Thursday, April 30, 2009
I haven't written much lately, because I've been learning a new keyboard layout since the last post. While that alone shouldn't forbid more blog posts, my hands are tired and out of shape. I believe it is mostly related to breaking old bad typing habits, such as not touch typing properly with all fingers.
According to this morning's drill, I have gotten up to 42wpm on a full keyboard drill. I seem to be speeding up about 5wpm per week, and i'm guessing that my speed will top out around 80-90wpm. Of course, that is mostly a function of what I am typing: while programming, speeds above 30-40wpm are only useful in languages that are painful to the hands to begin with (Java, i'm looking at you..). Furthermore, while hard to quantify, my actual typing speed is a bit lower than that in the drills. The reason for this is that only a limited number of common letter combinations are included in the particular typing program I use; it is fairly light on latinates which does not bode well for anyone in academia.
Overall I think the switch to Dvorak is going well, and a lot more certain now that I can use the whole keyboard fairly proficiently. The biggest sticking points so far are Japanese input and keyboard shortcuts. I have not yet found a way to make the mac Japanese IME use the alternate layout, but this is not too big of a problem right now because I do not type much Japanese text these days (no homework..). Keyboard shortcuts are a bit bigger of a problem. I use a modified dvorak layout that reverts to querty when using the command key for shortcuts, but not all applications seem to play along with this option.
Pretty soon, nobody will be able to tell i'm using a different layout, as long as I am speedboosted by coffee.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Surely, there are more comfortable ways to type; over the years, countless nerds (myself included) have attempted and failed to successfully adopt to more ergonomic keyboard layouts such as Dvorak. However, in today's always-on hyperactive internet culture, it is ridiculously hard to switch to an alternate keyboard layout: not only is there the improbability that all of your QWERTY-based devices can change to alternate layouts, but more importantly the initial productivity drop associated with plunging to sub-30 wpm typing speeds.
Thankfully (?) here in Japan I have a much lower typing burden than back in the USA, so I've used this weekend to stop typing the old way and conduct this experiment. Judging from the fact that this blog entry was typed up in about 15-20 minutes, I may have a rough few weeks ahead of me.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
In Iowa (of all places!) same-sex marriage was upheld by the Supreme Court.
In Vermont, the legislature (!) voted to override (!) the governor's veto of a law legalizing same-sex marriage.
And finally, the NYT ran a story about violence against gays in Iraq, concentrating on Sadr City. I think the saddest part in this reporting is the quote below:
Meanwhile at said families' mosques, sadist clerics preach about the evils of homosexuality, and how it is destroying the fabric of society, (and wocka wocka). I'm not sure whether to be amused or alarmed that Iraqi institutions of faith have "risen" to the same level of stupidity as many homophobic denominations in the United States.
“Our investigation has found that these incidents are being committed by relatives of the gays — not just because of the militias,” he said. “They are killing them because it is a shame on the family.”
He said families typically refused to cooperate with the investigation or even to claim the bodies. No arrests have been made in the killings.
I look forward to returning to the United States and arguing with those who oppose such marriages. Slowly, their lines of reasoning and mock outrage over "activist judges" seem to be less and less effective. Perhaps the United States can be a symbol of hope for those unfortunate gays in Iraq, or at least 4/50'ths of the United States can be.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
When in Rome, do as the Romans. Thus, when in Python you should only care about method interfaces. If you need to know whether something is a duck and the quack isn't enough, you are doing something wrong (or expecting too much from the poor duck)!