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Correcting Poor Typing Technique?

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the quick-brown-fix dept.

Input Devices 425

An anonymous reader writes "When beginning to use keyboards I did not pay much attention to touch typing technique. Instead, I eventually achieved decent rates by simply doing what felt natural to me. These days my qwerty typing speed is in the range of 90-110 WPM, probably more toward the lower end. While this isn't too shabby, I feel some awkwardness in my technique (such as not using my little and ring fingers when I really should). Has anyone been in a similar situation, wanted to fix it, and actually done so? What do you reckon is the best way to fix half-broken typing? Touch training sessions? Should I switch to Dvorak and pretty much learn typing from scratch, but properly this time?"

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Why? (3, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394168)

Is this a medical concern, or are you trying to improve speed?

If you work in a data entry job, I guess it makes sense, but if you're actually spewing out so much code or documentation that typing speed is becoming an issue.. you're either a mad genius or producing some very poor quality code!

I honestly think when it comes to most non-data entry jobs.. quality is generally better than quantity. A few slowly typed but well thought out lines are always going to be better than a page of garbage.

Re:Why? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394218)

Only a kike would expect that kind of speed of his employees. The bigger the nose, the faster you will be expected to type. And don't expect to get medical insurance for carpal tunnel syndrome, either -- that money is instaed going to Israeli lobbyists.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

Slack0ff (590042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394258)

They also don't mention whether or not they have to look down to find keys? 90-110 using only a few fingers sounds fast. At least to me, as a touch typer who hovers around 85wmp.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

mrclisdue (1321513) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394478)

I'm a touch typist, and I can type 150wpm.

Bear in mind that *everyone* greatly embellishes their wpm.

No citation needed, just leave the room and ask a few people...then test them if you really feel it would be necessary.


Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394606)

Yep. I'm a touch typist. In high school, I was tested at 60 wpm, with some number of mistakes that the teacher found acceptable. In real life, I get 35 to 45 wpm, with few mistakes - usually spelling mistakes because I type on the fly. But, then, I've never worked as a typist, and only on rare occasions do I have to produce a document without errors. My skills have been adequate to my needs.

A hunt and peck typist who gets over 100 wpm sounds, like the guy who submitted the question, sounds like a load of crap to me. I've seen people who can type in the neighborhood of 150 wpm, and they DON'T hunt and peck with two or four fingers. They make full use of their fingers, no matter how large or small their hands are.

If I typed 100 wpm, I'd be proud of it, and not try to change anything, LMAO

Re:Why? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394734)

I'm a touch typist (took typing in high school - do they still teach that?) - but I also don't use the pinkies at all. I found that to be the stupidest thing they could do. Sure, use the pinkies for playing the guitar or the synthesizer, where you need to have 4 fingers on one hand do something at the same time - but not typing.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394754)

My corrected speed is 65wpm according to typingtest.com calculating for speed and deducting for errors. Every job I've applied for has been very impressed with just 65, so I'd be very happy with a corrected 90wpm and I wouldn't bother fixing anything. Like the saying goes, ain't broke don't fix it.

Re:Why? (1)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394860)

Hunt and peck is the opposite of touch typing, but touch typing is not synonymous with "proper" typing technique. I never learned to type "properly", and I tend to use four fingers instead of five, but I don't look at the keyboard while typing and I can get over 100wpm (I just tested myself at 95wpm right now) - the fact that I don't look means I'm a touch typist, whether I use the "proper" technique or not. Obviously hunt-and-peck at over 100wpm is bullshit, but you can easily type at moderate to quite fast speeds even if your typing technique isn't "standard" or ideal.

Re:Why? (4, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394792)

Bear in mind that *everyone* greatly embellishes their wpm.

I'm old enough to have taken typing in school - on IBM Selectric typewriters, no less - and feel as if I've got a reasonably accurate idea of what 60 wpm looks like. I have heard a lot of computer guys ("self taught" typists) guesstimate they can type 60 or 70 wpm, but when I watch them (not coding, just typing a letter) it's pretty obvious they're lucky if they're touching 30 wpm.

I take issue with the word "embellish" though - I just think they are crappy at estimating.

One thing I do find funny... when I was on a typewriter, I was pretty consistent at around 40-45 wpm (my "final" was about 60 wpm, but I'm almost certain the teacher lost track of time). However I have tested myself on a computer, and find I can easily do 50-60 wpm now because I don't have to worry so much about mistakes.

Re:Why? (1)

delphi125 (544730) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394550)

I scrolled down to see if there were any more relevant posts to reply to, but most of them also boasted about 80+ wpm.

I am by no means a touch typer, but I don't watch my keyboard either. So I correct a lot, and am about half your speed at best (say 50 wpm).

Still probably around 12 cps, but hitting Delete 3 times lowers the average, hehehe.

I still type faster than I can think, whether I am programming, translating, or writing for fun and pleasure. As the GP post said, any more is overkill for anything but data entry or transcribing.

As it happens, I didn't make many mistakes in the previous para, but I can regularly type stuff like: To be oare nto teo be, thatr ais the quzesition.

Thing is, when I'm typing text (using 9 fingers, not the right pinky for some reason, although I do sometimes use my left hand for control (thumb to C for copy, for example), I am aware of my mistakes and often want to change for other reasons anyway. And when programming, I want to type two or three letters and then code-complete.

Re:Why? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394404)

100wpm isn't fast enough? What exactly are you typing?

"Proper technique" positions the hands much more rigidly and is more likely to lead to sore hands.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394508)

If you're truly getting 90+ wpm, sustained, with error correction, then it really doesn't matter how you're achieving that. That's professional data-entry level speeds there and if you can get it just by slapping your dick on the keyboard, more power to you.

People who are being paid piece-rate for data-entry, for example, could possibly benefit from an additional 20 wpm, but I can't really see the benefit for anyone else. Especially factoring in the time it will take to train back up to a decent speed after your speed plummets initially for finger retraining.

Re:Why? (4, Funny)

oztiks (921504) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394514)

I wonder what the avg typing rate is with this ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BnLbv6QYcA [youtube.com]

Re:Why? (4, Funny)

Denihil (1208200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394632)

2-3 wpm, depending on how fast you can move your penis and how long/hard you can sustain an erection.

Re:Why? (1)

Dilligent (1616247) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394732)

To be honest, same here. I'd like to think i can type pretty fast and not do a whole lot of mistakes, but i do need to correct things (which i mostly notice on the fly).

I've never tried to learn how to type properly. People told me they thought it looks really weird that i use three to four fingers on my right hand but only the index finger on my left, but it works for me.

I also like to think that looking at the keyboard (though I can type without looking at the keyboard just fine) kind of lets me think about what it is that I'm typing a bit more. Takes the eyes off the screen and focuses one on the individual words.

Been a developer for 10 years, never hurt me.

Biomechanics (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394748)

>>Is this a medical concern, or are you trying to improve speed?

I hope its not a medical concern. Touch typing causes carpal tunnel, it doesn't cure it.

I am like the OP - I used to be a hunt and pecker (now I type by touch) and get around 90WPM on a couple online tests (give or take, the online tests vary a bit). I only use my index and ring fingers to type (thumb for the space bar) and so I end up using bigger muscles to type and don't overextend any of my small tendons to type. I once tried to teach myself touch typing, saw immediately how it would fuck up my tendons, and never went back.

Biomechanically speaking, it's not good to overextend a finger (like for an O) over and over. Much better to move the hand instead and keep the fingers in a power position.

Besides, 90WPM is plenty fast. That's faster than almost everybody, so I don't know what the OP is complaining about.

Article tag: goodenough

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394828)

The why is irrelevant - if there's some obvious improvement to make, the question is why not? As for the OP, I suggest typing "improvement" repeatedly, until the habit is broken and your pinky types the p when you're not paying attention. Whenever you catch your ring finger typing e.g. a p or q, just type that word in a few times using the right technique, to reinforce the habit. I wouldn't know though, my ring fingers are still out in force - they're an inch longer than my pinkies, so it's hard to quit using them for things like backspace, at the very least. After looking at what my wrist does in both cases, I think I probably should make more of an effort.

Dvorak (1)

MortenMW (968289) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394174)

Switch to dvorak, then go back to qwerty. If its still not fast enough, go to azerty and then back to qwerty.

Re:Dvorak (2, Funny)

sys.stdout.write (1551563) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394222)

"Honey, could you come figure out why my wireless isn't connecting?"
"Sure, let me just try re-entering the WPA key and OH MY GOD WHY CAN I NOT TYPE QUERTY ANYMORE?!"

Have fun with that.

Re:Dvorak (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394320)

That's what the letters on the keyboard are for. Seriously, this is a compelling reason for me not to rearrange keycaps for Dvorak. I touch type anyway, why would I need the keycaps to match what I'm typing? And then, for whatever reason, if I am forced to type in QWERTY (VNC and RDP sometimes do funny things with key mappings), I can just look down and see QWERTY letters.

Re:Dvorak (4, Interesting)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394346)

Speaking from experience, typing qwerty is like riding a bike. No matter how many other vehicles you learn to drive, you never really lose the hang of it.

Re:Dvorak (1)

Al Dimond (792444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394474)

I think that varies person to person. My QWERTY skills have been getting progressively weaker since I've been using Dvorak, to the point that I am considering using QWERTY one day a week or something to make sure I don't lose my qwertability completely.

Re:Dvorak (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394856)

I changed to Dvorak for comfort rather than speed, although I think it's faster anyway.

There are several problems with how you type on a Qwerty layout that are corrected with Dvorak:
- Dvorak has the most common keys on the middle row (AOEUI DHTNS), and the least common keys on the bottom row (;QJKX BMWVZ). (Top row: ',.PY FGCRL)
- Dvorak has common English key letter combinations leading towards the centre of the keyboard. E.g. TH, RD, AE, OU, SN, ST, SH, NT. Try drumming your fingers on the table: little to big is easier than big to little.
- Most of the time there's lots of alternation between hands.
- (others I forget, it's been 6 years.)

I haven't rearranged my keys (I don't look at them anyway, and I suggest you don't rearrange yours -- it reduces the temptation while learning). Looking at the keyboard now, words like "water" or "greeting" or "pumpkin" or "creative" look really contorted to type on Qwerty.

Use a qwerty touch typing program (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394192)

Eventually you'll hit a wall with your non-standard typing, and have to switch. Or start with proper typing, and work your way back up to speed that way.

Re:Use a qwerty touch typing program (1, Insightful)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394448)

This is why I found. As my skill with hunt-and-peck typing increased, my fingers would naturally linger over the middle of the keyboard and I could just hit the right key without looking. One day I just realised that I could touch-type without ever actually explicitly training myself to. It was simply an evolution of the muscle memory I'd developed.

Ironically, the real catalyst for increasing my typing speed was arguing with people online. As you need to type both quickly and correctly, you soon develop a great deal of proficiency. It's also a great way to train yourself to avoid typos - nothing ruins your argument like typing like a 14 year old... well... except maybe on Youtube.

Re:Use a qwerty touch typing program (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394680)

Getting the technique is important to prevent hitting a wall. Get a tutor program with games, then pick up speed in chat. Worked for me. I took typing in the 70's. I got my speed up on teletype, then BBS chat. First I out typed 75 baud tty, then 110, then 150. I
  went to 300 baud BBS chat and out typed that easly. 1200 was hard to catch. I never out typed a 2400 baud modem.

In ham radio, 75 baud TTY is really slow now.

Re:Use a qwerty touch typing program (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394820)

Nothing ruins your argument like posting on YouTube.

Re:Use a qwerty touch typing program (2, Interesting)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394694)

"Hitting a wall" at 90-100WPM is like driving a car that "only" does 100MPH. Hardly anyone benefits from typing or driving faster than that.

Dvorak (5, Insightful)

sys.stdout.write (1551563) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394194)

Should I switch to Dvorak

No. Even if you gain speed on your keyboard, the ability not to suck on other people's laptops is totally worth the 20 WPM decrement or whatever.

On the other hand... (5, Interesting)

Junta (36770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394224)

As someone who uses dvorak, it's a great deterrent to people who frequently need to borrow other keyboards for a moment...

Not to mention the amusement of watching them type something, look confused, repeat a few times before they say something.

In terms of speed, I don't know about that, but dvorak does leave me a bit more comfy as I leave the home row less.

Re:On the other hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394260)

...a subject couldn't be less poorly chosen.

Re:On the other hand... (1)

stevey (64018) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394326)

I find people don't want to touch my keyboard, because I have one of those "split" ones.

Re:On the other hand... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394380)

Actually, it's probably the globs of still-wet semen on your keyboard that keeps those people away.

Re:Dvorak (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394416)

Why? How often do you actually use someone else's computer?

Re:Dvorak (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394644)

If you work anywhere where hot-desking is standard practice, then "lots".

Also, when I visit my parents or any of my friends, I don't usually take a laptop with me. If I need a computer, I borrow one of theirs. I doubt that that is particularly unusual.

Re:Dvorak (2, Interesting)

saisuman (1041662) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394426)

If you switch to Dvorak, another thing to consider is using VIM/Emacs keyboard shortcuts. Granted, these are customizable, but apparently my brain thinks of shortcuts as "this sequence to save and quit", and not ":wq". So when you move to Dvorak, you start hitting the QWERTY locations of ":wq", and not the Dvorak locations of ":", "w", and "q". Oh, and I'm yet to see someone in the 110wpm range get a speed increase from moving to Dvorak.

Re:Dvorak (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394808)

Apple solved this (I'm sure not uniquely, but very simply for the user) with those who want to type using Dvorak, but who have major muscle memory for the command shortcuts, which are less about "command+q" or "command+s" and more about a particular way your hand moves without looking down, so you can set the keyboard layout to Dvorak Qwerty Command, which does as it suggests and resets the layout to qwerty when the command key is held down.

Re:Dvorak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394556)

I still suck at other peoples laptops since they have crappy keyboards. Thinkpads are pretty much the only half usable laptop keyboards that exist. Don't even get me started on mac books tiny little spaces between keys that make me feel like a 10 year old first learning to type.

The lack of productivity you will have for the first 6 months when your learning isn't worth it, then the non stop headaches you will have using any other computer in the world.

Re:Dvorak (1)

ooloogi (313154) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394812)

A big advantage of Dvorak is that it forces you to touch type and not peek at the keys, on account of the physical key layout not matching the keymap. You could achieve a similar thing with qwerty by randomly moving the keycaps on a keyboard, except the "F" and "J" keys with the markers.

Re:Dvorak (1)

ooloogi (313154) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394830)

the ability not to suck on other people's laptops is totally worth the 20 WPM decrement or whatever.

But think of how much they will suck on your dvorak laptop!

I went the Dvorak route. (2, Interesting)

exasperation (1378979) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394202)

I went the Dvorak route. I never bothered switching keyboards or keycaps, so I learnt to touchtype blind. It took me about two weeks of casual use to get up to the speed of my QWERTY keyboarding skills and I improved much beyond that. I do about 80 WPM now. I also didn't forget QWERTY. I can still type QWERTY as well as I ever did, at a sufficient but painful 30 wpm.

Re:I went the Dvorak route. (4, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394534)

I switched after High School. I learned about Dvorak in wandering the Internet (pre Wiki days) and thought it made sense. Even if the "X much faster" claims were biased, leaving the home row and less finger movement sounded good.

After my last project my senior year I figured this was the last time I would ever be able to 'switch' because from here on out it'd be College then Work nonstop.

Printed out a keymap and kept it next to the monitor. Kept up my IRC/AIM chatting. It took 2 weeks to get back to my 'old speed'. And within a month I was up +30 WPM where I eventually settled.

DV Assist [clabs.org] is a great tool for Windows users who don't have admin access, I keep it on a thumb drive at all times, plug it in and run and switch. And it's not like you 'forget' QWERTY, it's always printed in front of you.

The worst is passwords.... I really don't "remember" my passwords. So a password: 1234',.paoeu is just the first 3 lines of the keyboard on the left... but when I go to a QWERTY keyboard I have to think it through...

Don't bother. (4, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394210)

My opinion: if you can achieve over 80 wpm with your version of hunt and peck, you're not making many errors, and you don't need to look at the keyboard to keep up with live (typed) chat conversations, then that's really all you need. Higher speeds is just going to stress the tendons. If you are truly held back in pouring your ideas into the computer at this speed, then you should have employees.

Re:Don't bother. (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394494)

Higher speeds is just going to stress the tendons.

In most cases this is not true. The worst tendon stress come from eccentric contractions opposing the main movement of the finger. If you try to type faster by 'pushing' your fingers harder, you are going to increase the muscle contractions and the eccentric contractions, which will be felt as stress in your fingers.

Getting to speeds of 90 or 110 wpm is almost impossible by 'pushing' your fingers harder, though. Your muscles just can't adapt fast enough when they are also fighting against themselves, so what you need to do is reduce the eccentric muscle braking. You need to only use the smallest number of muscles possible when moving your fingers to the proper place. This will feel like you are 'relaxing.' If you are moving faster by relaxing, this is what you are doing, reducing the eccentric muscle opposition in your body. Baseball pitchers have to learn to do the same thing to get the ball moving faster.

Re:Don't bother. (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394542)

yeah well I can do mush faster thanb that but I think tiot snds to make my accurewacy a bit less than oprimakl.

Hey! That reads like someone off a gaming forum. Kewl, so *now* I know what those boys are on.

I'm ok with my poor typing technique... (4, Interesting)

TheReaperD (937405) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394214)

I'm personally fine with my awkward typing technique. I say if you've reached speeds that you're happy with and your typing method is not causing you any issues such as tendinitis, why change? I've never understood the obsession with you must do it "the right way."

But, this is my advice and it's worth what you paid for it.

Re:I'm ok with my poor typing technique... (4, Interesting)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394278)

Actually, "the right way" is a leftover from the old typewriter days when speed was important and mistakes were forever.

After touch typing for 25 years I'm of the opinion that the ad-hoc techniques are less likely to damage you than the "right way".

Suicide is your only option (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394216)

Have a shotgun mouthwash.

Not quite (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394484)

Having a nigger fuck you in the ass is an alternative. A black penis, inserted anally, is widely known to dramatically improve typing ability.

Auto-correct ehhh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394228)

I messed up my poor type using M$ auto-correct. Things that are left and right, my timing is all off, and it has never corrected itself. I think it is one of the worst features I have ever came across. I feel handicapped now. I think if you type fast enough that is great, but if there is something that is slowing you down, try to fix it.

Never been less important (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394236)

If you believe the marketing folks, touch typing has never been less important now, than in the entire history of computing.

Everything is going to touch screen non-tactile smartphones, tablets, etc. Touch typing doesn't help much on ipods/iphones.

The idea of typing anything other than "english prose" using a keyboard is dead. All "commands" are given via mice and menus/ribbons. The concept of a "command line" is dead to 99% of the population.

Even worse, "leet txt sms speak" is the wave of the future. If it doesn't fit in 160 characters or whatever it is, then it is literally unthinkable.

Also the tools are dying. I can type pretty well on a clicky Model-M keyboard. Not so well on a mushboard.

Re:Never been less important (2, Interesting)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394302)

I can type almost as fast on my iPod as I do on a full size keyboard - much faster than most people type on a full size keyboard. It's all muscle memory. My hunt and peck method doesn't impede me at all.

Re:Never been less important (1)

newdsfornerds (899401) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394422)

Why would you want to believe the marketing droids? Their job is to create demand, and they always have an agenda.

Re:Never been less important (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394586)

Why would you want to believe the marketing droids? Their job is to create demand, and they always have an agenda.

Well, I'm an old timer. You can tell by my slashdot id number. But, I was already an oldtimer when I got that number...

In school in the early 80s, we were told that to compete in the high tech marketplace of the future, we need to take "touch typing" classes and learn "bank street writer" and "visicalc" or else we'd end up digging ditches or flipping burgers for the rest of our lives. Touch typing is no picnic, most folks didn't bother trying, even fewer succeed, almost no one is fast. I turned out OK anyway, I guess.

I'm seeing the marketing droids swimming in my/our aquarium, trying to fit in to talk to us, rather than them trying to change stuff. We don't touch type, we're not gonna touch type, you're not going to make us touch type, and you're gonna sell us products and lifestyles that don't require touch typing. Or, I suppose, you can go broke trying. So, we're living in the result of a couple decades of that, not their goal.

90-110 WPM is fast (5, Informative)

xerent_sweden (1010825) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394238)

90-110 words per minute is typing really fast. The standard length of a word is five letters and if you measured with that word length you really have nothing to worry about. I couldn't imagine anyone writing faster than that.

How is this important? (4, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394250)

I type perfect touch type style. At my best, I do about 90-120 WPM, same as you. I know I'm quite a rapid typist, almost able to keep up with natural-rate speech. If you are matching me, what are you really trying to achieve?

It's pretty obvious that whatever the metric, you are well within the realm of where other factors are far more likely to make a difference than typing speed. Of course, if you want to "touch type" like other "trained" folks, do like anybody else, and force yourself to actually do it.

I recommend any of the many touch-typing software packages out there. You don't even have to pay much, 30 seconds of GIS brought this up [sense-lang.org] and it seems quite serviceable!

Re:How is this important? (3, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394358)

Probably the only real difference between a touch typist and someone whose "natural" technique gets them the same speed (and accuracy) as a touch typist is physical comfort.

I use at most two fingers of my right hand which is at a very sharp angle coming into the keyboard because it's centered with WESD pretty much directly in front of my straight left wrist. I type just as fast as any touchtypist, the difference is that this is far less painful to my post-break right hand.

The key part of "Repetitive Strain Injury" is "Repetitive". I'm pretty sure spending hours learning to touch type by typing ZCA CZA KLM LPN KPL over and over again from the traditional centered-keyboard home-row position is going to give you carpel tunnel a LOT faster than "normal" typing.

Re:How is this important? (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394706)

Does anyone else remember "Typing of the Dead"? Best typing tutor ever.

I wonder idly if it's still in print, in any of the mega-budget software ranges. I'd pay a fiver for it, no question.

Function keys (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394262)

Running firefox under gnome there are many key combinations which do bizarre things like minimising the window, opening bookmarks, etc. If I don't get every keystroke right typing a comment on /. is nearly impossible.

There is one which I get sometimes at work where I run FVWM. It maximises firefox so it fills the screen, removes window decorations and raises it above all other applications. It happens at least once a weak from wild typing. As a result I am slowly improving my typing.

Re:Function keys (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394746)

Maybe it would help to stop using the Control key instead of Shift?

Dvorak isn't better (4, Insightful)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394270)

Don't bother with Dvorak. The studies that showed Dvorak to be superior were methodologically suspect [straightdope.com] , and the reams of anecdotal evidence that Dvorak is superior is largely due to confirmation bias--the people who consciously switched improved largely because they were switching consciously (and trying to improve), and the people who don't see an improvement rarely brag about that.

Instead, a touch-typing program or other class will probably benefit you. A lot of the myths about qwerty keyboards are bogus, and you should see an improvement in your speed because you're spreading the typing load across more fingers and having to move your hands and forearms less than a fast, blind hunt and peck. A little practice on activating your pinkies will probably dovetail nicely with your existing skills, so the improvement will be quick.

Re:Dvorak isn't better (4, Informative)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394306)

Here's the original reference [utdallas.edu] mentioned in my link above. The high points of it are these:

(1) the research demonstrating the superiority of the Dvorak keyboard is sparse and methodologically suspect;

(2) a sizable body of work suggests that in fact the Dvorak offers little practical advantage over the QWERTY;

(3) at least one study indicates that placing commonly used keys far apart, as with the QWERTY, actually speeds typing, since you frequently alternate hands; and

(4) the QWERTY keyboard did not become a standard overnight but beat out several competing keyboards over a period of years.

Re:Dvorak isn't better (1)

aoeu (532208) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394762)

I type Dvorak, slowly. IIRC the Navy looked into it last century and decided that it might make sense for those who cannot touch type over 20 wpm. In the event that you go that route the older Mavis Beacon programs included Dvorak. Most Northgate keyboards have a Dvorak switch so they can work at the Bios and pre-windows level. Windows includes Dvorak as a key layout option and has for years. It also includes the one-handed Dvorak layouts which I recommend to those who can only use one hand. The IBM model M keyboards have curved backplanes and all the keycaps are the same shape which makes them easy to rearrange.

Re:Dvorak isn't better (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394366)

The studies are bogus. If you actually try Dvorak, however, you'll find it's much more comfortable. All the common letters are in the top two rows.

It won't double your speed as Dvorak may have claimed, but a lot of people do gain 20% or so on it.

-1, uncomfortable truth (4, Funny)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394414)

Whether Dvorak is superior in terms of speed or number of errors may be a toss-up, but as someone who first did hunt-and-peck, then learned to touch-type QWERTY, then relearned to touch-type Dvorak, my experience is that Dvorak is definitely more comfortable than QWERTY.

Besides, feelings of smug superiority can't be properly quantified in those studies.

Re:-1, uncomfortable truth (2, Insightful)

SLi (132609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394636)

I agree. The comfort is the reason why I use dvorak, and I hate it when I need to use qwerty. OTOH I still prefer the physical keys in qwerty layout for the occasional case when I need to use qwerty (I don't need to look at the keyboard when typing with dvorak). The only case where this is not optimal is where I'd like to type with only one hand, so I'm considering getting some stickers to show also the dvorak layout.

As to speed, I haven't done any measurements, but my general feeling is that I type perhaps a little bit faster with dvorak, but nothing significant. But it's definitely worth for the comfort.

It's funny though how the people who are so eager to say there's no advantage to dvorak are invariably those that never tried it. (I do think that dvorak is not optimal either, it might make sense to choose some even better layout.)

Re:Dvorak isn't better (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394756)

Another thing to consider is that if you're a software developer, the mapping of the alphabet keys is almost irrelevant. I hardly ever type whole words; I type a couple of characters then the autocomplete key. Other than that, it's mostly punctuation.

Since almost all the symbol keys are awkward to reach, I've done lots of modifications to my vim profile to accelerate the coding symbols and sequences I use most, and I've mapped them to the most easily typed key sequences. That's far more significant to me than the letter layout.

Don't do it. (3, Interesting)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394272)

I type fast and am accurate. I look crazy when I type in my strange pecking way but it works and it takes the stress off my wrists that 'correct' typing would cause. Stick to what you're doing and screw what other people think.

Switched to Dvorak (1)

SJrX (703334) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394276)

I switched to Dvorak because of wrist pain about 6 or 7 years ago. I too was a touch typist, and didn't use homerow at all, etc... With Dvorak though I did it properly and now use homerow on Dvorak. It wasn't an easy switch, I wasn't working or in school at the time, so it was easy for me to afford the slowdown it took and used an old version of Mavis Beacon to do it. You need some time to use only Dvorak before you go back and forth between the layouts. Before I switched to Dvorak I was at about 90 WPM and it took me about a month to get up to 60 WPM in Dvorak. Later I got the same speed but never ever went past my QWERTY speed. I can still type QWERTY at a fast speed, but it's hard because sometimes the brain switches.

Re:Switched to Dvorak (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394604)

I bet it helped you because slowing down for a while gave your fingers a rest.

Re:Switched to Dvorak (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394870)

Actually, my first experience with Dvorak was quite painful, with my hands cramping a lot. I believe this is because you have to fight your own muscle memory to relearn the key placement.

Many people are claiming to have reached their QWERTY typing speed after just 2 weeks with Dvorak? I call BS... I don't think I reached my QWERTY speed until I had spent 6 months with Dvorak. Nor am I capable of touch-typing on QWERTY any longer... it's hunt and peck on QWERTY for me!

Ditch typing and go voice (5, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394300)

Go voice, you won't regret it. Dear aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all.

Re:Ditch typing and go voice (4, Funny)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394394)

MOD PARENT UP. So true, my ax fish window lament.

I was in the same situation (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394318)

I was in this situation many many years ago in that I hadn't learnt to type properly and just did what came natural even though it was fast.

I decided I wanted to type properly anyway though, and just spent a few hours on Mavis Beacon's typing tutor app to get an idea of what the right keys are. After that I just made a concious effort each type I sat down at the keyboard to put my fingers on the correct initial keys. It really just came naturally after that- it wasn't a big deal, again, just a few hours with a typing app was enough to let me figure out how it was supposed to be done.

Switch to Dvorak, worked for me. (2, Interesting)

wagonlips (306377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394336)

Switching to Dvorak worked for me. As a life-long Qwerty hunter and pecker, teaching myself to touch-type on Qwerty was too difficult.

Of course, by doing so you will freak-out other people who try to use your keyboard, but I actually enjoy that. Plus, it's easy to switch back and forth.

Whatever you do, avoid discussing whether or not Dvorak or Qwerty is superior to the other. Dead-end conversation. http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/01/18/210216 [slashdot.org]

If it works, it's correct (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394344)

Some years ago, I read a study by a woman who looked at the technique of several great pianists (eh, one keyboard's the same as another). She found there were some few things that they all played the exact same way. Her conclusion was that for these few things, they played the same way because there was only one way for the human hand to possibly do it. For the other things, their technique varied drastically. There was no uniformity at all in styles. Her conclusion was that if it works, it is correct.

Thus in your case I suggest that if you feel your fingering method for typing is slowing you down, then try to figure out what exactly is slowing you down and see if you can speed it up. That will be easier than trying to use some arbitrary rules that may or may not make a difference.

This is especially true when we are talking about arbitrary rules taught to beginners, where the teachers are often not experts, and the rules are often formulated to make it easier for beginners to learn, not to make you as fast as possible. Going back to the piano example, beginners are often taught to play with their wrists held high, fingers curved, playing on the finger tips. This is decent advice, but sometimes it's faster and more precise to play with your fingers straight and flat (Horowitz did this on fast black-note passages sometimes).

Actually I can give a ton of examples where the 'rules' weren't necessarily the best, and the people became the greatest in their field by breaking those rules (appropriately), but I'll leave it at, "if it works for you, use it."

Simplest advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394430)

Um... If you want to learn to type a certain way then practice it. Software can help you focus your practice, and make you consciously correct your finger placement etc, but you can do all this without software. Just take the time, put in the concentration, and practice.

Or just stay happy with how it's working for you.

You should definitely switch (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394434)

Use Dvorak, and take typing lessons.

If that doesn't work, try voice recognition.


how were you rated? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394446)

I'm always amazed by people around here that claim to type in the 80-120 wpm range and I have to wonder, how were you all tested? Have any of you actually taken professionally administered typing tests? Or are these guesses or scores from those crappy online typing tests (which are very much like online IQ tests -- "Your IQ is 185!!!!!"). I ask because I've worked with people who claim to type ~90-100 wpm before, but in reality it's usually closer to 50-60.

Re:how were you rated? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394656)

I ask because I've worked with people who claim to type ~90-100 wpm before, but in reality it's usually closer to 50-60.

They can only type as fast as they can think / author / read / BS / debug. Some folks are surprisingly slow.

Given a fairly stereotypical, low content, yet long, business letter in a typing test, folks might be able to squirt out 100 wpm. In the pre-xerox, pre-wordprocessor era, that was even a marketable skill. Not so much now.

Relatively few people can productively concentrate faster than they can type, at certainly on average, and probably also at peak.

Re:how were you rated? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394788)

I totally realize that there are in fact people here that really can type at 80...90...100 wpm. But it's far from the number here that claim to be able to type that fast (insert the old adage about how people almost always overestimate their abilities). I just find it very curious, because nearly every single person I've ever come across that's actually been tested professionally tend to max out at around 80-85 (and these are people who've done fairly well using that skill). But to hear the typical slashdotter speak (well, write), it's not the least bit uncommon for non-trained hunt-and-peck geeks to plow through 100-120 words per minute. Something just doesn't add up, and I'm more than willing to call them on it.

I call bullshit (3, Informative)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394458)

These days my qwerty typing speed is in the range of 90-110 WPM

Hunt and peck maxes out at about 40WPM, with burst speeds of up to 70WPM [wikipedia.org] . I doubt this is a sustained typing speed. And there is no indication of error rates.

Yet another fluff piece by kdawson without a shred of credibility. For all we know, he made this up to fill in for a slow news day.

Re:I call bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394504)

He didn't say it was "hunt and peck", he said he didn't use the little and ring fingers "when he should".

Re:I call bullshit (2, Insightful)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394764)

So he's using 4 fingers instead of 2...

If you're doing almost two words a second... (5, Insightful)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394472)

... does technique really matter? I've had three kinds of experiences as far as typing.

Teacher: Here's a typing test.
Me: OK. (Types.)
Teacher: Your technique is absolutely horrible, you'll never be able to progress like that. If you're going to take typing you'll have to start in the beginner class and relearn from scratch.
Me: No, thanks.

Clerical job interview
Interviewer: Here's a typing test.
Me: OK. (Types.)
Interviewer: 90 WPM, only one error. You pass.

Technical job interview
Interviewer: You've been using computers since the Commodore 64 days and remember DOS. Yeah, we're not going to bother with a typing test. I'm sure you're fine.

My uncle was a journalist who typed with two fingers his entire career. His editor didn't care if he typed them by slamming his face on the keys, as long as the reports were on time and well-written.

So, unless you need to do something for ergonomic reasons or just a mad fit of self-improvement, probably not worth it. Your ring finger will get over the neglect.:)

Technique (1)

C4st13v4n14 (1001121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394546)

I second what someone said earlier. If you can get 80 WPM without looking at the keyboard and without making mistakes, then that's spectacular. I took two years of "Word Processing" in high school back in the WordPerfect 5.1 days and 80 WPM is what the teacher could do. I reached that magic point and couldn't really go beyond it. If you're worried about developed carpal tunnel, there isn't much you can do with respect to technique. My advice would be to check out speech recognition. If you're worried about style, hitting the "Y" key with your right hand instead of your left, just do what's most comfortable for you. I've seen some of these stenographers (the court room typists) and they can pull 120 WPM using shorthand. When I moved to a non-English-speaking country, learned the language and had to start typing in it, that was a serious challenge. Keyboards here are QWERTY, but the special vowels are found where the ; ' [ keys are and punctuation is all over the place. It did come after a while, though, and now I'm about as fast in it as I am in English. Nothing like learning a new language and having to type in it to keep your typing skills sharp! Someone else mentioned going to Dworvak and to AZERTY. That's just a bad idea. I spent some time in Belgium and the AZERTY keyboard drove me nuts. It got so annoying, I ended up starting all my emails with: "Hello, just so you know, I'm in Belgium and they use some whacked keyboards here..." and I proceeded to type as I would on a QWERTY keyboard.

Electro-shocks on errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394602)

Typing program that will shock you whenever you typo a word.

Bonus points if you wear glasses to prevent you from looking at the keyboard, and monitors on each finger to detect what finger presses what key.
If you stray away from the true path of typing, BBZZZZTT.

gtypist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394608)

I cannot understand how people working at the keyboard will not invest a week of their time to learn how to actually use it. Get gtypist [gnu.org] .

Ease the strain if you have discomfort (1)

codeonezero (540302) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394622)

Several years ago I misused my hands to the point that it was painful to type for any period of time. I switched to dvorak to ease things on me. And although it was a relief, it was mostly due to slowing down and being careful in my movements. It became specially a problem when having to move back to someone else's computer to help. So dvorak helped a bit but it was clear there were other issues.

So still with my problem, I spent time researching and found the very good Cornell Ergonomics site http://ergo.human.cornell.edu/ [cornell.edu]

The two biggest problems I had were my pinky and thumb hurting from trying to use them. In the end, instead of stretching them out like some typists recommend (they seem to forget that stressing weak muscles regularly can cause issues), I adjusted and moved my arm (big strong mucles there) with my hand so my finger would hit the key, avoided twisting my wrist, or used another finger while those two fingers recuperated. Checked my posture frequently and looked at hand strengthening exercises.

This book was actually also a great resource: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1572240393/qid=1055745052/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_1/002-9180898-5704857?v=glance&s=books&n=507846 [amazon.com]

I know this is probably no quite what you asked but if you feel awkward about your typing technique it's definitely worth identifying potential problems and solving them before they become a bigger problem.

In any case if you are at the point of discomfort you should definitely see a doctor.

Also slow down, there's rarely any reason to type so fast that you strain your hands to the point of discomfort/pain/awkwardness. And listen to your body, with the need for deadlines, busy life, etc, we often ignore the little signs of warnings of "don't keep doing that". If you can learn to listen to the signs early you can make adjustments sooner.

Can you type without looking? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394648)

If so, don't bother. That's what makes the huge difference between touch typing and hunt-n-peck typists. With touch typing all your fingers tend to be on the keyboard and you get a feel for where you are while I see most others do write/look/write/look/write/look, it's quite easy to see if you pay attention to their eyes. By keeping your eyes on the paragraph or block of code/query/whatever, you get a lot more mental focus on what you're doing than the mechanics of typing it. I do know the feel of what you're saying though, sometimes the big picture just "snaps" and you've suddenly got more to write than your fingers will keep up with but just get down the few critical ideas/revelations and really there is no such huge hurry in fleshing it out. Normally you then have to think a little more if you're doing it the right way anyway.

Ergo keyboard ftw (1)

n0w0rries (832057) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394670)

I taught myself how to type. The biggest thing that helped me was getting one of those natural keyboards with the hump in the middle. I got one at one of my early jobs because I was afraid of having carpal tunnel issues--and when I first started using it my hands would actually collide in mid air because my fingers were all over the place. I quickly adapted to keeping my hands on their respective sides, and eventually dumped the natural keyboard and my typing is better for it. I type about 100-120 wpm.

Use an ergonomic keyboard (1)

shovas (1605685) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394702)

After acquiring a consistent twitch in right-hand index finger after 3 years of 9-5 on a normal keyboard, I switched to a Microsoft Ergonomic keyboard, the one where the halves are separated and it looks wavy. Twitch went away and hasn't come back.

It forces some of your fingers to do the work they should because of distance. You try to do it your old way but realize that learning the new way will help you in the end.

It is an absolute pain to get used to an ergonomic but after a few months I'm used to it and it feels quite natural. I also switch between ergo at work and regular at home and now I'm proficient at both.

And as for Logitech, where's your ergo keyboard? I couldn't find one in stores! I always prefer logitech keyboards but I can't fault microsoft for their keyboards, either.

Don't worry about "correct" technique (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394720)

The "correct" techniques were developed for keyboards which were basically like this:
Old manual typewriter [patricktaylor.com]

Note the huge vertical spacing between the rows. Note the long travel of the keys, and consider the need to strike them consistently (or typing quality suffered). Consider the amount of force it took to strike a key. Is your computer keyboard much like that? I suspect not. So while there may be good techniques for computer keyboards, they're unlikely to be similar to the tried and true "correct" techniques a typing instructor will torture you with. If you're at 110wpm, you're fine for anything but a speed typing contest. Even allowing for some degree of bragging.

I was in the same situation, and switched. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394726)

I was in exactly this situation about three years ago. I switched to Dvorak. While I remain unconvinced that Dvorak is actually better in general (for starting typists), the change forced me type properly. Now, I don't know if this is better on my wrists, or if I'm actually faster now, but I can tell you for sure that having proper technique has improved my accuracy when typing without looking for long periods of time. I'd encourage you to go for it.

xletters (4, Informative)

knewter (62953) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394742)

I had the same problem, and I needed to fix it. I was a transcriptionist and got paid per page, so my typing speed directly impacted my pay. Typing properly will make you type faster, so I learned. You should use xletters. It's what I did. Just play the game for 15 minutes a day and do not allow yourself to use the wrong fingers to type. Done.

Without looking at the keyboard (1)

MojoSF (658720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394766)

Not looking at the keyboard is essential. You need to be able to read and correct your typing as you go. Aside from that, I agree with the others that getting another 10wpm matters not.

If you only ever used one keyboard, switching to Dvorak would make sense. These days that's just impossible, even if you're not a computer tech professional.

dragon naturally speaking? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394810)

talking is faster then typeing.

Having spent the weekend watching fear.net... (1)

pngwen (72492) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394824)

I recommend the Saw film franchise. I'm sure many of Jigsaw's games could, with a little creativity, be adapted to typing skills!

Don't worry about it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394864)

90-110 WPM is faster than 95% of the typing-literate population. Unless you're having carpal tunnel issues, in which case you shouldn't just be changing to 'proper' typing style, but rather you should be switching to more ergonomically correct methods and equipment.

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