OK, I’ve been using typewriters and keyboards for the last 30 years of my life, and my career has been based on typing on the computer. For all this time, I’ve been what you could call a “creative” typist. It’s not touch typing, because my hands dance all around the keyboard as I type.
After reading Steve Yegge’s advice for programmers to learn to touch type, I decided I should do the same. Sure, I can sustain about 50-60 WPM with my current typing habits, but I bet I could get faster if I touch-typed, with fewer errors to boot. He claims about 40 hours of practice is all that’s needed. Sounds like a reasonable goal.
I downloaded and compiled GNU Typist and it seems to be “good enough”, even if the curses-based interface performs no better than my Atari 800 of 20 years ago. But really, you don’t need exploding rocket ships to learn typing.
Since I’m learning a whole new way of typing, I also thought I might as well learn the Dvorak layout. This might end up giving me a world of hurt, but it’s easy to switch between it and the QWERTY layout in software these days. GNU Typist comes with Dvorak lessons as well.
Considering I’m not typing all day long these days, this is probably an excellent time to start learning.
I cheated and used QWERTY for this entry, although maybe it would be better for me to go cold turkey and switch to Dvorak exclusively for a while. I don’t know if I’m that committed to the goal, yet.