Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Mar 2013 16:49 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless "The Minuum keyboard, through its simplicity, improves your touchscreen typing. Existing keyboards leave you barely enough screen to interact with your apps, and you can't enjoy typing on them. Minuum eliminates the visual clutter of archaic mobile keyboards by adapting the keyboard to a single dimension." You have to watch the video. This is yet another example of a strength of more open platforms - like Android - that often gets overlooked: the ability to experiment with core aspects of the operating system. Whenever someone says there are no Android-exclusive applications, they conveniently overlook things like this. No other platform has stuff like this, and I certainly miss this experimentation on my 8X.
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no no no
by evert on Mon 18th Mar 2013 17:03 UTC
evert
Member since:
2005-07-06

That is NOT a keyboard.

THIS is a keyboard:

http://www.daskeyboard.com/

Reply Score: 6

RE: no no no
by KLU9 on Mon 18th Mar 2013 17:32 UTC in reply to "no no no"
KLU9 Member since:
2006-12-06

I've seen glowing praise for those IBM-style clicky keyboards over the years, and even considered getting one (especially after getting RSI from my HP ultrabook's chiclet keyboard).

But my work is based on audio-conferencing: I couldn't have other people hearing all that clicking while we're trying to speak.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: no no no
by evert on Mon 18th Mar 2013 17:37 UTC in reply to "RE: no no no"
evert Member since:
2005-07-06

They also sell a less noisy model "S" (silent?) for open workspaces.

Oh, and I also like some gaming keyboards from Logitech, they are silent too.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: no no no
by gan17 on Tue 19th Mar 2013 06:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: no no no"
gan17 Member since:
2008-06-03

They also sell a less noisy model "S" (silent?) for open workspaces.

The "S" stands for soft. I got myself a Professional S model late last year and while not completely silent, they're much quieter than most keyboards I've used, mechanical or otherwise.

Too bad the "Linux Penguin" key (to replace the Windows logo key) offered by DasKeyboard isn't compatible with S models, though it'd still be pointless for me even if they did, since I run OpenBSD not Linux.

I want a key that says "Mod 4" ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: no no no
by ssokolow on Tue 19th Mar 2013 06:45 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: no no no"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

Too bad the "Linux Penguin" key (to replace the Windows logo key) offered by DasKeyboard isn't compatible with S models, though it'd still be pointless for me even if they did, since I run OpenBSD not Linux.

I want a key that says "Mod 4" ;)


For the record, it's expensive, but there is a manufacturer of Cherry MX Brown keyboards who will print whatever you want on that key.

http://www.wasdkeyboards.com/wasd-v1-custom-keyboard.html

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: no no no
by evert on Tue 19th Mar 2013 07:35 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: no no no"
evert Member since:
2005-07-06

Thanks for the link to WASD!! It looks like they make very interesting stuff. I like the customization they offer.

http://www.wasdkeyboards.com/

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: no no no
by ssokolow on Wed 20th Mar 2013 08:03 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: no no no"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

I'm not sure why I forgot about it, but WASD will actually print up individual custom keycaps for Cherry MX switches too.

http://www.wasdkeyboards.com/index.php/products/printed-keycap-sing...

If you want "mod4" on the key, the custom text-printed option is the cheapest way to get it and it'll end up costing you about $11 plus shipping for a pair of them.

...or if you just want to ditch the Windows logo, they'll sell you a pair of blank ones in a color of your choice for $2.50 plus shipping.

http://www.wasdkeyboards.com/index.php/row-1-size-1x1-25-cherry-mx-...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: no no no
by ssokolow on Mon 18th Mar 2013 18:52 UTC in reply to "RE: no no no"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

I've seen glowing praise for those IBM-style clicky keyboards over the years, and even considered getting one (especially after getting RSI from my HP ultrabook's chiclet keyboard).

But my work is based on audio-conferencing: I couldn't have other people hearing all that clicking while we're trying to speak.


Mechanical switches don't need to bottom out to register and even the "clicky" Cherry MX Blue switches are quieter than the sound of the quietest membrane keys I've ever found.

(With membrane keyboards, you have to bottom out the keys to ensure they register, which means slamming them into the backboard and wasting energy making noise. With mechanical switches, they register at about half-press by design and you can feel (tactile) and/or hear (clicky) most types.)

Furthermore, some keyboards have the option to come with O rings on the key stems so you don't bottom them out and make noise and you can easily retrofit any Cherry MX-series switch with an O ring. (Just buy a $3 keycap puller or take a loop of dental floss if you're desperate, pull straight up on the keycap, slide the ring onto the circular stem on underside of the key (not the +-shaped stem it mates with on the switch), and then replace the keycap and press all the way down to seat the ring)

As a comparison, I'd say that when I type softly enough to avoid bottoming out my Cherry MX Blues, it sounds to be about as loud as scrunching up a plastic shopping bag. (I don't currently use O rings, hence the "when I type softly enough".)

Here's a good starter guide to all the details about choosing a keyboard and how various mechanical boards stack up:

http://www.overclock.net/t/491752/mechanical-keyboard-guide

(I'm using a Rosewill RK-9000I which, unlike that page's claim about the normal RK-9000, does have laser-etched labels on the keycaps)

This Overclock.net post goes into more detail about which O rings to use, providing links to two sellers... though McMaster-Carr only accepts non-U.S. orders from established clients:

http://www.overclock.net/t/1090041/canabalized-rosewill-for-filco-s...

Edited 2013-03-18 18:59 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: no no no
by judgen on Mon 18th Mar 2013 19:40 UTC in reply to "RE: no no no"
judgen Member since:
2006-07-12

I am a huge fan of my 1984 IBM M-series keyboards and i use them almost exclusively. But i agree they can be rather noisy, so sometimes when i need it to be silent but still have that great mechanical feel without any clicking at all i use the ThermalTake Meka full size keyboard.
It is really nice, and just as the M-series it has a full numpad and no annoying windows keys that messes up my typeflow (i know it is just something to get use to, but as i have not, i prefer keyboards without them.)
Also a nice feature is ofcourse the built in USB2.0 hub and the size and weight is just perfect. Beware though, if you use pgUp or pgDn keys, there are none of those either on the Meka, just as there are no "multimedia" keys on any of my keyboards.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: no no no
by ssokolow on Mon 18th Mar 2013 19:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: no no no"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

Interesting. I bought the Rosewill RK-9000I with Cherry MX Blues rather than a buckling spring keyboard specifically because I wanted Windows keys.

(Model Ms don't have them and Unicomp wanted $50 to ship a $70 keyboard to Canada)

I run Linux and, because no application uses it, my windows key is the basis of every global keyboard shortcut I use (including ones traditionally relegated to media keys like Win+Pause, which toggles play/pause on my media player regardless of focus)

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: no no no
by UltraZelda64 on Mon 18th Mar 2013 21:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: no no no"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

In this context, what you want and are using is more appropriately called the Meta key. There is no "Windows key" in non-Microsoft operating systems, and most UNIX/UNIX-like systems map those physical keys as Meta keys when when present.

I don't personally use it myself, but you are right that they can be very useful if you like using keyboard shortcuts.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: no no no
by ssokolow on Mon 18th Mar 2013 22:07 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: no no no"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

In this context, what you want and are using is more appropriately called the Meta key. There is no "Windows key" in non-Microsoft operating systems, and most UNIX/UNIX-like systems map those physical keys as Meta keys when when present.

I don't personally use it myself, but you are right that they can be very useful if you like using keyboard shortcuts.


Actually, it's Super. Meta is mapped to the same modifier (mod1) as Alt.

I call it the Windows key because I haven't yet found a cost-effective source for a replacement keycap... and because I use it for a lot of my window management.

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: no no no
by UltraZelda64 on Mon 18th Mar 2013 23:13 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: no no no"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

Whoops, you're right. I knew something didn't sound right as I kept typing and even re-reading that. It sucks having to use a cell phone for all my normal activities, all of a sudden such simple things as a quick Google/Wikipedia search to double-check become a royal PITA and I usually just hit post and hope that lingering feeling of incorrectness is wrong...

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: no no no
by Bobthearch on Tue 19th Mar 2013 00:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: no no no"
Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

I am a huge fan of my 1984 IBM M-series keyboards and i use them almost exclusively. But i agree they can be rather noisy...


My favorites are the KeyTronic keyboards that I believe are made by the same company as the old Dell Quiet Key. Good tactile feedback and quick spring action, but without the loud clacking of the famous IBMs. And the Keytronics are easy to find, cost about $10 each, and last forever.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: no no no
by ssokolow on Thu 21st Mar 2013 08:12 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: no no no"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

My favorites are the KeyTronic keyboards that I believe are made by the same company as the old Dell Quiet Key. Good tactile feedback and quick spring action, but without the loud clacking of the famous IBMs. And the Keytronics are easy to find, cost about $10 each, and last forever.


At that price, I'm very curious indeed but there are a lot of results for "Keytronics".

Mind being a little more specific?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: no no no
by KLU9 on Tue 19th Mar 2013 10:54 UTC in reply to "RE: no no no"
KLU9 Member since:
2006-12-06

Thanks to everyone for all the info on keyboards. Saved!

Reply Score: 2

RE: no no no
by Wafflez on Mon 18th Mar 2013 23:35 UTC in reply to "no no no"
Wafflez Member since:
2011-06-26

This. I was a little excited to see new clickity (I hoped) keyboard. You know, the one that you look at and just feel the sudden urge to write some code. ;)

But... Some random software to smudge your screen? I will never ever buy a phone without a keyboard.

Touchscreen is okay for scrolling or giving to little kids to paint and what not. For typing — no, never. Even short SMSes, let alone forum posts.

Edited 2013-03-18 23:38 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: no no no
by Johann Chua on Tue 19th Mar 2013 04:58 UTC in reply to "no no no"
Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

I use an Apple Extended Keyboard II with a Griffin iMate on my iBook G4.

Reply Score: 2

A cool idea
by nej_simon on Mon 18th Mar 2013 17:42 UTC
nej_simon
Member since:
2011-02-11

I'm not sure it'll work as well as in the video but if it does I'm probably going to use this keyboard!

One of the things I really don't like about new Android phones from the high-end segment are the huge displays. On my nexus 4 reaching the whole keyboards with my thumb is difficult. So if this new keyboard design works then it will actually increase Android's usability on large screen-devices a lot.

I donated some money just to get to try the beta.

Reply Score: 2

RE: A cool idea
by phoenix on Mon 18th Mar 2013 20:05 UTC in reply to "A cool idea"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

I could see this being useful when in landscape mode. Portrait keyboards are fine, as they generally only take up 30-40% of the screen, leaving lots of room for content. Landscape keyboards, though, are just atrocious. Especially coming from hardware keyboards where 100% of the screen is available for content.

Will be interesting to try.

Reply Score: 2

Oooh, yay...
by UltraZelda64 on Mon 18th Mar 2013 20:52 UTC
UltraZelda64
Member since:
2006-12-05

Minuum improves mobile typing by:
...
Respecting your familiarity with the QWERTY keyboard so you don’t have to re-learn the keyboard layout


So, just yet another software "keyboard" that refuses to let go of that creaky old piece of shit layout and claims to be something new. You're better off just using MessagEase... it's here, right now; it's free, and it doesn't bother clinging to a centuries-old, antique, beyond-outdated primitive typewriter layout.

And meanwhile check out the Dvorak and Colemak layouts if you're still on that ancient atrocity and would like to have a more comfortable typing experience with real, physical keyboards.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Oooh, yay...
by ssokolow on Mon 18th Mar 2013 21:04 UTC in reply to "Oooh, yay..."
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

Actually, I don't have the link handy, but I read an interesting study about how Dvorak layouts don't actually improve your performance over QWERTY ones.

It's probably one of the ones referenced in the "Controversy" section of the "Dvorak Simplified Keyboard" Wikipedia article but I don't have time to re-locate it right now.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Oooh, yay...
by UltraZelda64 on Mon 18th Mar 2013 21:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Oooh, yay..."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

There is plenty of controversy over the layout, mostly baseless. As a user of the layout and previously a QWERTY user my entire life, I can confidently call bullshit on the vast majority of them. The Dvorak layout really is a pleasure to type on.

Three or four weeks in you get an optimistic glimpse of what's to come. By a month and a half you're really starting to get a feel for it. By two or two and a half months, you'll never want to go back.

The efficiency gained by the greatly reduced workload of the fingers is real. The difference can be felt in the form of a reduction or even complete elimination of hand/wrist/arm fatigue and/or pain. You feel as if you're typing slower than you actually are because your hands aren't flying all over the place, yet the speeds are comparable.

I still need some practice on it, I have only been using it since early December and had to abruptly stop due to real life getting in the way earlier this month. I had already reached my old average for shorter bursts by that time and could tell there was plenty of improvement to be made. That's about three months, vs. well over a decade I've been touchtyping QWERTY.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Oooh, yay...
by No it isnt on Mon 18th Mar 2013 22:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Oooh, yay..."
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

I'm sure I've heard the exact same argument made before, but then in favour of homeopathy. Your confident call of bullshit is nothing but anecdotal ... well, calling it evidence would be an exaggeration, as you only have your subjective experience with no objective metrics. But anecdote it is.

Reply Score: 6

RE[4]: Oooh, yay...
by UltraZelda64 on Mon 18th Mar 2013 23:40 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Oooh, yay..."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

A bhut jolokia is hotter than a banana pepper. I know, because I tried them both. Is that purely anecdotal? If you answer yes, then how about you look it up and read all the scientific stats and findings that back it up, or better yet, try them both yourself?

Similarly with Dvorak, all the information is out there--you just have to look it up. I did, and it is quite fascinating. If you want a site with a more scientific background and analysis of the various keyboard layouts, look up CarpalX.

Martin Krzywinski, the guy behind CarpalX, is a scientist who specializes in bioinformatics and has written a program to assist in making keyboard layouts and testing the efficiency of existing layouts. So I think It's safe to say that this guy takes things seriously and looks at things from as scientific a standpoint as you could possibly get.

Edited 2013-03-18 23:46 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Oooh, yay...
by No it isnt on Tue 19th Mar 2013 08:33 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Oooh, yay..."
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

Comparing the hotness of peppers is all about comparing the subjective experience (taste). The validity of any objective scale of taste can only be tested through repeated intersubjective verification. The subjective taste is actually the gold standard here. Of course, one also has to eliminate for bias through blind tasting, even though bias arguably is part of the experience.

I've looked at a few scientific studies of keyboard layouts (just the newer ones found with Google Scholar). Two of them found a speed advantage of 4% to Dvorak, which is amazingly small considering the propaganda. The gain hardly makes up for the months needed for retraining.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Oooh, yay...
by UltraZelda64 on Tue 19th Mar 2013 10:14 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Oooh, yay..."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

No, actually it is the subjectiveness or individual tolerance to capsaicinoids, taste is not quite where the heat comes from. But that's not the point; the point was, if you'd read just a bit deeper you'd find out about things like high-performance liquid chromatography, which is a fancy 'scientific' way to find the actual heat level at the source--through the testing the pepper to find the actual amount of capsaicin for that pepper. It can go much deeper than the original way to obtain the scoville ratings, which was just having a panel of people eat one and see how it goes--subjectively.

It's the same here. There is plenty written of keyboard layouts beyond the purely obviously subjective, and it's not too difficult to separate facts from subjectivity. And even then, who's to say that every subjective statement is automatically 'wrong'? They may have just not been fully tested in a completely scientific way yet, but there's plenty of facts out there that can be obtained from various sources to help you come to your own conclusion. And unless someone plans to pay for an extensive scientific study, the best evidence is probably just trying it yourself.

By the way if speed is all you care about, then stick with what you know--Dvorak may or may not help you there. But the layout has many other advantages, including comfort, that I'd put above speed in importance. What good is raw speed when you have to murder your wrists to obtain it? I admit, I always thought the speed claims were some of Dvorak's more questionable ones, although in theory I can see how it may be possible. Eventually I may find out for myself.

Edited 2013-03-19 10:29 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Oooh, yay...
by ssokolow on Mon 18th Mar 2013 22:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Oooh, yay..."
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

Hmm. Maybe something for me to consider experimenting with, then, if/when I can ever spare time to temporarily drop my typing speed. I have noticed it taking effort to limit my use of my wrists in typing due to the awkward distances from home row for many common keys.

Looking at the layout diagram on Wikipedia, it looks easy to set up using nothing more than a keycap puller and the OS keyboard layout dialog.

Edited 2013-03-18 22:13 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Oooh, yay...
by Lobotomik on Tue 19th Mar 2013 14:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Oooh, yay..."
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

Are they good only for English, or are they as good in any language? Lots of people need to type regularly in two or more languages: is this OK on a Dvorak layout?

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Oooh, yay...
by UltraZelda64 on Tue 19th Mar 2013 18:47 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Oooh, yay..."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

It was designed and optimized for the English language based on things like letter frequencies and common bigraphs, etc., but if you speak French I've heard of a version adapted to that language called Bepo. It may work well in some other languages, who knows. I have heard of some completely unique layout designed and optimized for the German language as well, but I can't remember its name.

QWERTY wasn't optimized for any written language, it was the successor to a plain old alphabetical layout (just look at the home row: ASDFGHJKL, and the most common letters are pretty much everywhere but the home row). It was designed so primitive typewriters wouldn't jam, by placing keys that were commonly struck in quick succession (and as a result, their typebars) far away from each other. That just solves a long-obsolete problem; it does absolutely nothing for optimizing text entry in English or any other language.

So really, the argument that Dvorak better support multiple languages perfectly because QWERTY somehow does... doesn't really make any sense. That's assuming that QWERTY was even optimized for the English language in the first place. But it wasn't... creating a layout that didn't jam and created a usable typewriter to sell was top priority. It was only 'optimized' to reduce and get around an antique machine's mechanical problems.

Edited 2013-03-19 18:50 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Oooh, yay...
by darknexus on Wed 20th Mar 2013 00:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Oooh, yay..."
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Are they good only for English, or are they as good in any language? Lots of people need to type regularly in two or more languages: is this OK on a Dvorak layout?

In my experience, no. Dvorak was created and optimized specifically for the spelling patterns of English, to enable the least strain on the hands when typing English. One could, of course, optimize a keyboard layout for any alphabetic language in the same way, but it would be completely different on a per-language (or at minimum a per-language family) basis.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Oooh, yay...
by Dave_K on Tue 19th Mar 2013 18:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Oooh, yay..."
Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

Actually, I don't have the link handy, but I read an interesting study about how Dvorak layouts don't actually improve your performance over QWERTY ones.


From what I remember, their conclusions were based on rapid and intensive retraining of experienced QWERTY typists. It showed that it took them considerable time and effort just to regain their previous QWERTY typing speed.

That's evidence that it probably isn't worthwhile for companies to retrain all their staff on Dvorak, but isn't exactly a fair comparison of the potential performance of the two layouts. For that they'd need to train people from scratch, with equal time spent on QWERTY and Dvorak.

Reply Score: 2

Typo
by oskeladden on Mon 18th Mar 2013 21:00 UTC
oskeladden
Member since:
2009-08-05

There's a typo in the title. It's 'minuum', not 'minimuum'.

Reply Score: 3

Where's the source code?
by tidux on Mon 18th Mar 2013 22:32 UTC
tidux
Member since:
2011-08-13

Unless and until there's source code available, I won't install it. The same goes for any input method on Android - that app category is a perfect venue for keyloggers.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Where's the source code?
by le_c on Tue 19th Mar 2013 02:29 UTC in reply to "Where's the source code?"
le_c Member since:
2013-01-02

+1 apart from that, its an awesome idea, its T9 optimized for touch isn't it? good but simple idea, so there should be some open source alternatives out there soon ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Where's the source code?
by avgalen on Tue 19th Mar 2013 04:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Where's the source code?"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

Then I guess you will now donate 100 bucks, which will get you:

Permanent special early VIP access to all software apps, libraries, and development kits that we create, forever! We'll of course also take special interest in your feature requests. You'll also get all the above perks: early access to the Android beta, a shout-out on our website, a set of wacky poetry magnets, and a t-shirt!

Reply Score: 2

the problem is...
by SeeM on Tue 19th Mar 2013 08:25 UTC
SeeM
Member since:
2011-09-10

Essentially the problem is in us, humans. We have so bulky hands to work, fight and carrying children, while we should have tiny manipulators for tablets.

Reply Score: 2

Needs dictionary
by torbenm on Tue 19th Mar 2013 09:43 UTC
torbenm
Member since:
2007-04-23

This is not essentially different from using a numeric keypad to type in SMSs: You need a dictionary to make it effective. While this is O.K. for "normal" text, it becomes cumbersome when you need numbers, special symbols or if you need to write in another language (or, worse, a mix of several languages).

Reply Score: 3

RE: Needs dictionary
by Lobotomik on Tue 19th Mar 2013 14:20 UTC in reply to "Needs dictionary"
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

And even with a single language, it tends to work like shit with conjugations, declinations, diminutives, augmentatives, aggregations, similar words with different diacritical marks, and all sorts of root modifications that kick the program out of the dictionary.

My iPhone 4 was particularly bad in that respect. I had to either forgo checking completely or have the keyboard choose the word it wanted, which was EXTREMELY agravating, especially when using two languages. If the wrong dictionary was chosen, or accidentally switched, quite a long stream of very irritating nonsense could be spewed out before I noticed. Correcting it could be painful, with a cursor control that was horrendous, especially when operating close to the top of the screen.

Reply Score: 3

Keen to try this
by Lion on Tue 19th Mar 2013 18:28 UTC
Lion
Member since:
2007-03-22

They have my money, the idea looks interesting.
Should it not prove useful, it'll be back to SwiftKey for me.

Reply Score: 1