Box opened. Keyboard on desk. Wrist rests ready. Sexy keyboard is sexy.
I’ve spent the last three weeks creating my layers, and have them ready to load.
I try to type my name and fail.
What have I gotten myself into?
One Hour Later…
I’ve already modified my “perfect layout” a dozen times, and though I can remember where everything is, I cannot for the life of me type on the bottom row. B and V, as well as N and M, have become my new least favorite characters to type. I’ve come a long ways from my 5-ish WPM, but I’m still struggling.
One thing I do know well is that I love this keyboard. Apart from my difficulties with the lower row, the ortholinear layout already feels right. The layer configurability is a thousand times better than my Pok3r was, but at the cost of being able to use more complex macros.
I set up my gaming layer and fire up Destiny 2 to give it a whirl. Something feels off about it, and I realize that my hand is more spread than I’d like it to be. I moved my WASD keys to ESDF so I can still easily reach the thumb cluster, and BLAMO, euphoria.
Something about the ortholinear layout and the way that my fingers line up precisely with the keys they stroke feels perfect. Having my right section of the Ergodox placed out of the way also gives me tons of room for my mouse to zip about. If I was at all questioning my opinion of the EZ, those feelings are now gone. The gamepad functionality is sublime.
Something Isn’t Right
One thing that does still feel off is the thumb keys. Certainly it will take me more time to feel comfortable with having my modifier keys on my thumbs, but it’s not just learning the layout. It’s the keys themselves. I realize that the larger thumb keys are sculpted away from my resting position, rather than towards. I’d also gotten used to having a flipped space bar on my Pok3r. I flip all these keys and all of a sudden it just feels right.
Last night I spent an hour or two thinking about keyboard layouts when I should have been sleeping. That sort of thing is all too common for me. Thankfully the online configurator makes tweaking things easy. One day I will learn QMK so that I can make more complex macros, but for now, the configurator is perfect.
I have tried out a handful of positions with the keyboard tenting kit, but unfortunately the most comfortable position so far has been lying the EZ flat and leaving the tenting completely unused. The wrist rests are great, though. Solidly built, and they don’t budge an inch throughout the day.
Every time I play a new game, I have to switch my controls from WASD to ESDF, but the change feels so worth it, even if I have to respawn a few times in the process.
Even though I’m still constantly tweaking my layers, I feel like I’m really getting the hang of things. That is, until someone else is watching. My work requires many Skype calls, and often those calls involve screen sharing. Every time I screen share and have to type something, it’s like I’m back in kindergarten and trying to make digital words for the first time. My WPM become WPH, and it’s embarrassing.
Can’t Go Back
Today I installed a fresh copy of Windows on my home computer. While doing the initial Windows setup I accidentally tapped my Ergodox Reset Paperclip, and cleared my layers from my Ergodox, making it useless. I had to plug it into my wife’s computer to put my layers back on, and I swear I could not use her Anne Pro to save my life. I am already so used to the ortholinear layout of my Ergodox that I could no longer touch type on a traditional keyboard. Instead, I switched to the Two Finger Approach. It was humiliating.
Layers Upon Layers
Because I’m a perfectionist, I now have eight layers. It’s gotten pretty bad. I have four my normal everyday productivity (main, mouse, navigation, and numpad), as well as two layers for FPS games, two layers for RTS games, and another specifically for PUBG (for crouch-jumping).
I’m still far from comfortable with the gaming layers, particularly when playing PUBG, where I’m notoriously bad at fumbling my controls when the action begins. Typing this document feels great, though. I am irreversibly in love with the ortholinear layout, and hate what we’ve done to the world in forcing everyone to deal with the terrible inefficiency of the staggered QWERTY keyboard.