For to be to make you smarter. For to be to get you dead.

Keyboard 2014-11-05

I have recently been investigating building or purchasing a 60% keyboard. Before committing to this investment, I wanted to get an idea of how much I actually use the keys outside of the 60% layout. There may have been some kind of tool to show me this but I decided to whip up a very rudimentary keylogger and let it run for a few hours while I used my computer.

I did say it was rudimentary. Better data might be attained with a better method of logging keystrokes, as xinput seems to regard holding a key down as a long series of press and release events rather than a single one. After collecting the data for a few hours I created a script to put the data into a useful format for me to digest.

This script reads the keylog and creates a "heat map" of which keys I actually pressed. Here is the generated image:

keyboard heat map

Update: I have regenerated the map with a few days of data to give a better view of my usage.

Some notes before interpreting the data:

I have my caps lock mapped to super (windows key) because it is the modifier I use for my window manager functions. I do not actually turn caps lock on and off that frequently.

I have my escape and tilde (left of number 1) keys swapped. I'm not sure I like this just yet as I type ~ more often than I had realized.

I only had the keylogger running while I was doing work-type things. I boot into Windows if I am going to play games and I did not log any data during those times although I'm not sure the differences would be significant.

All in all I think this really shows how little keys are used outside of the 60% layout area (at least by me during the time of this experiment). In any case, this has strengthened my resolve to acquire a 60% keyboard.