[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: xkb options

On Thu, May 17, 2007 at 11:05:52PM EDT, Russell L. Harris wrote:
> * cga2000 <cga2000@optonline.net> [070517 21:28]:
> > 
> > But where I am impressed most of all is that I cannot imagine Russell
> > spending a couple of hours writing this mini-tutorial of his.  He will
> > in/con-firm this .. but I have a feeling that since he appears to be  a
> > proficient typist it was just as easy for him to come up with his
> > mini-tutorial "in writing" as it would have been for him to explain the
> > same things viva voce.
> Thanks for the kind words.  If you've ever had a Labrador or other
> retriever, you know that, with such breeds, retrieving is compulsive.

Like fighting with bull-terriers.  I used to have those and you have to
make sure you curb that tendency when they're still puppys.  And always
remember that they were bred to fight and that this second nature of
theirs may surface at any time.  

> Likewise, I by inclination, as well as by profession, am an educator,

.. so I suspected.

> so I sometimes end up writing a tutorial in response to a mail list
> posting.  The educator is poorly paid, but that is my calling.

Educators .. teachers .. they were never paid much money .. but they
were respected .. what's sad and somewhat scary about the logic of our
times is that the inherent poverty of educators means that they are no
longer worthy of our respect.

> And the Dvorak key layout -- which I have used for the past twenty-six
> years, has made a great difference.
> I cannot emphasize too strongly the need to use the original or
> "classic" Dvorak layout, in which the keys in the numeric key row are
> in the sequence:
>   [  7  5  3  1  9  0  2  4  6  8  ]
> Despite the fact that I used to type at 90 to 100 words per minute on
> a QWERTY layout, I always dreaded an encounter with numeric material.
> But once I switched to the classic Dvorak layout, numbers became just
> as painless to type accurately as are ordinary words.

Then I am going to have to seriously consider switching.  One thing that
slows me down almost to a crawl .. less than 50 wpm on a good day .. is
text interspersed with dates .. amounts of money .. etc.  I think just
seeing them through the corner of my right eye .. oooooh .. here they
come ..  makes me nervous and I lose my rhythm even before I actually
reach the point where I start typing them.

One thing you didn't mention in your tutorial is rhythm, btw. 

> > I have known a couple of folks whose typing had become second nature and
> > what I found amazing was that they were able to come up in a few minutes
> > with some form of rough howto text on any technical subject that they
> > were familiar with where with rougly the same technical knowledge, it
> > would have taken over an hour to do the same thing.
> I regret to disappoint you, 


I guess I suspected something like this and that's why I "asked" for
your in/confirmation.

> but that tutorial DID take me an hour or so to write.  It all depends
> on how many times you previously have written on the subject.  It
> takes time to oganize a presentation.

All the same .. yes I am stubborn .. you might have thought twice about
writing it at all .. had you been keyboard-challenged.

> I have discovered that, in any realm of life, the key to making any
> task easy is to discover and eliminate things which cause pain.  With
> typing, the primary agency of pain is the QWERTY layout.  

Maybe that's what made me stick with it .. and at times the pain was
physical .. I can assure you.  I have come to consider my typing drills
as a yoga.  A bit like those postures that can be painful at first but
.. supposedly .. become ultimate bliss once you have mastered them.

> Another example.  With vocabulary, spelling, and pronunciation, the
> pain is due largely to the fact that the dictionary sits closed, on
> the shelf.  But if you set an opened dictionary on a pedestal with
> good illumination, you'll find yourself using it a dozen times a day.

That's very true.  I spend so much time in front of the computer that I
have replaced dictionaries .. Roget's Thesaurus .. the Britannica ..
etc. with stuff like www.wordreference.com.  Somehow it's not quite the
same.  I find I use them to look up one word and that's it ..  I don't
lose myself for hours on end "dictionory or encyclopaedia surfing" like
I used to do.

> Most people fail 

.. in our day & age .. (sorry to interrupt) .. 

> to realize the great importance of simple things, particularly those
> having to do with physical comfort (and thus, absence of pain) --
> things such as a desk, a chair, good illumination, proper ventilation
> and temperature, freedom from noise.  

and I should probably add .. in our day & age _and_ geographic location.
The vast majority of the world's population still value the above ..
especially those who are deprived of such basic luxuries as food and
drinking water .. 

> > Retrospectively, I realize that it was not just a matter of their being
> > capable of typing at least five times faster than myself.  No, it was
> > mostly because to them typing had become so ingrained in their persona
> > that there was absolutely no overhead involved.  They could type with
> > just as much ease as I speak and nothing related to the typing itself
> > interfered with their thinking process while they were writing. 
> In learning typing, one of the greatest motivations is to be able to
> capture a thought on paper before the thought is crowded out of the
> mind and lost.

A much more eloquent way of putting it than my "absence of overhead".

One fleeting thought that I had when I wrote the above about fluent
typing not interfering with one's thinking process is that it may even
go further than that .. in the same way as regular writing with a pen
and paper actually provides some kind of supporting environment that
makes it easier to express your thoughts in a structured manner. 

I'm no expert in these matters of course .. but it does strike me as a
little odd  ..  and perhaps not very healthy that nowadays practically
everything that people write apart from what's jotted down on post-its
and such like .. is done at their personal computer .. and yet only a
tiny minority is able to type as effortlessly as they write. 

Time for bed in my time zone.


Reply to: