Considering: learning to type Dvorak

Dvorak is a layout for keyboard keys that was devised in the 1930s by Dr Augustus Dvorak as an alternative to the traditional Qwerty layout. (Look at your keyboard now, see how the top row spells out qwerty)

I came across this really nifty webcomic the other day at dvzine.org that tells the whole story of the Dvorak layout and how the original Qwerty one came about and all the good reasons for making the switch. (Unfortunately, the dvzine site appears to have exceeded their bandwidth allowance for the moment after being mentioned in Boing Boing but I'm sure if you check in a little while it'll be back up)

Anyway, in essence, the Dvorak layout came about as a more efficient way of typing.
(Apparently the top row of the Qwerty layout was designed to have all the letters of the word "typewriter" to make life easier for typewriter salesmen in the 19th century)

These are just a few of the advantages (thanks Wikipedia):

* Letters should be typed by alternating between hands.
* For maximum speed and efficiency, the most common letters and digraphs should be the easiest to type. This means that they should be on the home row, which is where the fingers rest, and under the strongest fingers.
* The least common letters should be on the bottom row, which is the hardest row to reach.
* The right hand should do more of the typing, because most people are right-handed.
* digraphs should not be typed with adjacent fingers.
* Stroking should generally move from the edges of the board to the middle. An observation of this principle is that, for many people, when tapping fingers on a table, it is easier going from little finger to index than vice versa. This motion on a keyboard is called inboard stroke flow.

Evidently as it makes your typing more efficient, you can become faster and cut down on RSI as well. Still, it's a whole new system to learn, so I'm a little undecided right now.

There are settings in Windows, Mac OS and Linux that allow you to change the keyboard layout (which, come to think of it would just be a good prank generally - if you were of such a mischievous nature) but you'd still want to do something about the physical letters on the keyboard if you aren't a super touch-typist.

Maybe I'll see how easy it is to swap the keys around and what kind of online tutorials are available.