Karabiner (Elements) and macOS Sierra

I like hacks. I like tweaks. I like setting things up just to my specifications. I mean, I use an Ergodox Infinity, a CST Trackball and I'm an avid Vim user.

But these hacks and tweaks are not without their disadvantages. When macOS Sierra came out, it severely broke support for a key app in my setup: Karabiner. I was using Karabiner for three very specific, very important hacks, all inspired by Steve Losh's "A Modern Space Cadet" blog post from 2012:

  1. The ctrl key would act as escape if short-pressed with no other key. Because I rebind caps lock to control anyway, that puts both control and escape in perfect reach of my left pinky. No more reaching up or down for either key. It's amazing!

  2. F19 was mapped to cmd-ctrl-shift-option. Why F19? Because it is on no modern keyboard, and has no default usage in modern operating systems. So I bound it to a key on my ergodox, and use it as a hyper modifier key. However, I went a step further, and made short presses on this key input cmd-space (the spotlight shortcut). Surprisingly convenient.

  3. The left and right shift keys would act as left and right parenthesis when short-pressed with no other keys.

These hacks have become second nature, part of my muscle memory. Losing them would be terrible for my productivity. So I waited for Karabiner to be updated to Sierra.....cut to today, 9 months after Sierra was released, and Karabiner still has not been updated.

However, I found out today that Karabiner Elements finally added support for short vs long pressed keys in their latest beta version.

If you want to check out my implementation, I host my dotfiles on github. The section is under complex_modifications. Remember that you need to be running Karabiner Elements 0.91.3, which is in beta!

What hacks/tweaks can you not live without? Leave a comment or tweet at me!

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