Behold! The Dvorak Keyboard and all its glory. ohh, ahhh. =)
So far, the only people that I know that use this system are me and Sandra, and most recently Annie (as in my section, Short Stories for Annie), a chat friend from New York. I wanna change that. I don't want to get too much into the history, but basically Dr. August Dvorak thought QWERTY sucked. He spent 12 years designing a better, more efficient keyboard. He studied the English langage, word patterns, the muscles and structure of the hand, and this is what he deemed the best design of a keyboard. It's not perfect, personally I would change a few buttons, but it's a lot better than QWERTY.
Look at your keyboard. Just look at it. Could anyone have designed something more stupid? How often do you use the J or the Semi-Colon? Yet they are on the home keys (middle row). Ever the G, H, K and the L aren't that important. Now think, what are the most used letters? Dvorak thought it was the vowels and D, H, T, N and S and wisely made them the home keys. I think he's right. I wondered about the letter D at first, but realized you use it for the word “and” which is very common.
Initially Sid told me about some alternate keyboard configuration, so I looked online, and discovered the Dvorak keyboard in the Summer of 1999. The main reason I learned it was cause I heard it could stop my hands from hurting after typing for long periods of time. It has done that and more, I also make less typing errors and I think I can type faster than with QWERTY.
Your hands don't hurt at all after typing for hours and hours with Dvorak. I also think you're a lot less likely to suffer from stuff like carpol tunnel syndrome (medical condition from typing too much and putting stress on your fingers).
You can type faster with Dvorak cause your fingers don't have to move as far to reach the main letters.
You won't make as many mistakes. Think about it, how many countless times have you typed “hte” or “teh” instead of “the”? Well that's cause the letters alternate badly. It's easier to type inward than outward. Going from the T to the E is outward, and therefore you tend to make mistakes. Also it's left hand, right hand, left hand, making it harder. With Dvorak, it's right, right, left and a nice fluid, inward motion.
You can be a rebel =) I know no one likes "conformity", but you can kill two birds with one stone. You can be a non-conformist with Dvorak and also type better.
Yes, there are cons of using this system. The first is that hardly anyone does. You have to change the system everytime you use someone else's computer. That's not that big a thing though, it only takes a minute. Another con is that you know the ctrl - C and ctrl - V for copy and paste? well now it's in different places, it's the equivalent of ctrl - I and ctrl - period on a QWERTY system. Believe it or not though, after a while you won't even notice the inconvenience of the new copy and paste.
That's about the only cons there are to Dvorak. I hope that doesn't stop you from at least trying it out, cause once you learn Dvorak, I almost promise you'll love it and when you try to type in QWERTY again, it'll feel really uncomfortable and a lot harder to type. Dvorak just offers so much more of a comfortable typing experience =).
But I already know the other system . .
Well the other system sucks. QWERTY was designed when typewriters were the most used typing machine. They had to slow you down so the keys wouldn't get jammed so they put the letters in funky places. Now that we barely use manual typewriters and don't have to worry about keys getting stuck, don't you think it's about time you type the most efficiently as possible?
How long will it take to learn?
Well it took me about 3 weeks to learn how to type in Dvorak to maybe 80 to 85 percent as fast as I did with QWERTY. However I think you can actually enjoy typing more because you won't be making as many typing errors. It took maybe a few more weeks to type as fast if not faster. Sandra told me she took about 4 weeks to learn. When learning, do it at a time when you don't have to type a lot. Also don't keep switching back and forth between Dvorak and QWERTY cause that will totally mess you up. Just stick with Dvorak for a month, and if you don't like it or can't do it then I apologize, but chances are I bet you will love it and not want to go back to QWERTY.
Another tip that you can use is that when walking around, try and type with your fingers in the air. This will actually help a lot.
Changing your system
To use it in Windows 95 and above, first make sure your system has the file needed to use Dvorak. You need a file called Kbddv.kbd and it should be in C:\Windows\System. If it's not there, you can download it Here. (just right click, save it, and unzip it into your C:\Windows\System folder. The regular file itself messes up on the "v" button if you download it directly.)
Once you know you have that file in your system, to switch from QWERTY to Dvorak, go to the Start Menu, Settings, Control Panel, Keyboard, the Language tab, properties button, and switch it to United States-Dvorak.
On a Windows XP system, go to the Start Menu, Settings, Control Panel, Regional and Language Options, Languages Tab, Details button, and switch it there.
You can do that, or download this cool program I found online that easily switches your keyboard from QWERTY to Dvorak and Back with a simple double click. It's only 246k big and you can get it Here. The best way to use this is put the file in your start up (C:\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp) so that it pops up everytime you use your computer. I got this program from Here.
Good Dvorak Links
http://www.mit.edu:8001/people/jcb/Dvorak/dvorak-course - ABCD: A Basic Course in Dvorak
http://sominfo.syr.edu/facstaff/dvorak - Keyboard Observations
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