touchtyping for fun and profit
December 5, 2012 12:37 AM Subscribe
I've tried a number of times to learn to touch type properly - usually about this time of year - but it never 'sticks'. I'm mid 30's, and it's really starting to bug me.
posted by ArkhanJG to Computers & Internet (26 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I currently use what a friend has dubbed the 'psychic' method; it's hunt and peck without looking at the keyboard. I'm strongly left handed, so it's primarily four finger typing; my two middle fingers (being the longest!), and pinkies for shift/enter. My left hand roams about the keyboard doing most of the work; anything up to 80% of the keyboard gets covered by one finger, and I rely on many years of experience to shift between letters without needing to look down. I only tend to do so to 'reset' my position if I get lost, maybe once a sentence or so.
The problem is this method is quite effective for me, at around 60 AWPM with a 99%+ accuracy, bursting up to 80 AWPM - going down to touch typing drags me down to 30 WPM with a 95% accuracy, or 40 WPM with an 80% accuracy. I automatically try to speed up, then make a mistake and it all comes tumbling down in a shower of faults, and I reset and try again.
It just feels so restrictive and slow; like my hands are in a vice, and I cramp up something awful, and it takes a good 10 minutes to warm up; which isn't great, as quite a lot of what I do is lots of small commands with symbols, rather than big blocks of text (though I do that too, with emails, the web etc) - I'm a sysadmin in my day job, and do a lot on the computer at home for pleasure.
I've previously tried both dvorak and colemak layouts, but neither helped appreciably while also ending up conflicting with my previous muscle memory of standard qwerty, and of course a pain when I try to use someone else's computer (which I still have to do regularly when investigating faults at work)
So I usually try to force myself into touch typing for a couple of weeks, but I use my keyboard so heavily for work and pleasure I find I creep back to my old familiar method just to get my old speed and comfy method back.
I know that if I learn to touchtype and make it 'stick' I'll be able to get my typing speed up to 100-120 AWPM; it's just so painful getting there that I've always failed in the past.
I currently have copies of typing master pro and mavis beacon on my windows pc; I'm also trying out typist and type fu on my mac (I use both OSes at home and work).
So has anybody else managed to get past this bottleneck of repeated failures? Or is the answer really to just try (again) to stick to it for a month with daily training and try and live with the reduced speed?
Note, I did switch to mechanical keyboards a bit over a year ago; filco cherry brown at home, cherry blue at work. I love them to bits, but I still tend to pound the keys far too hard with my psychic method as I'm not touch typing and have spent way too many years on crappy membrane boards.