Week #19, 2017



Week #18 Links 2017



  • DaVinci Resolve 14 available now in beta. Resolve is a powerful video editing tool particularly known for its powerful color grading; plus now includes an audio editor. The free version is not crippleware, and includes the majority of the functionality.


  • 50% of US Homes Now Cellphone Only – Source.

Week #15 Links 2017



Week #12 Links 2017



Switching to Colemak

On Dec 23, 2016 I switched my keyboard layout to Colemak. Colemak is an alternative keyboard layout moving keys around with the intent of a more practical and improved ergonomic layout. This reduces the distance your fingers travel when typing English.

Why switch?

The primary reasons behind different keyboard layouts is preventing repetitive stress injuries and/or improved speed. I’m fortunate I don’t have any hand pain, and have been using a QWERTY for 30+ years and fairly adept, my QWERTY speed is around 80-90 WPM. My best Keyhero speed is 96 WPM. So any speed improvements would probably be negligible.

So why switch? Basically to see if I can teach this old dog a new trick. A good challenge to force my brain to work, create new grooves, and get out of a comfort zone. Plus I need to up our numbers here.

Why Colemak?

There are several alternative layouts, the most popular being Dvorak. I choose Colemak for a few reasons: (1) most of the punctuation is in the same place, (2) the most common keyboard shortcuts are in the same place. These two should make it easier to learn. Thirdly, if you’re going for an alternative layout you might as well go with an alternative to the alternatives.

Additional hack

An additional change I made is mapping the CapsLock key to Backspace, I need an extra backspaces key due to all the new errors I’m making.

How to switch?

My method was to switch cold turkey, just flip the operating system’s mapping and start practicing. I saved the keyboard mapping image for reference but it was just an hour or so to learn the key locations. Now it is just retraining the years of muscle memory.

Here’s the quick how to:

Mac OS X

Settings : Keyboard : Input Sources : + Colemak

While transitioning, I recommend Show Input Menu which allows for quick switch back to QWERTY if you need to, helps for long passwords.


I use the Mac utility Seil to map the Caps Lock to Delete.

Also, you probably will want to show the input menu on the login screen to save yourself; both before you learn and after in case you use stickers or move the keys around.



Command line: setxkbmap us -variant colemak

In Ubuntu use Tweak Tool to map Caps Lock to Backspace.


As for practice, I switched over Christmas break which was a good time since there is no expected productivity, so I had about 10 days practice. Plus an easy thing to do in bits of free time that doesn’t require any real concentration like programming.

The two main sites I use are Keyhero which has a good typing test, and TypingCat which has better practices.

My methodology is nothing more sophisticated than lots of time, practice, practice, practice. I switched without stickers or moving keys around, but will likely get stickers for consistency.

So far

I’m making slow and steady progress, an interesting thing I’ve noticed is I do much better on the typing tests than elsewhere; such as this post which I’m typing in Colemak. For typing tests, I’m only focusing on my typing, when I do other tasks which require thinking, my mind is less focused on typing and falls back to old muscle memory.

Also, oddly when writing with pen and paper my mind needs a second or two to figure out writing is the same.


See interactive chart on Codepen

Further Reading

Reading List 2016

A look back at what I read in 2016, broken into the best fiction and non-fiction. You can see my Goodreads Year in Books 2016 for the complete list. I set out with the goal to read 20 books in the year and ended up reading 30, woot! My goal for 2017 is 25 books.


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – A really fun book! A lot of 80’s references and pop culture, which works for me since I’m a product of the 80’s and lived through the same period as the author. The story goes quick and a fun adventure, highly recommended, especially for the nostalgia.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – A great book on the story of two sisters living in France during World War II. Even though it is fiction, similar stories likely happened throughout the war, amazing how difficult it must of been.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – A fun classic, we read it to our daughters (5,3) as their first chapter book and they were able to follow along the story and characters and really enjoyed it.


As You Wish by Cary Elwes – A light, fun and wonderful read about the making of The Princess Bride. Great to hear the cast and crew had such a great time making the movie, the joy shows through. If you’re a fan of the movie, you will enjoy this quick read recapping favorite moments and the behind the scenes look.

Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan – An excellent book about practicing meditation, mindfulness, and kindness. How by doing so can lead to your happiness, and success — and even world peace. The author includes practical lessons to get started, explains it with research and case studies.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand – An amazing story! This book illustrates the atrocities and hardships that come during war, plus highlights the human spirit and will to survive. You wish it was just fiction.

My 2017 To Read List

A few of the books on the top of my To-Read List, the first two are left over from 2016 list. I read a good deal of non-fiction last year, so may try to mix in more fiction. I hope to read the Dark Tower series which is 8 books, so would be a good set there.