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I appreciate the fact that there may be technically better layouts than QWERTY (Dvorak, Colemak, whatever), I'm still unable to understand how this is going to help me as someone who can has been able to touch-type in the 100-120wpm range since middle school (that was over 20 years ago). How much faster do I need to type? By all personal measures, QWERTY is good enough and the fact that it is the standard means that I can sit down at any English keyboard and be able to type at my peak efficiency without having to switch my brain back and forth between two layouts. My fingers can already keep up with my ability to form coherent sentences and in programming/sysadmin work, typing speed is not very important once you get past a certain point. I literally never had the thought, "If only I could type faster, I could get this done more quickly..."

On top of this, as a heavy vi user, the main navigation keys are no longer on the home row for either Colemak or Dvorak, which means I either need to make my editing far less efficient, or remap nearly every key.

I have had many very intelligent people attempt to explain the switch to Dvorak to me, and never heard a good reason to invest the time. I am curious if folks invested the same amount of concentrated time improving their QWERTY skills (relative to the amount of time folks spend learning a new layout) if there would be a similar speed improvement.




As a Dvorak typing sysadmin who used to use QWERTY, the vi navigation keys work just fine on Dvorak. As it turns out, once you're used to Dvorak, you see that having the keys next to each other on the keyboard and on the home row doesn't count for anything in any regard, either memorability or efficiency. I had that reservation about Dvorak too, but ... nope. It's just not confusing or a slow down. It's far less of an issue that the sort of kludgy moded editing and reaching for escape. (I'm an Emacs user at heart. I gave both years of usage, and organically ended up using vi for quick edits, emacs for long editing sessions.)

It's sort of like the much-talked-about switch to reverse scrolling in OS X. You may think it's a big deal, but your brain makes the adjustment, and it just doesn't matter. Your vi editing efficiency should be pretty nearly unaffected. It might be very fractionally slower, since the navigation keys aren't on the home row, but .. I never notice it at all. It's definitely not far less efficient.

Not arguing that you should switch, incidentally. I could also touch type 100+ wpm on QWERTY. I never regained my original speed after switching. That's very common for very fast typists. If you don't put systematic effort into speed training, you'll lose some speed for switching. Not that it's that big of a deal.

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The first thing I did when upgrading to Lion was to turn off "natural" scrolling. While arguably more natural when using a touchpad (and definitely when using a touchscreen) is entirely unnatural when using a mouse or trackball. It is counter to how every other OS on the planet has worked for 30 years and doesn't provide any efficiency gain.

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>I'm still unable to understand how this is going to help me

I sometimes consider changing layouts but it all comes back to that one simple statement. I don't touch type and I still hit the 120 WPM sweetspot on QWERTY - but I feel that any benefit of Dvorak/Colemak would be wasted if I didn't also learn to touch type.

I fear it would be a lot of work for no discernible benefit other than geek cred.

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"I don't touch type" and "I still hit the 120 WPM sweetspot" does not compute.

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One side benefit is that no one can shoulder surf your password.

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Security through obscurity is not the best of strategies. If someone notices your shoulder surfed password doesn't work with qwerty, it's a trivial step to try it on dvorak/colemak.

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If they know to try that, they deserve access to my gmail account. :-)

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Most people can't type that fast. But read the article again; it also talks about comfort and ergonomics.

I literally never had the thought, "If only I could type faster, I could get this done more quickly..."

I think few slow typists would have had that literal thought either. I know I never did as I approached up to my ceiling of about 70wpm.

If you're a heavy vi user, it's probably not worth it, but if you weren't and you did a lot of typing it might be worth it to see if it helps with comfort. Also, what's wrong with the fun of trying new things?

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