Alt+Tab, Ctrl+Tab & AltGr teething troubles

I’m starting a list and will probably make a long post about difficulties with the more radical differences (look out!), but here are a couple of things I noticed immediately.

Alt+Tab [swap application] is now a two-hand operation — I must do this a huge number of times each day, so I’ll either learn it or go mad. This is Cmd+Tab on a Mac I think, so not so big change there.

Ctrl+Tab [swap browser tab] is very awkward — right Ctrl doesn’t trigger this by default & I have that set as the Linux Compose key.

Also, for someone used to the Alt & AltGr keys being clearly separated on different hands, having them right next to each other is more confusing than you’d expect.

I fixed your first and third points by swapping the Super/cmd key and the Alt one. I can live with Super/cmd on the right.

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Try out home row mods. Put tab and enter on the thumb keys.

I’ve read up on home row mods and it sounds nightmarish to me. I’d prefer to keep things as unambiguous as possible. That said, it would probably help with multi-key combos, which are really awkward on this keyboard.

My layout is very much a work-in-progress, but currently Esc is banished back to the outer fringes (Prog) with Super taking its place, Cmd is now Alt & Alt is AltGr, though the butterfly key (for AltGr is still less of a stretch for some things — AltGr+0 → ’

I may yet banish Backspace to its trad position (Num).

Finding a sane strategy for curly quotes is on my list as the US International key combos always were a bit awkward. My biggest problems at the moment are still getting used to ortholinear after nearly 50 years of staggered keyboards and the lack of dedicated navigation keys.

OK so home row mods definitely aren’t for everyone! That’s for sure :slight_smile: Maybe you could try one shot mods instead, so you don’t have to chord multi-key combos. That would probably be your best bet, then.

Initially it can be tempting to move things like backspace to where you’re used to it on a traditional layout (ie top right) but if you dig into the tricks the firmware has to offer, such as tap/hold keys, tap-dance and one shot/sticky mods then things like awkward modifier combos and moving your fingers off the home row can be resolved.

I haven’t made up my mind about Backspace yet, but the idea of having the thumb keys symmetrical appeals to me & simply changing it to Space would be a whole lot easier than creating a gaming layer (or remapping keys in multiple games). I really didn’t feel Esc deserved being so prominent though. I’m putting off compiling for now since it’s easy to experiment with Chrysalis & I’ll be doing a lot of that.

I think there’s a lot of value in capitalising on the known. E.g. the arrow key layout might make sense if you’re deeply committed to staying on the home row, but it makes no sense to my brain so I changed it to mirror the deeply-ingrained WASD keys (IJKL) & shifted the other (unfamiliar) keys around.

I’m a bit sceptical about tap dance, but it’s all worth experimenting with.

If the board had arrived at the start of school holidays (instead of the end) I’d probably have more time to experiment with compiling, but I’ll get there eventually. From a quick look it felt not very straightforward.

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You’re on the money there, you need to capitalise on what makes most sense to you and feels right for you. I have my own opinions and have figured things out over the years with trial and error what works for me. If I go back and look at some of the first layouts I made when I first got into programmable keyboards, they would be pretty unusable to me today. I kept iterating and making improvements and finding efficiencies - moving keys to layers and trying things to see if they worked for me.

That’s one thing I like about home row mods though, actually - having the symmetrical/mirrored mods on the fingers on each hand, which I found quite intuitive for the brain to adapt to, so I think doing that on the thumbs (if you can manage it) is worth exploring.