1. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    the keyboard layout

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Cacian, Nov 13, 2011.

    are you a professional typer or do you get by like me?
    I am most fascinated by the way the keyboard has been set up for me to use.
    do you have any questions that cometomind regarding the layout?
    my first one is:

    why are the letters scattered the way they are?
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    On a QWERTY keyboard? It dates from the days of typewriters, when keys would frequently jam, and so the most frequently used letters were kept separate to minimise it.
     
  3. Cacian
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    that's it QWERTY.
    do you find using the keyboard the way it is laid out helpful?
    I tried to learn professionally but do not fing logically easy to manage.
    there are so many keys on it I do not use I was wondering what technology was doing with regard to updating it.
    I am also pretty sure that the way men use the keyboar is different from the way women use it.
    that could be one start of updating it.
     
  4. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    There are other keyboard formats designed around efficiency, but QWERTY is so ingrained into people's minds that people just prefer to use that. I know that after nearly 20 years of using it, I don't look at the keys anymore, I just know where they are. Changing would be a major pain in the arse for me, and I have no trouble using QWERTY, so I'm happy with it. I expect this is a widely held opinion.
     
  5. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    Well, if you read this QWERTY article on wikipedia, you'll know probably just as much as I do on the subject.
     
  6. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    haha...as the saying there is always one and that would be me.
    I only set of keys and the rest if what they say is HISTORY.
    I would definetely look out for something less crowded and makes sense to me anyway.
     
  7. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    thanks
    it still does not answer my questions on why letters and numbers and other obsure keys are rearranged in the quwerty way.:p
     
  8. JSLCampbell
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    I had read an article on this a little while ago.

    "How did we wind up with this intuition-defying random configuration? Well, back in 1868, when Christopher Sholes and a couple of other guys had just finished inventing the first typing machine, the keys were arranged in alphabetical order (our current middle row shows vestiges of this, with A, D, F, G, H, J, K and L still in order). But there was a problem: Before long, people were mashing away on these fragile early keyboards, which had a tendency to jam when two keys next to each other were pressed in rapid succession.

    So Sholes consulted a buddy who had studied up on letter-pair frequency, and he moved the keys that were most often typed together away from each other. After a few other minor tweaks, like moving up the R key, allegedly so that salesmen could impress buyers by typing the word "TYPEWRITER" using only the top row, we had our current QWERTY arrangement. Never mind that the most commonly used letters (E, T, A, O, I, N and S, respectively) were randomly scattered all over, and that it took forever every time you wanted to type "ESTONIA." Sholes wasn't trying to make the most ergonomically sound keyboard; in fact, QWERTY is deliberately engineered to slow you down so you don't have to worry about pesky typewriter jams."

    This is quoted from Cracked.com So it seems like they were arranged in a way to keep apart the most common letters/punctuation. Of course we're stuck with it now simply because of a first-mover advantage. The whole America and England (and any other country using QWERTY I don't know for sure about) isn't gonna relearn something most people have been doing for years/decades simply because there might possibly be a slightly faster way to type.

    I don't know what you mean by it's better suited towards men than women. However apparently it does favour left-handed people.
     
  9. Cacian
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    hi thank you for that.
    with regard to man as opposed to woman the difference is in the way we type and the way we process informationa as we type.
     
  10. rainshine
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    rainshine Senior Member

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    I learned to touch type at school a long time ago, I dont need to look at the keys to type, although I never manage more than 35 to 40 wpm. We had a lady tutor and a typing book, FFF space JJJ space shouted out at the front of the class, I never mastered the numbers though.
     
  11. Cacian
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    lOL that was funny...:p
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    while i've gotten way up there in typing speed after so many years as a full time writer [thanks to computers!], i still have to hunt and peck the numbers, too!
     
  13. Cacian
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    yes I think I know what you mean.
    it is not an easy keyboard to comprehend at the best of times.
     
  14. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    I'm an unconventional typist (I move my hands when I type and cross the center many times depending on the words and sentences I'm typing). My typing speed is around 120-130 wpm on the best of days, 90-100 on average, but it's all muscle memory. I could probably increase both numbers if I set my mind to it and continued practicing and testing myself, but I'm at a place in my typing that I'm comfortable with and I can't concentrate on what I'm typing at speeds much faster than that. I'm fairly certain if you changed my keyboard to one that advertised better efficiency (which I don't think the Qwerty design was meant to slow typists at all ... there are a few folks who can reach upwards of 200 wpm on it ... don't ask me how :)), it would take me a long, long time to recover ... probably comparable to rearranging the keys on my piano. Actually, I tend to have trouble when I get new computers and the keys have minor changes, like increased/decreased width/height, changes in placement of certain punctuation keys, and though numbers typically don't trip my typing up, changes in the numpad set off to the side do.

    When I learned to type, I did wonder why the keys were arranged as they were and not in alphabetical order. It does seem like alphabetical order would be easier to grasp, and maybe it would. I never knew it was because the original, alphabetical design caused typewriter jams. But that makes me wonder why the qwerty design is still the norm with computers. If I had to wager a guess, I would say it is because most have gotten used to the Qwerty layout of keyboards and would probably pitch a fit if you tried to change it. After all, the folks who have the most problem with it are the ones who are learning to use it, not the ones who have already ingrained it into their muscle memory. But there are also a lot of computer programs that have been designed around this keyboard for shortcuts and so on (like the majority of Adobe programs among many others, including writing programs like Word). So it would fall to a matter of changing these programs to support a different layout, and for the people who have already learned to type to re-learn to type alongside the others who are learning to type to begin with. Obviously, even if there was an overall change to the popular layout of the keyboard, it wouldn't completely wipe out the Qwerty design immediately, but there would be clashes, I think.

    I'm not sure there is a difference between how men and women use the keyboard. People in general use the keyboard different from person to person. Some follow the rules of typing they learned in school and don't move their hands at all, only their fingers, and others keep their hands in constant motion, like myself (the ergonomic keyboards really screw me up). Some only use their index fingers, and others can be blindfolded altogether. All of these "somes" and "others" are of both sexes. There may be a difference, I really don't know, but I don't think it's significant enough to say the keyboard works better or was designed for one or the other. Strictly speaking, both men and women have the ability to learn, and all typing really amounts to is learning. I made a comparison about playing a piano above, and it really fits into this because one cannot just sit down and start playing the piano either. You must learn where the keys are and what they represent, how best to hold your hands, and which ones go together and so on (and if you look at someone learning to play the piano, their movements are very similar to someone hunting and pecking the keys on a keyboard). It does eventually become muscle memory after you've practiced it enough, but it takes a while to get to that stage.
     
  15. Steerpike
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    I started as hunt and peck on QWERTY. I do not type the right way, but I'm fast not and I don't even have to look at the keyboard any more. Like Raki, it's just muscle memory and years of using QWERTY.

    A lot of people like DVORAK, and most computers will let you change to DVORAK by changing a simple setting. It is supposed to be more efficient, but I am not likely to change any time soon given the fact that I am fast on QWERTY and would have to re-learn everything on DVORAK.
     
  16. Cacian
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    never heard of DVORAK.
     
  17. Steerpike
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  18. Cacian
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    yes I think muscle memory is what kind puzzles me a little because it might not be all that good for you long term.
    because if your brain is telling to go one way and the keyboard is telling me to go the otherway then I am wondering about the effect of it all.
    I know I have heard about about secretaries suffering from muscle pain because of streneous typing.
     
  19. Raki
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    I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Muscle memory is basically the result of learning from a repetitious task. You think "k" and your finger moves over the "k" key without requiring conscious effort (you don't need to think about where the "k" key is) ... you may compare it to a habit. That's pretty much it. I don't think it has anything to do with muscle pain, and that may be a symptom from something else altogether ... like sitting and typing in a continuous flow for hours on end. Muscle memory occurs at a great many things other than typing, such as musical instruments, driving, martial arts, walking, running, and the list goes on and on. Where it becomes a problem is when you develop muscle memory for doing something a specific way and then you must change it (the specific way you are doing something). Like a habit, it is difficult to break.
     
  20. Arathald
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    This part is an urban legend perpetuated by the inventor of the DVORAK keyboard against QWERTY. QWERTY was never designed to slow typists down, only to keep commonly-used keys away from each other to prevent typewriter jams. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QWERTY)

    While there is some legitimate reason to believe that DVORAK may be superior for some typists, most of the early studies were either falsified or massively flawed (low sample size, selection bias, etc.).
     
  21. Cacian
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    thank you for the link.
    I was looking at the keyboard expecting DVORAK written in the same way as QWERTY but it is not there:(
    it is a person name although AUGUSTUS DVORAK sounds like an engineered name.
     
  22. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    You do understand that the idea of a wikipedia article with clickable links, is that you click on the links and delve deeper in the matter? The article I quoted leads to everything from the history, the reason and the alternatives [DVORAK], but you have to click the links yourself to get there.
     
  23. Cacian
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    I did.
    the article proceeds to justify why the keys are as such it still does not complete my question.
    the answer that I am looking for is not there.
     
  24. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    Re-read the 'history and purposes' past, which explains how the designer went from an alphabetical keyboard to the QWERTY version. That explains the 'scattering' of the keys across the board. Can't put it more simply than that.
     

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