Sunday, January 8, 2012

Typing In Dvorak

I came across an article over the Christmas break (I can’t find it for the life of me) which had rather large list of new things to try next year, the idea being to choose just one.  If I remember correctly, the purpose of the article explained how challenging your brain in new ways can help when learning new skills (something I’m trying to do all the time).  I chose to challenge my brain by learning to type in Dvorak.

I’ve actually done something like this before with a great deal of success.  In 5th grade, for whatever reason, I decided that it was time to learn how to write left handed.  I think I was just bored in school and needed something interesting to do.

I forced myself.  I did all my assignments and homework with my left hand.  For the first several weeks my writing looked awful, sometimes like scribbles.  My teacher wrote very concerned letters to my parents and even called home a few times.  My parents were not happy at all.  Looking back, I’m sure they thought I was just acting out.

That certainly didn’t stop me, and I’m glad it didn’t.  The effort was worth it.  To this day I’m fully ambidextrous.

 

Benefits

  • Increased typing speed
  • Less finger movement
  • Less mistakes
  • Help prevent RSI (repetitive strain injury)

 

Starting out

To begin this journey, I took a popular typing test using QWERTY.  The results are below:
Typing Speed

Speed is obviously not the primary reason for my wanting to learn as I’m well above average.  As a software engineer, my job requires constant typing (although there are auto-complete tools I use to cut down on typing).  My primary reason is to help prevent RSI, though making less mistakes overall would be nice.

I’ve already begun!  I’ve successfully memorized the location of all the keys using an on-screen keyboard and practiced using the tutor here, which is great since I don’t have a physical Dvorak keyboard (nor do I want one – we only have laptops).

Here’s an assessment of my current speed in Dvorak:
image

Having typed this entire post using Dvorak, I can say with certainty that this will be challenging, yet possible.  I have a ways to go, but the key to success is to keep practicing.  Somewhat similar to being ambidextrous, I fully plan on being ambikeyboardstrous.

If you are thinking about trying it out, here are some tips (assuming you are using Windows):

 

More info

Here’s some more information about the Dvorak layout:

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