Josh Wulf

Josh Wulf

Open Source Developer Advocate

Halmak after a year

One year (plus) using the Halmak keyboard layout.

Josh Wulf

2 minutes read

Over 12 months ago, I switched to the Halmak keyboard layout.

I blogged about it at the end of 2019. Since then, I periodically get emails and DMs on Twitter asking me if I kept going with it.

The answer is “Yes”.

I use Halmak every day on my Koolertron AE-SMKD62, and when I need to type silently at night on my Anne Pro 2.

Some observations

It turns out that a texting (thumb) keyboard and touch-typing are stored in different parts of the brain. I touch-type with Halmak, but that is not transferrable to texting on my phone. Nor does using a Halmak layout on my phone transfer to touch-typing.

So, I use the standard QWERTY layout on my phone, and Halmak on my computer.

I posted my Anne Pro layout on Reddit, and a Reddit user shared that staggered and ortholinear keyboard layouts seem to be stored in different parts of the brain, saying:

I’m on an ortholinear keyboard so it’s slightly different from the original. I started learning it last year. I’m not as fast as I would like. I can still type ok on qwerty, but only on a normal keyboard, not on my ortho which is strange. Guess I’ve kept those two separate in my brain

Learning to touch-type with Dvorak got rid of my QWERTY touch-typing, and Halmak got rid of my Dvorak ability. If you want to keep two touch-typing layouts, then I’d recommend doing one on a staggered keyboard and the other on an ortholinear.

Some people ask “What do you do if you need to type on someone else’s computer?”.

The simple answer is: “I don’t.

In the sense that I don’t need to type on someone else’s computer.

I loaded Halmak as the native layout on both my keyboards, so if I ever needed to do that, I can just connect my Anne Pro over bluetooth (or plug it in). But I haven’t had to do that.

A couple of times in the last year, I’ve typed something on my son’s computer, and hunt and peck on his QWERTY keyboard - but it’s been literally twice.


So, I’m still on Halmak after one year, and loving it.

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