Adventures in Dvorak
Two weeks ago, I switched keyboard layouts. I am now skilled enough to type up my experiences.
I’m about two weeks in my switch to using the Dvorak (DSK) keyboard layout. Going from ~70wpm on QWERTY drove me close to insanity for the first week but I think my head has cleared up now and I’m no more insane than usual.
According to the latest timings, I’m up to ~30wpm. The Internets suggest I’ll be back up to speed in another month or so. I also hope I stop mixing up closing windows (CMD-W) and paste (CMD-V).
As a vim user and general keyboard shortcuts fan, I thought switching would be horrible but it’s only been about half as bad.
So why the switch?
- Efficiency. Dvorak estimated a typist’s fingers might travel up to 20 miles in a day’s worth of typing; that would drop to one mile on DSK.
- Health. I don’t have wrist problems or RSI or anything, but I’ll probably be at a keyboard for the foreseeable future of my career (until I get that brain USB port installation surgery) so I’m considering it preventative.
- Change things up. I’m hoping the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis extends so this switch will also re-wire my brain. If nothing else, my default password of choice changed from “asdfasdf” to “aoeuaoeu” .
How I did it
I put this in the corner of my screen:
I only needed that on screen for a few days. After that I could remember where all the keys were, although it took a couple of seconds to think about it. Knowing where the keys are is still not quite 100% automatic yet but pretty good.
My laptop still has QWERTY keys printed on them, which means looking at the keys doesn’t help but even makes things worse. I think this is a good thing — I never learned to touch type so I have to learn it now.
I have a DSK keyboard overlay at my desktop but strangely enough that slows me down. If I forget where a letter is and start looking at the keys my speed will start to drop.
I’m also curious to see what happens when I switch back and forth between DSK and QWERTY.
My next purchase will be one of these “Ultimate Keyboards”:
I’ll put it on my wish list for when I hit 70wpm again!