The chorded keyboard is not as efficient as two handed QWERTY. Englebart reported getting 35 words per minute with his right hand and 25 WPM on the left after extensive training.
Granted, this is a good speed for having one hand free to use another type of input (pen, mouse, touch screen or whatever).
A chorded keyboard is also a promising idea for mobile computing where a dedicated physical qwerty keyboard is unwieldy.
I wasn't able to see enough of a benefit to try building one or purchasing some of the existing products. At the right price point, I definitely would try it as a novelty.
It seems there is a chicken and egg problem of inputs and software that makes you efficient using them.
Of course, if you wanted to do programming on a chorded keyboard the chords you need are totally different, but apparently it's still very doable: http://plover.stenoknight.com/2010/04/writing-and-coding-wit...
On the other hand, I believe there's lots of room for improving on the status quo in a way that isn't necessarily intended to ever supplant the conventional alternatives, just focusing on some subset of users who have a good reason to be willing to invest a little more time in becoming more effective. (This is part of the process that led me to design my own custom keyboard.) If you look at Emacs or Vim users, it's clear that some people are willing to spend a lot of time learning skills that improve their efficiency.
The article mentions Emacs (and I would add vim) and throughout I could only think about these two. They are the tools that reward learning and multiply your efficiency. It doesn't all have to exist in hardware.
You can always get one of these(0).
0 - http://www.dx.com/p/fs3-p-tri-pedal-usb-foot-switch-controll...
The author's gripe is pretty much that professional tools have free versions for the home tinkerer and affordable licenses for the lone professional.
I did. Sadly, they suck :(. First of all, there's a problem getting firmware that would run on Windows. Secondly, getting the pedals to simulate raw control keys is tricky (but can be done). But thirdly, the construction isn't too solid - I had them in the office for a while, and somehow someone (I suspect the cleaning crew) managed to break off one of the pedals. :/.
With that said, I actually thought about buying one of these, but I ended up just revamping some of my Emacs bindings. Then I ended up switching to vim, so chording became less of an issue in general.
(When I still found myself wanting the Emacs operating system I went with Spacemacs. It really is the best of both worlds.)
The article focuses on hardware, but its point is more general, it touches software too - basically the solutions developed both "by developers for developers" and those created for non-tech users. There are lots of things that worry/sadden me about this.
Within the industry, I'm tired of hearing comments like "don't use advanced feature X, it's hard for the junior programmers". Like, "don't use lambdas / streams in Java 8; it may be more readable for you, but it isn't for the cow-orkers who don't know lambdas". Well, one would think that it is expected of a professional to occasionally learn some stuff. But what I see instead is "best practices" aimed at the lowest common denominator creating a culture of code monkeys.
As for end-user software, I'm tired of ranting about it, and - as I learned from this post - Erik Naggum (like usual) does a much better way of explaining the problem. So I'll just end with a graph.
^ /---- professional
| /--- software
| /- "user-friendly"
| /- software
| /- /---------------------
point where companies make their sale
and beyond which they don't give a shit anymore
I get the same kind of hardware as a developer/researcher than a secretary, some low-end lenovo laptop with a single standard sized screen, running the same IT-provided windows image with performance-crippling endpoint and scanner software. All my development happens through a VM which connects to a remote server, via ssh/emacs tramp. Of course this invites the argument 'you are using your desktop as a terminal anyway, why do you need something more powerful'.