Key Remap - The Digit-Symbol Hack

Devs, you going to love this keyboard hack!

If you’ve spent a lot of time in the shell, you may find yourself wishing to move at the Speed of Thought, yet encumbered by that pesky shift key. How are you supposed to throw down that regex, when you’ve got to strain your fingers with alternate shift strokes? Want to exit VIM using q! without hitting shift? Want to type any strong password without hitting shift?

… Well, i guess you do need shift to type caps … But who types passwords anymore?

Map your FN Keys to Digits

And now you have an extra row of keys for text entry! It’s almost like having extra fingers. Don’t worry about those Function Keys, you’ll still be able to use those with the Mac FN button. As for the Consumer Keys, a.k.a. Media Keys, I have a modkey hack you can use to get those back.

Map your Digits to Symbols

And now you don’t have to press shift to type !@#$%^&*()! Suddenly, there’s a lot less friction when typing in the shell.

Here’s my keyboard layout:

Yep, I have an Uber key. And a Hyper key, which is only active where needed: in Terminal and Emacs.

OSX Keyboard Layout

Oh, and I think I just experienced a moment of extacy, as I realized my Hyper Key configuration for GUI Emacs is magically working! Yes, there’s a separate configuration required for Hyper in Terminal Emacs and GUI Emacs. And the script that mysteriously did nothing in the past is now working. Ahhh, yeah!

Here is the config I’ve been using for over a year now

This is a config file for KeyRemap4MacBook, my absolute FAVORITE OSX customization tool. This is THE KING of customizing your Mac’s keyboard. Honestly, no other tool comes close. Not XModMap. No, not even Linux’s XKB. AFAIK, XKB cannot remap simultaneous keypresses. IF anyone can correct me here, plz let me know, as I would be absolutely blissful to discover this in Linux.

What’s a Simultaneous Keypress?

You can map < and > to say, X+Space and ,+Space, which is also a configuration I have set with KeyRemap. So when I use two fingers to hit X and Space within a threshold time limit, < is substituted instead.

Again, if there’s anything like this in Linux, please let me know!

This seems like a minor hack, but I really enjoy typing my HTML’s like this. I have simultaneous keypresses configured for < { ~ | } > and I find them fun to type. I wish I had more time to do some exploring with configs like these. But alas, I digress…

The Ultimate Developer’s Keyboard!

Isn’t that Dvorak?

Well, this hack works with both QWERTY and DVORAK, when using OSX keyboard layouts. I also have config samples for XModMap in Linux, which are in my dc.files.kbd repo as well.

What are you waitin for?

Get to configurating yer keyboards!