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custom keyboard layouts

 
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Different people have different typing styles and type different things. A C programmer will use many curly braces; a LISP programmer will use many parentheses; a UNIX user will use the vertical bar more often than most people; a writer will use mostly letters and whatever functions keys operate the word processor. Different people have different degrees of dexterity, and some people favor one hand over another.

So, have a program record keystroke statistics as you use your computer. (Make the program open source, so that nobody worries that it's logging the data and sending it off to someone.) After a while, it generates a recommended keyboard layout which is optimal for your particular typing needs. The utility program can then remap your keyboard to this new layout. It can optionally perform the mapping gradually, swapping a couple keys every day or so, to let you become gradually accustomed to the new system.

Furthermore, this utility records your custom layout in a central registry. Whenever you're using a different computer that is also running this utility, you press a special key (I propose "Scroll Lock") and then type in the name you have assigned your layout. The utility downloads the layout from the registry, and now it's all set up for you. When you're done, you can press Scroll Lock (or whatever) again and it reverts to its previous state.

The registry will come with common layouts like QWERTY and DVORAK pre-loaded as well, so any keyboard on this system can easily accomodate users accustomed to any particular traditional layout.

egnor, Jun 02 2001

Re-mappable keyboard http://www.halfbake...mappable_20keyboard
[egnor, Jun 02 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Configurable keycaps http://www.halfbake...figurable_20Keycaps
... would be nice. [egnor, Jun 02 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Legoboard http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/Legoboard
[egnor, Jun 02 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

"Beyond Dvorak via Genetic Algorithm" (via Slashdot) http://www.visi.com/~pmk/evolved.html
I think the use of GA is gratuitous and unnecessary, but the concept is not too dissimilar. [egnor, Jul 06 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

A paper on virtual keyboard optimization http://citeseer.nj.nec.com/501140.html
For PDAs rather than PCs, but interesting nonetheless. Also see the related work and citations. [egnor, Jul 06 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

[link]






       I've found a screwdriver does the trick. Just pop the keys out and replace them where needed most.   

       Here, I'll show you how to do this...just pop the key out and ewrihgnvw;soaekjfanvc w;lei; aeofjpeagfjafoufgsdlfghsl
Reverend D, Jun 02 2001
  

       I have proceded to pry the keys from my keyboard (dont try this at home, they fly at 100000mph) and rearranged then to read: "OMGFUN" "BIH" and other various phrases. This keeps other users that are lacking typing skills to use my computer at all. Then i removed all the icons so my mom would get angry. IMADORK
MrBubbles, Aug 24 2001
  

       I see your point and I think it makes sense. I read the slashdot article on keyboard remapping based on the most commonly used letters for the user and I thouoght, hey that would be great for programming, or even when the formaiing you use most often is a stretch or inconvenient or slows down uyour typing speed. mmmm, let's bake.
captivity, Jul 08 2002
  

       Makes sense - an individual who rarely uses numbers, but uses parentheses like they're going out of style would appreciate this.
(Croissant)
thumbwax, Dec 21 2002
  
      
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