Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Learning How to Type

You don't need to be this talented
I've mentioned it at least once on this blog, but I use Colemak as my keyboard layout. I often get questions about why and dismissive comments from just about everyone. No one understands it or cares to learn why. My general list is this: It's easier to learn than QWERTY, on average most people type around three times as fast and it's much better for your hands. The second question I get is, "What if you type at 100 Words per minute already, will you type at 300 WPM?" Of fucking course not, asshole. 100 WPM isn't the fucking average.
Besides that comment, I often hear disbelief of the ergonomic effects or the ease of learning. The truth of the matter is that most people don't know how to type at all because it's something we don't learn in school anymore. When I did type in QWERTY I certainly didn't know how to type at all. Even though I taught myself how to type, it was totally wrong in everyway. With QWERTY, I typed at 60WPM at best. No, I don't type at 120 WPM now, but I get closer every waking moment. Right now I type at a constant 80WPM with a peak of about 100 when I'm feeling good.

So, yeah. No one really knows how to type. Just look up a typing tutorial and see what it tells you and see if that even is at all close to how you type. I doubt it is. A right handed person will often hit most all of the keys with their right hand, even if they can touch type. With QWERTY, a lot of the action happens on the left side of the keyboard, so it's not rare to see someone typing on one side with their left hand curled up doing nothing. This is wrong. This is not how to type.

Most people aren't like me. They don't type most of the time. I'm a web/software developer/blogger, so I spend much more time on a computer than most others. I also spend a significant more time with a keyboard, while most spend much more time with their mouse. Odd because I find using the keyboard is generally significantly quicker than using a mouse, but once again we're not taught how to use a keyboard or how to type.

And to anyone who doesn't believe the validity of ergonomic typing, fuck you. Do any amount of research and learn how to type and maybe  you can comprehend what those things mean. Right now, you don't.

Anyway, learning how to type. It's difficult and you've probably never done it. Touch typing is much faster than typing by site. You don't have to look is not only the idea. I can type while looking in any direction and I have the skill of knowing when I screwed up without having to look as well, but being able to look at the screen while you're typing tells you when you've made an error. You can also look at other things on your computer screen that you might not catch otherwise and that's helpful.

I taught myself (the wrong way) to type in QWERTY and mostly the same way with Colemak (but this time the correct way). It's not at all difficult to learn, it's difficult to master. The best idea is to never look down and learn where to place your fingers. An easy way to start learning is with the portable keyboard layout program because it will display the keyboard layout on screen and there isn't much commitment to using a different layout because it's very easy to turn the program on and off.

Learning any keyboard layout this way will make it much easier. A typing tutor called Type Faster is very great for this. Typing in the real world is much better, but the tutor will help you learn the homerow and correct finger placement. Those are the two most important things, by the way. The homerow and correct finger placement.

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