Dvorak Keyboard Layout


Back in 2000, I was working on a very large project, writing a lot of code. So much that I started to suffer the early stages of the dreaded Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (with the übersexy wristbraces, too). I'd heard of a different keyboard layout that was designed to optimize typing efficiency by minimizing the amount of movement by each finger. The keys were arranged so that the most commonly used characters are on "home row" and exact placement of keys was determined via statistical analysis.

I find something elegant and compelling about a keyboard layout that was designed for efficiency. It's also rumoured to help alleviate CTS. So, I pulled out my screwdriver and rearranged the key caps, and configured my Mac to use the Dvorak layout (this was way back in the paleozoic MacOS 9 days). It took me about two weeks to really get into it, and I wound up being able to type faster, with no pain.

When MacOSX Public Beta was released, I was horrified to find that it didn't have a Dvorak layout - so I rolled my own (which was replaced by a better official layout in MacOSX 1.0). I eventually reverted to QWERTY when I started working with the Learning Commons because it was too difficult to mentally switch between Dvorak and QWERTY (I was using a shiny new Powerbook G4/400, and wasn't about to rearrange the keys on that bad boy).

Fast forward a few years, and I'm starting to have that familiar wrist pain again (still no keyboard tray, a month after moving into the new cube). I'd decided to give Dvorak another shot, and just finished fixing my inherited Apple Pro keyboard. It's taking me a little longer to type, but It's starting to come back to me.

Now I just have to use more words with the letters "A" and "M" - since they are in the same position in both layouts.


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