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Advocating Dvorak 732

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the no-not-the-columnist-who-thinks-i'm-his-nemesis dept.
zeroweb writes "A group of three faithful Dvorak promoters have launched new website at DvZine.org. The big thing here is a Comic (available in print, pdf and html) describing the history of QWERTY and Dvorak, how and why one should make the switch, and real-life stories of the converted. If you are thinking about making the switch, this could push you over the edge. My favorite line: "It could be the difference between working in your garden at 70 or wearing wrist braces at 40." As someone who started wearing wrist braces at 23, I couldn't agree more - I read this comic, changed my keyboard layout and have been happier ever since."
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Advocating Dvorak

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @08:58AM (#12811697)
    I had to wear wrist braces because of my QWERTY keyboard as well. Sincerly, Kevin Mitnick
    • Oh, please! (Score:4, Funny)

      by hawk (1151) <hawk@eyry.org> on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @01:58PM (#12815273) Journal
      Not again!

      Here they come.

      The Dvorak proofs.

      The debunking of the proofs.

      The debunking of the debunkings.

      The debunking of those who debunked the debunkers.

      [Insert Monty Python break here]

      The only solution to YADS is tasteless humor.

      Oh, wait. Even better: a compromise. All new Amigas will ship with Dvorak keyboards.

      There.

      Everyone happy and free of debunked debunkers?

      :)

      hawk

  • by njfuzzy (734116) <ianNO@SPAMian-x.com> on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @08:58AM (#12811703) Homepage
    At first, I thought this was about that horrible Internet Troll who calls himself a journalist.
  • Dvorak is very good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by treff89 (874098) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @08:59AM (#12811708)
    Dvorak is an awesomekeyboard layout. I changed from QWERTY about 6 months ago, and have never looked back. Once you swap, you can see that the only things QWERTY is good for is: 1) typing QWERTY really quickly; 2) typing the word "typewriter" (all in the top row). But seriously, DVORAK is _so_ much more efficient, and typing actually becomes a pleasure. The world's fastest typist uses it as well. All it takes is one quick switch of your keycaps using a paddlepop stick, and you're away. _Every_ major operating system, be it Linuses, Windows, OS X, BSD or et cetera., includes drivers. I recommend the change- the week or so of painfully slow typing is absolutely worth it!
    • by odaen (766778)
      I changed from Qwerty about a year to 2 years ago. Not sure exactly when. It's not about typing faster, it's about typing easier.

      Might I recommend not changing the keycaps, it makes them uneven on most keyboards. The best bet is to get a sticky label and put the layout on the bottom edge of your monitor and learn not to look at the keys when you are typing.

      If you use windows there is a registry which changesl your keys to dvorak at the driver level which means pretty much all games use the new layout
      • I've only tried DVORAK once.. I must say it didn't take very long (less than a week) before I started to pick up speed and learned the locations of certain keys to the point where I was pretty confident in not needing to look, and right from the start it felt like a much, much easier and more comfortable layout to type with.
        Unfortunately because I was using DVORAK and QWERTY frequently (college, and I used to swap back to QWERTY for when I came online, IM'ing was tediously slow otherwise), I never really go
        • by odaen (766778)
          Actually for lots of people, now is a really good time to try and learn. It's the start of the Summer Holidays, and by the time you get back to School you'll be able to use qwerty without mucking up your dvorak knoledge. Just don't try to switch to Qwerty when you have trouble typing, it just makes it harder.
        • by pohl (872) *
          I never really got the whole hang of it and ended up ditching it completely a few days later.

          Don't feel bad. At least you displayed patience and tenacity by giving it a whole 'few days' worth of effort.

        • I used to swap back to QWERTY for when I came online, IM'ing was tediously slow otherwise

          That's interesting - I'd think that IMs would be the perfect way to learn Dvorak. I learned QWERTY by virtue of my extensive BBS use back in the day. In fact, I'm using /. to learn Dvorak today. :)

          Coding might have to wait till I'm a bit more proficient. Copy & paste shortcuts are moved and I know that will cause no end of trouble.
    • by njcoder (657816) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:14AM (#12811825)
      If you're a developer, imagine how much faster you'll be if Das Keyboard [daskeyboard.com] starts making blank Dvorak keyboards!!!

      Even more fun. Imagine how silly people will feel when they sit down at your keyboard and try to type something.

    • by squiggleslash (241428) * on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:15AM (#12811847) Homepage Journal
      Hah, Dvorak's old hat man! It's so 1990s. I personally use the Gentoo keyboard, where my typing's 5-10% faster than Dvorak or Qwerty. That's because instead of it being one keyboard layout for everyone, the keys are actually reordered for every application in the most optimal layout.

      With Qwerty or Dvorak, you have to use the same keys regardless of what the program is you're using them with. The "Q", for example, on a QWERTY keyboard, is always in the top left (on English language layouts. It's "A" that's in the top left for French "AZERTY" keyboards.)

      However, with Gentoo, the keys move around. So, for example, in OpenOffice.org, because I have to type "O" a lot, the "O" is right there where the "D" is in a QWERTY keyboard. The "Q", on the other hand, is assigned to F2, because I rarely need it.

      Some have criticised the layout, arguing that the 5% efficiency increase is more than offset by the fact that you have to spend a day compi^H^H^H^H^Hlearning the new layout. This may be a problem for some people, but if you do a lot of typing, it's obvious that this is much more efficient. And besides, you can always let it run overnight, with you learning how to type using the new layout when you'd normally be wasting time asleep.

      You should try it. I find the best performance is with -funroll-fingers -O102.

      • by Ford Prefect (8777) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:55AM (#12812261) Homepage
        However, with Gentoo, the keys move around. So, for example, in OpenOffice.org, because I have to type "O" a lot, the "O" is right there where the "D" is in a QWERTY keyboard. The "Q", on the other hand, is assigned to F2, because I rarely need it.

        It sounds a bit similar to that new Microsoft keyboard, you know the one where it moves the keys round depending on which are most frequently used, and begins to hide those that haven't been used for a while.

        Although it's probably a bit too revealing of (personal, as opposed to Unicode) character for some - a colleague's keyboard consists solely of the keys 'O', 'M', 'G', 'W', 'T' and 'F'.

        I suppose it could be worse - the manager's keyboard is now a completely blank piece of plastic.

        (Spider Blog: The spider has gone! It had made itself at home on a bank statement for several hours, but after I came back from lunch it was no longer there. More updates as things happen!)
        • by tomhudson (43916)
          You both know, of course, that the Gentoo guy is now working for Microsoft. And that Microsoft is into DRM and trying to subvert XML and the Open Document [groklaw.net] format.

          So what are you going to do when your new gentoo keyboard detects that your system has some of that nasty "open sores" stuff on it, and decides to do an "emerge MicrosoftDRMPlus"? It won't be the first time Microsoft used the keyboard controller to work around a bug in their OS (remember Windows 3x and using the keyboard controller instead of trip

      • Why is your backspace key still mapped to control H? Fix that one first.
    • by johnrpenner (40054) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:23AM (#12811916) Homepage

      it IS very good -- i switched back in 1997 over christmas.
      although the first two weeks were hell, having all the vowels
      and the most statistically frequent consonants on the home row
      really increases typing speed and comfort.

      the things that have helped most with reducing RSI are:

      1) using the dvorak layout for typing.

      2) reprogram mouse to eliminate double-clicks, and

      3) learning to play a musical instrument (e.g. bass guitar)
      to force the muscles into definite 'other' contortions
      than are required by using a mouse (handwriting would
      also work).

      (btw - this is typed using a dvorak layout).

    • by mcgroarty (633843) <{brian.mcgroarty} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:33AM (#12812001) Homepage
      But seriously, DVORAK is _so_ much more efficient, and typing actually becomes a pleasure.
      This is the part where you move from advocate to fanatic. Seriously. You sound like the Mac or Firefox evangelist who spends half an hour showing how cool his tool is, changes someone's mind by revealing how it can be useful, then changes it back by going all weepy over it and making it clear this isn't about the tool qua tool. Big neon culty warning signs.
      • by pohl (872) *
        Yeah, because the only people who ever experience pleasure are cult members.
      • by ChuckleBug (5201) * on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @01:26PM (#12814886) Journal
        You sound like the Mac or Firefox evangelist who spends half an hour showing how cool his tool is, changes someone's mind by revealing how it can be useful, then changes it back by going all weepy over it and making it clear this isn't about the tool qua tool. Big neon culty warning signs.

        I don't understand this mentality. If someone convinces you something works, why would you decide to discard that simply because the person who convinced you turned out to be annoying? Either he's right or wrong. Why does the attitude of the messenger enter into it?

        I agree that zealots are annoying. That doesn't mean they're always wrong, though.
    • by Skater (41976)
      I changed to Dvorak about 10 years ago. This year, I switched BACK!

      Why? It caused too much trouble, especially at work when I needed to call the help desk. Windows doesn't handle keyboard mapping in a sane (to the user) manner - even if I switch it, until I reboot all my passwords will be entered in the layout that was active when I logged in.

      I finally gave up. It was too much hassle, and I've never looked back. I can type just as quickly with QWERTY as I could with Dvorak.
    • by CoolVibe (11466) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @11:27AM (#12813426) Journal
      Dvorak is _not_ so very good when vi (or vim) is one's standard editor. [linuxsa.org.au] I tried using dvorak for a while, but my finger muscle memory is so attuned to vi(m) with querty, I destroyed several chunks of code while poking on the wrong keys (yay for CVS and Subversion). It also doesn't "flow" with vi like querty does. "hjkl" is useless with dvorak, as are many other well placed vi command-mode keystrokes.

      The dvorak-advocates can blather all about languages and how one can speak several without losing proficiency in one, but muscle memory is a TOTALLY different league and is a bitch to relearn.

      Sure, I can remap the keys so they have their "qwerty" equivs, but then I might as well stay with qwerty then.

      And no, I'm NOT switching to emacs. They can pry my beloved vi from my cold dead fingers.
    • I'll bet that 'vi' is a bitch to use on a Dvorak keyboard.
  • by syousef (465911) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @08:59AM (#12811711) Journal
    Bottom line is the last thing I need at work is to not be able to use anyone else's computer because I'm use to a non-standard keyboard layout. I refuse to use shortcut keys on non-standard keyboards for the same reasons.

    I've been working in IT for a good number of years now without needing wrist braces, all the while using QWERTY. I know a lot of other people who haven't suffered this fate. I'm not saying no one has ever had this problem but when you exaggerate risks like this its called FUD/scaremongering.
    • by treff89 (874098) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:04AM (#12811750)
      Dude, I use Dvorak full-time at home, and wherever else possible. Since I can touch-type, I can also quickly change the drivers. EVEN IF I must type with QWERTY, I have only lost a few WPM compared to when I used it all the time. Dvorak eclipses it in terms of speed by an exponential amount. Don't be so stubborn if you haven't tried it!
      • Hey, have you ever tried jumping off a cliff without a parachute? It's really fun! I'll show you, as long as you go first. C'mon, man, you shouldn't be so stubborn about things you haven't tried!
      • Dvorak eclipses it in terms of speed by an exponential amount.

        Do you know what "exponential" means? Dvorak sounds cool and I might try it, but I have a REALLY hard time believing the above. I can currently type around 50 wpm, so if I switch to Dvorak I should be expecting at least 2500 wpm?
      • by goatpunch (668594) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @10:15AM (#12812498)
        Bottom line is the last thing I need at work is to not be able to use anyone else's computer because I'm use to a non-standard keyboard layout.
        I use Dvorak full-time at home, and wherever else possible. Since I can touch-type, I can also quickly change the drivers. EVEN IF I must type with QWERTY, I have only lost a few WPM compared to when I used it all the time.
        I switched to Dvorak 5 or 6 years ago. Never changed the keycaps- I was previously a Qwerty touch-typist and found that within a few weeks I was up to and perhaps surpassing my previous Qwerty speed. I switched back to Qwerty after a couple of months.

        A couple of points I can add to the discussion:

        • I found that, while Dvorak may be 'faster', flat-out typing speed is rarely the limiting factor when I am working, if I'm writing code or any text that I want to sound decent my fingers usually have to pause occasionally while my brain catches up. If I was transcribing large blocks of other people's writing typing speed would be more important, but for me there wasn't that much difference.
        • Other people's keyboards- this is the reason that I switched back to Qwerty. It's all very well to be happily chugging along at 80wpm on your own machine, but when you have to sit down at your boss's desk for 2 minutes to look into a problem, and you're slowly hunt-and-peck typing, it's rather embarassing. Even if you install the drivers and/or switch keyboards on their machines, it's a pain for them if you forget to switch back ("What did you do to my fing keyboard?")
        • Qwerty is a standard, and as anyone who uses the internet knows, sometimes a sub-optimal standard is better than a superiour non-standard solution.
        I would only recommend the switch to Dvorak if: A) the geek factor of using an alternate layout is enough that the problems are worth it, or B) if you rarely have to switch machines, and you do a lot of typing at full speed, or C) you have room in your head for 2 keyboard layouts at once, and can switch at will.
        • You just need to stick with it. I made the switch about 2 years ago. It was the most about the most frustrating thing I've ever done. I couldn't type more than 10 wpm for a week, and didn't get above 30 for a month.

          After hitting about 30 wpm my speed picked up very quickly, and I was back to my old speed of ~80 wpm in around 2 weeks.

          Then I sat down at a QWERTY keyboard. I was down to 20 wpm or less! Because I was forced to do it, I switched back and forth every day for months, primarily using Dvorak and v

    • I'm not sure who wrote the program, maybe JWZ, but there used to be a program that would force you to take a 30 second break every 10 minutes. I think it was called "Wrist Saver" or something like that.
    • by bigtallmofo (695287) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:15AM (#12811840)
      My history of typing (all on QWERTY):

      First learned to type on my Commodore 64 when I was 10.
      My first year of typing class in high school, I typed 70 WPM while my typing teacher typed 65 WPM.
      My second year of typing class, I was up to about 90 WPM.
      My third year of typing class, I was up to about 110 WPM.

      I'm a 33-year old professional programmer with 15 years professional experience and now type over 130 WPM. I've never had a single problem with wrist or hand pain until about 3 months ago. I started having all kinds of numbness in my hand and pain in my wrist. Needless to say, I freaked out. The problem went from nothing to seriously impeding me in a matter of days.

      Considering I never believed that carpal tunnel syndrome or other wrist problems existed previously, I was quite surprised. After a few weeks with fiddling with various things (using wrist straps at night, using Microsoft Natural Multimedia keyboard, taking B vitamins, etc.) I'm now symptom free. Pretty much the only thing I do now is use the MS Natural keyboard both at work and home and that seems to keep any problems at bay.

      The bottom line is, just because you don't have any symptoms now doesn't mean that you won't sometime soon. Trust me, you'll be quite surprised if it happens.
    • in Mac OS X... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mnemonic_ (164550)
      There are two separate Dvorak layouts, one of which maintains the command key shortcuts. So I can "command-j" ("command-c" in Qwerty) to copy, and do similarly to paste.

      Also, I still use Qwerty keyboards fine in the labs here. It's not true that Dvorak typists lose every ability to type with Qwerty, as shown by the fact that many of us do both. Typing on multiple keyboard layouts is as feasible as speaking multiple languages, or learning multiple operating systems.
    • Agreed, I'm from Sweden, say I want to use dvorak, I would also need ÅÄÖ.
      So where is dvorak for me? Well, it's here [users.one.se], here [dyndns.org] and here [telia.com]. And that's only the first google hits, there might be more ones.
      The first ones uses regular dvorak keys + grouped åäö + regular swedish "special keys"(letters,!"#%..) setup. I prefer the middle ones (sv_dvorak) thought since it uses english type special keys setup, which makes it far easier to type ()[]{} among others.
  • "Comic" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Southpaw018 (793465) * on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @08:59AM (#12811712) Journal
    It's not really funny...but it is interesting. And it makes some good points. The one thing I have to recommend to the /. crowd is taking a flathead screwdriver and popping the keys off your keyboard instead of glancing up at a propped-up layout. For me, it made things much more straightforward.
    • Re:"Comic" (Score:3, Insightful)

      While this is exactly how I learned to type Dvorak myself, there is something to be said for keeping the keycaps in qwerty layout and taping a reminder sheet somewhere to your monitor.

      Changing the keycaps encourages you to look at the keyboard, while you'll probably want to touch-type Dvorak. It took me a while to un-learn looking down all the time even though I already knew the positions of the keys.

      Plus, it keeps the little "bumps" on the "f" and "j" keys in the right place.

  • Really? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Is there any scientifc proof that QWERTY or Dvorak have any advantages over each other?

    I don't think so.
    • Not from independent sources, no.
    • I could mod you down, but instead I'll just politely suggest you RTFA. I'm not a Dvorak person, and I don't plan to become one, but the article actually has a lot of documented advantages complete with citations. Just sayin...
    • I don't know about scientific proof, but qwerty was designed for typewriters so the typists didn't wind up locking the arms(is that what they're called - you know...the little things with the letter on 'em) by typing too fast. That's why some of the the more used letters are in awkward places...like having a being typed with your little finger on the left - for most people a pretty weak area...or having the e on the top. so I can see why it might slow you down.
    • Yes, of course (Score:5, Informative)

      by ToadMan8 (521480) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:19AM (#12811878)
      First, allow me to admonish your hasty conclusion.

      On this page http://www.koniaris.com/dvorak/ [koniaris.com] there is a discussion about distance of finger movement. The test document was the Unabomber's Mannifesto. The results:

      * Typing the Unabomber Manifesto in QWERTY costs about 5.7km (XY).
      * Typing the Unabomber Manifesto in Dvorak costs about 3.3km (XY).

      In terms of planar movement Dvorak is more efficient. Then, for the pain standpoint, one must decide for themselves if moving up a row (above home row) is more comfortable, or would one rather move down a row. Personally I hate that bottom row - it compounds what rock climbing does to my wrists. I am much more pain-free on Dvoark, and I still have the ability to switch mid-sentance back to qwerty and not think about it, making other peoples' computers easy.

      There are a ton of studies of varying levels of scientific valitidy. This was my first decent result of quick google search. The bottom line is it's thought out, and thus better, but people don't want to re-learn 'till QWERTY hurts them.
    • I don't think it is. I can't cite them now because I don't have time to search for them, but studies have shown that proficient typists using qwerty keyboards are just as fast as proficient typists using Dvorak keybaords.

      Check out the wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] for a good balanced look at both.

  • by Underholdning (758194) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:00AM (#12811718) Homepage Journal
    I'va nver bnee hpaiper in my lfie! Dovark hsa cahgned my tpyign seped imenmsly!
  • No, they are not defending that [pcmag.com] Dvorak.

    And no, he didn't invent the layout either.

  • I find it easier just to use the on-screen keyboard. No messing up because I can't see the keys. And just look: no ttypos!1
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:01AM (#12811726)
    I stay away from such keyboards as Dvorak and "Natural". Not because they are a bad idea. Rather, it is because I only want to be able to have to know one keyboard. If I learn Dvorak, I'd still have to frequently use QWERTY due to the other keyboards I have to use that are still QWERTY this. Is it easy to be proficient at both and switch back-and-forth at ease, or does the confusion result in rmmre o erf rree rkjdkc yt wpodcxs?
    • by vspazv (578657)
      If you can touch type in dvorak you can just change the keyboard layout in the system settings while you use it. No need to change any hardware.

      Just remember to change it back when you're done so you don't confuse the other users.
    • by fracai (796392)
      When I took a QWERTY keyboarding course in high school PopSci or Discover or something ran an article on the Dvorak layout and I figured it was as good a time as any other to learn.

      Maybe it was the practice in both layouts at the same time while learning, but I can switch between layouts pretty easily. I'll make a few mistakes in QWERTY at first, but I'll be up at a moderately fast pace soon enough. Switching back to Dvorak is a much faster change.

      You'll definitely slow down at first while learning, but
    • by zanderredux (564003) * on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:20AM (#12811879)
      I just love the following pro argument (on page 25):
      Nobody worries that their English gets worse because they learned Spanish
      This is sensacional! My english got so much mejor, ya no can hablar two lenguajes at same tiempo!
    • I stay away from such languages as Japanese and "French". Not because they are a bad idea. Rather, it is because I only want to be able to have to know one language. If I learn Japanese, I'd still have to frequently use English due to the other people I have to use that are still English this. Is it easy to be proficient at both and switch back-and-forth at ease, or does the confusion result in certains ont baisé vers le haut des capacités linguistiques?
  • by Grey Ninja (739021) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:02AM (#12811731) Homepage Journal
    By tell him, I mean tell him that the Qwerty being designed to slow down your typing is nothing more than a myth? [utdallas.edu]. The layout is actually designed to between your two hands. [wikipedia.org]
    • by mcgroarty (633843) <{brian.mcgroarty} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:20AM (#12811886) Homepage
      How about you read the comic and let them tell YOU that instead [mcgroarty.net]. (Right-hand column)
      • by StarsAreAlsoFire (738726) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @03:30PM (#12816437)
        Dear god. Okay, step by step.

        1.) The keys didn't jam because of speed. They jammed because they were CLOSE to one another physically; the impact head on the typewriter was related in position to the location of the key on the keyboard. Simple mechanics.

        2.)By putting two letters that are often side by side (e.g. si, ti, to,an, qu, th, etc) on opposing sides of the keyboard you also made it such that the impact heads would be 'coming in' from the left and right sides, and not both from the left side or both from the right.

        By doing this you prevented, in most case, two letters trying to be in the same place at the same time -- which almost invariably caused a jam on the lever-arm type-writers. And yes, I've used one.

        This does not mean the keyboard was meant to slow you down. It wasn't. I was used to speed up typing.

        So, please, kill the keyboard FUD and just use whatever you bloody want to.
    • I read the comic, and they actually address this very issue, and say that it's impossible for that to be true, because there were no typists to slow down (after all, how can there be typists before the typewriter was invented?)

      Perhaps you should have read the article?
    • Sir, the wikipedia link you provide counters the utexas link regarding the "myth" of QWERTY being designed to slow down typing.
    • tell him that the Qwerty being designed to slow down your typing is nothing more than a myth?

      He knows - it's on p.3 of the comic. "He" (they) point out that when Sholes invented the typewriter - there weren't any typists to slow down. Sholes was responding to jams in his new-fangled keyboard, not to mythical too-fast typists.

  • Crackpots? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kzinti (9651) * on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:03AM (#12811743) Homepage Journal
    I haven't RTFA yet (it's printing now), but I can tell you as a longtime Dvorak user that we're viewed as crackpots and we have little credibility with the QWERTY types. So I hope that if these guys are making medical claims that they have some real medical evidence to back up their claims, and not just the kind of anecdote mentioned in the Slashdot teaser. I've used Dvorak for 13 years and I can type faster than I could in QWERTY and the keyboard feels more comfortable. But that doesn't mean that it will be so for everybody, and it certainly doesn't mean that Dvorak will reduce anybody's likelihood of damaging their wrists. Caveat emptor.
  • Right, i've seen a load of these articles and thought "Why not give it a try". I experimented with the letterless keyboard idea when it came up, so i have a keyboard without any letters on it.

    Can i get a nice little program to re-map my keys for me, and all that i need to do is put the "letter-caps" back on the keys in the Dvorak layout?

    Note to self: A keyless keyboard would be useless, perhaps letterless makes more sense.
    • I'm not sure what you me by a program to re-may the keys.

      Any current OS will have the ability to remap the keys for you.
      Mac OS X, Windows, Linux... I've used Dvorak in each.

      The only irritating part is how Windows and certain Linux brands insist on only making the change for new windows or, in the case of Windows, only for the current window (you have to make the change globally and then individually for each open window).
    • Windows has drivers for DVORAK keyboard layouts, add support the same way you would any other keyboard layout (been so long since I've done it I don't really remember, though) - support for DVORAK layouts are also in the 'Peripherals > Keyboard' menu of the KDE Control Center.

      Using Gnome, Apple or Zeta? Sorry, can't help you,but they're bound to have support, too, just poke around in the Keyboard options.
  • Anyone know if the dvorak layout is best suited for english? Or is the difference between character layouts as long as your language use the latin alphabet neglible? I figure the dvorak layout is based on statistics on how often letters are used in some language? And wonder if that difference is noticeable or not if you compare english to e.g. danish. Yes, one language will have some more letters occasionaly used, but besides that part.
  • TypingTest.com [typingtest.com]

    I just tried it and got 75 WPM on a Qwerty keyboard.

    I've thought of DVORAK once or twice, but I've seen a couple of studies suggesting that if you're already a reasonably good typer (60-70 WPM or above) DVORAK's benefits are small.
  • Exactly where are Å, Ä and Ö placed on a Dvorak keyboard?
  • Work out, specifically with weights, as jogging is not going to work your wrists ;) Ya I know we all have our favourite wrist exercise but it's not enough. :)

    I've been typing since I was using my c64 as a kid. I can type about 60 wpm. I always exercised in my youth but then stopped for a while in my twenties. A year or two in, my wrists started killing me. I'd take breaks and stretch my wrists but it would just limit the pain. I started using weights again and I haven't felt pain in years. I can pret
  • Whatever (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pedrito (94783) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:11AM (#12811798) Homepage
    I'm sure Dvorak is great and everything and I hope it helps people with CTS and whatever other wrist problems they might develop.

    I already type about as fast I need to and when typing text (like this), I'm held up more by thinking about what I want to say than the keyboard.

    I've been programming for 26 years (and obviously typing that long) and I've never had any wrist problems. I think part of that is because I never learned to type "correctly." I don't hold my hands in awkward positions and make sure they stay centered properly. I don't use certain fingers for certain keys. Whichever finger can get to the key most comfortable is the one that goes. For example, right now, I'm noticing that my right middle finger is doing more typing than any other (except the right thumb which is hitting the space bar), but when I shift my position or rotate my chair a bit, that'll all change.

    I think what we need to advocate is that people stop taking typing classes and learning to put their hands in completely unnatural positions. Then it won't matter if you're using QWERTY, Dvorak, or whatever.
  • Someone made a key maping program that will let me switch keyboard layout as easy as a click of a button. Maybe something of a hardware switch on the keyboard, or in between the keyboard and the computer like an extension cord. OR better yet, make a residant program translates key stroke in real time so every login to window/linux can be using a different keyboard layout without physcial change. (I peronsally don't care if the printing on the keys are wrong. I never look at the keyboard anyway.) but until t
  • by Blymie (231220) * on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:13AM (#12811815)
    Someone should do a study of how fsck, dir, cd, ifconfig and other "stuff" works into dvorak.

    These words often have none or few vowels.

    One key line in the comic:

    "Come on! How often do you type a semi-colon??? It's a wasted key! On the home row no less!"

    Guess what ;) I type a _lot_ of semi-colons. Bash scripting, PERL coding, you name it.

    Honestly, it would be amusing to see how DVORAK stacks up, when programming and sysadmin tasks are taken into account. DVORAK could be a detrement in these cases...
  • by zanderredux (564003) * on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:15AM (#12811841)
    But it breaks vi! What's the point??????
  • My findings (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kahei (466208) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:16AM (#12811851) Homepage

    As someone who does a lot of typing and is willing to spend a lot of time and money on ergonomic stuff (because I'm lazy and stupid), I have typed on a lot of strange things over the years to a pretty high rate of wpm. My findings have been:

    1 -- The shift from Dvorak to Qwerty did not greatly increase my speed or accuracy. It made me a bit more comfortable, but learning it was total torture for about 2 months.

    2 -- Learning Dvorak does not mean you forget Qwerty. I can flip between them now -- in fact, the varying placement of the shift key gives me more trouble.

    3 -- None of these layouts is designed for programming in curly-brace languages :)

    4 -- The difference in using a well-shaped keyboard (KINESIS!) is much greater than that between different letter key layouts.

    5 -- Much of the hand strain I have suffered has to do with reaching for nonletter keys (cursor keys, and the backspace key) -- fixed by a Kinesis, but not by Dvorak.

    6 -- Habits and posture (not resting hand on the keyboard etc) count for about as much as the ergonomics of the actual keyboard.

    My suggestion therefore is: first fix your posture and find a way to stop reaching around for the backspace and arrow keys. If you crave more efficiency, get a kinesis. If you STILL demand utter total perfection, try Dvorak, but by that point you will be putting in a fair bit of work for what you gain.

    Other people's mileage may, of course, vary. There's no doubt that Dvorak is more efficient and comfy -- but there's a serious cost/benefit calculation to be made.

    P.S. Yay for Kinesis.

  • I use Dvorak on my computer at home, but use QWERTY on the laptop we have since my wife uses it. With Windows you can have a little tray icon to switch and I have that also so my wife can easily use my machine if she needs to.

    Also, if you know QWERTY now then its pretty easy to switch between them once you learn Dvorak.
  • I don't know, though, I have sort of developed (through time and natural, unconscious adaptation i.e. "practice", I suppose) ... a rather high typing rate.

    I type about 120 words per minute right now, what I'd like to know from Qwerty turned Dvorak typists is...

    How long does it take to get back up to your old speed?
  • I switched to the Dvorak layout back in 1998. A lot of the documentation I read on it back then touted that it was faster and more comfortable.

    I never noticed a speed gain in my typing, but I think that is because I think at the same rate as before. If I were typing documents that other people had written (as a secretary would) then I think I could be much faster.

    As far as comfort goes, Dvorak is much more comfortable for me than QWERTY is. QWERTY makes my wrists hurt, but Dvorak doesn't. That alone w
  • Mirror here (Score:3, Informative)

    by mcgroarty (633843) <{brian.mcgroarty} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:23AM (#12811922) Homepage
    I knew you guys would eat all the seed corn and spoil the fun!

    Have a mirror [mcgroarty.net].

  • Nope, not for me, and been touch-typing since high school. Learned it the right way, too, back when it was still mostly for girls to become secretaries and typing pool droids.

    If I have a problem with anything, it's that scrolly wheel on mice. It's less than comfortable to use that thing with my index finger. Sometimes I stand the mouse on its left side and use my thumb if I'm going to be doing nothing but scrolling for a minute or two. It would be great if it were under my thumb to begin with, but then

  • BS and all (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MajorDick (735308) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:33AM (#12811993)
    I am a firm believer that other indemic flaws in a persons physical makeup are the causes of "CPS" and other WRIST Ailments.
    Myself I have been behind a keyboard for nearly 25 years, my Mother 45 years, and my Father some 40 years.
    NONE Have any wrist issues, I have even broken mine in both motorcycle and surfing accidents (no no at the same time) so one would THINK that would make me more suceptible ?
    I have spoken with 3 doctors about just this issue aws my one son has a genetic and severe bone disease, he is at age 13 suffering osteopenia and rickets and his wrists suffer the worst.

    The answer in people who DO NOT have defects like my son ? Its how your wrists are slept on, do you curl your wrists up under your head when you sleep (a question to rep motion sufferers) If you do I would seriously consider not, a coworker compalined about these issues and I told them what doctors had told me , guess what 3 weeks later he thanked me and said his wrists never felt better

    Its not from typing its from SLEEPING
  • by Vo0k (760020) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:35AM (#12812015) Journal
    Not because it was made with usage of characters in ENGLISH on mind. Okay, that is a problem, say, if you are a Finn and the vovels + k make up 80% of your language. But in many countries the frequency is at least similar to English.
    The problem is support. Keymaps with "native" characters. On install you see a whole list of keymaps for different countries, but all of them are variants of QWERTY, be it QWERTZ, AZERTY or similar. A non-US Dvorak is a rare. At one time I thought about switching. In Polish we have a bunch of extra characters that are laid out in pretty obvious manner - all are derivatives of some english characters and pressing the alt+original character produces the extra one, alt+o=ó etc. Pretty simple? Yes, and could be easily ported to Dvorak. But it wasn't. I'm left out in the cold, no Dvorak-PL for me.
  • by tz (130773) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:36AM (#12812022)
    http://www.cato.org/cgi-bin/scripts/printtech.cgi/ pubs/pas/pa324b.pdf [cato.org]

    Starting at page 8:

    The QWERTY design is reputed to be far inferior to the "scientifically" designed Dvorak keyboard, which allegedly offered a 40 percent increase in typing speed. Supposedly, the Navy conducted experiments during World War II demonstrating that the costs of retraining typists on the new keyboard could be fully recovered within 10 days. The story is claimed to validate path dependence: no typists learn Dvorak because too many others use QWERTY, which increases the value of QWERTY all the more.

    That is an ideal example because the number of dimensions of performance is small, and in those dimensions, the Dvorak keyboard appears overwhelmingly superior. Yet upon investigation, the story appears to be based on nothing more than wishful thinking and a shoddy reading of the history of the typewriter keyboard. The QWERTY keyboard, it turns out, is about as good a design as the Dvorak keyboard and was better than most competing designs that existed in the late 1800s when there were many keyboard designs maneuvering for a place in the market.

    Ignored in the stories of Dvorak's superiority is a carefully controlled experiment conducted under the auspices of the General Services Administration in the 1950s comparing QWERTY with Dvorak. That experiment contradicted the claims made by advocates of Dvorak and concluded that retraining typists on the Dvorak keyboard made no sense. Modern research in ergonomics also finds little advantage in the Dvorak keyboard layout, confirming the results of the GSA study.

    So on what bases were the claims of Dvorak's superiority made? Critical examination shows that most, if not all, of the claims of Dvorak's superiority can be traced to the patent owner, August Dvorak. His book on the relative merits of QWERTY and his own keyboard is about as objective as a television infomercial. The wartime Navy study turns out to have been conducted under the auspices of the Navy's chief expert in time-motion studies--Lt. Comdr. August Dvorak--and the results of that study were clearly fudged. There is far more to the story, but it all leads to the conclusion that the QWERTY story qualifies as no better than a convenient myth.
    ---
    Footnote 11 from the above excerpt:

    For a full debunking of the QWERTY myth, see S. J. Liebowitz and S. E. Margolis, "Fable of the Keys," Journal of Law and Economics 33 (1990): 1-25.
    • Cato institute hmm (Score:4, Interesting)

      by kahei (466208) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @11:51AM (#12813732) Homepage

      While I am myself kind of lukewarm on Dvorak (as you can see from my other post), I do feel it should be pointed out that Liebowitz and Margolis were market-forces fanatics who were trying to show that market forces are never wrong and that 'path dependance' (ie an inferior solution becoming standard because it has early support) does not exist -- a rather questionable thesis to say the least.

      How anyone managed to make a political/ideological discussion out of keyboard ergonomics is beyond me, but apparently at the Cato Institute you can find people who are just _that_ messed up :)

  • by mnemonic_ (164550) <jamec@u[ ]h.edu ['mic' in gap]> on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @10:14AM (#12812480) Homepage Journal
    Utilities
    Dvorak Assistant [clabs.org] - Lets you change the Windows keyboard layout without administrator access. Useful for school lab computers.

    Free Dvorak Tutor Software
    KP Typing Tutor [fonlow.com] (Windows)
    GNU Typist [gnu.org] (*nix)

    Online Dvorak Tutorials
    A Basic Course in Dvorak [gigliwood.com] - No frills tutorial, just make sure you repeat the lessons until you're actually proficient. You won't learn anything drilling through them only once.
    dvorak.nl tutorial [dvorak.nl] - Very slick, remaps the keys for you if you want (convenient if you can't use Dvorak Assistant). Non-english languages available. Works better for experienced Dvorak typists.

Philogyny recapitulates erogeny; erogeny recapitulates philogyny.

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