Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dvorak Update

Bottom line: I'm now completely typing on Dvorak keyboards and have completely lost any ability to type on Qwerty.

It's so weird. I was a really good typist for so long. I was able to verbalize my thoughts through my fingers at eighty words a minute. My ability to even "think" with my fingers as I had done for 30 years has now been completely wiped away. That's been awfully scary.

I'll admit that I am a bit frustrated at all the "Dvorak propaganda" that claims everyone could breezily switch over and begin effortlessly keyboarding away. As a piano teacher for many years, I sort of knew that converting from Qwerty to Dvorak would be a huge endeavor. I knew it wouldn't be easy. Frankly, it was downright frightening.

If you've never really learned to touch-type and express yourself with your fingers on a keyboard, then by all means, get yourself on a Dvorak keyboard and fly away my friend.

If you might enjoy a surprisingly effortless finger-motion on the keyboard with which to express yourself, then Dvorak may be for you. But beware . . . It's not "just" learning to type on another keyboard.

Some have given the Dvorak conversions a pretty lofty status. For example, they've said that it's like learning to play the piano in a different key. (Not so)

I've also appreciated the other musician-types who have said that it's like a trombone player learning to play the trumpet.

All those comparisons are well-and-good. But they are WAY inaccurate. Having been both an enthusiastic, bona fide typist AND a pianist for over thirty years, I can honestly tell you that converting to the Dvorak keyboard is this: It's really similar to becoming fluent in a new, easier language, but at the same time, giving up any ability to communicate in one's native language.

It's been a little over three months since I embarked upon the Dvorak conversion and my best typing speed is a whopping 51 WPM on a Dvorak keyboard.

What’s interesting is that my typing is a lot more accurate. The biggest challenge is that the vowels are all on the home row with the left hand and I keep getting them mixed up. However, that 51 wpm is typing from visual text which is a piece of cake. What's really frightening is that I've completely lost the ability to type cognitive thoughts at any considerable speed. But, then again, each day really does bring new and exciting surprises.

Here are the advantages of typing on a Dvorak keyboard -- REAL advantages that I've encountered so far:

I really love the way my hands feel, typing in Dvorak. The more speed and ease I get, the more I go, "Wow!!! -- THIS is how my hands should really ACT on a keyboard."

Your fingers really do travel a lot less on the Dvorak keyboard and it’s pretty cool to watch. On a Qwerty keyboard, your fingers are often hopping around as when you type the letter combinations such as ‘BR’ and ‘MY’. There’s none of that going on with a Dvorak keyboard. It's really brilliant the way it's laid out. It’s all so efficient.

Even though this transformational endeavor has involved an incredible amount of effort, each day brings some surprising progress and a sense of accomplishment. At least for me anyway.

Besides enjoying the incredibly easier physical motion of typing, I have every reason to believe that this change will benefit me in the long run. I’d sure like to break that 100 wpm mark someday.

I absolutely love this endeavor and it's been an awfully long time since I've enjoyed anything this much.

Isn’t that just about the geekiest thing ever?

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At 11:53 AM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

So so so so so so geeky!! *grin*


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