?

Log in

No account? Create an account
A little insider information about me - A Suburbs Boy Living a Country Life [Pete and Pam's pages (photos and some commentary)] [Pam's journal] [Our company] [My Flickr Photos] [Arisia]
July 14th, 2007
10:00 pm

[Link]

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
A little insider information about me
I spend almost all of my professional life and a fair amount of my personal time with my fingers moving across a keyboard. I've watched countless friends in their 30's--and some in their 20's--"go carpal tunnel," some requiring surgery, some to the point of disability.

About six years ago, I started to feel twinges in my hands. My doctor diagnosed me with what amounted to "pre-carpal tunnel syndrome." I started doing research. I did not find this page, then--but there were many others. The WOS entry does a fair job of summarizing the total picture Linked from there is my personal favorite typing tutor program, Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor. Using it and "immersion practice" at work, once I was competent enough not to go mad-- had me back--and then surpassing--my original [already quite fast] QWERTY speed.

If you depend on your hands and you type a lot, give it a try.

Some caveats: be prepared to re-bind MANY keys in games, and be prepared for navigating in some IDEs and editors to be more difficult. Let's just say that both emacs and vi are a whole new adventure when you switch keyboard layouts. Ugh. I've been known to switch back briefly for editing sessions, just to stop the madness. [BTW, lest you fear that this is a one way trip, QWERTY remains accessible to me with a two-stroke key sequence. When I help people reset their passwords, as happens from time-to-time, I've developed a little flourish of the keyboard that announce the keyboard is ready for input from a Qwertian. [As a giggle, I just noted that can type "qwertian" incredibly faster in the Dvorak layout than in QWERTY].

Current Mood: enthralledevangelistic

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
From:technoshaman
Date:July 15th, 2007 04:27 am (UTC)
(Link)
I'm guessing you're using Windows... since the semi-standard keystrokes for flipping in Unix are asdf*ret* and aeiou*ret*.... of course, I suppose you could do some neat stuff with KDE or GNOME hotkeys...

But, yes, elfs among others uses Dvorak. One of these days I might get around to it, but for right now a good ergo keyboard keeps my hands in shape, even on old-fashioned keymaps.

[User Picture]
From:happypete
Date:July 15th, 2007 02:35 pm (UTC)

I guess my feeling regarding ergonomic keyboards...

(Link)
1) the Dvorak layout roams with my roaming profile; even in situations where it doesn't, it's easy to switch. When I'm in situations where it doesn't it's usually easy to force the switch. Oh, btw, it's "aoeu." Apparently the idea was to put the most common letter under the middle finger (e on the left, t on the right, and then work out from the easiest fingers to stroke with to the hardest.
From:technoshaman
Date:July 15th, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC)

Re: I guess my feeling regarding ergonomic keyboards...

(Link)
I don't spend enough time on other peoples' keyboards to need it... and besides, a "roaming profile" is specific to That Other "operating system"... which I try to use as little as possible.

I've thought several times about going down the Dvorak rabbit hole, and I might yet. The real issue is having to switch back...
[User Picture]
From:happypete
Date:July 15th, 2007 04:30 pm (UTC)

Re: I guess my feeling regarding ergonomic keyboards...

(Link)
Switching back is not that bad...

okay..substitute "home directory" for "roaming profile," since your .&gh;insert window manager settings directory here< lives in it....assuming you have a shared home directory on all your boxen...
[User Picture]
From:dcseain
Date:July 15th, 2007 05:32 am (UTC)
(Link)
I've typed with a Dvorak layout for 12 years now. It rocks, and my error rate is significantly lower than it was with QWERTY.
[User Picture]
From:happypete
Date:July 15th, 2007 02:29 pm (UTC)

yes, the unbiaed research out there seems to suggest...

(Link)
that the lower finger travel rate and the more natural hand alternation lowers the error rate significantly.
[User Picture]
From:amylgam
Date:July 15th, 2007 06:08 am (UTC)
(Link)
Can you still use qwerty in a pinch at any speed?

I just ask because I'm interested, but I switch between machines a lot (my work machine, my home machine, shared home machine, shared lab machines, not to mention the half a dozen laptops etc. that I use during the day at work).

I tend to slam the keys and I can't space with my left hand , even though I'm left-handed. I had surgery on my left wrist to have a ganglion cyst removed in 1999--before that I used my left hand for the space bar but during the 3-6 weeks I was recovering I switched and I haven't bothered trying to switch back.
[User Picture]
From:happypete
Date:July 15th, 2007 12:39 pm (UTC)

yes...

(Link)
I still have to go into the data center and work, often at the EEPROM or single-user level. For bizarre security reasons, we don't run dtlogin on our boxen, and do most work at the console...

so yeah, I frequently have to go back to QWERTY...it's like riding a bike and all that.
[User Picture]
From:dcseain
Date:July 16th, 2007 03:36 am (UTC)

Re: yes...

(Link)
I'm at the point where i can use QWERTY when looking at the keyboard, and Dvorak when not. I'm much, much, much slower and accurate on QWERTY myself. I have much trouble keeping E and I and L and S straight on QWERTY for some reason, and always did have that problem.
[User Picture]
From:happypete
Date:July 16th, 2007 09:53 am (UTC)

Re: yes...

(Link)
Maybe because I started typing at an extremely young age [for our generation, at least], but I'm pretty much a keyboard virtuoso. I can switch from QWERTY to Dvorak, and I touch-type fluently in each.

Maybe invest in Ten Thumbs? It will drill you in both Dvorak and QWERTY at your option.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 15th, 2007 12:31 pm (UTC)
(Link)
As counterpoint, I've never had wrist problems but I was having joint pain and tenderness (with some numbness) in my hands and thought I was getting arthritis early. Didn't do anything about it because, well, what can you do about arthritis? Discovered by accident (doing heavy work and drinking a ton of water, and feeling much better instead of much worse after the work) that it was my nutrasweet intake. The light bulb came on in my head when I realized I thought I was coming down with heel spurs back when I worked at Akamai, but the ailment mysteriously went away when they started charging for soda. I type north of 90 wpm and fairly error-free on a QWERTY keyboard as it is, so I'm somewhat immune to evangelism of DSK, *however*... not all hand pain is ascendant carpal tunnel, and not all people who have concluded that aspartame is poisonous in large doses are nutjobs (google for aspartame conspiracy to see what I mean here). Bottom line: if you're having weird neurological symptoms, it is worth cutting out diet soda, particularly if you're a large consumer, as a first stab at a remedy rather than after years as it was with me.

-rs

Pete, Pam and Quinn's pages Powered by LiveJournal.com