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Learning to type (Correctly)

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I recently picked up a copy of Mavis Beacon to learn how to type properly in order to get myself back into a writing mood, and also with the goal of alleviating my wrist pains and increasing my typing speed. It may have been the biggest mistake ever.

You see, I already typed very fast, but because I never learned to do it the official way, I only end up using two or three fingers on each hand (Index, middle, ring) and just relocating my hand constantly.

 

So now that I'm typing closer to what is expected, I've been reduced to hunt-and peck speed. The software is incredibly dated, and I honestly don't know how or why it manages to run on OSX. Everything is taught through repetition, which gets the job done, but it gets very boring very fast, and becomes distressing even with regular breaks. While repetitions is working fine for getting better at the guitar, for typing my old muscle memory and tendencies are clashing with what I'm trying to teach my hands.

 

I haven't been this frustrated since, well, trying to learn to type DVORAK. The worst part is that now, if I want to work on my novel, I either have to become proficient with my new keyboard setup, or revert to my mobile tri-finger scheme, destroying all my hard work thus far.

 

Heres hoping some sleep will help reset that computer in my head.

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I feel for you, man.

 

But isn't it interesting that QWERTY has become a kind of tradition? The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (DSK, created 1932, pat. 1936) was typically hailed as superior to QWERTY (~1860) yet seemed to peak in the 80s with 100,000 users.

 

For some things time stands still.

- Thoth.

 

Pointless Usage Comments: While QWERTY is named for the first six letters of its layout, and is consequently all-caps, the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (DSK) is named for its creator, August Dvorak, and so "Dvorak" isn't all-caps. (But it does kind of look like a keyboard sequence, doesn't it?)

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I recently picked up a copy of Mavis Beacon to learn how to type properly in order to get myself back into a writing mood, and also with the goal of alleviating my wrist pains and increasing my typing speed. It may have been the biggest mistake ever.

You see, I already typed very fast, but because I never learned to do it the official way, I only end up using two or three fingers on each hand (Index, middle, ring) and just relocating my hand constantly.

 

So now that I'm typing closer to what is expected, I've been reduced to hunt-and peck speed. The software is incredibly dated, and I honestly don't know how or why it manages to run on OSX. Everything is taught through repetition, which gets the job done, but it gets very boring very fast, and becomes distressing even with regular breaks. While repetitions is working fine for getting better at the guitar, for typing my old muscle memory and tendencies are clashing with what I'm trying to teach my hands.

 

I haven't been this frustrated since, well, trying to learn to type DVORAK. The worst part is that now, if I want to work on my novel, I either have to become proficient with my new keyboard setup, or revert to my mobile tri-finger scheme, destroying all my hard work thus far.

 

Heres hoping some sleep will help reset that computer in my head.

 

I had a similar experience when I made the switch. My hunt-and-peck typing speed wasn't anything to brag about though.

 

Interesting that you used Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. I'm pretty sure I did too. Judging by the photo on the software box, she's gotten younger in the last twenty years. I guess she learned a thing or two from Betty Crocker.

 

-Steve

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Dvorak is scientifically superior, people don't switch because of the long learning period. I want to go Dvorak, but learning a new typing scheme is hard when you actually want to get things done on the computer. And, once you've learned it, any computer you use outside your own home will be QWERTY, defeating the purpose.

 

People will start switching to Dvorak when everyone's already Switched to Dvorak. That's how it worked for the mac.

 

I had a similar experience when I made the switch. My hunt-and-peck typing speed wasn't anything to brag about though.

 

Interesting that you used Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. I'm pretty sure I did too. Judging by the photo on the software box, she's gotten younger in the last twenty years. I guess she learned a thing or two from Betty Crocker.

 

-Steve

 

It isn't quite hunt and peck, it's actually pretty close to the proper way of typing, which is perhaps why it's so hard to break with.

 

 

P.S., Should we start calling you SteveSteve?

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Dvorak is scientifically superior, people don't switch because of the long learning period. I want to go Dvorak, but learning a new typing scheme is hard when you actually want to get things done on the computer. And, once you've learned it, any computer you use outside your own home will be QWERTY, defeating the purpose.

 

People will start switching to Dvorak when everyone's already Switched to Dvorak. That's how it worked for the mac.

 

Probably better to stick with QWERTY. If your typing speed is >60 words per minute on QWERTY, you will likely do no better with Dvorak. How many studies have been done on whether the Dvorak keyboard layout is superior to QWERTY? One? I briefly switched to the Dvorak layout a few years ago, and was disappointed at the cost/benefit. Months of practice to get back up above 60 wpm, and in the meantime, you're a super slow typist, and your wife is upset that you switched the keyboard layout on the mac mini again.

 

If your wrists hurt while typing, take more breaks, check your posture, remember your piano hands, and look into a better keyboard. Find a comfy wrist brace for your off time too. Your wrists are worth the money. You need them to last!

 

IF

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Isaac! Welcome back. Long time, no post. What'cha been up to Number 2?

 

But back to the topic: I use a split keyboard. Yes, it took a day or two to get used to but it was well worth it. It was either that or develop swollen Popeye wrists likes the rest of you. I once used a pair of key wells (the Kinesis Advantage) for a while but found it awkward. And it caused nail bed bruises.

 

- Thoth.

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Isaac! Welcome back. Long time, no post. What'cha been up to Number 2?

 

But back to the topic: I use a split keyboard. Yes, it took a day or two to get used to but it was well worth it. It was either that or develop swollen Popeye wrists likes the rest of you. I once used a pair of key wells (the Kinesis Advantage) for a while but found it awkward. And it caused nail bed bruises.

 

- Thoth.

 

 

How well do ergo keyboards work? THeir design has always frightened me.

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Isaac! Welcome back. Long time, no post. What'cha been up to Number 2?

 

I've been lurking. Got sick and got slammed at work, so I haven't been writing much. Hope to be around more now.

 

How well do ergo keyboards work? THeir design has always frightened me.

 

They all take getting used to. There is no one size fits all. And each has its own learning curve. I know people who swear by the split keyboards, but they are not for me.

 

Something else to try: make sure the letters of the keyboard are centered in front of you instead of the entire keyboard. That will help your posture.

 

IF

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How well do ergo keyboards work? Their design has always frightened me.

Take a breath. Do not be afraid. Ergonomic designs are all after pretty much the same thing—putting your body (i.e., your arms and wrists) in a natural position. But Isaac is right, just as all bodies are different, no single design works for everyone.

 

So swear I, upon my split keyboard.

Huzzah!

- Thoth.

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...Got sick and got slammed at work, so I haven't been writing much...

Thrice dammed slammy infectious co-workers!

 

Hope to be around more now.

Looking forward to it.

- Thoth.

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You should write it all down so you don't forget. :P

Could be the makings of a bestseller. Memoirs are hot now.

:)

- Thoth

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Ugh, no one wants to read my memoir.

 

"Made breakfast. Ate it. Tooled around on the internet for two hours. Took a shower. Looked at the dishes. Went back to the internet."

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"Made breakfast. Ate it. Tooled around on the internet for two hours. Took a shower. Looked at the dishes. Went back to the internet."

 

Was that so hard? We look forward to Chapter 2.

 

IF

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Ugh, no one wants to read my memoir.

Then make something up. I strongly suspect that most memoirs are teased a little. Memory is fallible, flexible and fabulously falsifiable.

 

"Foraged for food in the wilderness to make breakfast. Almost became another creature's breakfast."

"Ate it with space aliens around the kitchen table."

"Tooled around on the internet for two hours while fighting ninja assassins."

"Took a shower with movie star."

"Looked at the dishes as trained mice cleaned them and put them away." (It worked for Cinderella.)

"Went back to the internet to talk about my boring life with Thoth."

 

Use your illusion.

- Thoth.

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