2010-08-31

dvorak layout? what's that?

On Aug 31, 10:33 am, Alan Mackenzie wrote:
> In comp.emacs Xah Lee wrote:
>
> > Dvorak isn't available in all popular operating systems until about 10
> > years ago. (i think Microsoft is actually the first one to include it
> > out of the box, in mid 1990s?
>
> Xah, that's not English.  Only a very careless native English speaker
> could have written those two sentences.  The correct verb tenses in those
> two sentences are "Dvorak hadn't been available .... until 10 years ago"
> and "Microsoft was the first one".

on the surface i think you are right, but am not sure Alan if looked in depth.
(e.g. if you ask a university professor of literature; or professor of linguistics; or, those people who write on Language Log @ http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/ (and those who are itchy to digress on this, start a new thread pls! i will enjoy it, and will we all!))

>  Humour me, just for once, and tell me
> what your native language is, please.

am chinese by blood, alan. Chinese is what i grew up with in first 14 years. (not to mention body language)

can't believe you really need to ask that twice, of all these years. y'know, google 30 seconds will find u the answer, right from the dragon's mouth. My basic bio with clear and explicit info on this is online for like a decade.

> > I know that Mac didn't include a dvorak layout until OS 9 or OS 8 in
> > about 1998 or so. (i switched to dvorak in 1993 or 1994, and basically
> > created my own layout using ResEdit))
>
> There seems to be an assumption through this interesting topic that
> Dvorak is superior to Qwerty and friends.  Is there any solid evidence
> for this or is it all anecdotal?

god! you are not trolling right?

i tell u what. i read all sort of info on dvorak online since the web started (and before that, it was books) Beginning in about late 1990s, starting with slashdot.org, questions like basic doubt of dvroak has been drivelled all over. But that seems to be over in the early 2000s. But you still asking that??

sometimes, when discussing with some of the emacs developers, i really, really find things so curious. You, lennart, and eli... reading the emacs dev, i also see the same phenomenon, where A is absolutely sure of a fact, while B doesn't even understand what A is talking about, and vice versa, and took long convo back and forth to possibly clear the communication but not necessary agree (and i think after a few weeks each party really have forgotten whatever the other's point of view on a issue at all, even if it is a plain fact) So, i thought perhaps some of this has to do with the nature of texture communication, and the fact that most of us hardly know each other other than online posts of very narrow scope... but i think part of it has to do with not really being serious. In a professional environment (real professional environment, like having to see each other's face weekly in a company, where the goal is more precise and familiar to all...), persistent mis-communication doesn't happen to this degree.

but still, i'm quite surprised often of this...

you asking me, showing some doubt, about dvorak's efficiency over qwerty. I dunno what to say, but have you try to read what's been posted? I think if you really think about the question and ask yourself, i think you'll know the answer and convinced (not to mention actually took the time to learn dvorak or do research on this) I mean, literally, this question has been discussed just about in every online forum that's remotely related to computers or keyboard or input devices. slashdot mentions dvorak every few years... hacker news, delicious, reddit... hundreds and hundreds of discussions, and the new comer stackoverflow... but even, i think the question doubting the basic tenets of dvorak has been over since early 2000s. I think the topic of discussion has moved to more exotic ones, such as what's most efficient layout, and dvorak with emacs or vim, or other new layout's questions... etc.

ok, am getting ranty, if not already. Let me answer your q directly.

> Dvorak is superior to Qwerty and friends.  Is there any solid evidence
> for this or is it all anecdotal?

this really depends on what you mean. If taken your question as is without some special assumption of what you are really asking, then yes of course, dvorak is superior to qwerty, in easier to type, more comfortable to type, reduce RSI, reduce error, and for those who never learned touch typing, its even easier to learn than qwerty, and there's massive amounts of solid evidence.

evidence? well the first is the research done by Dvorak. Also published as a book. Then else, in the thread i mentioned the caplx site, which does studies and comfirm this, and there are quite a few other sites with java or javascript that compute the various distances, di-graphs, hand balance, etc on dvorak vs qwerty.

going deeper, perhaps you are one of those skeptics who doubt that all this measure of key distances don't mean shit. Yeah, such voice has been heard in online drivels, but it doesn't mean such doubt is not valid. How to investigate that? well, you can look into stat research of rsi over people, or more logical analysis of why key distances etc shouldn't be valid, or spend few weeks to read all blogs of those who actually learned dvorak (like, this is a method social research), or read all blocks of those coders who developed rsi and thought about going into dvorak ...

like, there's Wikipedia, which is my first stop in research just about anything. So, maybe spend 20 min to read it? note that it usally links to 10 or more other references or sites. Not saying it's all valid just because lots of links , but it can be a starting pointing of research to judge on this issue yourself??

how serious are you about this? i mean, if really, than start learning touch type on dvorak to ultimately judge for yourself??

Nothing wrong with asking, nice question Alan. :D

Xah ∑ http://xahlee.org/ ☄

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