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Daily Driver Use

Daily Driver Use

From:
Chris Osborne
Date:
2015-03-13 @ 16:45
Thanks Phil for the reply to me previous question about spacers.

I know that you've used the atreus for quite some time now, and I assume 
that some other users have too. I just wondered whether you feel it is a 
sensible daily use board and if there are any particular areas you would 
look to improve if not building one primarily for portability.

Cheers,
Chris

Re: [atreus] Daily Driver Use

From:
Chris Osborne
Date:
2015-03-14 @ 14:42
Thanks everyone for all the great advice and opinions, it's great to see 
that the atreus is clearly such a success.
On my laptop I have a momentary L2 modifier set to tab which gives me a 
load of punctuation in the alpha area, which sounds very similar to what 
people are describing. As a general rule I prefer layered typing anyway 
- I'd rather press more buttons out of a smaller set than have to keep 
stretching and looking for some of the awkward one. Like all heavy vim 
users I think here comes a time when we all want to chop off over half 
the keyboard since those buttons are never used!

It seems to me that the bottom row on the atreus can be a bit 
troublesome, and if I recall correctly Phil commented this way back in 
his initial blog post. For a slightly less portable personal design I am 
proposing adding three extra keys in a new column on each side (same 
column offset as the little-finger column). This would increase total 
width by about 40mm which is pretty negligible for a desk board and 
doesn't make it not portable either, however, it would allow much easier 
access to keys like tab and avoid things like those ctrl-i/p conflicts. 
It would probably allow for a bit more unshifted punctuation too (I have 
no qualms about stretching the little-finger across 2 columns, but 3+ is 
silly).
I think I'll probably make a couple of little palm rests too, maybe look 
at building them into the case.
I probably ought to look at moving this discussion somewhere else now, 
given that this is an atreus mailing list, not a list for atreus 
derivatives.

Thanks for all the advice, it's great to get all these opinions.
Chris

Re: [atreus] Daily Driver Use

From:
Phil Hagelberg
Date:
2015-03-14 @ 15:09
Chris Osborne <chris.osborne@gmx.com> writes:

> It seems to me that the bottom row on the atreus can be a bit 
> troublesome, and if I recall correctly Phil commented this way back in 
> his initial blog post. For a slightly less portable personal design I am 
> proposing adding three extra keys in a new column on each side (same 
> column offset as the little-finger column).

Personally the bottom row doesn't bother me much. I use C-i instead of
tab, and the other keys along the bottom aren't bad to hit once you get
used to it. There is a variant of the firmware that can send a literal
tab keycode when C-i is hit, and it does the same with C-m and
return.

But if you want a wider design, you should take a look at the OpenSCAD
case; it supports changing the number of rows and columns and
recompiling to get a new case shape.

  https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=54759.msg1304117#msg1304117

> I probably ought to look at moving this discussion somewhere else now, 
> given that this is an atreus mailing list, not a list for atreus 
> derivatives.

I don't mind discussion here, but you would probably get better feedback
by starting a thread on GeekHack's "Making things Together" forum;
that's where I posted the initial Atreus discussion.

good luck.

-Phil

Re: [atreus] Daily Driver Use

From:
Phil Hagelberg
Date:
2015-03-14 @ 12:51
Chris Osborne <chris.osborne@gmx.com> writes:

> I know that you've used the atreus for quite some time now, and I assume 
> that some other users have too. I just wondered whether you feel it is a 
> sensible daily use board and if there are any particular areas you would 
> look to improve if not building one primarily for portability.

Apart from the digits (which IMO are a lot easier to hit accurately in a
numpad arrangement than across the top) there are only five characters
you can hit on a normal keyboard unshifted that require fn on the
Atreus: [, ], =, \, and `. So if you think of fn as just being another
kind of shift, it doesn't require a lot of extra key presses for normal
typing.

Beyond that it is just going to depend on your usage patterns and the
programs you use. If you're in luck you use programs that have good
support for rebinding commands to different keys, which makes things a
lot easier. If you make heavy use of the arrow keys, you might have
trouble with the default layout. You could move the arrow keys to the fn
layer to make them more accessible, as long as you don't mind moving
some of the more obscure punctuation to L2.

There is also the idea of a non-modal L2 layer which would make the
arrow and F-keys more accessible:

https://github.com/technomancy/atreus-firmware/issues/26

> Right now the arrow keys and F-keys are a bit harder to hit than the
> regular fn layer keys because you have to hit a key to switch to L2
> mode, hit the key, then switch out of L2. If we could make L2 active
> only while a certain combination is held, it would be more
> convenient. fn+shift could bring it to L2, since shift is redundant on
> the fn layer.

I haven't implemented this yet, but seeing how several people would
benefit from it, I'll put it next on my list.

-Phil

Re: [atreus] Daily Driver Use

From:
Aj Christensen
Date:
2015-03-13 @ 23:12
Yo Chris,

On Sat, Mar 14, 2015 at 5:45 AM, Chris Osborne <chris.osborne@gmx.com> wrote:
> Thanks Phil for the reply to me previous question about spacers.
>
> I know that you've used the atreus for quite some time now, and I assume
> that some other users have too. I just wondered whether you feel it is a
> sensible daily use board and if there are any particular areas you would
> look to improve if not building one primarily for portability.

I've been daily driving mine for two months now. I switched from a
Kinesis Ergo Advantage. If I get lazy and rest my palms on my desk I
get a bit of pain, but it's not bad if you keep your wrists up - may
invest in a small gel pad. I was back to full speed within two weeks
thanks to daily drills on typing.io and keybr.com. Take Phil's keymap
print out and blue tack it to the wall above your monitor / in your
cubicle / on a frisbee and fling it out the window.

I thought the layer system would make it unsuitable for gaming (in the
evenings..) but haven't had any trouble beyond the f-keys being a
little "out of reach" for quick micro movements. It hasn't been nearly
as bad as I thought, and the temporal f-key shift modifier that Phil
has been planning may rectify this. You do have symbols available on
the left hand side, and right hand side via L1/shift combination, too,
which I didn't realize. The arrow keys aren't really within reach for
fast access as well, so I use layer zero's WASD (for gaming) for
these.

Using a system like paredit in your Emacs can help get used to the
symbol relocation as well, transient mark, hit a single parentheses or
whatever, manipulate s-exps.

I was hitting the SUPER key a LOT during the first few weeks when
aiming for shift. I disabled it in Windows and use CTRL-ESC instead
now. In Linux with xmonad this isn't any trouble.

I have thought about adding a few of the missing keys (in the driver)
to the 3rd layout, like pause/break, sysrq, but really haven't found
the need.

It's really nice to be able to hit both CTRL and META with either
thumb! I like the compact layout, it's saving a lot of desk space.

If I was building one primarily not for portability, I would include
space for f-keys, LEDs to indicate which layer we are in, integrated
palm rests and potentially some duplicate modifiers on the RHS to
allow for alternative movements.

I've been thinking about building an ergo gaming left-hand-side only
version (to be used with a numpad grid style mouse) with a mechanical
thumb d-pad/stick and a two row mini f-key setup, LEDs, which I think
would be awesome!!!

cheers, good luck!

--aj

Re: [atreus] Daily Driver Use

From:
Sean Escriva
Date:
2015-03-14 @ 01:56
Hey,

> On Mar 13, 2015, at 12:45, Chris Osborne <chris.osborne@gmx.com> wrote:
> 
> Thanks Phil for the reply to me previous question about spacers.
> 
> I know that you've used the atreus for quite some time now, and I assume 
> that some other users have too. I just wondered whether you feel it is a 
> sensible daily use board and if there are any particular areas you would 
> look to improve if not building one primarily for portability.

I came from a Kinesis advantage and have been using the Atreus for several
weeks now. I highly recommend it. 

Overall it's great, love the white mx switches and the small size. 

The shifted layout was pretty quick to pickup and the only real issue I've
had is occasionally when jumping to the arrow keys I forget to drop back 
out before hitting enter, which is instead reset. Just means I pause a 
little. Not too hard to unlearn. 

-sean

Re: [atreus] Daily Driver Use

From:
Joe Fiorini
Date:
2015-03-14 @ 03:01
I've been using the Atreus for about a month now as my primary keyboard.
Overall I love it, but just yesterday I found myself researching larger
options for a DIY grid keyboard. Here are my thoughts:

The grid layout is definitely more comfortable than column staggering.
It is a gorgeous, gorgeous keyboard that I love to look at! The layout
is extremely well thought out and perfect for a keyboard of its size

However, my biggest complaint is that often it feels like I'm giving up
a lot for little gain (keep in mind I'm talking about use as my primary
at-home keyboard). For example, although I'm quite proficient with Emacs
shortcuts in my OS (I've been using them for years in my shell & in OSX)
there are sometimes apps that override them. For example, on Linux (I
use Arch as my primary platform for development) Chrome DevTools uses
Ctrl+P to jump to the source tab. On OSX (and in my shell) this would
scroll backwards through my history in the console. Getting to the arrow
keys seems to trigger issues in the Dev Tools so I tend to reach for my
laptop keyboard here (luckily it's easily accessible).

Another issue I've found is trying to switch to layer 2 when an app has
behavior for ESC already. It'll switch layers but also trigger the
behavior unless I press Fn first, then ESC (switching back is another
story).

I also notice that (a little too often) when I'm trying to press Enter
after something requiring Fn, I will have a stray "=" character because
I held down Fn a bit too long.

Sometimes after a full day of usage, my fingers will get fatigued and I
have a hard time manouvering around the bottom row, especially between
Fn, Shift & Tab (I swapped Fn & Cmd because I use Awesome WM and need my
Cmd key a little more accessible). I also learned Ctrl+i works for tab
completions in bash, ZSH & Vim which has been a life saver.

I don't mean to sound negative. I love this keyboard and appreciate all
the work Phil put into designing it. I am continuing to use it as my
primary for the foreseeable future, and will always keep it in my bag
for travel regardless (I get a lot of comments at the coffee shop). I'm
currently tracking my keystrokes in hope of eventually figuring out a
layout for the bottom row that makes more sense for my crazy usage.

I hope this rant helps. Sorry it's a little long; I'm on my phone in my
webmail client and the editor is terrible.

Looking forward to hearing what other people have to say!

-- 
Joe Fiorini

On Fri, Mar 13, 2015, at 09:56 PM, Sean Escriva wrote:
> Hey,
> 
> > On Mar 13, 2015, at 12:45, Chris Osborne <chris.osborne@gmx.com> wrote:
> > 
> > Thanks Phil for the reply to me previous question about spacers.
> > 
> > I know that you've used the atreus for quite some time now, and I assume 
> > that some other users have too. I just wondered whether you feel it is a 
> > sensible daily use board and if there are any particular areas you would 
> > look to improve if not building one primarily for portability.
> 
> I came from a Kinesis advantage and have been using the Atreus for
> several weeks now. I highly recommend it. 
> 
> Overall it's great, love the white mx switches and the small size. 
> 
> The shifted layout was pretty quick to pickup and the only real issue
> I've had is occasionally when jumping to the arrow keys I forget to drop
> back out before hitting enter, which is instead reset. Just means I pause
> a little. Not too hard to unlearn. 
> 
> -sean
> 
> 

Re: [atreus] Daily Driver Use

From:
Phil Hagelberg
Date:
2015-03-14 @ 14:08
Joe Fiorini <joe@joefiorini.com> writes:

> For example, on Linux (I use Arch as my primary platform for
> development) Chrome DevTools uses Ctrl+P to jump to the source tab. On
> OSX (and in my shell) this would scroll backwards through my history
> in the console. Getting to the arrow keys seems to trigger issues in
> the Dev Tools so I tend to reach for my laptop keyboard here (luckily
> it's easily accessible).

As I mentioned in another thread, I have a plan to make the arrow keys
more accessible by allowing that layer to be reached by holding fn+shift
together. I have a feeling that will make arrow-using workflows a lot
smoother. I will announce it on this list once I have something to try.

  https://github.com/technomancy/atreus-firmware/issues/26

> Another issue I've found is trying to switch to layer 2 when an app has
> behavior for ESC already. It'll switch layers but also trigger the
> behavior unless I press Fn first, then ESC (switching back is another
> story).

When I make the above change I will probably move the reset key as well;
you're not the only one to hit it accidentally. It should be safer it's
on the B key, and that key is currently unbound in L2.

You can (and should) make this change on your own though before I get
around to it. Customizing the layout according to match your own usage
patterns better is key to making this work well for you. =) Please let
me know if you have any questions about customizing the layout or if the
documentation is unclear.

> I also notice that (a little too often) when I'm trying to press Enter
> after something requiring Fn, I will have a stray "=" character because
> I held down Fn a bit too long.

There's another firmware codebase that is compatible with the Atreus
that contains a workaround for this, it's called TMK. It's discussed
some in this thread.

  http://librelist.com/browser//atreus/2015/2/3/fwd-l2-mode-lockup/

It is a lot more complex than the main atreus-firmware codebase and much
more difficult to read, but it has a lot more features. I am considering
deprecating my own firmware in favour of it now that it supports layouts
with shifted keys.

  https://github.com/technomancy/tmk_keyboard/tree/atreus

I believe the TMK usage with the Atreus is well-documented, and it's
been tested by a handful of people, but not nearly as widely as the main
atreus-firmware. If you do end up giving it a try, please let me know if
you run into any issues with it.

Hope that helps.

-Phil