carpalx - keyboard layout optimizer - save your carpals

Carpalx optimizes keyboard layouts to create ones that require less effort and significantly reduced carpal strain!

Have ideas? Tell me.

the best layout

Partially optimized QWKRFY and fully optimized QGMLWY layouts are the last word in easier typing.

the worst layout

A fully anti-optimized TNWMLC layout is a joke and a nightmare to type. It's also the only keyboard layout that has its own fashion line.

download and explore

Download keyboard layouts, or run the code yourself to explore new layouts. Carpalx is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.


Download and install the layouts.

6 Aug 20 — The search for the world’s best keyboard layout by Paul Guerin

4 May 20 — An interview with Bloomberg's Arianne Cohen Splurge on a Better Keyboard, It's Worth It.

25 May 18 — The BBC article Why we can't give up this off way of typing by Tim McDonald discusses the history and persistence of QWERTY and my Carpalx work.

16 Aug 16 — Ergonomic Keyboard Layout Designed for the Filipino Language at AHFE2016 derives layout for Filipino language using Carpalx

18 Apr 16 — Carpalx layouts soon to appear in freedesktop (package xkeyboard-config) and kbd. Thanks to Perry Thompson.

Other Projects

If you can't get enough, or landed here by accident and find that keyboards do nothing for you, you might find some of my opinions good starters for conversation. Alternatively, why not dig through my repository of web pages

port knocking

My claim to fame, or at least exposure, in the computer security world is port knocking, which is a method of network authentication across closed ports. Specifically, using port knocking a client can effectively communicate a request to a server, which has no open ports. Typically, this is a request for the server to open a port to the client.

The motivation behind this security method was to mitigate the dangers of keeping ports open for network services that are used either infrequently, by few users, or both.

The method is in principle very simple (it can be coded in simple bash) and has caught the imagination of many developers and users. It was published in June 2003 issue of Sys Admin (download PDF) and Linux Journal. The port knocking Linux Journal article is one of the top 25 Linux Journal articles of all time.


My other claim to fame, or at least something round, is Circos. It's data visualization software used to generate visualize comparisons between genomes. Its distinguishing feature is the circular composition of the ideograms, which resolves many of the problems encountered when these kind of data are drawn with a linear layout.

I wrote Circos to be automatable and flexible and, to my knowledge, it is the most adaptable circular visualization tool currently available. My Circos images have appeared in the New York Times on several occassions (visualizing epigenomics, visualizing genome comparisons, visualizing political debates), and in other publications such as Conde Nast and Geo, and on the cover of books and magazines, as well as installations at the British Library Beautiful Science exhibit and Smithsonian's Genome Zone exhibit.

I have introduced a way to to visualize tables in Circos. This approach visually represents all the data in a table and makes readily apparent complex patterns in the data that are normally opaque to inspection of the table.

Circos grew out of the Schemaball project, which used circular composition to visualize database schemas.

lexical analysis of presidential debates

When Obama and McCain were debating in late 2008, I wondered whether the two used significantly vocabular and sentence structure during the debates. I approach this problem by creating an automated system that analyzes transcripts and generates detailed reports about usage of parts of speech, distinct concepts, and something called the Windbag Index, which I used to quantify the degree of repetition in a person's speech.

The conclusion of the analysis was startling. While having differences, Obama and McCain were much more similar to each other than their vice-presidential counterparts, Biden and Palin. In general, vice-presidential debates were grammatically simplier and more repetitive.

Hive Plots

Network hairball begone!

high dynamic time range photography (HDTR)

This is a method of digital compositing multiple photos of the same scene taken over a period of time. The purpose of HDTR is to generate a final image that demonstrates the flow of time across the scene.

lumondo photography

My interest in photography has grown in to a side activity that focuses on fashion and beauty.

non-standard clock

What if the hands on a clock remain stationary, but the bezels move instead?