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Das Keyboard Model S Ultimate

Bill Horne wrote:
| On Wed, 2011-01-19 at 22:14 -0500, Ben Eisenbraun wrote:
| > On Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 09:21:52PM -0500, Bill Horne wrote:
| > > On Wed, 2011-01-19 at 15:30 -0500, Ben Eisenbraun wrote:
| > > > For home I think I'll buy the one with key inscriptions,
| > > > since it'll be tough for the 3 year old to use otherwise.
| > >
| > > I recommend Dvorak for all children learning to type.
| >
| > Oh no.  He's definitely going to be a vi user.  :-)
| >
| > I thought they decided the Dvorak advantage was a myth?
| I hadn't heard that: please cite the study that proved it.
| ISTM that the advantage of Dvorak is so fundamental that it can't be
| overcome; the most-often used keys are closer to the home row. It's not
| something that seems debatable to me: shorter distance means less finger
| travel, ergo more speed.
| Then again, I've been wrong before, so I'd like to look at the data.

What I've got from reading the criticisms  is  that  basically  there
isn't  much  data.   What there is has some obvious problems, such as
coming from people with a financial interest in  convincing  us  that
the Dvorak keyboard is faster than QWERTY.

That is, the claim isn't that QWERTY is actually faster than  Dvorak.
The  claim  is that there's no credible scientific study showing that
there's any difference.  There might well be, but marketing campaigns
aren't a good place to look for the evidence.  If you want scientific
evidence, you'll have to make it yourself.  A few organizations  with
no financial interests in the outcome have tried to do this, and came
up empty handed. But this hasn't been done too often, because funding
and  research  organizations  have  much  more important questions to
spend their money on.

I was a bit curious, when I first read about this, how there could be
a financial interest in a keyboard layout.  But it does turn out that
the Dvorak layout was patented back in the 1920s and  1930s,  and  at
that time you couldn't switch layouts by just changing a setting. The
layout was "hard wired" into the typewriter mechanism, so  to  use  a
different  layout,  you  had  to  buy  a  typewriter that had the new
layout.  Nowadays, when keyboards just send a digital  keycode,  it's
easy  to  invent  new  keyboard layouts and experiment with them, but
this wasn't possible back then, so there was money to be made if  you
could market a new layout.

It seems reasonable that putting the common (in English) keys in  the
home row would lead to faster typing. But saying this doesn't make it
true.  If it's true, why  has  it  turned  out  to  be  difficult  to
demonstrate scientifically?

(Actually, that's an easy question to answer: When people  are  dying
of cancer, heart disease, malaria and AIDS by the millions, why would
we spend our limited human and financial resources studying something
so  inconsequential  as  a  keyboard  layout?  So only people with an
interest in the Dvorak layout have a motive to study the topic.  ;-)

 <:#/>  John Chambers
   +   <jc-8FIgwK2HfyJMuWfdjsoA/w at>
  /#\  <jc1742-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w at>
  | |

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