Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dvorak experiment update

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.

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