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Dvorak Keyboard

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mattdaniels
33728.  Wed Nov 23, 2005 8:24 am Reply with quote

In 1932, with funds from the Carnegie Foundation, Professor August Dvorak, of Washington State University, set out to develop the ultimate typewriter keyboard once and for all.

The Dvorak keyboard has letters arranged according to frequency. The home row uses all five vowels and the five most common consonants: AOEUIDHTNS. With the vowels on one side and consonants on the other, a rough typing rhythm would be established as each hand would tend to alternate.

With the Dvorak keyboard, a typist can type about 400 of the English language's most common words without ever leaving the home row. The comparable figure on QWERTY is 100. The home row letters on Dvorak do a total of 70% of the work. On QWERTY they do only 32%.

http://home.earthlink.net/~dcrehr/whyqwert.html


 
dr.bob
33771.  Wed Nov 23, 2005 11:18 am Reply with quote

I have many friends who swear by their dvorak keyboards and claim that it speeds up their typing while reducing RSI.

Personally, I'm not sure I'd want to commit to something that would probably involve my unlearning how to use a qwerty keyboard, particularly since qwerty keyboards are so much more common.

 
Jenny
33791.  Wed Nov 23, 2005 12:18 pm Reply with quote

Bit silly shifting positions of qwerty letters when they're on the same row on Dvorak that they are on the qwerty keyboard too - just makes more to learn.

I don't think I would bother - if I'm just copying something, or not having to think too hard about what I'm writing, I can do 80-90 wpm on a qwerty anyway, which seems fast enough to me.

 
BobTheScientist
33816.  Wed Nov 23, 2005 1:02 pm Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
I have many friends who swear by their dvorak keyboards and claim that it speeds up their typing while reducing RSI.

Personally, I'm not sure I'd want to commit to something that would probably involve my unlearning how to use a qwerty keyboard, particularly since qwerty keyboards are so much more common.


I went off to Google up Stephen J Gould +typewriter because he wrote a lovely essay on the evolution of the keyboard as a metaphor for biological constraint (why organisms aren't perfick but merely "good enough"). And came across an essay by Leibowitz and Margolis:

http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/reg18n3d.html

which debunks some of the certainties we have about Path Dependence. That Dvorak is better than Qwerty; the BetaMax is better than VHS ....

BetaMax is not better than VHS: it lost out in a tradeoff between physical compactness and having the tape long enough to record a whole film.

And the famous story about the US Navy conducting trials comparing Qwerty and Dvorak and finding that 10 days training would pay off the investment of changing from the Qwerty horse? The trials were carried out by Lt August Dvorak!

Qwerty is, as Jenny points out, "good enough".

 
garrick92
46355.  Tue Jan 17, 2006 1:48 pm Reply with quote

The Dvorak keyboard layout means a typist's fingers travel less distance between letters, and as we all know, many a mickle ... try it for yourself

Using the above converter, I was shocked to see that a random line taken from upthread -

Quote:
"And the famous story about the US Navy conducting trials comparing Qwerty and Dvorak and finding that 10 days training would pay off the investment of changing from the Qwerty horse? The trials were carried out by Lt August Dvorak!"


- entails 3.552 metres of finger movement in Dvorak and 5.271 metres in QWERTY!

Finetuning this with the first chapter of Genesis*(as one should, I suppose) gives us

Dvorak: 55.34m
versus
QWERTY: 94.15m

Assuming an ideal secretary - and who wouldn't? - Dvorak would always be the quicker of the two and sometimes by quite a margin.

It may not be the case (Cf: post 19304) that QWERTY was designed to slow typists down, but Dvorak certainly speeds things up.

* = Subtracting 31 from each total for the interposed verse numbers, of course

 
garrick92
46363.  Tue Jan 17, 2006 2:17 pm Reply with quote

garrick92 wrote:
Dvorak would always be the quicker of the two and sometimes by quite a margin.


Unless, I now note, you employed a secretary whose only task was to type the word 'AM', in which case it would be a dead heat. This, I feel, is special pleading, however.

 
Jenny
46385.  Tue Jan 17, 2006 4:07 pm Reply with quote

However, interestingly, if you type the sentence 'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog' on the DVORAK keyboard, and compare it to the same sentence on the QWERTY keyboard, the statistics are reversed.

Distance 1.057m on DVORAK and 0.831 on QWERTY. Also a higher percentage of fingers on the home row on QWERTY.

Maybe somebody else could check this, but as I see it that sentence typed on a QWERTY keyboard as if it were a DVORAK keyboard reads: kjd xfguv bis,l rsb cfmr; s.du kjd oa/r gst

 
violetriga
46389.  Tue Jan 17, 2006 4:18 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
However, interestingly, if you type the sentence 'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog' on the DVORAK keyboard, and compare it to the same sentence on the QWERTY keyboard, the statistics are reversed.

Distance 1.057m on DVORAK and 0.831 on QWERTY. Also a higher percentage of fingers on the home row on QWERTY.

Maybe somebody else could check this, but as I see it that sentence typed on a QWERTY keyboard as if it were a DVORAK keyboard reads: kjd xfguv bis,l rsb cfmr; s.du kjd oa/r gst


That sentence is designed to use less common letters. When typing "normal" sentences it should work out better.

 
gerontius grumpus
46434.  Tue Jan 17, 2006 6:46 pm Reply with quote

My father had an antique Blick typewriter which he bought in a jumble sale for 5/-.

It had a pre-QUERTY keyboard which was rather confusing.
I suppose, being antique, it was also pre- Dvorak.

Completely off thread, how do we get the ZH sound in the middle of Dvorak?

 
Caradoc
46444.  Tue Jan 17, 2006 9:08 pm Reply with quote

Betamax is still in use, well a derivative of it, most professional video camerapersons use betacam as the quality is much better than the cheaper VHS although digital is starting to make inroads

 
QI Individual
46446.  Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:48 pm Reply with quote

gerontius grumpus wrote:
Completely off thread, how do we get the ZH sound in the middle of Dvorak?


Probably because it's a Czech name that should be written as Dvořák. Same as the composer.

That's what you get for leaving out the diacriticals. You lose information.

Mind you.... Look at how it's written when you press the [Quote] button!

 
Quaint Idiot
46511.  Wed Jan 18, 2006 9:58 am Reply with quote

QI Individual wrote:
gerontius grumpus wrote:
Completely off thread, how do we get the ZH sound in the middle of Dvorak?


Probably because it's a Czech name that should be written as Dvořák. Same as the composer.

That's what you get for leaving out the diacriticals. You lose information.

Mind you.... Look at how it's written when you press the [­Quote] button!


Well, it looks like "Dvořák", but if I then press [Preview] it comes out as "Dvořák" in my edit box.

What really screws it is trying to quote some text with [Quote] in it. You've got to know your unicode to get round that one.

If I remember correctly from my very breief study of Czech that ­ isn't exactly like the sound in "treasure" and is really difficult for an English speaker to get their tongue around.

 
garrick92
46564.  Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:47 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
However, interestingly, if you type the sentence 'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog' on the DVORAK keyboard, and compare it to the same sentence on the QWERTY keyboard, the statistics are reversed.

Distance 1.057m on DVORAK and 0.831 on QWERTY. Also a higher percentage of fingers on the home row on QWERTY.


That's tickled me. The qwerty brown fox jaunts over the lazy dvorak.

This has all sorts of twists and turns, hasn't it?

 
Ponderer
46763.  Fri Jan 20, 2006 6:09 am Reply with quote

No offence to the composer, but surely it should be called the Pyfcrl keyboard?

 
Colonel Krummhorn
47031.  Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:54 pm Reply with quote

I'm far too familiar with ol' Qwerty, it'd take me forever to get used to Dvorak.

 

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