All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Day Seventeen. Wow, how time flies… like an arrow, so they say. Or is it like a banana? Nah, that’s fruit flies like that…
 
Stamina is a superb little program. I did mention that it was free, right? And that it works equally well with QWERTY (or for that matter AZERTY or any number of other layouts)?

Seventeen days… I didn’t think I’d last seventeen hours.  Stamina tells me I’m now up to 25 words a minute (touch-typing), and the trend shows that I’m gaining about 1 wpm every day. I’m doing a lot of typing (mostly hunt-and-peck) on various projects, and training about a half-hour to an hour a day.
 
I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel!
 
Learning a new keyboard layout, after thirty years on a QWERTY, brings back many memories. I first learned how to type on a manual typewriter in the late nineteen-seventies (on that machine, the terms ‘Shift’ and ‘Carriage Return’ were rather more than just labels). In those years B.C. (Before Computing), typing was very much a ‘girlie’ activity, and I was a little embarrassed to admit that I was learning to type – all my friends were out kicking footballs about. But being the only male in a class of girls is its own reward!
 
One of the things that has come back to me on this journey out of QWERTYland is how difficult it is to think when one is forced to focus on learning a new skill. I’ve noticed two things happening a lot: one is that, after some minutes training, I’ll come to a grinding halt and have to really focus on which finger I need to move to hit a key; the other is that, when I "get into the zone" (excuse me while I rofl @ that in relation to typing) I find it easy – too easy – not to think about the content that I’m typing. More than once I’ve been merrily (copy-)typing away, my mind elsewhere, only to suddenly realise that my attention has wandered and I’m re-typing a previous line. Shades of ‘The Shining’!
 
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
 
(Don’t worry, I may be a touch obsessed, but I’m not mad: I only typed the first line of that. Ctrl-c and Ctrl-v still work perfectly well on a Dvorak.)
 
It occurs to me that the ability to take a step back, to think about what one is doing – and, more importantly WHY – is itself a useful tool. Retraining myself on Dvorak has, odd as it may sound, shaken me out of a certain complacency.
 
And learning any new skill, whatever it is, is good for the brain.
 
Add on the fact that the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard Layout has efficiency and health benefits… I can’t help but wonder whether industries in all English-speaking nations (Britain, America, Canada, Australia… ) might benefit in several ways if businesses could be persuaded to send employees on Dvorak retraining courses.
 
It’s odd that nobody at all (that I’ve been able to find) seems to be doing any research into this. Please let me know if you know otherwise.
 
"All work and no play makes jack. And plenty of it."

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About pendantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
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