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Dvorak Keyboard

Postby Lucus Eques » Thu Jan 11, 2007 5:47 pm

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Postby Bert » Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:25 am

Lucus Eques, two questions.
1) How long did it take you to get reasonably comfortable with it.
2) How much do you type.

I don't type that much and I am not that fast but I don't have to look at the key board.
Slowly on I have to type more and more at work so it might be worthwhile for me to try this.
I don't feel right doing the learning at work and I have precious little time at home to practice so I'm curious how quickly you learned it.
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Postby Sanskrit » Sat Jan 13, 2007 1:46 am

Thanks for the suggestion. I will take a look at the article.
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Postby Lucus Eques » Sat Jan 13, 2007 2:21 am

I'd definitely recommend it over a long weekend or a vacation. I learned comfortably over Thanksgiving break; I wouldn't recommend trying to learn it at work either.

I type a lot, and I was quite proficient at QWERTY before I gave it up — since I was an especially fast typist before I switched, in a way it may have taken a little time for me to "slow down;" still, after a month, I type faster than I used to on QWERTY, and I've never felt better really. It's no problem now for me to switch and do QWERTY if I need, though usually I just change the computer I'm working on to Dvorak, which takes anywhere from 5 to 20 seconds.

That article also recommends not doing QWERTY at all until you're proficient at Dvorak — I strongly agree. I started out trying both, and it just confused my muscle memory, and probably added 5 days to my learning curve. Anyway, I found the experience generally quite rewarding, and I hope, since it is so easy, that the world begins to learn and update to something healthier and more efficient. I changed my keyboard's keys into Dvorak layout too long after learning; this is mainly for aesthetics, but I like it; it's easy to do on an Apple keyboard.
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Postby Voxforascausa » Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:20 pm

QWERTY was not designed to slow your typing. It was designed so the keys of a typewriter would not get jammed. An ABCDE layout caused jamming due to letter positioning(remember how old typewriters were with the long hammers pounding the ink onto the page) even at "Hunt and Peck" speeds causing the user to manually need to untangle the bars. Source(go to reference if you don't trust the source).

The QWERTY arrangement solved the jamming problem not by forcing typists to slow down, but by separating common sequences of letters in English. Pairs of keys that are frequently struck in succession were placed as far from each other as possible, so that the hammers that were likely to be used in quick succession were less likely to interfere with each other.


I would switch to drovak, but there are two problems switching:
1) If I were to work on someone elses PC, chances are that they don't have a drovak layout and I'd have to revert to QWERTY typing, which would sort of defeat the purpose of switching.
2) The most important keys in programming - the quotes, curly braces, and brackets, are on the bottom rows in QWERTY which are much more convienient for me to access rather than reaching for the top row with my pinky and ring fingers. There is also a problem with the layout when you're trying to play a game since many games choose to use WASD and IJKL to control your character, and some don't even allow you to change that.
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Postby Lucus Eques » Sat Jan 13, 2007 6:40 pm

Thank you for those corrections! I appreciate that a lot. Good to know.

Voxforascausa wrote:I would switch to drovak, but there are two problems switching:
1) If I were to work on someone elses PC, chances are that they don't have a drovak layout and I'd have to revert to QWERTY typing, which would sort of defeat the purpose of switching.


All computers today have Dvorak (I am generalizing -- that is any Mac or XP-running PC); Dvorak has been a standard for a while. Obviously I'm a Mac user, but I have to type on PCs a lot at school, and it's very easy to switch to other keyboards: go to Control Panel, to Regional and Language Preferences, then into Language, then Add, and a language comes up with a potential keyboard. Hit Apply, and also allow a liitle icon to show up in the bottom task bar of the system (if there is such an option -- normally it comes on automatically) for ease of switching. Takes about 20 seconds.

2) The most important keys in programming - the quotes, curly braces, and brackets, are on the bottom rows in QWERTY which are much more convienient for me to access rather than reaching for the top row with my pinky and ring fingers.


Really? I think it's a real boon that they're up there, since I had to lift my hand right off the keyboard to get them usually, which lost several seconds. Now I don't even have to look, and I think they're much easier to reach -- much more intuitive.

There is also a problem with the layout when you're trying to play a game since many games choose to use WASD and IJKL to control your character, and some don't even allow you to change that.


Mm. In that case, I would switch back to QWERTY for those games (a click in the menu bar). The ease of switching makes it really appealing. Any Mac user that operates Sophokeys knows what I'm talking about.
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Postby tico » Sat Jan 13, 2007 8:39 pm

All computers today have Dvorak (I am generalizing -- that is any Mac or XP-running PC); Dvorak has been a standard for a while.


You mean the layout, not the physical keyboard. And that's the problem. I myself have never seen the physical keyboard in a computer store. And type using Dvorak layout in a physical Qwerty keyboard sounds quite strange to me. Do you have a Dvorak keyboard or just use the layout?
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Postby Lucus Eques » Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:00 pm

When I learned, I just used the internal keyboard (the layout as you say), overtop the standard QWERTY arrangement of physical keys. I found this accelerated my learning of Dvorak, because I never was tempted to look down, and all the actions became immediately and solely tactile to visual on the screen. I decided to rearrange my keyboard's keys only recently to the Dvorak mode; although, I find even now that looking down just slows me down, since I learned properly and intuitively.

They sell Dvorak keyboards; here are the results of a random search:

At this site: http://www.theworldofstuff.com/dvorak/

Making the Switch
You can buy a Dvorak keyboard (see the next section for more details on buying), but it's not necessary.

Here are some: http://www.fentek-ind.com/dvorak.htm#std

Most keyboards let you pop off the keys with a paper clip -- a feature designed to prævent breaking of the key. The last time I did this (for my father), it took about twenty-five minutes to pop out and rearrange
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Postby Voxforascausa » Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:48 pm

Lucus Eques wrote:{snip}
All computers today have Dvorak (I am generalizing -- that is any Mac or XP-running PC); Dvorak has been a standard for a while. Obviously I'm a Mac user, but I have to type on PCs a lot at school, and it's very easy to switch to other keyboards: go to Control Panel, to Regional and Language Preferences, then into Language, then Add, and a language comes up with a potential keyboard. Hit Apply, and also allow a liitle icon to show up in the bottom task bar of the system (if there is such an option -- normally it comes on automatically) for ease of switching. Takes about 20 seconds.

Great to know for the Windows machines. I know there might be some support question I'd be asked for this later. Thanks.

{snip}
Really? I think it's a real boon that they're up there, since I had to lift my hand right off the keyboard to get them usually, which lost several seconds. Now I don't even have to look, and I think they're much easier to reach -- much more intuitive.

By lower levels I mean they are not on the top row, which I just seem to dislike trying to reach. It is much easier for me for some reason(probably because you have to reach to the upper row often) ends up much quicker for me. If I had a Dvorak layout keyboard and I had to program in C, PHP or escpecially Perl I would probably be slightly annoyed reaching up there:
Code: Select all
BEGIN {
  if ($kids) { write $santa; dump $kids; }
  foreach (@night) { study $prayers and $stories; }
  select $gentiles; #to
    join "you"; if ($gentiles) { open $MIND,"ed"; }
}

That was Perl truncated from a program, and as you can see it'd be probably quite bad . Imagine the amount of brackets and braces for something like PostNuke(which is over 800 files, though most are images most of the size is in PHP) or Slash, the underlying code of slashdot. Not very dvorak friendly. I'd think that Dvorak would be excellent for authors, though.
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Postby Kopio » Sun Jan 14, 2007 7:55 am

This might just be crazy enough to try out....I might just like it! I always have liked being non-conventional anyhow, this would just seriously mess with people! Lucus...so you change your keyboard back when you are done using them at school? I'm picturing confused and ticked off freshman banging their heads against the desk... :twisted:
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Postby Lucus Eques » Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:10 am

Haha, in a way I laughed at the same possibility when I was so careless as not to change it back ... but, user settings are personal to each student that signs onto a computer, so anything I do won't affect another's interface. ... Damn. ;)
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Postby Celtica » Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:46 am

Kopio wrote:This might just be crazy enough to try out....I might just like it! I always have liked being non-conventional anyhow, this would just seriously mess with people! Lucus...so you change your keyboard back when you are done using them at school? I'm picturing confused and ticked off freshman banging their heads against the desk... :twisted:


This brings to mind when my family bought it's first computer, when I was a kid. Win 3.1, it was, and I was looking at the language settings for the keyboard. A couple of days later, Mother went to type something and found it to be gobbledygook. Turned out I'd accidently changed the keyboard settings to Finnish :lol: .
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Postby tico » Sun Jan 14, 2007 6:55 pm

All computers today have Dvorak (I am generalizing -- that is any Mac or XP-running PC); Dvorak has been a standard for a while.


Another problem: the original Dvorak layout is for English, not for other languages that need diacritics and accents. How I'm supposed to type the following characters: á é í ó ú à è ì ò ù ç ñ õ ã ô â etc.? There are some layouts adapted for these characters, but they are developed by individuals and are not found in Win, Mac or Linux as a standard. So it's quite difficult to use Dvorak to type other languages.

Any idea?
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Postby annis » Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:26 pm

Voxforascausa wrote:That was Perl truncated from a program, and as you can see it'd be probably quite bad . Imagine the amount of brackets and braces for something like PostNuke(which is over 800 files, though most are images most of the size is in PHP) or Slash, the underlying code of slashdot. Not very dvorak friendly. I'd think that Dvorak would be excellent for authors, though.


Is typing speed really a problem for programmers? It seems to me thinking speed is the larger impediment (while not a programmer, I say this as a sysadmin who does a good chunk of programming). I'm not sure programs are written at typing speed.
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Postby Lucus Eques » Sun Jan 14, 2007 10:25 pm

Do you have a Mac, tico? On a Mac those are very easy to do, hitting the Option key and then using other keys to make diacritics. For example, to write an acute accent, all I have to do is hit Option+E, then any vowel: á, ó, é, ú, í. I've never had a problem making any diacritic I needed for any language.

There's also a Latin Extended version of Dvorak, much like the Extended keyboard that comes with a Mac, which is useful because Option+O yields the macron.

http://homepage.mac.com/chinesemac/Lati ... vorak.html
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Postby Voxforascausa » Sun Jan 14, 2007 11:06 pm

annis wrote:
Voxforascausa wrote:That was Perl truncated from a program, and as you can see it'd be probably quite bad . Imagine the amount of brackets and braces for something like PostNuke(which is over 800 files, though most are images most of the size is in PHP) or Slash, the underlying code of slashdot. Not very dvorak friendly. I'd think that Dvorak would be excellent for authors, though.


Is typing speed really a problem for programmers? It seems to me thinking speed is the larger impediment (while not a programmer, I say this as a sysadmin who does a good chunk of programming). I'm not sure programs are written at typing speed.

Certainly they are not written at typing speed consistently. Programming is more of a think, type, think mentality. However, if you can type more easily, you can think more and waste time typing less. Then, you can get to debugging and looking over your program faster.
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Postby annis » Mon Jan 15, 2007 3:07 am

Voxforascausa wrote:Certainly they are not written at typing speed consistently. Programming is more of a think, type, think mentality. However, if you can type more easily, you can think more and waste time typing less. Then, you can get to debugging and looking over your program faster.


But is typing a major use of time, really? Especially given the IDEs and other tools many people use I'd expect a lot more time is wasted moving between mouse and keyboard than on QWERTY delays.

I suppose it might depend a bit on the language. Programming in Inform 7 might benefit from faster typing speeds, but only because it's a domain specific language focused on storytelling.
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Postby Voxforascausa » Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:37 pm

annis wrote:
Voxforascausa wrote:Certainly they are not written at typing speed consistently. Programming is more of a think, type, think mentality. However, if you can type more easily, you can think more and waste time typing less. Then, you can get to debugging and looking over your program faster.


But is typing a major use of time, really? Especially given the IDEs and other tools many people use I'd expect a lot more time is wasted moving between mouse and keyboard than on QWERTY delays.

I suppose it might depend a bit on the language. Programming in Inform 7 might benefit from faster typing speeds, but only because it's a domain specific language focused on storytelling.

Most experienced programmers tend to avoid or dislike IDEs(from my experiences with them) altogether and use text editors with highlighting such as emacs and vim, which are all about keyboard shortcuts and working from the command line(tends to be faster and lighter in the long run). Certainly dvorak probably would work for something like BASIC, COBOL or Pascal, which focuses heavily on mnumonics rather than symbols, but dvorak will probably slow you down in programming languages like C which focus more on symbols rather than mnumonics, and symbol based languages have really been dominating the mnemonic based ones, meaning chances are you aren't going to be using those mnemonic based ones, especially if you are on a project that requires you to port to different OSes.
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Postby annis » Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:57 pm

Voxforascausa wrote:Most experienced programmers tend to avoid or dislike IDEs(from my experiences with them) altogether and use text editors


In Unix-land that's certainly true, but is it outside?

with highlighting such as emacs and vim, which are all about keyboard shortcuts and working from the command line(tends to be faster and lighter in the long run).


Well I am a long-time emacs user, and the idea of converting to Dvorak makes my blood run cold. I've got 15+ years of accumulated customizations, personal elisp libraries, etc., all bound to they key combinations I want. Many have been in my toolset so long I can perform the action without thinking, and in fact I probably couldn't even tell you the actual keys I'm hitting without consulting the code where I modify the key-map. I suspect that for an experienced programmer in tune with a favorite editor switching to Dvorak would incur a hefty penalty, and longer than a week.
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Postby Voxforascausa » Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:19 am

annis wrote:
Voxforascausa wrote:Most experienced programmers tend to avoid or dislike IDEs(from my experiences with them) altogether and use text editors


In Unix-land that's certainly true, but is it outside?

Well, I learn most from the FreeBASIC/QuickBASIC and web developer communities, and the best of them(with the exception of the few that still like to use QuickBASIC and won't accept anything else) seem to use text editors rather than IDEs. C communities I am not too sure about because I don't program proficiently in C. I can assume since I've seen that the most proficient of those free programmers have an air of elitism on them, and I would not be too surprised if they do use text editors.
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Re: Dvorak Keyboard

Postby Ibykos » Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:46 pm

To Lucus Eques: did you mean that you made a Greek dvorak keyboard? I have been searching desperately for a mac version (secondarily a pc version). Starting Modern Greek (for the third time!) this week, and can't imagine having to "hunt and peck" over a qwerty-style keyboard.

I have been using dvorak for 20-some years. I can answer all the nay-sayers, as I have fought all the problems. My macbook air runs a Swedish version, and we simply moved the keys around. Not that I need to look. People around me are always mystified that I can look up and read the board while typing.
I guess I had a good teacher ("Mavis Beacon teaches typing").

I learned dvorak after a broken wrist sent me to physical therapy. The waiting room was full of disabled workers with carpal tunnel. People who would never work again. The most convincing case for learning new tricks.

I hope you can help, or have a lead for me. (I tried searching google.gr and there is no mac presence in Greece.) :idea:
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