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Dvorak try out. Day 2.

Hello everyone, I'm back with an update of how things are going on in a Dvorak world. It was not better today, slow typing and lots of mistakes. I have to admit that I had to cheat a little bit today, because I had an urgent task to acomplish, so I switched to QWERTY to get it done as soon as possible.

Remember I didn't know which Dvorak layout to pick? The alternatives were modern simplified Dvorak and Dvorak for programmers. Since the first one is good for typing English text I thought that it is a good idea to go with the latter. I'm a programur, progremer, ..., I write code most of the time and not just plain text, so why not take advantage of a Dvorak for programmers. I didn't practice it yesterday though, but I don't think I missed that much.

My typing speed today is 18 words per minute. I took the test several times and then calculated the average. In addition to this I have created a custom lecture for ktouch which contained C/C++ code and vim commands. The main purpose for this was measuring my typing speed in my usual environment, i.e. typing code in vim and shell. ktouch reported a speed of 19 words per minute (or 82 characters per minute).

While the experiment is still in progress and I'm still typing this post in Dvorak, I suggest we do some math.

My typing speed with QWERTY is 60 words per minute. If I become proficient with Dvorak I will be able to type faster by 4-6% (here you can find links to some papers that describe speed measuring results with QWERTY and Dvorak). Lets just assume that the increase is 6%. So, if I type some text for 60 minutes with QWERTY then I will type 3600 words. If I had done the same with Dvorak, I could have typed 3816 words. The difference is 216 words. In order for me to type these missing 216 words I will have to spend additional 3.6 minutes, or 3 minutes and 36 seconds, given the fact that I type 60 words per minute. Actually, no matter what your typing speed is, you will have to spend extra 3.6 minutes.

Take a look: I need to type a text which is S words long. If I type it in QWERTY at Vq words per minute I will spend time of Tq. So, S = Vq * Tq. As for Dvorak, then S = Vd * Td. Now, I know that Vd = Vq * 1.06. We have an equation, Tq * Vq = Td * Vd. We are interested in Tq. Tq =Td * Vd / Vq = Td * Vq * 1.06 / Vq = Td * 1.06.

Yesterday I wrote that I will have to see how this experiment goes during a month, but right now I'm afraid it can be over before the month ends. Dvorak gives you a small increase in speed but it is unclear how much time should be spent to get it. I admit that there might be some cases besides usual working days, when the difference of 6% in time may be vital (coding contest, or something like that), but wouldn't it be better to spend this time improving your skill with QWERTY rather than learning a new layout? I think that can expect to get a 6% increase in speed if you practice QWERTY.

Should I continue or should I quit?

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