dvorak keyboard - worth it?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by TatsuTerror, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. TatsuTerror macrumors regular

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    #1
    I've seen a few threads regarding changing apple keyboards to the 'dvorak' stup. I looked into it a little bit, and was thinking about trying it out just for fun. I type about 70-80 words per minute with the qwerty setup.

    What are the main advantages of dvorak, and how long does it take most people to learn? Would it be worth me mastering, even though I am pretty fast on a regular keyboard?
     
  2. TEG macrumors 604

    TEG

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    #2
    Unless you have about a month with out needing to do some coding or HTML work it should be easy. I've tried several times. The most recient time I failed because I only switched the keys on my external keyboard instead of also doing it on my PowerBook. I'm close to doing it again, but then I'd have to also do it on my work computer (since for the first time in a long time, my personal computer and my work computer are not the same).

    The main advantage is that most words will require the use of both hand, so it is suppossed to reduce stress, and allow for faster typing by allowing you to stage for the next letter while typing the current letter.

    TEG
     
  3. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #3
    It's the Esperanto of keyboards. It makes more sense, and is actually better in a word processing (vs typing), but QWERTY is so embedded, it would only be for your own preference, and difficult to find software or hardware support.

    Depending on how long you've been typing, the learning curve may be longer or shorter, but most reports indicate anyone can learn it.
     
  4. saltyzoo macrumors 65816

    saltyzoo

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    #4
    The QWERTY layout was designed to slow down typists and to position keys in such a way to reduce jamming. DVORAK is supposedly a better layout for speed.

    However, if you're hitting 70 to 80 wpm with QWERTY you're likely to never beat that with DVORAK unless you spend a LOT of time practicing and un-learning. You're brain is already tuned to QWERTY.

    I tried to switch a decade or so ago when I was still young, and I got up to about the same speed as with QWERTY (around 85 back then, I'm lucky if I hit 50 now), but my error rate never really went down to where it should be. So I switched back in frustration.
     
  5. TEG macrumors 604

    TEG

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    #5
    I forgot to mention that the biggest reason I switched back was.... Gaming. Most games are preprogrammed for one keyboard setup so certain keys are grouped, suddenly when you use DVORAK they are spread all over. Consider that.

    TEG
     
  6. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

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    #6
    whats difficult about about the software support

    Picture 3.png

    The hardware is more of the problem but the older style keyboards are easy to switch but you don't need to switch the keys around as you should be looking at the screen rather than the keys.

    It is easy to learn and doesn't preclude you forgetting qwerty.


    You can switch it back for when you play the game, it really takes 2 seconds to do.
     
  7. TEG macrumors 604

    TEG

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    #7
    I know. Since I switched back, I discoverd SimCiy 4 has a Windowed mode, which would allow me to do that. In the full screen mode, I could not get it to switch. It also doesn't help that I also change the keyboard, and I eventually forget where the qwerty keys were, so I may have to make little labels.

    TEG
     
  8. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #8
    Oh, crap. That's where I've been doing it wrong all these years! :eek:

    Yeah, I'm a four or five-fingered "typist", never learned to touch-type. Too old to care anymore.
     
  9. TEG macrumors 604

    TEG

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    #9
    That is another reason I switched back. Whenever I let someone use my computer they would always raise a fuss because they couldn't find the keys they needed.

    TEG
     
  10. tsincaat macrumors member

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    #10
    I used Dvorak for a number of years, and lately switched back to qwerty. I think I slowed down marginally, but in some cases typing slower gives me more time to think. When I was writing on a word processor with dvorak, the limitation was on how fast I could think, not how fast I could type.

    Having to switch keybindings for playing games got to be incredibly annoying. Either I'd switch the whole layout, which I usually forgot to do after exiting the game, or I'd end up switching all the keybindings, which with a new game could involve a lot of work when I didn't know what all the keys did in the first place.

    I'd recommend staying with qwerty. It's great if you're mainly using it for a secretary type job where you're going to be copying information into the computer by hand or something like that and you're relying on pure speed. I find though for every day computer use I'm happy to use qwerty.
     
  11. robanga macrumors 68000

    robanga

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    #11
    Until I looked up Dvorak on Wikipedia just a while ago, I honestly thought it was invented by tech commentary guy, John C Dvorak.

    I'm laughing at myself right now and you are welcome to also.:D
     
  12. anthonybsd macrumors member

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    #12
    dvorak is a lot of hype

    http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=356

    There is absolutely no evidence that DVORAK makes you type faster. There is some anecdotal evidence that it produces less strain during typing, but then again - ergonomic keyboards have been around since forever and never quite took off.
     
  13. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

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    #13
    From that one article

    So neither has an advantage so it comes down to personal preference, I switched to dvoark and much prefer it to qwerty.

    Of course you can find other websites where they demonstrate the differences, for example

    Finger Travel Distance (only the horizontal), for the complete work of Shakespeare

    Picture 5.png

    Or if you think that is extreme here is the same test for wikipedias entry for Tiger

    Picture 6.png

    So dvorak is perhaps not the best but it is an improvement over qwerty and dvorak is supported with os x where as coleman isn't.

    Overall effort for both previous examples respectively

    Picture 8.png
    Picture 7.png
     
  14. anthonybsd macrumors member

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    #14
    That looks valid. At the end it really all comes down to prefernces though as the improvements don't seem to be dramatic enough. I was simply pointing out that the whole "design to slow down typists" thing was a compete and utter myth.
     
  15. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #15
    The article you linked to calls the QWERTY layout "history" a myth, but does nothing to prove or explain the case against it. For that matter, no real evidence of any kind (other than anecdotal and editorially biased language) is presented.

    Additionally, many "studies" are in and of themselves biased or pre-loaded with a conclusion, but because they are published by someone with a PhD from a University, credibility is automatically granted. Who validated the studies?

    For that matter, if it wasn't as commonly accepted theory posits, what then does explain the layout of QWERTY? If it wasn't because of mechanical inefficiencies, then what was it? And it is inefficient.

    Having spent the first half of my life on standard typewriters, I can attest to the key-crossing problem on the pre-Selectric era--though in my case, not because of speed, but I'm a lousy typist.

    I'm not saying it is anything more than urban myth, but that article was probably the worst example of attempting to prove it so.

    So, in the final analysis, why do we use a cumbersome, inefficient method of typing? Why do effectively 100% of English keyboards still insist on it? For the same reason that Windows is nearly as universal.
     
  16. anthonybsd macrumors member

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    #16
    http://yasuoka.blogspot.com/2006/08/printing-telegraphic-dispatches.html
    This gentleman spent years researching origins of QWERTY. I think you'll find that he knows more on the subject than most sources you care to come up with.

    Windows is nearly universal because it's the best product in the market place, so you picked a really bad example. When other alternatives become better, that might change. And QWERTY actually won its position by being the best of many other designs, so it might not be as cumbersome as the popular myth claims.
     
  17. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #17
    Than you should've used that as your original source. It actually has useful content, as opposed to the original link.


    Windows is nearly universal because of marketing. I guess you had to be there...
     
  18. anthonybsd macrumors member

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    #18
    The original link is actually a summary of a longer study that I posted given how people don't like to read. If you care you can look up the actual study on the subject. This last link discussed one specific point you've raised.

    One could argue that Apple currently has the best marketing department amongst software companies. You know why Apple is not the dominant platform for personal computing? Simply because Apple is not in the same market. Windows is the only operating system that runs on any x86 hardware that is easy enough to use. Apple doesn't have a product like that, hence
    until that day the best product will dominate the marketplace.
     
  19. macphwoar macrumors newbie

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    Feb 11, 2008
    #19
    :p I did it just for the heck of it ... :D

    but IMHO, if you have a good typing tutor.. just give it 2 weeks and you won't even need the Dvorak keyboard. I highly recommand tenthumbs.
     

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  20. bob13bob macrumors member

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    #20
    Thats ironic because marketing is the best thing mac has going for it.
     
  21. millerj123 macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    If you think so, I'd be interested in where. The best I can come up with is Wikipedia, and suggests that there were fatal flaws in that study as well.
     
  22. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    #22
    I thought of Dvorak many years ago, but the thing that stopped me was having to use more than one computer. I regularly had to use a number of computers and terminals, and there are/were enough oddities with function keys that I didn't want to have to deal with Dvorak as well.

    These days almost no one types exclusively on one computer. I have an iMac and an iBook and use other computers at the library. I'd hate to have to look down while typing.
     
  23. skorpien macrumors 68020

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