Testing the Kinesis Advantage Pro
Published at: 2017-01-23
I recently started to observe some minor discomfort while coding with the Microsoft Wired Keyboard 600 which I started typing with 10 months ago.
This was when I decided to give more ergonomic keyboards a try.
Just recently I noticed the wide variety of options when martin fowler posted something about him trying out the Kinesis Advantage Pro (KAP). After reading Avdi Grimms Post Why you should spend $350 on a computer keyboard I decided to give the Kinesis a try.
Adapting to the Kinesis
While I see the problem (e.g. Vendor lock-in) of learning and therefore investing and relying on a manufacturer-specific piece of hardware, especially for something as profound as typing, I also think that re-learning basic skills help to deepen understanding of fundamental concepts, e.g. typing.
Well, lets see about that!
To make my learning process somewhat more quantifiable I decided to use 10FastFingers.com to measure my current typing speed with the Microsoft Keyboard and compare it daily with my achieved typing speed with the KAP.
I dont consider pure typing speed as a sole success factor but its the easiest measurable metric and its sole purpose is to allow a somewhat comparable metric.
The baseline speed with the Microsoft Keyboard is around 80 WPM.
The first day was pretty brutal and displayed shortcomings regarding my current typing technique.
Day 2 I introduced the foot pedal. More on that later. I mapped it to
shift but after
using it for 3-4 hours my leg started aching. The progress in terms of WPM was not
Three reasons. First: I did not train a lot, just 3-4 hours overall. Second: I started
properly coding, resulting in slowly re-learning all those precious muscle-memory
dependant shortcuts and commands. Third: I realized that a lot of my typing is not
writing words but commanding the computer to switch contexts, navigate the filesystem,
search for text in files or eventually on the screen.
I excited to see whats happening in the next 5-10 days.
I ditched the foot pedal. Also I started to invest some time to think about different ways of key-remapping.
Over the day I spent about 3-4 hours typing, partially coding, partially writing text. Overall I mildly improved my WPM from 14 to 22.
I definately dont want to change existing key-mappings since I will keep on using the not-ergonomic Microsoft keyboard and dont want to relearn two things at once.
Therefore will investigate a software-solution to keep the same key-mappings
but having an additional layer of
meta-mapping when working with the kinesis.
Day 4 & 5
I am starting to gain some typing speed back (current WPM ~ 37) and I observed several problematic keys and key-combinations which I am still struggling with a lot.
The most problematic keys are the parentheses (
< …) other special chars
e.g. the pipe
|, the backtick
\` and tilde
~ which I actually use pretty
frequently. Many of those mentioned keys are only reachable with the pinky or
ring finger. I don't know if this is just a matter of proper training. Let's see.
Otherwise most of my keyboard mappings seem to somehow be persisted into my brain.
I wouldn't say that I feel completely comfortable with the KAP but it feels like getting closer to a somewhat "better place".