Tarmak Updates- Full Colemak

I’m happy to say that I’ve progressed beyond Tarmak to full Colemak. The learning progression went well. I used the transitional layouts for the first three steps. After spending about a week on stage three I bailed and went full Cokemak.

Up until stage three I maintained about 30WPM with decent accuracy. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the patience to endure another transitional layout.

After jumping from Tarmak #3 to Colemak, my speed went down to about 26WPM on an average of 3 typeracer tests. After a week or so, most of that has come back to where I’m consistently 35-40 with > 95% accuracy.

The worst part, however, is pair programming. Just like class piano in college, whenever folks watch me at the keyboard, my speed and accuracy go to about fifty percent. That’s just nerves though, and I’m sure the whole “stage fright” is mostly in my head and will go away with time.

So far I’m very happy to have put in the effort of switching. Colemak comes installed by default on OSX and most other OSes, so outside of having funky key legends (which you should’t be looking at anyway) it’s no less convenient that qwerty.

Here’s a couple stats from colemak.com on the benefits of Colemak-

  • Your fingers on QWERTY move 2.2x more than on Colemak.
  • QWERTY has 16x more same hand row jumping than Colemak.
  • There are 35x more words you can type using only the home row on Colemak.
  • Colemak uses the home row 14% more than Dvorak, and 122% more than QWERTY.
  • Colemak allows to type words such as “tenderheartednesses” on the home row.
  • Your fingers need to travel just a fraction of the that they do in QWERTY.
  • On Dvorak your fingers move 10% more (30% more for a 4% error rate), and on QWERTY 102% more than Colemak (118% more for a 4% error rate).
  • On Dvorak it happens 60% more, and on QWERTY 340% more than Colemak. e.g. “ceded” on QWERTY.

I was sold on the stats before I started switching over, but the feel afterwords is truly incredible.
You fingers feel like they never leave the home-row.

As much as I’m a fan of ergonomic, split keyboards such as the ergodox, I think that Colemak will actually diminish the need for that.
It’s too early to tell as I’m still adjusting, but I’m actually even enjoying typing on my macbook. Staying on the homerow feels great.

I’d encourage anyone to try Colemak. IMO, it’s clearly the best widely available pre-installed layout. Switching requires a minimal investment in time, and will pay big dividends over the course of a programming career.

Now, regarding the whole Tarmak Method as a lifestyle thing I posted about in my new years resolution, that’s failing miserably.
I’ve been building TODO apps at night in ReasonML, something I’d promised myself I’d avoid.
While recovering from the flu I did a couple coding challenges in Rust. Oh well. Maybe in 2019, ;)