Peter Lyons

Engram Plans

October 22, 2022

So now that the Squeezebox v2209 is up and running, and given it's very unusual arrangement of keys (2 for pinky, 3 for ring, 4 for middle and index, 3 for thumb), I have to figure out which keymap to use for my base/alpha layer. Since I currently use dvorak both on my thinkpad keyboard and on my daily driver squeezebox v2112, there's some justification for keeping close to dvorak and then sort of shoving some keys over to the strong fingers. Honestly, removing keys from one finger and adding them to a different finger throws a huge amount of chaos at one's typing universe. There's no truly great solution because the hardware difference is always going to be there. This is all sort of to say that the design of v2209 may in retrospect prove to be truly unpragmatic, but exploring that line is one of the duties that comes with building custom stuff. And yes, I do have enough self awareness to admit that any reasonable definition of "pragmatic" was exceeded much much shallower down this rabbit hole than my current depth. I'm using "pragmatic" in a purely relative sense here amongst options that are all individually ridiculous.

So I'm intrigued by the engram layout because it's use of punctuation on the inner columns aligns nicely with the v2209 hardware so I can map engram to the squeezebox with only 4 extra letters to shuffle. All the punctuation can be on my symbols layer. So I'm currently starting to learn engram squeezebox variant on v2209 on a dedicated spare laptop set up just for this purpose. I'll only make a daily driver switchover if I fully learn to touch type the layout and it seems like a net win and doesn't introduce any unexpected RSI pain. If I do so, I'll probably also learn stock engram on my laptop keyboard. There will be those pesky 4 key differences to deal with, but so be it. No way around it I can see.

Hardware wise, I have a lot going on now. Just today my Keyboardio Model 100 arrived after months of delays due to COVID, supply chain, customs, etc. I also have all the hardware I need to build my first wireless split keyboard: a rae-dux. I may do the rae-dux hardware build while I'm still practicing engram, but I'll most likely hold off putting either of these keyboards into rotation until I've switched to engram.

So maybe I'll end up using an arrangement like this:

But I could see any of those 3 boards becoming my daily driver.