Mechanical keyboards

Just to fill in those long holiday hours, here’s a post about the importance of a good keyboard and how it can become addictive: … -cult.html

And here’s an even better site, with beautiful pictures and diagrams: … guide.html

I had 5 good years of hard-core typing with an IBM keyboard you could use as a weapon or as the helmet under wich protect your children. I found in the street. It probably had 10 previous years of work under its em… space key.

I give it to a friend of mine that uses computers working in audio producing and used to say that he can destroy any keyboard in a few months, just using it. Wrong :slight_smile:

You can use a mechanical keyboard year over year without a problem. And that sound they produce… Mmmm.

I totally agree. I don’t much like typing on a linear keyboard though. I’m used to using a Kinesis Advantage. Once you adapt to them it’s a dream and cures RSI. But I have an older Kinesis keyboard (same shape as Advantage) that’s PC compatible, not Mac and not USB.

So when I eventually switch to an iMac from my MacBook Pro, I’ll plug in a new Kinesis Advantage with USB cable. They are totally brilliant keyboards and can recommend for anyone who is prone to RSI. :mrgreen:

They also switch from Qwerty to Dvorak layout making you more efficient for English (not sure about other language layouts).

FurrTrap writes: “They also switch from Qwerty to Dvorak layout making you more efficient for English (not sure about other language layouts).”

I wish it were so, but sadly it’s not. The advantages of the Dvorak layout are a myth.


Quote: […] The QWERTY keyboard, it turns out, is about as good a design as the Dvorak keyboard, and was better than most competing designs that existed in the late 1800s when there were many keyboard designs maneuvering for a place in the market.

Ignored in these stories of Dvorak’s superiority is a carefully controlled experiment conducted under the auspices of the General Service Administration in the 1950s comparing QWERTY with Dvorak. In the experiment, a group of typists were retrained on the Dvorak keyboard. When these retrained Dvorak typists regained their prior QWERTY speed, a group of QWERTY typists began additional training on the QWERTY keyboard, while the new Dvorak typists continued their training. This parallel training is important because it is always possible to improve a typist’s performance on any keyboard with additional training. The QWERTY typists were carefully selected to constitute a proper control group for the Dvorak typists, and other scientific controls were applied. The conclusion of the study was that the QWERTY typists always performed better than the Dvorak typists. Thus the experiment contradicted the claims made by advocates of Dvorak and concluded that it made no sense to retrain typists on the Dvorak keyboard. This study, which was influential in its time, brought to an end any serious efforts to shift from QWERTY to Dvorak.

Modern research in ergonomics also reaches similar conclusions. This research consists of simulations and experiments that compare various keyboard designs. It finds little advantage in the Dvorak keyboard layout, confirming the results of the GSA study.

So on what basis were the claims of Dvorak’s superiority made? We discovered that most, if not all, of the claims of Dvorak’s superiority can be traced to the patent owner, Professor August Dvorak. Yet his book on the relative merits of QWERTY versus his own keyboard has about as much objectivity as a modern infomercial found on late night television.

The wartime Navy study turns out to have been conducted under the auspices the Navy’s chief expert in time-motion studies, Lt. Commander August Dvorak, and the results of that study were clearly fudged. [END QUOTE]

There’s lots more at the URL given above.

Nonetheless, a good mechanical keyboard is a delight!


John Tranter

Curious, I’ve seen logical analysis of English on Dvorak layout. Significantly fewer words typed single handed, more frequently used letters are on the home keys. Definitely less finger movements and more left/right balance leading to less RSI. Combine that with Kinesis ergonomics and you have a winner.

Retraining from Qwerty to Dvorak is not the same as only ever knowing Dvorak and that would be a good test against a Qwerty typist. It’s the retraining aspect that makes that 1950s test a poor comparison. What also comes to mind is the reason Qwerty was designed in the first place: to slow down the typist as the typewriter mechanics were not that good.

My own impressions are that I’m faster on Dvorak and it’s much less strain. But you have to be determined on the retraining: that takes time and patience.

Tell Kinesis what you think and ask them why their keyboards have switchable layouts to Dvorak. I’d be interested to hear the response.

i think the dvorak/qwerty debate is kind of like the OS debate; is it really relevant in the current IT climate (moving away from keyboard input to screen “hunt and peck” input)? I would suggest that the only truly efficient input method is highly accurate voice recognition. This would be followed by stylus based handwriting recognition (short cuts via symbologies).

The reality of it is that the slowdown will always be the same device. That is the unit between the keyboard and the chair. If that unit is capable any method that is learned will yield the same results.

Whatever works for you :smiley: It’s that simple.

I used to love Graffiti on my Palm TX, but that’s not made anymore.
So long as you enjoy the interface, and the less of a barrier it is, that’s good.

But there are major commercial interests to ensure that Qwerty isn’t seen as inferior to Dvorak. There’s a mass of investment in Qwerty.

Whatever you enjoy writing on; absolutely.

I have just bought a Pilot Capless fountain pen (a fountain pen that clicks open and shut like ballpoint, with no cap). It’s a lovely pen, but using it reminds me how awful my handwriting has become. So now I guess I should practise better handwriting.

Then I am reminded that Charles Dickens wrote over five million very successful words using only a dip pen.

Then again, he had a kind of word-processing routine to help him: he would write an episode of a story, see it in print in his magazine (the typesetter had done the typing for him), cut it out, cut and paste and write in some improvements, add the other instalments one by one, send it all off to the typesetter again who would typeset it all as a novel, get the proofs back, correct them in pen, cutting and pasting where needed, and send that off to be corrected and printed. Just like you would on a computer. And all of this over a hundred years ago.

Remarkable… What a process. Clearly writers are spoilt in this modern world!