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On learning the Colemak keyboard layout

Before learning the Colemak keyboard layout, I managed to write at 70wpm in English on the Slovenian QWERTZ layout. I started learning the new keyboard layout in mid September 2010, about 3 weeks before starting university. I was not interested in maintaining a skill in both layouts as I hoped to completely replace my layout as soon as possible. However it took me about a month before I reached 40wpm on the Colemak layout. This was enough to completely abandon the QWERTZ layout and since, my writing speed has been increasing slowly but steadily.
US Colemak keyboard layout:

400px-kb_us-colemak

Slovenian QWERTZ keyboard layout:

Kb_slovenian_600px

The decision to learn Colemak was not related to writing speed, but to decrease the movement of the wrists while typing. The Colemak website claims that the fingers move 2.2 times more on a QWERY layout and that one can type 35 times more words using only the home row on Colemak. After all, hands are irreplaceable and one should take good care of them. The wrist-ache that I sometimes felt while writing on the QWERTZ is completely gone.
I am currently approaching the 60wpm on Colemak, and my goal is to reach 70 by February next year. This way I would match my previous typing speed and become a faster writer and coder, while keeping the movement of my fingers at minimum.
The disadvantage of learning a keyboard that is not in wide use is the lack of Colemak keyboards on public computers. This proved to be especially annoying last time I tried to type an email on a public computer, because I had almost completely forgotten the key placement on QWERTZ keyboards. What is maybe worse is typing passwords, as it has become a slow action, that could allow stand-byers to peek on the keys I press. If I have to use a public computer for more than a mere email check, I would switch the layout to Colemak.
In windows I do this by running a portable application that I either carry on a USB stick or download from the Colemak website. In linux I simply have to type setxkbmap us -variant colemak in the Terminal and the Colemak layout is ready for use.
Another problem is typing the characters š, č and ž from the Slovenian alphabet that are not included on the Colemak layout I use. That's why in informal writing in Slovene I simply replace those characters with s, c and z.
The location of special characters such as the square [] and curly {} brackets, the backslash \, @... is much better on the Colemak layout. For example, on the QWERTZ I had to press a combination of keys such as Alt Gr+F to get the [ character. Now it's just a keystroke away. For a programmer this is very significant as brackets and punctuation are much more frequent than in texts.
I still need a lot of practice to master the new layout. The letter G slows me down, as well as the apostrophe. Not that they are located worse than in the QWERTZ layout, but that I have not yet familiarized myself with their new position. From now on I will put more time into practicing my weaknesses.

Keybr18_1_2011

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