enough and was never a number cruncher 🤷♀️ special characters are easier to remember.
I added a mapping in Vim for
kj to send the
Esc key. I'm trying at the moment to avoid remapping my entire config to deal with the teething pain... presumably this will be over soon enough. Right? A consequence of this mapping is Vim waits after every
k to see if the escape sequence is completed and that slight pause causes a slight visual artifact that throws me off sometimes. It doesn't take much when I'm trying so hard to visualize the magical incantation on this itty bitty keyboard.
Visualizing key combos and chords is definitely the hardest part. I can only code in short bursts otherwise I lose the ability to concentrate. Consequently I haven't had much time in flow. Thank goodness this isn't how I make my living 😬
I'm about 50-55 words per minute on tenfastfingers which is down from roughly ~80wpm previously. I find that reassuring. I expected my typing speed to be much worse. Accuracy is definitely lower though.
I'm doing my best to stick to my original plan of keeping the modifications to a minimum while I figure out the layout first, but it's tough going. Not because it's difficult, no. The hard part is resisting these alternative layouts and following threads of my small keyboard predecessors. I'm eyeing a heavily customized set of home row modifiers like Miriyoku (I found this wicked detailed description of home row modifiers for those interested) and potentially swapping layouts all together, perhaps something like Handsdown... you thought I'm complaining a lot now, just you wait 😉