What option for a spacebar/button would you like?

What option for a spacebar/button would you like?

  • Continuity: Same as Pandora (bottom row, second from right, two wide)

    Votes: 26 48.1%
  • Symmetry: Bottom row, centered, two-wide spacebar

    Votes: 16 29.6%
  • Flexibility: Single-wide spacebutton (it can be mapped wherever!)

    Votes: 12 22.2%

  • Total voters
    54

mrpalmtop

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I think several of the arguments are a bit 'out there'.  Concerns about mapping to Dvorak for example.  Dvorak made layouts for a full sized touch keyboard in two, left only and right only handed versions.  He never did one designed for 'two thumbs only'.  Two handed touch typing on a 125mm thumb keyboard should only be considered by individuals with child-like hands - and even then it will be cramped.
I'm sorry but that's just plain wrong. I've been using handheld keyboards for over a decade now and it's very possible to type with two hands. You just don't type with all your fingers. We should discourage thumb typing because that encourages RSI.
I'm guessing here, but I suspect you do not own a Pandora then?

The Pandora/Pyra are designed to be held in the hands with the index fingers on the back under the hinge area and the other fingers supporting the device from underneath.  The only digits on top are the thumbs.

If you have a vision of this sitting on a desk and touch typing on it, I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed.  I measure the distance from the center of the A key to the center of the L key at 88mm.  By contrast, on my desktop keyboard it is 153mm.  It is a pocketable handheld device.  If you're going to use it on a desk for serious typing, plug in a keyboard, mouse and monitor.  The built in keyboard IS a two thumb keyboard.
Please check out my keyboard layouts that I posted based on your ideas. I posted them in the kbd discussion thread.

As for holding a handheld computer and typing on it, I've done that since 1995 so I'm very familiar with that hand posture! :)
 

hmc

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I'm guessing here, but I suspect you do not own a Pandora then?

The Pandora/Pyra are designed to be held in the hands with the index fingers on the back under the hinge area and the other fingers supporting the device from underneath.  The only digits on top are the thumbs.

If you have a vision of this sitting on a desk and touch typing on it, I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed.  I measure the distance from the center of the A key to the center of the L key at 88mm.  By contrast, on my desktop keyboard it is 153mm.  It is a pocketable handheld device.  If you're going to use it on a desk for serious typing, plug in a keyboard, mouse and monitor.  The built in keyboard IS a two thumb keyboard.
I cannot speak for mrpalmtop - but I have been touch-typing with about 6 fingers (3 of each hand) on the keyboard of a HP 200LX for about 10 years almost daily, and I was faster on that device than on a standard keyboard (and there I am pretty fast). On good days I wrote text approximately equalling a few 100 kBytes of data a day. 

I know book authors who used the 200LX for writing their books.

The 200LX has key spacing similar to the Pandora. 

On the Pandora I tried hard to be ale to touch-type similarly efficiently, but it wasn't possible for two reasons:

- The very different tactile behaviour of the keys: You need much more force to press them down, they travel far wider down than the keys of the 200LX, and you don't have a definitive "click" as the feedback for when the contact has been established. 

- The quite limited key layout, which makes it necessary to use modifier keys much more often.

Both things will be improved with the Pyra, so why should we not be able to touch-type on the Pyra? Just because you didn't try it yet, just because it's not the "mainstream use case" (excuse this term in a forum of a total niche product ;-D)?

If you like, I will create a video of myself touch-typing fast on a handheld keyboard. Then you have a proof, that it's possibile. No matter what you measure.

And I really don't have child-like fingers. However, I must admit that I am a piano player. That may indeed help with touch-typing on small keyboards.
 

rygD

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2. Almost 50% of that subsection of the community want things the way they are now.
It would really help the rest of us try to make improvements to the Pandora layout if we knew what the majority likes about the Pandora layout, and what they feel isn't so great.  Rather than essentially telling those who are discussing ideas to "sit down and shut up", explain why the Pandora layout is good enough as is.  The spacebar is an important point in the keyboard discussion since it determines location and number of other keys.  For the things I have been considering I am assuming Pandora location.  That is pretty much where I have to stop because so few people have expressed what they like and dislike about the Pandora keyboard layout that haven't created their own layouts.  The Pandora layout is ok (not "good"), and it can easily be improved, so why not work together on doing that?

3. The rest are divided into two camps, neither of which make up anything like enough to claim a majority.
It seems that at least some of those people, myself included, would prefer other options than going with the Pandora style layout.  I prefer a single space key, or at least a double space that is easily reachable with both hands.  In the poll in this thread that wasn't an option.  Another way to read the poll results are that half the people that voted want things to stay the same with little reason given for why they feel the Pandora layout is optimal, and half want to try to make improvements for a variety of reasons that were given.  When looked at like this it seems odd that only half the people want the best keyboard they can get.  I suspect that the half that want to keep things like they are on the Pandora are current Pandora owners that are already used to things being like that, and don't care, or don't want to relearn how to use the keyboard.  Those that don't want to learn a new keyboard are going to have to anyway since the Pyra keys are a different size and shape, in slightly different locations.  We have the chance to make things better, and half of us want to do that, so I ask again, what is it about the Pandora layout that the majority find ideal?
 
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hmc

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Another thought about the space "bar or button" discussion:

A space bar that takes two button places is probably nothing else than two button contacts on the PCB, right? The "bar" on top triggering both contacts, and a space being generated when at least one of the contacts is triggered.

If the combination ("at least one of the contacts is triggered" is done in software, not in hardware, we still have the possibility to make those contacts two separate keys.

So the Pyra could be delivered e.g. with two separate buttons on these contacts - one being a space button and one something else that's not essential(!), and those who prefer a space bar can buy kind of a plastic "bridge" that is somehow fitted to the default buttons to make them a space bar, and he can install a software patch that's responsible for the combination of the two contacts and for remapping the lost button, and voilà, there is the space bar.

Maybe, to make this work well, the keyboard case has to have the separator between the two buttons removable easily, so that the bridge or double-button can be fitted in a good way. Then the procedure is not reversible without replacing the keyboard case, but so what?
 
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ible

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This is what I would also like to see. Or something where you automatically include the spacebar bridge for standard users, but it can fairly easily be taken off and (e.g.) relocated to the other side if you're a lefty, put in the center, or removed entirely (for flex users).

The only problem is for flex users: the remaining keys won't easily fit any (current) keyboard layout. That's something I'd be willing to deal with, however. Anyway, I think that would be a nice compromise.
 

_wb_

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Interesting approach, but I'm a bit worried about the mechanical robustness and potential design issues.

ED has indicated before that if there's sufficient demand, he'll consider the option to make more than one keymat. IIRC at least 500 units are needed to make it economically feasible. I suppose more than one case design (for the top of the base) is also an option.

So perhaps we should have two or three keymats. Perhaps even more, if we also want QWERTZ and AZERTY layouts etc. Perhaps even keymat variants with the exact same layout but different color schemes.

Of course having more variants complicates things (in terms of ordering and shipping at least, software is probably not really an issue), but it may be worth it if this poll is representative and no single layout satisfies more than 50% of us. I can also imagine that someone may want to pay a little extra to try out different keyboard variants for himself, and if it's just a matter of swapping a keymat and base case top, it's something you can easily do yourself.

ED wouldn't have to offer all possible variants from the start: I can imagine that he prefers to start with just one (or two?) keymat(s), and create more alternatives only in a later stage.
 

ZXDunny

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It would really help the rest of us try to make improvements to the Pandora layout if we knew what the majority likes about the Pandora layout, and what they feel isn't so great.  Rather than essentially telling those who are discussing ideas to "sit down and shut up", explain why the Pandora layout is good enough as is.  The spacebar is an important point in the keyboard discussion since it determines location and number of other keys.  For the things I have been considering I am assuming Pandora location.  That is pretty much where I have to stop because so few people have expressed what they like and dislike about the Pandora keyboard layout that haven't created their own layouts.  The Pandora layout is ok (not "good"), and it can easily be improved, so why not work together on doing that?
I'm all for fixing the issues with the places the symbols are - some of them are in daft, unexpected places. This can be discussed with some measure success as it doesn't require that ED gets the case molds re-worked. Discussing where (and what size) the space key should be is pointless as it would require re-designing that part of the case.

BUT! There's hope for you all!

If you really want a different spacebar/key/button, all you have to do is design and manufacture your own case mold! And your own PCB with the contacts in the right place. Shouldn't cost too much, would it? I mean, you could design it yourself and pass it to an injection-molding company - job done. I'm sure you can find an electronics firm that would be willing to accept your new PCB design.

Then everyone is happy :)

D.
 

_wb_

Microbe
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A new PCB design is not necessary, all three options in this poll are possible with the current PCB.
 

TrashyMG

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^ well that's assuming the two pad spacebar are not tied to each other already on two specific pads..
 

WizardStan

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The Pandora has a single easily cut trace physically connecting the two pads and ED has suggested that the Pyra will be the same: nothing that 10 seconds with a flat head screwdriver (or something less barbaric) can't fix. After that it's just a matter of updating the driver to translate the input to two distinct buttons.

Modifying the case is almost trivial: box cutter to remove plastic joints, sugru (or any alternative plastic putty) to add them back in.

The only real trouble is the keypad. I don't have any good ideas for cutting a key in half or merging two together other than creating a new one from scratch. Thoughts?
 

ZXDunny

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A new PCB design is not necessary, all three options in this poll are possible with the current PCB.
Well, that's excellent - you guys will only have to shell out for new case parts! And keymats.

D.
 

hmc

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So perhaps we should have two or three keymats. Perhaps even more, if we also want QWERTZ and AZERTY layouts etc. Perhaps even keymat variants with the exact same layout but different color schemes.
Just a vague idea:

Can't a keymat be build that has no key labels yet, but a laser-printable surface, so that with some kind of (standard?) laser printing system users can let some service print their own labels onto the keymats? Then we just need some files with default, suggested or our own layouts and can print them on our keymats ourselves. So one keymat can serve for all possible layouts.

I just don't know, if

- such laser-printable keymat material exists

- some international standard for laser-printing exists, so we can take a file with the layout and go to some service to let them print our keymat labels

At least this company seems to offer such service:

http://www.sitech-corp.com/blog/options-for-labeling-custom-rubber-keypads/
 

Saber

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I think we're back to stickers again. Hope chewing gum and directions are included in the packaging.
 
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