Xah keyboard Blog

Xah Keyboard Blog Archive

See also Xah Emacs Blog

Some update on Cleave Keyboard

Logitech H390 Headset

Using Piano to Type Text review

Stenotype Machine

new photo, and updates

Best External Drive

Bought headset and mic and bare finger shoe.

xahlee bought 2021-04-14 Gqt9w
xahlee bought 2021-04-14

my random notes:

Buying Headset
Buying Microphone

How to Solve Audio Ground Loop Hum

new recommendation from a music/audio expert friend

Best HiFi Speakers

new. Cooler Master ControlPad. Added to Programable Keypad


work in progress Bigram Calculator

Kensington Expert Mouse Pink
Kensington Orbit Trackball Pink

History of Kensington Expert Mouse

Adesso T50
MacMice Trackball
Logitech M575 Trackball

posting old articles.

science of typing speed scoring

needs own page, and edit
typing doc com xahlee 2021-03-26
typing doc com xahlee 2021-03-26

this test is harder than the normal type racer sites etc. because those sites use very simple words, and do no even form meaningful sentences. This test site, actually makes you type a written essay. also, the 5 min test is notable. because most chat about speed test is 1 min. 1 min speed is significantly diff from speed for 5min. similar to ,100 meter run vs 1km or 10km run.

most other sites just use combo of top 500 most frequent words in English, random combo that doesn't even make meaningful sentences, and don't even include punctuation, no comma, no period, no quote, nothing. But when typing a essay, (not online chat sentence), there's punctuation, capitalization, and hard words like occationally a drug name or place name, etc. this made me think. a way to solve the scoring problem across sites.

typically, speed is measured by wpm. and a word is 5 chars. and the popular speed test sites that people post are usually 1 min tests. which, is a sprint but does not represent real life at all. Also, depending on the text, diff sites can give diff wpm score that differ by as much as 20 wpm.

so, one of the big variable is how easy is the text. e.g. does it have capitalization, punctuation, grammatical and meaningful or just random words, or it can be actually random sequence of letters (which will be MOST difficult).

so, we can come up with a measure by score of the difficulty level, say, 1 to 10 (with 10 being most difficult, of random sequence of up/lower case chars on normal PC keyboard). So, if someone types say 70wpm with difficulty level of 5 and 5 min test, we can normalize it by a formula and derive a "standard type speed score".

Keyboarding Science: Problem of Multi-Purpose Keys (QMK)

needs own page

Regarding the multi purpose key disabling key hold repeat function. That's inherent problem. It's not a bug or firmware issue. It is a inherent problem of such a multi-purpose key functionality. I know because it's mathematically true, and happens on qmk on my gergo, also happens in in my uhk.

Try this. Whip your QMK keyboard out. Program the backspace key to be also control when held down. Now, see if you can hold backspace to delete letters continuously. You can't. Because it's a inherent problem with multi-purpose key. This means, when u have say a 30% keyboard, or even a normal PC form keyboard, for example, am thinking, i'll just set Control to be on qwerty DF and JK keys, so that i don't even have to use thumb for Control. This works, if you don't mind losing the ability to hold any of d f j k to insert them continuously. But, if the key chosen is space, backspace, del, enter, or dash, then you may care, because often you do want to hold those keys to repeat them. And this situation happens when u on a 30% or 40% keyboard such as gergo. Because your thumbs are backspace and space and enter etc yet you also want them to be Ctrl or Alt or Shift.

I was a bit annoyed myself when i discovered this. Yes the need to carefully press frequent home row keys for this also annoying. So, i was disappointed to realize that multi-purpose keys isn't as a fantastic idea as i thought. Cuz i was thinking, why not make every key multi-purpose. Can be done by qmk and uhk.

Once i discovered the multi-purpose function conflict with key hold repeat, then i realized, the hold key to repeat is actually also a hack to begin with. It was IBM AT that invented this hack. In one of their keyboard protocol. Like, if you think of electronics, the key switch, when the switch is on, or off. Whe n it is one, it really should not repeatedly send on on on on on signals.

keyboard technology: it's faaking hack all the way

need to put on own page

So in my study of keyboard, over the past 30 years, i kinda felt its all hack. (actually, it is perhaps the defining characteristics of Engineering). People do want holding down a key to repeat, thus, imb created the key protocol to do that. That is, when a key switch is on, after some micro second, it sends on off on off on off on off signals. About every few years, i discovered some behavior of keyboard was a hack. First such discovery is qwerty (vs dvorak) (to prevent key hammer jam). Then (out of order): why there's key ghosting and “n-key roll over”. (due to cost saving measures in electronics. Minimize the diodes by ways of “matrix”) oh. Then, the physical key arrangement (the stagger). (due to, in mechanical typewriter, the levers underneath each key need to be aligned equidistant) then, the birth of Shift key, that shifts gears, which became our modifier keys in computer keyboard, specifically designed to emulate the typewriter gear shifting. And, the gamer's navigation keys, why is it WASD, and not say ESDF. (due to the need for adjacency with capslock, shift, etc for run, crouch, fire, etc.) and, the whole shebang of emacs default keys faak and vim default keys faak (hjkl and others such as $ etc). (due to lisp machine keyboard for emacs and adam terminal for vi) and the why how vim “modal” way was developed (due to, back then, u have to give a command to tell comp to update the screen). It's faaaking hack all the way!!!

Realforce Keyboard
Added video and more photo.

How Mouse Works
Wacom Smart Scroll SS-200
Highscreen Trackball

new photos

mechanical switch vs keyboard ergonomic shape

If the question is, mechanical switch is more important or ergonomic shape, and if one can only pick one. I used to think ergo, but now i think it depends on a lot factors per the person. do you touch type, how much you type per day, do you already have Repetitive Strain Injury, how bad is your current rubber dome keyboard, etc. I'd say they are equally important. Key switch matters significantly because finger pressing keys is the main movement. Ergo shape is also super important because bad position puts stress on wrist, shoulder.

comment at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b20q0NOr2yQ

DIY μTRON Keyboard

new photos.

Stenotype Machine

Linux: Keyboard Software Guide
added xKeySnail

Xah Talk Show 2021-03-13 Ergonomics, Mechanical Keyboard. and Artificial Intelligence

Keyboard Layout Design vs Input System Design

If one rely on QMK or keyboard firmware features to design layout, then that kinda is a different beast. Cuz it's not just a letter layout, but require certain hardware features. So, we might have letter layouts as a class of layout, then, keyboard layout with firmware feature consideration. With the latter, it's essentially unexplored territory. (beginning to be explored)

For example, one of the practical problem of typing is is typing bracket pairs and place cursor in middle. With plain keyboard letter layout, that's out of the question. But with keyboard firmware considered, it's trivial. But now we have a ton of variations.

For example, to type matched bracket and place cursor in middle, one most basic way with firmware based input is simply press whatever key is the left bracket perhaps plus a modifier and it'll insert bracket pair and move cursor inbetween. Another way, is say with a key sequence, say 【thumb t】. Another way, is say with a extra thumb key say named T1, one single key. So, when we consider keyboard firmware based layout (the first one of such is probably Maltron Keyboard with letter E on thumb ), then we got pretty much unbridled variations and possibilities in designing input system. Instead of thinking of it as layout, it more becomes a input system.

The issue with taking in keyboard firmware in, is that then we also need to take in the physical layout in, and that became almost unrestricted. Because we no longer have a standard design constraints as the standard PC keyboard. As we know in diy scene, there's already a ton of physical layout variations, some drastically diff. E.g. 8 thumb keys plus 2 palm keys in keyboard io, vs say atreus or other only has 40 keys, vs kinesis or dactyle with curved surface, or hyper 7 with over 2 hundred keys. Here, the measure of ergonomics is also out of whack. Because when u have a keyboard with 200 keys, then lots input can become a single key press, albeit you have to move hand all over. So, one of the ergonomic metric or efficiency metric becomes whether finger stay home and type 10 keys is better or is it better move arm across a river and hit 1 single key. My point being, if we consider keyboard firmware as part of layout design, the issue quickly becomes input system design, and almost unbounded complexity or judgement complexity.

One commonly asked need related to this is input of emoji. As the USB protocol for keyboard is designed (HIB), it's impossible for keyboard to send emoji, because the keyboard interface send keycodes, out of only 200 or so possible keycodes. Keyboard cannot actually characters or arbitrary code. Another very common need is app dependent shortcuts. No normal keyboard protocol lets the OS tell keyboard which is the current app. So, here we also venture into the comp/keyboard interface.

History of Kensington Expert Mouse
new photos and pics.

Jelly Comb Trackball sWTNP
Jelly Comb Trackball Buy at amazon
Aball Trackball

Ergonomic Keyboard Layouts
added engram layout.

L-Trac Trackball
Kinesis Freestyle Pro Keyboard


Logitech MX Ergo Trackball

new photo.

xah keyboards 20210307 17-s1200
xah keyboards 2021-03-07
Left column top to bottom:
Right column top to bottom:

Typing Tutorial, Speed Test, Typing Games

Koolertron Keypad

and new page Why Programable Keypad

Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard

Copy Filepath in IrfanView

to copy filepath of current image in IrfanView, press i to show info, press Tab 3 times to goto the filepath field, then copy.

Apple m1 chip

Mouse with Spin Wheel
major update

tob macro pad 2021-02-25
tob macro pad 2021-02-25 http://there.oughta.be/a/macro-keyboard



Apple Standard Keyboard M0116, 1987

Why You Need 10 Buttons Mouse

Why Programable Keyboards Are Better Than Software Key Remap
on a page of its own.


Keyboard Latency

Design of Computer Keyboard ⌨

Xah's Display, 2021
f77 compact model f keyboard 2020-11 XFmpg-s250
Modern Model F Keyboard
Heartbeat Watch

Logitech G502 Mouse minor update

looks like the dpi war winner is currently logitech. What's Mouse DPI? Does DPI Matter?

mouse with keyboard keys 2020-05-22 w6238
Mouse with Mechanical Key Switches

new linux key tool: ydotool. Linux: Keyboard Software Guide

research. and put to a index page
SHARP MZ-700 PC, Year 1982
research on listm . and put listm to a index page
Xerox 1108/1109 Lisp Keyboard
LISPM Keyboard

Arrow Keys

Windows Keyboard Shortcuts Tutorial
new index.

AutoHotkey Tutorial

Dygma Raise

Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 2019
stiff spacebar problem.

Signum keyboard
Best HiFi Speakers

one thing annoying about Windows 10 is that, a keyboard shortcut does not always work, due to focus widget. For example, in folder view Explorer, Ctrl+w can close a window, but if you have pressed Tab or Alt+h before so that your focus is on navigation pane or the ribbon bar, then it won't work.

lime40 keyboard qjd4d-s289x217

new photos and video.

ergo chopsticks keyboard

X No Chord Keyboard
minor update, repost

What's Mouse DPI? Does DPI Matter?
minor update, repost

Do It Yourself big trackball with gyro sensor mechanism

The ball is the trackball
Jan 27, 2021
Jacek Fedoryński
The ball is a standalone Bluetooth mouse. All the electronics are inside the ball. The keyboard is a separate USB device that is only used for mouse clicks.
[Bluetooth trackball Mark II By Jacek Fedoryński. At https://blog.jfedor.org/2021/01/bluetooth-trackball-mark-ii.html ]
Logitech G604 Mouse

Elecom DEFT Pro Trackball

Drawing Software Krita so pretty.

updated many photos in Trackball Reviews.
basically, replacing those professional photos by real-life photos. I always prefer real life photos. Professional photos looks fake.

Best Computer Desk

windows key shortcuts for maximize window is annoying

There is no key to max window. F11 does toggle fullscreen, but the concept of fullscreen is annoying, you can't see tabs, and not supported by all apps. Fullscreen is useful only about watching movies or games. It's a idea of 90s when dislay are small.

Then, there are max window idea. It's not a toggle. You have to max then restore. Then there's minimize window idea, which is completely different, more like hiding current window.

then, the keys for max/restor/min window adds to the helpless situation. First of all, there are multiple keys doing the same.

Max window size.
Minimize (hide) window
“restore” window size.
❖ Window+
Max window size.
❖ Window+
Restore window size if it's maxed, else, minimize (hide)

No single key to toggle max window. You have to use brain cycle then decide on the rigt key.

worse is that, you might think that you'll just settle for ❖ Window+ and ❖ Window+. but if you pressed the latter one more time by mistake, whoops, your window is gone hidden.

Huion hs611 drawing tablet 2Gxjv-s250
Huion HS611 Drawing Tablet

Input Devices

Typing Braille

Input Devices

add to a index page

BeeRaider Keyboard

using programable keypad for mouse click

Now on windows, am using hover activate window , but it doesn't have hover click. So i've been clicking a lot and starting to feel the strain. So, Ultimate Hacking Keyboard comes to the rescue. Programed the key to act as mouse click. See the left side, left hand fist sit on the click.

UHK Agent xah 2021-01-23
UHK Agent xah 2021-01-23


mouse with keyboard keys 2020-05-22 w6238
Mouse with Mechanical Key Switches

mouse finger pain saver. Windows: Mouse Hover to Activate Window

NEC PC-8801-KI Keyboard (1983)
added a video.

Microsoft surface tablet charger

My Microsoft surface tablet charger broke. Cable bend damage at the magnetic connector. This cable should be replaceable but is merged into the charging brick, i suppose on purpose, so that if it broke, one has to buy the whole thing. Fuck these commercial corps. (Apple is worst)

amazon xah 1999 2021-01-17 53Kyh
amazon xah 1999

See also Microsoft Surface Pro 4, 2015

MSI Vigor GK30 keyboard

photos of my new computer and monitor

Xah Gaming Computer

Drawing Tablet
This thing now works fantastically in Windows. Sucks on the Mac. Now you can use this instead of the mouse. It is because Microsoft Windows support touch screen, Mac doesn't. So you can use a drawing tablet as mouse on Windows.


moonlander keyboard 2020-08-13 WvrMJ-s250
Moonlander 72

added photos.

Windows Keyboard Shortcuts
minor update

ALPS Switch
Logitech Trackman Marble Review

Kinesis Advantage2 Keyboard with silent red switch

Bought a new Kinesis Advantage2 Keyboard with Silent Cherry MX Red switches. My old one is cherry mx brown switch. Love the new one. Gonna sell my old. See pic at the link.

Kinesis Advantage2 Keyboard Review

why i bought another same? i talked about this many times. in my Xah Talk Show 📺 and in Xah Emacs Blog and here.

Basically, if you have Repetitive Strain Injury, you want light linear switch. I'd say cherry mx red or blue are good. Anything above 45g activation is no good.

also updated:

Keyboard Layout Stagger vs Angled Grid Layout

Logitech G815/G915, Kailh Choc Switch

logitech g915 52yb6-s450x139
Logitech G815/G915

minor updates. The logitech gl switch are just Kailh Choc Switch .


Fujitsu KBPC E, Ergosplit Keyboard
minor update

Programable Keyboards with Onboard Memory
minor update

I need to upgrade my machine. I need to upgrade my 2014 mac mini. Which should i buy?.

my basic needs:

currently looking at:


Why I'm Switching from Mac to Windows

Ultimate Hacking Keyboard version 2 is out. see Ultimate Hacking Keyboard

Xah's Display, 2021

Wooden Keyboard
minor update

There is a way to type i think 200 wpm by a shorthand system. And that's not the planck plover faak. Planck Keyboard. But a shorthand system designed for typing. There are many shorthand system designed before, but they are designed for hand writing.

write a essay about this. list and summarize all past shorthand systems, and phonetic systems. and show my abbrev system. also look into basic English, its vocabulary. identify the most common words. also identify the most comment parts of words. remember, phonetic system is a key. try to use that.

currently reworking my JavaScript app for plotting keyboard layout and character frequency

Typing Multi Layouts
minor update

Logitech Trackman Portable Mouse Trackball

Mac Keyboard Shortcuts
update. Screenshot using terminal. And best way to copy file path on Mac.

Keyboard Layout, Is Inverted Number Row Better?
minor update

Moonlander Keyboard
added reason about inward thumb bend.

Why Function Keys Are Useful
added a video.

What's the Most Efficient Keyboard Layout?
minor update.

Dvorak vs Programer's Dvorak
minor update.

Keyboard Hardware Dvorak vs Software Dvorak

Japanese Keyboard Layouts minor update.

history. Microsoft revolutionized the keyboard scene in 1994. Microsoft Natural Keyboard. updated.

Review of Microsoft sculpt keyboard and story of my Repetitive Strain Injury
clips from Xah Talk Show 2020-12-02 emacs Sentence Lines, my RSI, Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard, Function Keys

Function Key vs Key Chord, Which is Healthier, Which is Faster?

Efficient Layout for Numbers
minor update

never buy keyboard with function keys in a continuous row

Why Function Keys Are Useful

minor updates.

Mistel Barocco Split Keyboard now has wireless bluetooth!

Gergo Keyboard more photo of gergo.

TRON Keyboard
new photo

good compact wireless ergo keyboard

Gonna buy this. Need wireless. No other good alternative. I need it for use with Microsoft Surface Pro.

MS sculpt kbd 20201129 XwxHB-s250
Microsoft Sculpt

The alternative is either keychron or niz plum. Keychron not too expensive but not ergo. Or i really want niz plum but too expensive. Plus, they not ergo.

Keychron K1 9VsCw-s250
Keychron K2
niz plum 84 gR8Jj-s250
Niz Plum

Faak. My Gergo Keyboard broke. Now back to X-Bows Keyboard, for use when in bed typing on my Microsoft Surface Pro 4, 2015

gergo random type 2020-11-25 nJQxq
gergo random type 2020-11-25

It happened about twice before, gergo would start to type random by itself. Unplug and replug solved the problem. Today it happened again. But i unplugged the keyboard side instead. After replug, it doesn't work. Repeat replug still the case. When holding a key on the right side, it would then type a string about 20 or so repetition of the key. And i realized, if i unplug the cable that connect them, the right side works fine. .

end of the ergonomic keyboard evolution

I think the ergonomic evolution, began in 2013 by Truly Ergonomic then Ergodox in DIY, with onset of 3d printing and mech keyswitch craze, is over. There is not much new that haven't been explored.

massive key switch master

Max Keyboard All in One Mechanical Keyswitch Tester with Labeled PBT Keycaps Buy at amazon

See also: Keyboard Key Switch Mechanisms


VicTsing Pioneer mouse 2020-11 cb8C3-s250
VicTsing Pioneer Mouse

Tangent Ripple Grading Panel
someone bought this.

Windows Keyboard Shortcuts
minor update

Evoluent Vertical Mouse minor update.

Microsoft PowerToys

Windows Keyboard Software Guide

Perixx came out with many colorful 34 mm balls for trackball. Trackball Ball Sizes and Replacement

Kensington Orbit Fusion Trackball NhHXn2-s250
Kensington Orbit Fusion

amazon goodies.

Top Chi Solid Copper Baoding Balls Vks8J-s400
Top Chi Solid Copper Baoding Balls, 1.5 Inch Buy at amazon

see How to Avoid Emacs Pinky

and added protective case to:

Dumang DK6  jamesni 2020-10-23 zVFC7-s2000-s250
Dumang Dk6 Keyboard

more photo and review.

Dumang DK6 Keyboard
added a comment

Sonder Keyboard, 5 years, seems still no product. added video

Varmilo EC Switch c7Mpk-s250
Varmilo EC Switch

minor update.

you buy! Sennheiser HD 820 Headphone Buy at amazon

Corne/Jorne Keyboard

Backspace Key: Key Label's Influence on Key Purpose
minor update

Sun Microsystems Type 6 Keyboard
added a type 7 photo.

Xah Talk Show 2020-09-27 best programable keypad, unix config files, why JavaScript property sucks

minor updates.

Programable Keypad

Univac F-1355-00 Keyboard, 1971
added a video.

keyboard hand iron balls 2020-09-21 zpS88-s900-s250
RSI Hand Exercise Toys

French Letter Frequency, updated.

Xah Talk Show 2020-09-20 Keyboard Layouts, QWERTY Dvorak Colemak, Why PHP is Better Than JavaScript

todo, work on JavaScript to make the interactive char counter app to also show keyboard heatmap.

Major update. Write JavaScript + SVG for all keyboard layout diagrams. Still have lots improvements to do.

xah talk show 2020-09-14, programable keyboard, keyboard input tools for image/video editing

what is this?

geeksocial switch opener shN6X
geeksocial switch opener Buy at amazon
Loupedeck Console 2021-02-s250
Loupedeck Photo Editing Console

Arrow Keys added several more photos.

review, updated, repost.

Xah Talk Show 2020-09-03, Evolution of Laptop Keyboards

lol, someone bought this. 100 dollars. Was 20 back in 2003

ms comfort curve keyboard 2000 2020-09-03 TX4mB
Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000

Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000

microsoft surface book keyboard 2016 58947-s250
Microsoft Surface Book Keyboard
Macbook Pro 2015 keyboard 11256-s250
thinkpad 360PE keyboard 42810-s250
Thinkpad Keyboard

Logitech G604 Mouse added optimal setup for web browsing.

Xah Keyboard Blog Archive

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