1. I don't think the superiority of one or the other is really the issue here. The issue is making the switch. Those studies are addressing whether it's worth it to switch.
The bottom line is that Dvorak is more efficient in terms of movement. It's optimized for typing in English (other romance languages are quite similar) and QWERTY just isn't.
2. From personal experience, I think that the mappings of punctuation are superior in Dvorak. I especially like having the dash and underscore easily accessible (next to Return) for programming. I also find punctuation more natural overall in Dvorak.
What's the story on the "KEYTIME" study alluded to in the response above?
Interesting read, though.
There are rather few cases of some technology being superior in every conceivable way to its active competitor; usually, each has relative pros and cons. Beta wasn't superior in every way to VHS - at every point while they were still earnestly competing, VHS tapes had longer run times. Early Beta tapes only lasted one hour, not even letting you record an entire movie. (ETA: It was very popular to record on LP and SLP modes in VHS, further reducing quality to get extra recording time. Recording fidelity wasn't a winning factor.)
Almost as bad, Sony waited a long time to license the format, turning away interested manufacturers who then produced VHS machines.
End result? A (more) open format that was both more available and distinctly superior in an key aspect won out. Not exactly a roll of the dice.
Then when I scrolled to the end for the heck of it and I saw the "1 2 3 4" links, I swore I'd come back and upvote you :)
Or, at least, that I'm not alone.
I think in another post it turned out that majority of HNers here do the same.
We've only seen it more and more often; something may be technically better, but there's more than technical consideration in choosing a product, and if the newer product can't overcome the social inertia associated with the old product, then it doesn't offer a net benefit.
People choose PHP because there is an abundance of PHP programmers and businessmen want to stiff people on pay more than they want a good interpreter running their software.
People choose Windows because the system is familiar and all of the software they know, often niche, rare, or unmaintained, works correctly on it.
And so on.
And then there are instances where the consumers don't really have much say, like Blu-ray v. HD-DVD. They were well about even until the one supergiant corporation (Sony) swooped in with extra incentives for the other supergiant corporations (movie sudios) to get them to choose Blu-ray over HD-DVD, even though HD-DVD is ultimately superior.
So I sympathize with their intention to preserve faith in free markets, but their postulation that markets always make the right choice technically is silly. There are many other factors, including retraining costs, meddling by big players, etc., that can effect the ultimate dominance of a product.
Rather, I think it merely demonstrates that product prevalence is not the only factor, and often not even the most important one. It dismisses the popular delusion that early success is all that is required to become an entrenched, inferior monopoly.
When high profile figures with political influence fall prey to these delusions -- even in the face of contrary evidence -- it bears a detailed criticism.
I don't see how you can infer that because the basis for an argument of government intervention by some writers is flawed, that government intervention is flawed. Regardless of whether or not government intervention is the right idea, it seems strange for a magazine based on reason to make the claim : "A → ~B" is true,
But A is false, therefore B is true.
This seems to imply that they're taking "government intervention is flawed" as a given for the argument, rather than a conclusion. This isn't surprising, since _Reason_ is pretty libertarian.
"Founded in 1968, Reason advances a free society by developing, applying, and promoting libertarian principles, including individual liberty, free markets, and the rule of law."
So it's not really a serious economics journal (with varying points of view) or anything like that, it exists to promote one particular political view. I think that if we see articles from there, we can reasonably expect to see articles posted here from the other side, too, like, say, Paul Krugman or marxists.org or whatever. My desire is that neither one should appear here and that we stick to startups and hacking and things of that ilk, as those don't tend to produce the "SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET!" reaction quite so much.
Incidentally, I would be very interested in a pointer to a comparably serious/academic rebuttal of Fable of the Keys. It has been a very long time since Fable of the Keys was published, and it has been a long time since I last tuned into the controversy, and at that time my understanding was that a rebuttal had long been promised but never produced.
> Stanford University economist Paul Krugman offered the central claim of this literature boldly and with admirable simplicity: "In QWERTY worlds, markets can't be trusted." The reason that he uses "QWERTY worlds," and not DOS worlds, or VHS worlds, is that the DOS and VHS examples are not very compelling. Almost no one uses DOS anymore, and many video recorder purchasers thought VHS was better than Beta (as it was, in terms of recording time, as we have discussed at length elsewhere).
In an argument about government intervention, the burden of proof should always be on those arguing for government intervention because they are arguing that freedom should be restricted. To take a simple example, if you publish something on the Internet and I want the government to force you to take it down, the burden should be on me to show why the government should interfere with you. If I don't make a case that is more convincing than yours, you should be left alone. I should not be allowed to require that you prove why you should be allowed to publish.
This is an important distinction because freedom often depends on this. Many activities that free people engage in would not happen if people had to ask permission first-- either because there is no plausible reason why the particular activity should be allowed, or just because it would not be worth the trouble.
In a free society, government must have a good reason to prohibit. In a non-free society, people must have a good reason to get permission. The authors are assuming a free society, so they content themselves with attacking government's reasons to prohibit.
Edit: this comment score has ranged up to three or four points and back down to zero. Is it not relevant to point out that an article was published 14 years ago?
IMO, the 1996 article (and even more the 1991ish "Fable of the Keys" academic journal article which preceded it) remain timely because both QWERTY-is-superior and QWERTY-demonstrates-market-failure stories are remarkably hardy perennials, presented as established fact without acknowledging the Liebowitz/Margolis counterargument. (E.g., _Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations_ by David Walsh (2006), carries approving blurbs from _The Financial Times_ and _The Economist_ on its cover, and should be easy to find in a library, maybe even a chain bookstore. "Paul David" and QWERTY appear in the index many times, but Liebowitz and Margolis do not.)