Emacs Keyboard Design 33: What If Emacs Pinky Isn’t Real

Emacs Pinky might be real.

What does a good Emacs keyboard look like if it isn’t, though?

  • Guiding idea:
    • Wide variety of key switches lets you choose for strength of finger
    • Don’t need to worry about “Emacs pinky”
    • Still stick with tenets and lessons learned so far
    • Assumption: Your fingers combined with the appropriate switch only require a single key
  • Start with preset ANSI 104
  • Make every key 1×1
  • Space goes in home position below F and J
  • Enter goes in home position below Space
  • Menu key is deleted
  • Num pad is deleted
  • Leave QAZ alone!
  • Shift ~ right so 1 is above Q
  • Rename Backspace to “Back Space”
  • Move below ~: Tab, Caps Lock, Shift
  • Move shift near main body
  • Move CapsLock close to A
  • Add Fn to right of “
    • I use F1-F4 for macros, and not much else
  • Use Fn to move escape rows into row below
    • Justification
      • Never used ScrollLock and PauseBreak
      • PrtSc is a flow interruption operation, so Fn is fine
      • Ditto for F keys and Esc
      • Important for one handed operation are navigation keys
      • Originally made these moved keys front print, but they are so familiar and obvious, I removed it. Made it easier, use doubleshot donors.
  • Rename Win to Gui
  • Move arrow keys on same row as Gui
  • Too difficult to guess what shifters would be perfect
    • Instead of guessing: Greek, APL, Emoticons, and Double-Struck
    • Make it per-layer 1-4
      • See now why Space cadet ended up here
    • Added I, II, III, IV between spaces and enters
  • Made Shift keys 1.5w
    • Foundational for reach-shift combinations
    • Make you feel “home”, sort of
    • Visually fine
  • Desire to utilize empty key space grows
  • Ultra key: C-M-s-H
    • Can do to do with current layout
    • Can do with Shift, too
    • Not easy though
    • Adding it
    • Works fine with shift
  • Still love the idea of a GUI Ultra/Meh
    • Control-Alt-Shift is doable
    • Seems a waste not to use that space to left and right of GUI
      • Unless I move arrow keys left and saved two spaces on right
        • Makes sense
        • PrSc is still totally fine
        • Gap in keyboard between Fn and Home looks weird
          • Shouldn’t matter but it just looks weird
        • Stick with 80%
    • Name it Parc, for Xerox’s Gui
  • Still a shame to waste empty spaces
  • Add function layers for V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X
  • Still a shame to waste empty spaces
  • Add function layers for XI, XII
  • 11 layers is great, currently not using that many, perhaps make PrtSc row normal keys again?
    • Yea, familiarity is good, and still plenty of function layers
  • Thoughts
    • Home keys still staggered and familiar
    • Everything is familiar
    • Shift is the “second home” so bigger
    • Nice to see layer access be simple and transparent
    • 6 rows means using caps other than DSA
    • Use letters on each cap, easier to remember
    • Can get most caps doubleshot from stock set
    • For custom 1x and 1.5x can do custom
      • Donate 35 custom keys, rest spares or sell
  • Summary
    • Started with ANSI-104
    • Keys removed: 0
    • Keys added: 19 (2x each modifier, 5) (layers, 9)
    • Keys resized: 8
    • Keys moved: Enter and space
    • 5 emacs modifiers (Emacs remapping)
    • 3 OS modifiers (Normal OS stuff)
    • Layers: 11 total (firmware layers)
      • Base (normal keyboard)
      • Fn: Use top row as function keys
      • 1-9

keyboard-layout-33.png


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