Author Topic: dvorak?  (Read 4836 times)

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Offline djones

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dvorak?
« on: Thu, 24 April 2008, 14:58:48 »
how many of you brothers use the dvorak layouts? if you do, questions:
1) was it worth it for you?
2) how long did the switch take, to get back up to a respectable typing speed & accuracy (say, 1/2 to 2/3 of your original speed)? how long til full speed?
3) can you still type on qwerty without your brain exploding?
4) if you had any sort of RSI, did it help? (and what kind of RSI did you have?)

any other comments/etc? very interested in your experience, esp if you're a coder.

edit: oh! and of course, the obligatory question: what keyboard did you do it on? :-D

Offline jemkeys

  • Posts: 80
dvorak?
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 24 April 2008, 15:45:16 »
I've always thought the dvorak layout was just a recent fad, proven wrong at inception - yet not being currently addressed by the mainstream.  Much like Marxism, ;).

Offline ecru

  • Posts: 73
dvorak?
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 24 April 2008, 16:44:46 »
1.  Yes
2.  After a couple of months ~2/3 speed, but I am an 'intermittent' typer, and slower than average at learning hand eye coordination tasks.  Using a computer isn't my main occupation, and web surfing, playing games etc does little to improve typing skills.
3.  No - I don't have a need to use qwerty anymore.  Here's hoping that my brain doesn't explode on contact with it.
4.  I have no rsi, however I found dvorak to be more comfortable surprisingly quickly.

Sorry no coding comments since it is over a decade since I last did any coding.

I found these exercises useful changing over.  Once I had completed the exercises a lot of the initial frustration finding keys abated, then it was just a matter of speed.

Oh and a hello to jemkeys the troll, you won't be getting fed anymore than a greeting by me.  Enjoy :)

Offline jemkeys

  • Posts: 80
dvorak?
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 24 April 2008, 16:49:54 »
What did you consider trolling?  The comments about dvorak, or marxism? lol

EDIT:  no, but seriously.  I'm not trying to enrage anybody here, but I really do think that the dvorak layout isn't the secret miracle that'll make us all type 150 wpm.

QWERTY is fine, and I think the popular story about it's origins as a response to "jamming typewriters" is a myth.

Offline iMav

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dvorak?
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 24 April 2008, 20:53:40 »
I used DVORAK for a couple of weeks.  I found it fine, but it annoyed me that I still needed to interact with QWERTY from time to time.  And since I type really well with QWERTY, I decided it wasn't worth having to switch back and forth.

Offline zillidot

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dvorak?
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 24 April 2008, 21:48:25 »
Quote from: djones;4177
how many of you brothers use the dvorak layouts? if you do, questions:
1) was it worth it for you?
2) how long did the switch take, to get back up to a respectable typing speed & accuracy (say, 1/2 to 2/3 of your original speed)? how long til full speed?
3) can you still type on qwerty without your brain exploding?
4) if you had any sort of RSI, did it help? (and what kind of RSI did you have?)

1) Yes, I appreciate the reduced finger movement that the Dvorak layout allows. I don't believe in the typing speed advantages, but comfort is more important than typing speed.
2) Didn't keep any records at the time, but I think it took a few weeks.
3) Yes. For me it's like being bilingual and switching between two different languages.
4) Didn't have RSI. Still don't. :)

As for the keyboard, I used some generic rubber dome thing. (It was before I discovered mechanical keyboards!) I rearranged the keys, but discovered that it's not worth it. It's important to get used to *not* looking at the keyboard. Instead I had the Dvorak layout printed out on a sheet of paper and put it under the monitor. I'd look at that when I was learning to type.

For coding, I think you'll find the curly/square brackets a bit harder to reach on Dvorak than on QWERTY. But other keys such as - and = are easier to reach, so that probably evens things out. :)
My keyboards:
Realforce 87U (all 55g)
HHKB Pro 2 (black on black)
Filco Majestouch (n-key rollover, brown cherries)
Unicomp Customizer 101 (black with black keys)

Offline IBI

  • Posts: 492
dvorak?
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 25 April 2008, 09:07:16 »
As a hobbiest coder of several years I find that I spend far more time thinking than typing, but perhaps that changes when you've got ten or twenty years experience of doing it everyday.

In my case I see no reason to switch, my typing speed is plenty fast enough for what I need, qwerty keyboards are much easier to find and dvorak doesn't solve any of the problems I do have with the qwerty keyboard layout (mostly missing keys like and √ and shift keys for superscript and subscript)
Owned: Raptor-Gaming K1 (linear MX)(Broken), IBM Model M UK, Dell AT102W, Left-handed keyboard with Type 1 Simplified Alps.

Offline JohnnyBoy

  • Posts: 28
dvorak?
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 26 April 2008, 11:17:45 »
Quote from: djones;4177

1) was it worth it for you?
2) how long did the switch take, to get back up to a respectable typing speed & accuracy (say, 1/2 to 2/3 of your original speed)? how long til full speed?
3) can you still type on qwerty without your brain exploding?
4) if you had any sort of RSI, did it help? (and what kind of RSI did you have?)

Hi there, this is my first post on the forum. Hope you don't mind me diving in!

1) Yes. I was given my first toy typewriter when I was 7 years old and even back then, the Qwerty layout seemed to have no logic to it. So although I always wanted to learn to touch type, I resisted doing so until I stumbled upon the Dvorak layout a couple of years ago.
2) It probably took 3 or 4 weeks of regular practice until I had any kind of useful ability. Now I'm quite fluent, but the mistakes reappear as soon as my concentration wavers.
3) Well, if I have to use Qwerty, then I'm back to 'hunting-and-pecking' whilst my eyes dart around the keyboard looking for the next letter!
4) I first started to learn to touch type on a standard Apple wired keyboard and very quickly felt soreness in my wrists. This was completely alleviated by buying my Logitech split keyboard, so I think my problems were connected to the keyboard shape rather than the layout.

Jemkeys' association between the Dvorak layout and Marxism caught my attention because I'd seen this before; a webpage written by a Dvorak enthusiast quoted an e-mail that he'd received from an angry critic of the Dvorak layout. In it, the critic asserted that people who enthusiastically promoted the Dvorak keyboard were like a bunch of brain-washed Communists. :confused:

This connection puzzles me. I've always thought of Marxism/Communism as a kind of totalitarian doctrine where there is only one set of ideas that everybody is expected to agree with. In a world where it seems that 99.999999% of all English-language keyboards are Qwerty, shouldn't it be the dominance of the Qwerty layout that's likened to an ideology that offers no choice?

Offline jemkeys

  • Posts: 80
dvorak?
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 26 April 2008, 12:40:43 »
I didn't mean it like that.  I just meant that it's an old idea/movement that's seemed to gain favor with college-age "intellectuals".  There's a bunch of kids at school with Che Guevara and hammer+sickle shirts.  I don't get it.  

And I think Dvorak is kinda along the same lines of popularity.  It may be gaining popularity among a small  grassroots group right now, but I think history has already proven it as 'not as useful'.

Offline JohnnyBoy

  • Posts: 28
dvorak?
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 26 April 2008, 16:39:33 »
Quote from: jemkeys;4207
I didn't mean it like that.  I just meant that it's an old idea/movement that's seemed to gain favor with college-age "intellectuals".  There's a bunch of kids at school with Che Guevara and hammer+sickle shirts.  I don't get it.

Oh, okay. If I understand correctly, you find that people have learned to type on a Dvorak board just to "be different" and reactionary, just like wearing a socialist t-shirt.

Quote from: jemkeys;4207
...I think history has already proven it as 'not as useful'.

Jemkeys, put your fingers on the home row of your Qwerty board. Note how the letters "f", "j" and "k" and the semi-colon ( ; ) are given pride of place on the easiest-to-reach keys on the board - the ones directly underneath your fingers. Is that really the most *useful* place to put such infrequently used characters?

Offline jemkeys

  • Posts: 80
dvorak?
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 26 April 2008, 16:57:50 »
That's a good point.  Maybe I'm just opposed to change, but it would seem in the interest of alternating fingers - you'd want keys in the optimal position to alternate between fingers.  I know most of the world is right-handed, but I doubt a keyboard configuration that favors the right hand will make us type any faster.  

Maybe it's because I play guitar and I'm much more agile with my left hand... idk.  
oh well, I guess the world will never know ;).

Oh, and you were right about my thoughts on the connection between dvorak and socialism.

Offline JohnnyBoy

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dvorak?
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 26 April 2008, 17:08:24 »
The Dvorak layout came up on another forum that I regularly visit (123MacMini.com) and a long-time Qwerty user asked me if I thought he should re-train for Dvorak - I said "no". After all, what would be the point? If he can touch type with an accuracy and speed that he's happy with, then what could be achieved by re-training?

I just think it's such a pity that the Qwerty keyboard is so dominant that most people who want to learn to type don't even know that there's an alternative and aren't given a choice. Anyway, that's my 2 pence.

Offline xsphat

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dvorak?
« Reply #12 on: Sun, 27 April 2008, 01:01:00 »
I have said before that I like typing qwerty and I don't intend to change now at age 35. I tried it out for a couple months and got used to it but going back and forth sucked so bad I switched back and never looked back. As Johnny boy said, I have a comfortable speed and accuracy with qwerty, so why would I change?

Offline IBI

  • Posts: 492
dvorak?
« Reply #13 on: Sun, 27 April 2008, 07:44:25 »
Quote from: JohnnyBoy;4209
Jemkeys, put your fingers on the home row of your Qwerty board. Note how the letters "f", "j" and "k" and the semi-colon ( ; ) are given pride of place on the easiest-to-reach keys on the board - the ones directly underneath your fingers. Is that really the most *useful* place to put such infrequently used characters?


That is true, but when you look at the dvorak layout it seems to suffer some of the same problems. It places the infrequently used angle brackets (< and >) just above the left hand while relegating common keys such as backslash and the other brackets to the edge of the keyboard. It also uses the same strange set of keys are qwerty so semi-colon is the primary key while the more common colon is the shifted key and it has the symbols for additition, subtraction, division and equals but not the symbol for multiplication on the main block.
Owned: Raptor-Gaming K1 (linear MX)(Broken), IBM Model M UK, Dell AT102W, Left-handed keyboard with Type 1 Simplified Alps.

Offline JohnnyBoy

  • Posts: 28
dvorak?
« Reply #14 on: Sun, 27 April 2008, 15:00:06 »
Quote from: IBI;4216
That is true, but when you look at the dvorak layout it seems to suffer some of the same problems. It places the infrequently used angle brackets (< and >) just above the left hand while relegating common keys such as backslash and the other brackets to the edge of the keyboard. It also uses the same strange set of keys are qwerty so semi-colon is the primary key while the more common colon is the shifted key and it has the symbols for additition, subtraction, division and equals but not the symbol for multiplication on the main block.
I have to agree, IBI. The punctuation characters on a dvorak keyboard aren't laid out as well as I'd like, even if you allow for the fact that it was designed only for typing English; no programming languages existed when August Dvorak finalised the layout. Perhaps the lesson here is that in the end, all layouts have to compromise somewhere

Offline ecru

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dvorak?
« Reply #15 on: Sun, 27 April 2008, 18:09:19 »
The position of the punctuation on ANSI dvorak layout is different to the original design - due I suspect to keeping key pairs matched the same way as qwerty.

However there is nothing to stop you tailoring a layout to suit yourself and the distribution of words / special characters specific to your use as this fellow did.  Once you have done that you may consider yourself a true keyboard geek. :)

Offline JohnnyBoy

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dvorak?
« Reply #16 on: Sun, 27 April 2008, 18:21:53 »
Quote from: ecru;4228
The position of the punctuation on ANSI dvorak layout is different to the original design - due I suspect to keeping key pairs matched the same way as qwerty.

Thanks for the link ecru. I love the madness of reordering the numbers on the top row - all the odd numbers first, then the even numbers afterwards!

Quote from: ecru;4228
However there is nothing to stop you tailoring a layout to suit yourself and the distribution of words / special characters specific to your use as this fellow did.  Once you have done that you may consider yourself a true keyboard geek. :)

I'd be happy to join the fraternity of keyboard geeks, but the author of that article perhaps took it all a little too far... ;)

Offline ecru

  • Posts: 73
dvorak?
« Reply #17 on: Sun, 27 April 2008, 20:55:08 »
I struggle to see the advantage of reordering the upper number keys too.  Personally it wouldn't worry me though as they are superfluous, when I have a much better tool in the numpad.

Offline IBI

  • Posts: 492
dvorak?
« Reply #18 on: Mon, 28 April 2008, 09:44:20 »
Quote from: ecru;4228
However there is nothing to stop you tailoring a layout to suit yourself and the distribution of words / special characters specific to your use as this fellow did.  Once you have done that you may consider yourself a true keyboard geek. :)


Interesting link. I am considering trying to come up with my own custom layout when I get a free week or two, although I'd mostly leave the letters alone and concentrate on the symbols.
Owned: Raptor-Gaming K1 (linear MX)(Broken), IBM Model M UK, Dell AT102W, Left-handed keyboard with Type 1 Simplified Alps.