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Re: dvorak layout

On 10/16/06, Tony Nelson <tonynelson georgeanelson com> wrote:
At 2:04 PM -0700 10/16/06, Rick Stevens wrote:
>On Mon, 2006-10-16 at 10:56 -0700, Mike Wright wrote:
>> I love watching people who don't know about Dvorak trying to use a
>> keyboard.  Talk about security through obscurity ;D
>I don't want to start a flame war here, but the QWERTY layout was
>designed _specifically_ to slow typists down so they didn't jam up the
>old manual typewriter mechanisms.

This is false.  The Quwerty layout was designed to minimize the number of
times that adjacent key levers on the bail would be used at the same time.
It was /not/ an effort to slow typists; it was an effort to /increase/
typing speed by reducing jams.

One can argue that in effect, this had the result of slowing typists
down (ignoring slow-downs caused by jams, which had a better
solution).  Commonly used keys would be spread out and not likely to
be placed all together on the homerow (as perhaps a superior layout
would have them).  But you are right, the intention was to indirectly
solve the jamming problem caused by adjacent strokes and was only
loosely related to the speed of the typists.

Dvorak is about 10% faster, for equivalently trained typists.  If one is
already a Dvorak-trained typist, then it is useful.  If one doesn't type at
all, learning Dvorak may make sense, provided that the Dvorak layout will
always be available.  Otherwise, it is probably more effective to learn to
type better with layout one already knows, even if it's that wretched
French alphabetical layout, than it is to start over with a new layout.

I think you will find many people disagreeing with you, including
myself.  It took me a few weeks to a month of really painful typing to
become as comfortable with dvorak as i had been with qwerty.  Now that
I'm here, I can type a bit faster than I had with qwerty, but for me
the real benefit is the comfort.  You'd never notice how uncomfortable
all of the reaching in qwerty can be until you've gotten good at
dvorak and then go and use a friend's computer.  For me, typing is
noticeably more relaxing with dvorak.  From one month's pain, I now
have ~60 years of better typing.. it was definitely worth it.

For a nice little comic on the history of typing and the benefits of
dvorak, see my sig.


Type faster.  Use Dvorak:

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