So, I got myself a Twiddler...

  • ... y'know, one of those chorded keyboards. Looks nice, works fine and I'm already moderately fast with it. However, I'm still on basic alphanumeric characters. This becomes important later on.

    Now, the guys from Tekgear have this nice tutor which is supposed to help you learn typing. It measures your words-per-minute (wpm), your correctness and gives you an overall score. You begin with six characters: INERTA.

    If you've ever tried learning a new keyboard layout you'll know that you'll be abyssmally slow in the beginning - your muscle memory is either wrong or unusable. That's where the tutor is supposed to come in.

    Well, it does. If you manage to get 10 wpm or more. Because otherwise there'll be a timeout of some sort and it simply won't advance to the next lesson. So, in the beginning, you'll press the "reset this lesson" button quite often.

    You'll advance through the lessons, you'll see your typing score increase, your wpm goes from 10 to 20 to 30 wpm without errors... and after about 400 lessons you'll ask yourself: "Why am I still on the same 6 characters?"
    Easy: You need to reach 35 wpm on every(!) character before you'll get a new one. The correctness or the typing score? Just fluff numbers without meaning. Speed is the single measurement which counts. As a reference: My usual typing on my keyboard nets me 45 wpm with this tool, with several characters being below the magic 35 wpm...
    ... this limit is communicated nowhere, by the way.

    But that's still not a wtf. I mean, it's annoying but you can override the amount of characters you practice in the settings.

    In those settings you can also set the keyboard layout to something other than en-US. In my case that would be de-DE.

    Which includes those dreaded Umlauts like öäü and the ß.

    When I reached those I quickly noticed: They are not on the chorded keyboard where the tutor stated they would be. A quick test resulted in the discovery that nearly no character besides the standard alphanumeric ones was where they were supposed to be.
    Obviously a localization problem.

    But there's still the "tuner"! A tool which is supposed to let you modify the keys to whatever you'd like them to be! Yeah. Only that the config doesn't reflect what I'm seeing - and that's where I finally figured out what they were doing (pardon me if I'm getting the terms wrong):

    They're not sending the code for the character [ but the code for the physical key the [ resides on a en-US keyboard. Which results in the ü on a German keyboard because that's where this character is physically residing.

    So, in order to get a backslash on a German keyboard I'd have to send a RightAlt-Hyphen because that's the combination I need to press on a German keyboard with an en-US layoutUS-American keyboard with a de-DE layout (edit: damn, I'm getting confused now myself) for a backslash. Okay, I could work with that, only it gets confusing fast because I need to remember that RightAlt-Hyphen really stands for the backslash - and if you have twenty or more of those workarounds, you'll be hard pressed to remember what went where pretty soon.

    Obviously, nobody of those guys ever actually tried that on a foreign keyboard layout...

  • @Rhywden said:

    not sending the code for the character [ but the code for the physical key

    Can keyboards even send characters? I presumed they were limited to key(combinations), and the os handles the rest.

  • And according to the USB spec, they should be sending key codes (, page 53)

    I'm not sure what they did wrong. Probably did something off-spec either in the firmware or the driver and didn't consider the impact on internationalization.

    I mean, their tuner tool also makes a hash of the ß-character, instead yielding this: ß

    On further thinking, it's as if their keyboard doesn't get registered as a real keyboard and thus also isn't subjected to the local key code to char mapping or something.

  • Does the device appear as a regular keyboard to your os? I'm interested to hear what effect changing the layout assigned to it in the OS settings would have.

  • Then they keyboard is just labeled for en-us, and is obviously wrong for de-DE? (and their software is wrong too)
    Edit: and you have changed both keyboard language (in Windows settings) , and tuner language?

  • It gets recognized as a regular HID keyboard. Not sure where I would set its specific settings in Windows 10 other than the regular ones.

  • Yes, both are changed. The tuner keyboard even reflects that it's a German keyboard and displays a regular QWERTZ-keyboard.

  • Whelp, shit's fucked. Google has no hits, so either no Germans have ever bought that keyboard, they recently fucked it up, or your setup is weird.

  • It's a recently wiped Surface Pro 3 with Windows 10. If that is a "weird" setup then I don't want to know what's normal. 😉

    Well, I opened a ticket through their bug tracker. Let's see if they deign to answer. They're using Discourse for their forum, by the way. Should I have mentioned this as a separate WTF?

  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Came to this thread expecting a hilarious story about a new Twitter user.

    Leaving disappointed.

  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    I'm sure @Rhywden would be happy to make a twitter account about the experience, possibly screwing up the letters in his tweets to highlight the issue?

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