Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dvorak Update

It’s been about six weeks since I decided to try “converting” to the Dvorak keyboard and I thought I’d give you an update. I just know you’ve all been waiting on pins and needles, ever so anxious to know how it’s been going.

For those of you who don’t leap on my blog every day breathlessly devouring every word I write, I’ll tell you a little bit about this Dvorak thing of which I speak.

It’s a different keyboard layout that is much more efficient to type on. Your fingers actually travel 80 percent less using Dvorak because of the way it’s laid out.

Here it is:

I decide to learn this keyboard and I will admit that it’s been a very interesting experience so far.

First of all, it’s been incredibly difficult to un-learn 36 years of qwerty typing, especially since I could purtle along at 80 – 100 wpm. (Yes, I am bragging)

I had read all these reports claiming that Dvorak was so incredibly easy to learn and that you’d soon be blazing away faster than you had ever typed before.

Even though I've been practicing about two hours a day, that wasn’t happening with me and I finally figured out why.

I’m old.

I’ve probably been typing a lot longer than any of the people who wrote these claims. Also, they probably learned “keyboarding” rather than typing. Additionally, I doubt than any of them had ever been bona fide typists in the classical sense.

I learned actual typing on an old-fashioned manual typewriter where you really had to bang some letters. Perhaps that had “engrained” the qwerty layout much more deeply into the recesses of the old gray matter.

At any rate, it has really been a challenge but one that I’ve really enjoyed taking on. I can now touch-type at a blinding 30 wpm using Dvorak. What’s really interesting is that I’ve lost the ability to type in qwerty.

I feel like I'm in limbo; an astronaut on the dark side of the moon.

I thought about giving it all up until I read an essay from a woman who could type at 100+ wpm on qwerty and made the change. She said that after two months she could type at 50 wpm and had regained her speed back after three months.

I’m pretty much on track.

So, why am I spending so much time and energy learning this?

OOOooo! I’m so glad you asked!

There are several reasons:

1. It’s similar to learning another language, only this one involves finger-action. For me, that’s like playing the piano.

2. I love the way it feels to type on the Dvorak keyboard. Take a look at it again.

Now imagine your index fingers on the ‘u’ and he ‘h’ and type the word “months” and “these”. Isn’t that the most incredible thing EVER???

3. Typing on a Dvorak keyboard is different from the norm. The normative of anything has never been appealing to me.

4. I’d like to eventually get my speed well above 100 wpm which is pretty impossible to do on qwerty. However, the Guinness world record is held by Barbara Blackburn at 212 wpm which she was able to do using a Dvorak keyboard.

Frankly, I’d love a job as a transcriptionist. Maybe if I become really proficient at Dvorak, I can get a part time job doing just that and working from home.

Sigh . . . we all have dreams. Mine just happen to be excruciatingly nerdy.

I’ll keep you posted.



At 4:50 PM , Blogger Leah said...

It's like that you force yourself out of your comfort zone.It's an admirable trait that not many people have nowadays.
Thanks for the update!

At 4:50 PM , Blogger Leah said...

oops...that's supposed to say "I like..."

At 6:39 PM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

Excruciatingly nerdy is right!--but I love you for it. *smiles*

At 10:02 AM , Blogger Barb said...

I was a dictaphone typist for years and I loved it. Really didn't have to think about it. It's fun when you realize you can type the words that are being spoken to you and not really "hear" them at all.


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