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Sites or Software for a Budding Typist?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the hunt-and-peck-has-gotten-boring dept.

Education 109

less touch, more typing asks: "Over the years I have worked with a number of IT professionals and software developers. Many of them have had excellent typing skills. Others, like me, have not. While I type passably with my own roguish style of finding the right keys, I would like to teach myself to type correctly. Too many syntax errors over the years are do to my lack of this basic skill. What software or web site would you recommend to learn to type? Is there something free or inexpensive that can turn someone with a lot of bad typing habits into a typing guru?"

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Mavis Beacon (3, Informative)

bluethundr (562578) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544419)

Re:Mavis Beacon (4, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544509)

I secund thees. Mavis cabt each youy to tipe veryu fast adn acuraterly!

Re:Mavis Beacon (1)

Hell O'World (88678) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544799)

Ever since I took, the, Evelyn... Woodhead... sped, redin'... course... my redin has improvd 100, percent, and.. also, my comprensn has improvd, won..der..full..y

Re:Mavis Beacon (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12545561)

"I will deliver Ohio for President Bush"---Michael Dell


How tipical of the bitter to concoct a conspiracy while ignoring history:
No Republican president has EVER won the Whitehouse without winning Ohio.
That said, it's no wonder an unequal amount test markets are to be found in Columbus, Ohio.
It's no wonder their licence plate has had "The Heart of it All" printed across it.
If one wants to find out what's going on in the nation, all they need to do is to stick a proverbial wet finger in the air in the city limits of Columbus, Ohio.

So, with these tid-bits of history, facts, and one conjecture, perhaps you'll not impute Michael Dell with so much power as to sway/control/manipulate the vote of a whole state, namely Ohio, which has mostly voted Republican for years, if not decades. Perhaps you should read how difficult it was for Linden Johnson to steal the 1948 Texas Senate election as told by Barr McClellan in "Blood, Money & Power"

You dumbass.

Re:Mavis Beacon (0, Troll)

crath (80215) | more than 8 years ago | (#12546556)

Mavis Beacon will only run if it has Admin rights to your PC; as such, it doesn't make my list of possible candidates for use on the home PC. I don't grant Admin rights to my kids (the ones who need to use a typing tutor).

Re:Mavis Beacon (1)

shufler (262955) | more than 8 years ago | (#12550418)

You've already been marked as a torll, but I'll point out the facts anyways, since as an IT professional, I have installed Mavis Beacon on a few locked down computers in my time.

Installation requires Administrator rights. Running does not. That's it. It won't win the "Designed for Microsoft Windows __" logo because of this, but you can run it as non admin users no problem.

Re:Mavis Beacon (1)

crath (80215) | more than 8 years ago | (#12557969)

Sorry, but you're wrong: on a Windows XP Pro machine M-B won't run in Restricted User mode. I made the mistake of purchasing the package and installing it on my home computer. I then interacted with M-B support and they could offer no solution.

Maybe you have mistaken "the program boots" for "the program functions as intended by the manufacturer." M-B will boot in restricted user mode, but it doesn't work as advertised.

Re:Mavis Beacon (1)

swimin (828756) | more than 8 years ago | (#12550335)

If you can stand her. I personally can't but my typing isn't that bad, Its mostly my spelling.

TTOTD (5, Informative)

Miffe (592354) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544429)

Get The Typing of The Dead. It's like The House of The Dead. But instead of a lightgun, you have to write words to kill zombies...

Re:TTOTD (1)

TheAngryMob (49125) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544596)

Good luck finding a copy. It's pretty old. Amazon [amazon.com] has one used copy, $68. Yikes.

Re:TTOTD (2, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544801)

Alternatively you could by a Sega Dreamcast copy for about $5 and get a Dreamcast and keyboard to go with it for another $25 (those prices are currently available on eBay "Buy It Now" listings). Plus you get a cool Dreamcast rather than a very expensive Windows game.

Re:TTOTD (1)

Pentagram (40862) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544769)

This is an excellent game which does wonders for your typing speed. It doesn't help much with accuracy though because it ignores spaces and you don't have to delete your errors. Still recommended. Dammit, I don't have a Win box handy.

Re:TTOTD (1)

chaoaretasty (701798) | more than 8 years ago | (#12565223)

Good suggestion. The problem with learning touch typing is it's boring. Some companies like Mavis Beacon go the wrong edutainment approach and make a "game" where just turns your wpm in to a variable on an otherwise boring simulation. TTOTD takes good game and says "why don't we use a keyboard"? And actually becomes fun.

Not exactly what you're looking for, but... (2, Insightful)

metallicagoaltender (187235) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544457)

In my experience, the best way to improve your typing skills is to just practice everday typing. Whether it's posting on a messageboard, IMing (except using abbreviations and shortcuts defeats the purpose), or keeping a diary/journal on your computer just for the sake of practicing typing, the act of typing becomes more and more natural as time goes on.

Programs like Mavis Beacon can be helpful, but once you've spent enough time in front of a keyboard, it becomes second nature to know where the keys are, regardless of whether you use proper style or not. It's a cliche, but in this case, practice makes perfect.

Re:Not exactly what you're looking for, but... (1)

bairy (755347) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544490)

I agree. Software can't teach you how to master the technique of touch typing. Software can only show you which fingers are supposed to hit which keys.

I'm 24 and can type 70wpm, I've only ever had practice, never used software.

I'd recommend typing of the dead too as someone said, challenges you to find the keys quickly.

The danger of DIY touch-type training (3, Informative)

hankwang (413283) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544629)

I'm 24 and can type 70wpm, I've only ever had practice, never used software.

When I was 23, I had taught myself to type at around 400 cpm (I think that's 80 wpm), indeed, just by practicing. (OK, I confess, at some point I played with a DOS-based typing tutor to practice the independent movement of the fingers). Then I made the step to Slackware Linux with kernel 1.2 and discovered that I could edit my undergrad thesis in LaTeX, do calculations, and create plots, thanks to multitasking.

Three weeks later the thesis was finished and I was suffering from an unpleasant RSI because I had taught myself a few bad habits regarding hand posture. I basically had pain in my hands during any keyboard activity during the next 6 months. (I think I couldn't type at all during the first month). That was when I taught myself about Dvorak keyboards, chairs with armrests, and wrist supports. The RSI (or whatever you call it) still haunts me every now and then when I type too much LaTeX or Perl (why is the damn backslash not in the middle of the keyboard?), but I know how to recognize the signals these days.

Re:The danger of DIY touch-type training (1)

solafide (845228) | more than 8 years ago | (#12546198)

Or, for web designers, the buttons should be where gh is right now.

Re:Not exactly what you're looking for, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12544688)

I disagree. You need something that will teach you the proper technique and enforce that technique until you become comfortable with it. I used to hunt and peck fairly efficiently (20wpm) until I took a typing class in high school. At first I was much slower at typing using proper technique but after 2 months or so my touch typing skills became far better and I have never looked back since. I am probably somewhere around 60wpm now. Proper technique is key.

Re:Not exactly what you're looking for, but... (2, Insightful)

Bozzio (183974) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544963)

I learned to type by playing MUDs. I was taking a very poor typing class at school but found it wasn't enough to secure the skill, so, my solution was


I admit, though, that I spent HOURS each day playing.

Re:Not exactly what you're looking for, but... (1)

QuestorTapes (663783) | more than 8 years ago | (#12547090)

You're right about practice, but some things that typing tutor programs can help with are:

- improving typing of less-frequently used letter combinations
- forcing you to slow down and type correctly, by not letting you speed up until your accuracy improves
- prohibiting the use of cut and paste for corrections (forces you to type more accurately)

But as you say, practice is key.

it varies... (4, Informative)

dmayle (200765) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544459)

LOL - I must have a touch of dyslexia, because I thought at first you were a typing Buddhist... :-)

Actually, the typing tutors that are available are hit and miss. One that I find works for the non-typist is Popcap Games's [popcap.com] Typing Shark [popcap.com] You'll keep at it because it's actually fun to practice.

Typing games (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544463)

Find a game that requires typing. I learned how to type by plaing a game that was kind of like Space Invaders but where letters came down instead of aliens. You had to type the letter. They had easy (only home row), medium (all letters), hard (all keys) and expert (all keys with shift too). After you can beat expert, you're a great typist.

Sadly, I can't remember the name of the game, as it was about 2 decades ago that I played it.

Re:Typing games (1)

Trepalium (109107) | more than 8 years ago | (#12545391)

The really old MS-DOS Typing Tutor [selectsoft.com] had a game like that in it (Letter Invaders). Such a wonderful generic name makes it really difficult to find on the internet.

Re:Typing games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12553467)

Hehe... that's the manual for version 7... I used version IV...

Re:Typing games (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 8 years ago | (#12547177)

We had a DOS-based commercial program for learning to type that had a game in it where a red ASCII lobster would chase you across the screen. If you typed the line quickly enough to stay ahead of the lobster, you'd keep going and it'd get a bit harder. It was a lot of fun! I wish I could remember the name of it...it may have come with the IBM PCjr.

Instant Messaging (4, Funny)

medgooroo (884060) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544498)

Im convinced that kids can type now due almost entirely to AIM and MSN. If you ever need someone to type "LOL!1" at 3000wpm, get a 13 year old.

Correctly != Best (5, Insightful)

Shazow (263582) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544540)

I've been typing away at a keyboard since I was 7 years old and, as I discovered in Highschool, I type extremely fast. In grade 9, we had to take "typing class," and I finished the entire semester's work in two periods. People would literally crowd around me to watch me type.

Thing is, I don't type "correctly" and I'm sure many fast typists would agree that typing correctly isn't necessarily the best way to type.

I don't make many typo's (unless I've spent 12 hours straight coding and start doubting the correct spelling of words) and found that I can out-type any "correct" typist. :D

Here's what I suggest to improve your typing speed and accuracy: Find out what your problem is.

Do your fingers not align properly?
That means you have to rework your typing style. "Correct" typing is a good solution for this, as it presents which fingers "should" be hitting which keys. But you should eventually work out your own style to suit the shape of your hands and fingers.

Do you find yourself looking for specific keys?
That means you need to get more familiar with the keyboard, which means more practice. My hands are so comfortable with the keyboard, that I can recite the keys with my eyes closed just by imagining where my fingers would go for a particular letter.

Are you just slow?
This could mean lack of confidence, which implies practice. Or it could mean that you have poor coordination or reflex. Musical instruments are great for improving your finger coordination and strength (piano did it for me, but most instruments that involve your fingers would be fine).

Good luck!
- shazow

Re:Correctly != Best (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 8 years ago | (#12545518)

On the contrary, I think that if you learn typing "correctly," or if you learn it yourself without tutoring, the end-result is the exact same. The reason typing classes teach you to keep your fingers near the homerow is, whether you taught yourself or not, that's where your fingers will end up anyway when you try to go fast. The only reason variation, really, is what fingers you use to hit what letters... for instance, I always use my right thumb to hit space and my left pinky to hit shift, and I tend to use my left hand more than my right for keys in the middle of the keyboard.

Correctly != Best-Letter Logic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12546413)

"Are you just slow?
This could mean lack of confidence, which implies practice. Or it could mean that you have poor coordination or reflex. Musical instruments are great for improving your finger coordination and strength (piano did it for me, but most instruments that involve your fingers would be fine)."

Or you do lots of word transposition. Which means you have a disease.

Re:Correctly != Best (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#12547182)

For me the opposite is true. Correctly == Best. By that I mean that my typing speed is directly proportional to my typing accuracy. When I'm fumbling around and hitting the backspace all the time, my speed plummets. I've found that concentrating on typing accurately without smashing the backspace all the time is the singlemost predictor of my typing speed.

On a similar topic, when I used to code a ton in vi I got carpal tunnel syndrome in my left hand from smashing the escape key all the time. My hand was numb, etc. It sucked.

Second this in a big way.. bastard style++ (1)

xtal (49134) | more than 8 years ago | (#12550684)

I attribute my lack of any wrist problems to never having learned to type "correctly" .. I can manage a very respectable speed, even with my poison of choice {} mixed in.

Interestingly enough I honestly have no idea where or what keys are where. I don't even think about it anymore. Do you think about how you speak? I've been using a keyboard since I was 9, maybe even sooner than that - it's almost an extension of my arms. Fingers go to the keyboard and words appear. What's interesting is that I seem to relocate my hands left or right of the home keys to increase speed.. but thinking about it too much messes me all up.

All I ask is good tactile feedback. My SO has long sense banished my IBM monster. :(

Re:Second this in a big way.. bastard style++ (1)

Shazow (263582) | more than 8 years ago | (#12551063)

I think I'm among the only people that actually like the stealthy laptop-type keyboards.

Tactcile feedback annoys me. Requires too much effort, and gives out too much noise. :-)

I can type much faster with quieter, softer keyboards.

- shazow

Give Dvorak a chance (4, Informative)

dreamer-of-rules (794070) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544556)

"Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor" worked well for me for learning Dvorak (they do Querty too). Honesty, give Dvorak a chance if you do a lot of typing. It's a lot easier on your hands, and reduces the risk of RSI. Also, learning Dvorak on a Querty keyboard really encourages touch (no peeking) typing. The Mac makes Dvorak easier with a Querty-when-the -Command-is-pressed keyboard, so all of the copy, paste shortcuts are in their original one-handed spots. I have to use a lot of other keyboards at work (sys/net admin) that are Querty, but it's an easy enough trade off to have to watch my fingers for fast Querty typing when I need to. (15% of my typing time).

Re:Give Dvorak a chance (1)

RevAaron (125240) | more than 8 years ago | (#12547421)

I 2nd the reccomendation for 10 thumbs; they also make a really cool RAD IDE. :) My girlfriend loved learning Dvorak with it.

Re:Give Dvorak a chance (1)

comwiz56 (447651) | more than 8 years ago | (#12548755)

you just misspelled qwerty... sad because that is probably the easiest word to type on a keyboard

Re:All we are Saying is Give Dvorak a chance (1)

srobert (4099) | more than 8 years ago | (#12548865)

"you just misspelled qwerty... sad because that is probably the easiest word to type on a keyboard
Not if he was typing it with a dvorak layout. I have a friend who referred to it as the Kevorkian layout.

Re:Give Dvorak a chance (1)

E_elven (600520) | more than 8 years ago | (#12551334)


I used to (more or less) hunt-and-peck my letters earlier and decided to learn to touch-type; games and tutors did not really motivate me so I decided to try a different keyboard layout. I just printed out a little reference card for the keys that I tacked on the top side of my monitor (so I could not cheat) and switched over cold turkey. The first two weeks were pretty bad, but after that I was at my previous level.

Currently I type around 50-60wpm (I have slow fingers), which is about twice as fast as before.

Grammatical nitpicking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12544576)

>Too many syntax

"Syntax" is a noun, but you are using it to modify another noun, so the adjective "syntactical" would be better.

>errors over the years are

Since you are describing an action that occurred habitually in the past, "have been" should replace "are."

>do to my lack of this basic skill.

This should read "due to my lack."

Nitpicking nitpicking (3, Interesting)

Jippy T Flounder (819544) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544882)

You have too much time on your hands.
You could be in need of a semi-taxing job.
You could be in need of social intercourse.
Do you have friends who have, perhaps, commented on your nitpicking habits? You could see somebody about this... I hear that there have been all sorts of interesting methods of therapy developed in recent years.

How about writing a book? I think a suitable title might go along the lines of: "Why the world needs grammatical nitpickers - agree or die!"

Funny - this nitpicking thing DOES seem to have therapeutic qualities. I feel better now - thanks!

Software no substitute for practice (1)

jgardn (539054) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544579)

You can buy all the software you want but it will all boil down to practice, practice, and practice. I would just get a good, cheap book on typing from your local library, memorize the skills, and then practice it often.

It's sad but today's education de-emphasizes practice and memorization and over-emphasizes deduction and reasoning. There is a place for both. Once you deduce some information, it's time to memorize or practice it until it is second nature.

Re:Software no substitute for practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12544636)

"It's sad but today's education de-emphasizes practice and memorization and over-emphasizes deduction and reasoning."

Not in the US. We still use an education system that is designed to qualify students for factory jobs.

Re:Software no substitute for practice (1)

stevejsmith (614145) | more than 8 years ago | (#12554983)

I'd always wondered why we had mandatory four years of English and no shop program at my old public high school!

Re:Software no substitute for practice (1)

Taladar (717494) | more than 8 years ago | (#12568355)

It's sad but today's education de-emphasizes practice and memorization and over-emphasizes deduction and reasoning. There is a place for both. Once you deduce some information, it's time to memorize or practice it until it is second nature.
At least here in germany it is the absolute opposite. Most things are memorized, even the things you can look up or deduce easily are often taught on mere "it is this way because it is" basis. Naturally most students forget most of the knowledge they don't use shortly after the tests. While I agree that memorizing e.g. a keyboard layout through practice is a good thing this is only the case because you can't deduce the layout from anything because it is arbitary and you don't have to time to think much when typing fast.

I guess the education system works on memorization because the memorized facts are much easier to test than the reasoning/deduction abilities of a student.

While you're learning how to type... (2, Interesting)

mindaktiviti (630001) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544644)

Make it a point to write out proper full sentences. For example, say you're IMing someone, instead of typing: "wassup" or "hi" type: "What's up?" or "Hi." so that you're always used to using proper sentence structure and then whenever you're typing away at a report or an email, your writing is a lot more pleasant to read. To stick to the question, I suggest that if it's too difficult to change your habits, you should at least put your fingers on these keys: asdf;lkj where the f and the j are your index fingers, your thumbs are on your space bar, and L-ctrl is sort of with the palm of your hand right below the pinky (for quick access).

It's too late for me (3, Funny)

Hell O'World (88678) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544854)

I'm afraid that to fix my typing, I need some aversion therapy. *looks down at keyboard* ZZZZZT!! Augh!

text based MUDs (3, Interesting)

spoonyfork (23307) | more than 8 years ago | (#12544900)

For a cheap and enjoyable solution, find yourself a text based MUD [mudconnector.com] and play an hour a day. Forego programming function keys and scripts. That will get your typing and reading skills up to speed. What is a MUD? It's like EverCrack except you read, write, and use your imagination. Oh, and generally they are free. After a couple years of moderate MUDding at university I could type "recite recall" faster than any of my friends and family.

Give Midgaard my best.

Re:text based MUDs (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 8 years ago | (#12545407)

I bet a few of us can type http://slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org] faster than we realize what we are typing.

Re:text based MUDs (1)

dublin (31215) | more than 8 years ago | (#12548250)

I bet a few of us can type http://slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org] faster than we realize what we are typing.

Don't most of us use Mozilla? It's just sl[tab][return], then...

(BTW, for you Firefox bigots, why is it a good thing that Firefox is "lighter"? The Mozilla suite is a helluva lot lighter than the multiple copies of Gecko, etc. I get with with Firefox + T-bird + nVu +...)

Re:text based MUDs (1)

Taladar (717494) | more than 8 years ago | (#12568430)

I usually just doubleclick once in an empty opera window or twice in the empty opera mdi to get to /.

Re:text based MUDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12561982)

sla [downarrow] [return]

autocomplete roxors my sox0rs, box0rs, and cockz0r.

Re:text based MUDs (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 8 years ago | (#12545557)

A *real* MUDder would type "rec rec" and not the wasteful "recite recall."

Mudding isn't bad advice, but it's also not really a good example of the type of typing you'll need to do in real life. Most MUDs consist mostly of typing commands for attacking a MOB, and very little of actually talking to other players.

What you want to find is a MUD based around RP, in which you're typing to other players much more than you're giving commands to the environment. (Plug: The Eternal Struggle http://esmud.com/ [esmud.com] is an excellent RP MUD.)

Re:text based MUDs (1)

generationxyu (630468) | more than 8 years ago | (#12547061)

A good one would be Crimson II: telnet to mud.crimson2.com, port 4000. If you can make Avatar without writing macros, you will be a good typist. Then try beating Novius in PK without using triggers.

Re:text based MUDs (1)

bbrack (842686) | more than 8 years ago | (#12547165)

This is probably the biggest reason my typing speed improved from 25-~60wpm my freshman year of college (might have had something to do with my grades dropping some too...)

I suggest tsunami.thebigwave.net:23 - the wars and pvp action mean you either type very fast or suck

Re:text based MUDs (1)

larien (5608) | more than 8 years ago | (#12547292)

Yeah, I used to be addicted to MUME [pvv.org] based in Middle Earth. However, I found that I became very fast at typing certain commands but the rest of my typing wasn't as hot. I still find the same as I can type certain unix-based things/paths very quickly as I use them every day at work, but normal typing is still OK.

Personally, I learnt typing at school partly out of being a computer geek at that time and it was one of the best things I did as it means I have a fairly decent typing speed and I'm reasonably accurate. My accuracy is also a lot better as I can watch what I type rather than looking at the keyboard all the time...

Re:text based MUDs (1)

r3m0t (626466) | more than 8 years ago | (#12558728)

Myself, I did much the same in IRC rooms.

I particularly recommend trivia games.

Maybe not exactly what you ask for... (1)

kompiluj (677438) | more than 8 years ago | (#12545058)

... but you could try typera.tk [typera.tk] . It is not a typing tutor, rather a typing tester, but I found it very exciting. And the texts are very, very, very funny. I sometimes cannot type because I can't stop laughing.

Coding does not require typing (0, Offtopic)

The Slashdolt (518657) | more than 8 years ago | (#12545062)

If you're typing out full words while coding then you're doing something wrong. Any modern IDE has the ability to do code completion. Its just like using tab-complete in a bash shell. Type a letter, then ctrl+space or whatever your IDE uses and it will either provide a list of options or autocomplete your word if there is only one option. Additionally, most IDE's will close braces, paranthesis and do other nice things for you. You can make code templates so a ctrl+j inserts a for loop for you. Once these things become second nature to you your productivity will soar. Code smarter, not typing faster!

Type? (1)

Anonym1ty (534715) | more than 8 years ago | (#12545126)

Just log in to 35 active IRC channels simultaneously and start chatting on each one... after a week of that, if you can't type, give up.

Easy. (1)

kniLnamiJ-neB (754894) | more than 8 years ago | (#12545139)

Go to Wal-Mart and grab the $9.99 knockoff of Mavis. That will teach you which fingers type which keys. After that, download any instant messaging program and talk to (at minimum) 3 people at a time. Once you can keep up with these conversations, you'll get a lot faster. Someone suggested somewhere up there that it's also important to always type correctly. I tend to do this, even in IM windows. Also, focus on frequently used words. It's rare that I type "teh" in anything anymore because I've developed a pattern that is comfortable for me and is accurate.

Why would you want to do that? (4, Interesting)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 8 years ago | (#12545159)

I have been typing for some 22 years, nearly every day since I was 10 years old. Usually 10-16 hours every day, 7 days a week (yes, even as a teenager). I use the "rogue" style. I have no idea how fast I type, but it's pretty fast.

I have never, ever, not once had any inkling of a repetitive stress injury. Now that's a crapload of typing to never have any problems. I chalk it up to using the rogue typing style which causes my hands and fingers to move around into different and sometimes bizarre positions (eg. I often don't hit the same keys with the same fingers).

and I don't think it's due to superior genes or somesuch because I also do 3D work and if I use the mouse for more than a couple hours at a time over the course of a couple of days then my tendons and hand will start to hurt like a sonuvabitch (I switch hands, don't use the mouse so much, and wait for it to heal when this happens).

Re:Why would you want to do that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12554359)

I've been typing for 23 years. Repetitive stress injury is definitely caused more by the mouse than by the keyboard. The keyboard has been in widespread use for more than a century. The mouse came into widespread use about 10 years ago. (You MAC fans will say 21 years ago when MACs arrived in 1984, but really, it wasn't until win95 that the mouse really caught on with the rest of the PC users).

Prior to the necesity of a mouse I had no such problem with repetitive stress injury. Five years ago was when I first experienced symptons, I switched my mouse over to my left hand at work, so I could continue to play games at home. I also switched to the dvorak layout 4 years ago to reduce the finger travel and pain and now it's no longer a problem. I have to switch back to qwerty to play games - the layout's all wrong in dvorak.

The only bad thing about dvorak is that it is right handed centric. In qwerty, both hands get used equally. In dvorak, twice as many keys are hit with the right hand. The left hand is mostly for the vowels, hence, having the mouse over to the left helps out a bit. For the 80%-90% of you who are completely right-handed, it won't matter. I'm ambidextrous, and there are some things I can do better left handed than right handed.

I guess I should try out the left-handed dvorak layout and see how well a one-handed keyboard works. I can partially type one-handed on a two handed layout already.

Buddhist Typing Programs? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12545218)

I'm trying to achieve enlightenment, but I can't seem to get my WPMs up there. Is there any software or bodhisattvas that I can get that will help me out with this?

This is a joke right? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#12545293)

How about getting a book and re-typing it, then punishing yourself for mistakes.

Perhaps a hot ember on the back of your hand if you have more then a .5 % error rate.

If you surpass 1%, you might as well just off yourself, as you are too stupid to stay here with the rest of us and simply wasting MY air.

Re:This is a joke right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12545743)

gebes maan; kannnnn t gibe mne barke . apher alll, der si nof o2 4 u + eevr on lese. ane ti no ur hair innyway .. . . jebbes

If he held a rich man in his hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12545401)

Well, this is certainly a quandry you have here. Back when I was trying to break the AOLer speak habit I binded my hands with copper wire and used a Microsoft Comic Chat hack to deliver a strong electric shock to my hands whenever I made a typo.

I was also wearing a chastity belt at that time but it was unrelated to my typing problem.

Lots of love,
Paul McCartney

Dvorak (4, Interesting)

tdmg (881818) | more than 8 years ago | (#12545862)

I personally use Dvorak, and my typing speed has increased a lot in a very short amount of time. A good typing tutorial for Dvorak is: http://www.gigliwood.com/abcd/abcd.html [gigliwood.com] it is very simple but effective. I have a friend who can type 165 wpm, and he just did Mavis Beacon for 3 years straight as a kid for 2 hours a day. I switched to Dvorak so that I wouldn't get some stress disorder when I got older, and if you have the time I'd recommend the switch. While it may or may not improve speed (mine improved) it does prevent injury when typing.

Cheapest solution (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 8 years ago | (#12545868)

No substitute for practice. The typing tutor softwares just present novel forms of practice. If you really want to get better, just hop on #debian or #gentoo on FreeNode and start answering questions. At 800+ users, the flow of text within the channel tends to be about a screen's full of independent conversations. Or you could just bittorrent mario teaches typing, but it throws so much useless punctuation that you'll never use in real conversations ;).

Life's little ironies (0, Troll)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | more than 8 years ago | (#12546088)

``Too many syntax errors over the years are do to my lack of this basic skill.''

"Do to"? Are you sure the issue isn't spelling skills?


[I can spell, but can't type worth beans; the twi are not always distinguishable.]

Don't look down. (1)

valintin (30311) | more than 8 years ago | (#12546354)

Print a small picture of the keyboard layout of your choice and tape it above your monitor. Never look down at the key board.

I learned to type with the Dvorak layout this way but not looking at the keyboard was what took me the farthest.

Typespeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12546899)

Typespeed [purkki.org] might be what you are looking for.

How I learned typing (1)

miyako (632510) | more than 8 years ago | (#12546914)

it was highschool when I first started getting into computers, having never been at a keyboard before, I took a typing class. I remember that, when I started the class, I was typing about 2wpm. We used some sort of typing software, I can't remember the name of it at the moment. Anyway, at the end of the semester, I could type about 12wpm. Sure it was an improvement, but it was still horribly slow.
The semester after that, I started a programming class, I also got a computer at home. At the time, since we started out writing pretty simple programs (hello world, etc) my coding speed was really limited by my typing speed. I found that when I used my own typing style, I could type about twice as fast as if I typed properly, however, I decided to force myself to type properly anyway. Amazingly, pretty soon, I found that I could actually type around 60wpm.
Now, after a lot of experience coding, using IRC, and playing games online, I find that I can type about 110wpm with almost perfect accuracy. I still type almost properly, the only major thing that I do as opposed to a lot of the typests I've seen is that I have a tendency to move my entire hand instead of simply just moving my fingers.

Disney game (1)

dar (15755) | more than 8 years ago | (#12547121)

My kids learned from Disney's Adventures in Typing with Timon & Pumbaa. Taught the correct hand positions and all, but made it fun too.

Looks like it's out of print now, but available at Amazon from their used & new section.

Perhaps it's your grammar... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12547407)

"...years are do to my lack..." that would be "due" not "do."

go to a library.. (1)

torpor (458) | more than 8 years ago | (#12548040)

get a 'typing 101 drills' course book. yeah, its low-tech. yes, it still works. it'll be the one thats filled with lines and lines of words like this:

look like free word wood bring
same save share state wear &etc.

i type 120wpm. i wouldn't be this way if i hadn't drilled, drilled, drilled. all i can say is: drill, drill, drill.

Forget about it. (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 8 years ago | (#12550447)

"Correct" typing style will give you carpal tunnel and slow you down if you try to do any coding. I have absolutely no evidence or sources to back this up though. Typing speed is such a small part of the software development process.

Eh... (1)

Aldric (642394) | more than 8 years ago | (#12554616)

I always get confused when people say their typing is slowing down their programming. I spend about 95% of my programming time thinking. Typing is just the final part of the job.

OT but couldn't resist... (0, Troll)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 8 years ago | (#12550797)

Are your grammar mistakes also do to your lack of typing skills? Otherwise, an easy solution is to unplug the mouse for a week, and use only keyboard shortcuts, or play games (with the mouse) where there are many combinations to be had. FPS will only teach you a few around the left side of your keyboard, so read through the manuals for keyboard shortcuts to the most common functions, and even the not so common. It'll make you aware of the key layout. Or also try to type in the dark, so you have to guess where the keys are, that's mostly how I did it, but not to learn myself how to type, so I wouldn't keep my roommate awake.

Secretary Training (1)

NewStarRising (580196) | more than 8 years ago | (#12553077)

My Mum learned to type for her first job as a secretary on a typewriter with blank keys. Sure helped her with touch-typing. She soon got used to not looking at the keyboard and remembering where the keys are.

hi (1)

swansmt (884791) | more than 8 years ago | (#12562190)

Too many syntax errors over the years are do to my lack of this basic skill

Umm, sintax shure isent youre ownley problam bud.

MUDs (1)

boogy nightmare (207669) | more than 8 years ago | (#12564856)

Start playing online interactive MUDs or some such. Play those for about 3 hours aday and soon you will be typing faster then you could have dreamed.. (Its all about familiarity)

Kingdom Of Loathing (not an advert) even has a literacy test before you are allowed in to the chat.
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