Typing, Dvorak Style

posted in Tech on Aug 23, 2010

So against my better judgment, I started to type with the totally absurd Dvorak layout. It turns out that I enjoy making my brain hurt a lot.

If you don’t know anything about this style, let me break it down for you. In the early 1910s, a one Dr. August Dvorak and his pal Dr. William Dealey took it upon themselves to create a more efficient method of typing. By 1932, this duo had created the new, awesome layout. You see, the de-facto QWERTY style makes us take our hands away from the home row much too often, with really awkward criss-crossing of fingers here and there. That is, according to Dvorak. He only has some studies and junk to help back him up or something.

So why then do we use the crappier keyboard layout? Well, from what I understand, it all has to do with sticking typewriters. Due to key bars that were sticking when people got too efficient, QWERTY forced typists to slow down to relieve the poor, poor machines. Dvorak definitely thought that this was a pile of nonsense and sought to change it.

What he did was re-arrange the most often used keys and assemble the consonants and vowels to make it so that most typing alternates between both hands. The result supposedly makes typing so fast it will blow your pants off. Right now, I am not at the “explodey pants” stage, considering I started just yesterday, but I do feel like even in that short period I have picked up quite a bit in 24 hours. I know where all the keys are at this point, but my mind doesn’t instinctively make my fingers jump to the correct keys yet. I have switched my laptop to be totally Dvorak, so hopefully I will be getting more of the hang of things soon.

That’s about all that my brain can process at the moment, but I will end this by saying that you can switch your compy (so long as it has a modern operating system) pretty easily to Dvorak. For example, in OS X, open Settings then go to Language & Text. After that, go to Input Sources and simply choose Dvorak. Bam. You are now a cool kid. In Windows I really have no idea because I don’t use that silliness.