May 7, 20171250 views

"Left Handed" Keyboards

I'm a righty but even back in the 90s it was obvious when the shift from Doom's keyboard-only controls to Quake's combined keyboard and mouse that WASD made more sense than arrows. Why was this? The arrow keys and the number pad are in the wrong position. - much too close to the mouse for right-handed users, unless you shift the keyboard all the way left. I did that for a while, but it was dumb. Then came along WASD for movement and that was that, the keyboard shifted back, but the numpad was back in the way of the mouse (isn't this the main point of TKLs?)...
I recently bought a left-handed keyboard, the DSI one below, and it's much better to use for me as a right-hander - the keyboard is centred with the monitor, mouse/trackball has tons of space on the right, and the left hand has quickly gotten up to speed on the numpad and arrows with way more keys accessible without taking your hand off the mouse . Hell, even Logitech knows to add 12 bonus keys on the left - why not use the right hand cluster which is already there and just shift it to the left? I don't take my hand off the mouse anymore unless I'm typing long missives like this one - anything with AutoCAD, Excel, FE analysis, gaming, all these use-cases keep my mouse hand fixed, keyboard exclusively with the left.
Calling on the keyboard designers to embrace a left hand layout and bring something original to market rather than forever tweaking 60% boards or adding more coloured LEDs. This form works so well I can't believe it's not more prevalent. The DSI is decent (Cherry Reds) but can be improved. Let's go!


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I want this with newer features like hot swappable sockets, ability to program and rgb
I thought I'd share my update. As I wait for the Carbon Orange Alphas to get here I thought I'd get some blank SA profiles from AliExpress (extended set had a big-ass enter) and some SA novelties from pimpmykeyboard. Remapped my keys with Keytweak: page up cluster reworked to something sensible (why are Home and End aligned vertically and not either side of PgUp and PgDn to mimic super-arrows? Fixed), two escape keys (why not), media controls on bottom right, and = instead of NumLock. The skulls glow in the dark because I am a child.

And I've also convinced a friend to get a LH keyboard - something different and a ton of keys on the left for FPS goodness. Join the dark side.

I use the DSI at work and it is almost perfect. Only downside is the MX Reds. I am a tactile guy and I really dislike the light linear switches. Having the arrow keys and pgup, pgdn, home, end, del, and ins right by your pinky and ring finger at all times is amazing.

Look how much space you have for your digitizer! And you don't need to put down your pen as often - all commands are with the left, including scrolling with arrows and inputting strings of numbers.

The more keyboards come with this layout, the more switch choice they'll offer - I have the opposite opinion: I'm thankful the DSI didn't come with Blues, I dig Reds.

I had to mirror Ins and Del with PgUp and PgDn in the Registry as the DSI is not programmable - another bonus of more maestros trying their hand at LHKBs,

BONUS: I have two Esc keys. Always useful.

EDIT: the main benefit of a new improved LHKB is to get standard ANSI or ISO layouts- the bigass enter and tiny backspace on the DSI are a pain and there are no other mechanical boards available.
Totally agree.

The 1u "\" button right next to the 1u "backspace" is infuriating when working with powershell and windows folder stuff. I have an Ergodox on the way and I am excited to try it out. I am all for keeping your hands on the keyboard as much as possible and only use mouse/digitizer when mouse cursor precision is important.
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