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Re: [OT] how to take care of hand -> dvorak

* Arnt Karlsen <arnt@c2i.net> [120205 23:54]:
> On Sat, 4 Feb 2012 16:37:47 +0000, Russell wrote in message 
> <[🔎] 20120204163747.GC2339@cromwell.tmiaf>:
> > >From the Gnome desktop, use the system -> preferences -> keyboard ->
> > layouts menu to select "USA Dvorak" (a regrettable compromise) or "USA
> > Classic Dvorak" (the original and best).
> > 
> > Just use whatever keyboard you presently are using.  Print out a copy
> > of the Dvorak or Dvorak Classic layout, and then refer to the printout
> > and ignore the keycaps.

> ..sissy, the one proper way takes a wee bit more of common brutality,
> pop out all keys and put them back using your dvorak layout map. ;o)

As very recently has been discussed (either on this list or
elsewhere), on some keyboards the contour of keys vary from row to
row.  This is because some manufacturers place all the switches in the
same plane (thus necessitating differing contours of keycaps), and
others change the mounting of the switches from row to row.  And still
other keyboards (particularly those of the "chiclet" variety, named
after a popular American chewing gum) put all the switches in the same
plane and use the same contour on all the keycaps, but this is not
"ergonomic" -- it causes unnecessary fatigue for the typist.  The
ideal appears to be a keyboard in which the tops of the keycaps,
viewed from the side, touch the surface of an imaginary cylinder of
radius approximately 3 to 4 inches (75 to 100 millimeters).

And, not meaning to offend, I would suggest the "sissy" is the guy who
is dependent upon the keycap labels.  If you wish to learn to ride a
bicycle, the first step is to remove the "training wheels".

> ..another approach is tape on new key lettering, I had to do that on
> 6 of my laptops, due to the joysticks in the keyboards.  My eeepc
> only got them due to my lazyness and surplus key stickers. ;o)

Years ago I purchased a Macintosh classic, after the dealer agreed to
provide a Dvorak layout.  When I went to pick up the machine, I was
horrified to see that the dealer had swapped the contoured keycaps
(which makes it physically impossible to touch-type), and was about to
use fingernail enamel and permanent marker to alter the lettering.

The experience was like discovering that the man to whom you have
given your Swiss watch for repair is no watchmaker, but rather is
nothing more than a blacksmith with forge and anvil.

> > It does not take many hours to learn the layout, because Dvorak
> > designed it to be intuitive (at least, for those whose native language
> > is English).
> ..I can confirm this works in Norwegian too, a tip for those of you
> looking for work in Norway, teach yourself Norwegian Dvorak. ;o)   

The critical factor is statistical, namely, letter (and numeral)
frequency.  In the Classic Dvorak layout, the most often-used keys in
typical English documents are located centrally -- on the home row,
and under or adjacent to the strongest fingers.

So perhaps we ought be speaking of "Dvorak-philosophy keymap" rather
than "Dvorak keymap", because the Dvorak philosophy (which is "make it
easy for the typist") is universal, whereas a specific Dvorak keymap
(such as the English Classic Dvorak keymap) is not.  My point is that
the term "Dvorak" has come to represent more a philosophy, rather than
merely a specific key arrangement.  

The modified Dvorak keymap which was standardized by ANSI (American
National Standards Institute) and used by IBM (on the Selectric) and
by Apple (on the IIC) is a regrettable compromise which violates the
Dvorak philosophy.  It is this modified keymap which a Wikipedia
article and others term the "Dvorak Simplified Keyboard".  But the
appellation "simple" is laughable, for there is nothing "simple" about
the modified keymap, other than its simple-minded adherence to the "1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0" numeric order of the QWERTY layout.  And, to add
insult to injury, even a fool knows that the numeral zero should
precede the numeral one, so that the numeric row ought be ordered "0 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9".  Thus, the ANSI "Dvorak Simplified Keyboard" ought be
termed the "Bastardized Dvorak Keyboard".

This is why, years ago, I championed the "Classic Dvorak" layout
(which, thankfully, now has a permanent home in the Debian archive).
I chose the term "classic" rather than the term "original", because
the original application for the Dvorak layout was the manual
mechanical typewriter, and there are significant differences between
the keys and symbols on a manual mechanical typewriter and those on a
typical computer.  Indeed, there even are significant differences
between the keys and symbols on a manual mechanical typewriter and
those on an electric mechanical typewriter.  But the "Classic Dvorak"
keymap available in Debian agrees with the spirit or philosophy of the
layout devised by Dvorak, and is as close as is practical to the

> > Don't become discouraged during the first few hours.
> ..and once you're past it, you _enjoy_ watching your competitors
> try catch up on you. ;o)  

Having typed since A.D. 1963 and having used Dvorak exclusively since
A.D. 1980, I think that a significant gain in speed is a false
expectation.  It is not uncommon for a good QWERTY typist to type
faster than the typical Dvorak typist.  

The great advantage of the Dvorak keymap is increase in accuracy and
reduction in fatigue.  This is particularly the case with material
rich in numeric characters, but only if the Classic Dvorak keymap is
employed.  The mental gyrations necessary to accurately type numerals
on a "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0" keyrow are much more difficult than those
demanded by the "7 5 3 1 9 0 2 4 6 8" keyrow.

Actually, one of the best things about the combination of
QWERTY-labeled keycaps and software mapping to the Dvorak layout is
that other people in the office quickly learn not to mess around with
your computer.  The combination is more effective than is password
protection, and entirely avoids the "enter the password to unlock the
screen-saver" nuisance.


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