Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Dvorak so far...

I noticed one of the guys at work was using Dvorak as his keyboard layout. I'd thought about converting over before but I couldn't bare the idea I going back to basics again.

Well, it's now been 5 days since I first tried using Dvorak and I've got to say its already looking worth while. When I first started it has to be said that I was completely incapable and my memories strayed back to my first IT lessons at primary school where I learnt to touch type all those years ago.

The first 2 days were terrible and whereas before I could express myself at almost my speed of thought, I found that I was managing only about 10 words a minute with the new layout!!

After that initial sacrifice and after taking a couple of free online Dvorak typing lessons I have managed to bring this up to around 40 words per minute. I was never the fastest typist in querty but I used to type around 70 words per minute.

After 5 days I feel I am still rapidly improving and that I will very soon relearn the muscle memory required to type in Dvorak. I can already feel the benefits in terms of how little I need to move my fingers to type commonly used words, I think I will soon overtake my qwerty typing speed, and I certainly find typing much more comfortable already.

If you're thinking of converting I would advise you try it during a quiet time in your life / at work where you can afford to type VERY slowly for a bit. The most important thing is to keep at it and not to chicken out to qwerty at any point.

My only problem with Dvorak is the fact that keyboard shortcuts tend to be designed for qwerty keyboards so I would recommend using "autohotkey" to remap all shortcuts to qwerty. For me this made the transition considerably easier.

Finally, if you have RSI or similar issues I would advise you to make the effort to move to Dvorak. Qwerty was designed to slow down typists because typing too fast used to jam type writers. In doing so qwerty was designed to have many awkward movements which slow you down and strain your wrists. These movements are avoided using Dvorak and therefore minimise the risk of RSI.

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