Author Topic: Keyboards  (Read 61028 times)

Da_Blitz

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« on: August 15, 2006, 07:58:15 am »
i am intrested in what you would like to see in the keyboard

some things i would like:
lots of shortcut keys: i do alot of VT switching and have them bound for that
Backlit: with one or two colors
Laptop like keys: keys simmilar to a laptop rather than the hard button cxx00 or membrane
dvorak layout as well as qwerty: perhaps printed on the same keyboard layout to reduce variations

one idea that i have had )not sure how much you will like it) is to use a corded aproch where a letter is made up of 1 or more button pushes (common keys are one button, less common are two or more buttons pushed at the same time)

the advantage is that you could have full sized keys and it should help with some anoying key combos (try doing a ctrl+c without sticky keys on a cxx00), the problems however are that you would need to learn a new keyboard, maximum typing speed is slowed down slightly

i will of course not be shiping it unless its specified but i belive that one or two people may be intrested, mainly those who are into wearable computers, with a screen rotation it would allow you to have your computer and your keyer in one

any other proposals, normal or otherwise, for the keyboard
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daniel3000

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« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2006, 10:31:47 am »
Hello Da_Blitz.

some thoughts about this from someone who has used palmtop keyboards for ten years now daily:

* Durability: The mechanics of a keyboard should be chosen / made very well. The keyboard and the screen hinge are the items which are under most mechanical stress.

* Different Layouts: In6 order to reduce variants (just one base variant) but to keep it flexible and in order to keep it optically clear, use overlays. Just one label or at most two for the base functions of the keys, and for special characters etc. which are usually printed above the key, use exchangeble plastic grids.

* Maybe have a look at the keyboard of the HP 200LX. It was very convenient to use (not backlit, though), was quite durable and the keys had a good spacing for fast touch-typing.

Quote
one idea that i have had )not sure how much you will like it) is to use a corded aproch where a letter is made up of 1 or more button pushes (common keys are one button, less common are two or more buttons pushed at the same time)

To be honest, I wouldn't like it at all.
Certainly time will come when the qwerty keyboard is obsolete and people have adopted to new input methods, including ones similar to what you mention. But now that people are used to qwerty keyboard, a PDA should have that as well, IMHO.

What you might consider is a numeric keypad. For people doing a lot of numbercrunching, data entry etc. this is very valuale. Maybe a part of the alpha keyboard could be configured to be either alpha or behave as a numeric keypad (as most laptops have it now).

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kurochka

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« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2006, 06:19:12 pm »
A backlit keyboard would be awesome.  I would agree with Daniel that so far qwerty has been the standard, and the majority are probably accustomed to it.  For the wearable computer types, I think they would figure out a way to get their own keyboards and would not listen to anybody else's advice.

Regarding the dvorak vs. qwerty layout.  Please don't forget that a lot of us are not main English speakers.  It would be impossible for you to cater to all the combinations of key lables (I am talking about what is written on the keys not about the software implementation) that various people would need.  For me, I would need an English and Ukrainian keyboard.  Maybe you could have one standard English and as an option a keyboard with empty keys for those keys that have letters.  The people who need it could use custom stickies, laser engraving or some sort of other customization mechanism.  


Another idea.  If the space permits, the keyboard could have some additional keys to the right of the lettered keys in the three rows (see keys for []\;',./  on the regular keyboard, at least on the U.S. one).  The Zaurus Cxxx models do not have these keys.  These keys could be used in those alphabets that have more than 26 letters.  In English these keys could have some other meaning or be used for customizable functions.  In Zaurus some frequently used Ukrainian letters have to be typed with FN to keep the rest of the keyboard as close to the standard Ukrainian layout as possible.

Actually, we can scrap the whole idea of the keyboard.  We could have a neurowave receiver and read the thought signals received directly from the brain.  Authentication would be an issue - you don't want your device to read somebody else's thoughts.  Privacy concerns would also abound.  
« Last Edit: August 15, 2006, 06:21:07 pm by kurochka »
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uMP2k

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« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2006, 08:38:49 pm »
Another vote for sticking to the qwerty layout.

As for the actual keyboard design, well I have not actually used one of the Z keyboards (yet!) but from what I read they seem to be pretty good for thumb typing.

Of course if somebody could work out how to implement something like the folding keyboard on the Psion 5/5mx well.....

Realistically however, I am thinking maybe something like the current Z keyboard but with some extra keys for the missing punctation etc.
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Da_Blitz

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« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2006, 07:49:58 am »
i think you seem to be missing the point about the alternate key input method, its an item you have to order seperatlly, so i am not looking for "its a not good/good idea" i am looking more for "i want one" its an opt in system not an opt out, secondlly the erason qwerty is so common is beacuse of that attitude, it dosent bother me as i just pop the keys on a keyboard and rearange them for DVORAK (thats why some of my spelling mistakes are wierd)

the hpx200 is a mebrane keyboard, the diffrence between that and the cxx00 is that the cxx00 has plastic caps on top and has less travel

for overlays that would mean that we would have to keep the buttons the same size as on the cxx00, i would rather silkscreen the Caps with the qwerty layout and the dveorak layout. nice and simple and ALOT cheaper, i dont think that i will have the resources or the plastic overlay thing

the alpha numeric is mainly a software thing, its not that hard to set up on a Z, it wouldnt be hard to add to the silkscreen ethier, considering the button will be larger thanon most Z's (ie less of a gap between buttons)

for the wearables, there is a reason for the keyboards they use, you dont have acsess to two hands when you have a keyboard strapped to one. there are one or two people here that will be using this as a wearable computer (i know i will be) and alternative input methods are a must, they can be connected via USB but having an optional board avalible would be the better choice

the psion keyboard is the one i am aiming for with this opitnol keyboard, larger buttons with a better tactile feedback, with the current Z i have trouble typing when its cold as i cant feel the feedback as well, this is a problem mainly with my password which is more than 20 characters and i cant see what i am typing

for alternative languages i could make room on each key to put your own, i belive with the larger buttons that 4 diffrent icons could be placed per key (not ideal) each in a diffrent color, i would be tempted to fit as many diffrent languges on the keys as posible (mix the extra keys across the keyboard) so that you wouldnt have to get them engraved but i guess it depends on how many languges i would have to support (no asian ones please, that would take up all the keys)

Quote
Actually, we can scrap the whole idea of the keyboard. We could have a neurowave receiver and read the thought signals received directly from the brain. Authentication would be an issue - you don't want your device to read somebody else's thoughts. Privacy concerns would also abound.
due 2014
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Drake01

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« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2006, 08:54:13 pm »
Quote
i think you seem to be missing the point about the alternate key input method, its an item you have to order seperatlly, so i am not looking for "its a not good/good idea" i am looking more for "i want one" its an opt in system not an opt out
Assuming that the chorded keyboard would be a reasonably priced accessory (probably USB, as you suggest), I would consider one.  I've never tried one, but I've heard about them often enough and I can envision a number of situations where it could be very convenient if I can learn to use it effectively.

I was going to suggest that chorded keyboards are already available on the market, but a quick search revealed the prices for these.  (High.)  There's some interesting stuff on Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chorded_keyboard

Do you intend to invest the time and research to develop an ergonomic design?  Or were you planning to find some unit that's already in production?
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Da_Blitz

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« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2006, 12:04:43 am »
the idea is that it replaces the normal keyboard, not that it is in adititon to however i suppose it would be easy to do both

it would be handy as you can have the headphones plugged in and use the linux speakup patch to comunicate with your Z without looking at it, if the keyboard is attached to the thing then it can all be held in one hand (great for when you cant get a seat on a bus which is its primary motivation)

i dont intend to spend the time on ergonimics, quite simply you grip the PP case and warp your finges around it until your fingers rest on the middle line, you then have about 3 rows x 6 coulms to use as input these keys will be the same as the psion or on a laptop and about the same size as well (hence the incresed size/reduced number of keys)

the wikipedia article is good but thier are better examples on the web as well as how to do it yourself for very little money, try looking up steve mann
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Da_Blitz

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« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2006, 06:14:33 am »
there is one advantage to this type of design, one that only just occured to me, if its a half keyboard then if you times that by 2 you get a full sized keyboard

my thinking is that you have a c3000 like case, you open it up and you see the large corded keyboard (by corded i mean that to type a letter more than one key has to be pushed at the same time, so it is slightly diffrent from the ones you see on the market)

this has a latch on one side that allows it to open so you end up with an L shape with the keyboard buttons facing down.

this then has a piviot at the front of the case that allows it to flip foward, making the buttons point upwards

seems like a nice idea as you can then flip the screen around and close it then tilt it upwards slightly to get a very nice mini desktop, i dont think this is anything near what we will end up with but it has given me some ideas on how to distribute everything

for exapmle if we move the electronics into the back of the keyboard and make it thicker then we can use a large flat battery and leave the bottom bit that is attached between the keyboard and screen purelly for a battery
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Ferret-Simpson

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« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2006, 07:17:50 am »
But aren't Large flat batteries rarer and more expensive than a short thick battery? We'd end up using XDA Exec backplate batteries.

Althhough they're apparently over 3Ah. . ..
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nevarrie

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« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2006, 01:21:23 pm »
Quote
one idea that i have had )not sure how much you will like it) is to use a corded aproch where a letter is made up of 1 or more button pushes (common keys are one button, less common are two or more buttons pushed at the same time)

the advantage is that you could have full sized keys and it should help with some anoying key combos (try doing a ctrl+c without sticky keys on a cxx00), the problems however are that you would need to learn a new keyboard, maximum typing speed is slowed down slightly

i will of course not be shiping it unless its specified but i belive that one or two people may be intrested, mainly those who are into wearable computers, with a screen rotation it would allow you to have your computer and your keyer in one

any other proposals, normal or otherwise, for the keyboard
[div align=\"right\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a][/div]

so would this be something like the [a href=\"http://www.frogpad.com/]frogpad(http://www.frogpad.com/)[/url].  Considering that I am looking at switching to using the frogpad as my main keyboard on all my machines this would interest me if we could get the frogpad as keyboard layout.
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adf

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« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2006, 01:26:00 pm »
if you start using a frogpad would you mind giving us some insight about how quicky its use becomes as seconf nature as a qwerty?
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2006, 06:11:46 pm »
12 years of Qwerty training. You MIGHT get me on Dvorak, but Chording? Nah. I'll wait till 2014 and I don't need a keyboard.

Good keyboard? Universal. And on the note of the "Long Alphabets" the Uni has a "Symbol" key that can be pressed after typing a character to access all it's variants. It's good when I want to send text messages in french. . . .
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craigtyson

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« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2006, 07:48:08 pm »
What about a slip on / snap in overlay with different layouts covering a generic key matrix

1. QWERTY
2. ATERZY (? French)
3. CHINESE
4. QWERTY UK (£ on 3 " on 2)
5. German Grobe ect
6. DOOM / QUAKE / HERETIC Games layout
7. BRAIL ?

Could use several materials for the overlays from plastic or rubber with plastic laminated alu foil key tops. or a standard keybaord with an exchangeable underlay with the lables on to achieve the same effect.
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2006, 02:10:37 am »
Looks like I am too late to the game on this one.  

Someone mentioned a Psion keyboard, and I would like to second the idea.  Too big for the current design?  Probably.  That is why I say I am too late.  For my own taste, I would like to see a slightly larger deisgn, if it allows for a more usable keyboard.  Perhaps a wide-screen, 800x480 say, to fit at least a revo-style keyboard.  

Of course, I am just now buying my first Zaurus because I am still so attached to my Psion 7Book.      I was hoping the Nokia 9300 would be a good solution, but the keys are not wonderful.    

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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2006, 10:13:51 am »
Quote
if you start using a frogpad would you mind giving us some insight about how quicky its use becomes as seconf nature as a qwerty?
[div align=\"right\"][a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=139537\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a][/div]

I am hoping to order my frogpad in the next few weeks so I will let you knwo what I think.  I do have to admit that I am not a touch typest, or at least I do not use the correct fingers on keys and look at my had every once and a while to see what I am typing.  So for me it will be training my self to learn to type and breaking 20 years of bad habits.
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