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Posted: 1/19/2006 8:08:21 PM EDT
Ever wonder who figured out the pattern of keys we all use on our keyboards?

It seems like a work of true genius, but I never knew the orgins of the pattern.

This is your homework assignment kids...
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:09:49 PM EDT
From what I understand, it was completely randomized to slow down typists who had memorized the alphabetical keyboard - you can see how long that lasted.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:11:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/19/2006 8:14:15 PM EDT by EPOCH96]
IIRC, the current format is from the old typewriter days. There was another format of keys that actually allowed someone to type faster (more common keys closer together) but the design of old typewriters couldn't handle it and would jam...

EPOCH

ETA:

Google is your friend



Standard Qwerty Keyboard Origin:
Late 1870's

In 1872, Remington produced the first mechanical typewriter, patented by C. Latham Sholes. Soon typists were going so fast that they were able to jam the keys which flew up to hit the typewriter ribbon. In the late 1870's: the "improved" Qwerty layout was designed to slow down typing, so those pesky keys would not jam anymore. Here is the speed trap we are stuck with today, 130 years later.

Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:12:55 PM EDT
Yeah, every typewriter I've ever seen was a qwerty type.

Seems like the commonly used letters are very well placed, such as F in the most common spot, and E,R, and T being close to each other...
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:13:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/19/2006 8:13:27 PM EDT by mgw1181]
Christopher Sholes, in 1873.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:13:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wombat_SCSO:
From what I understand, it was completely randomized to slow down typists who had memorized the alphabetical keyboard - you can see how long that lasted.



The QWERTY layout was designed specifically to slow down typing. The layout was not randomized, it was optimized for slowness.

Typists were jamming keys together on the old mechanical typewriters, and they needed a solution.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:14:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/19/2006 8:16:00 PM EDT by danpass]

Originally Posted By Wombat_SCSO:
From what I understand, it was completely randomized to slow down typists who had memorized the alphabetical keyboard - you can see how long that lasted.



+1

The original layout was DVORAK but it was too fast for the typewriter equipment of the day.


edit:

Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:14:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wombat_SCSO:
From what I understand, it was completely randomized to slow down typists who had memorized the alphabetical keyboard - you can see how long that lasted.




This, and it was intended to prevent jams, as a result of having all the common letters near each other on the older keyboards.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:16:22 PM EDT
I can believe it. I've seen people jam qwerty typewriters at times!, and it's obviously designed to space apart commonly struck key sequences...
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:16:58 PM EDT
I want a DVORAK keyboard! not this slo QWERTY shit...

seriously, I want one.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:17:30 PM EDT
im drunk and this really makes iout think.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:19:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By gaspain:
I want a DVORAK keyboard! not this slo QWERTY shit...

seriously, I want one.



I remember this jackass in college that had one for his computer. I turned into a hunt and peck retard.. it is so incredibly hard to change when you've literally trained every day for years on a QWERTY.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:20:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By EPOCH96:
IIRC, the current format is from the old typewriter days. There was another format of keys that actually allowed someone to type faster (more common keys closer together) but the design of old typewriters couldn't handle it and would jam...

EPOCH

ETA:

Google is your friend



Standard Qwerty Keyboard Origin:
Late 1870's

In 1872, Remington produced the first mechanical typewriter, patented by C. Latham Sholes. Soon typists were going so fast that they were able to jam the keys which flew up to hit the typewriter ribbon. In the late 1870's: the "improved" Qwerty layout was designed to slow down typing, so those pesky keys would not jam anymore. Here is the speed trap we are stuck with today, 130 years later.




My work here is already done.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:24:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ElCamino:

Originally Posted By gaspain:
I want a DVORAK keyboard! not this slo QWERTY shit...

seriously, I want one.



I remember this jackass in college that had one for his computer. I turned into a hunt and peck retard.. it is so incredibly hard to change when you've literally trained every day for years on a QWERTY.



GOD that would be HELL!!!

I suppose nowadays it wouldn't be too hard to make up a custom keyboard though...

The keys pop off, you'd just need to figure out how to reprogram your keyboard drivers or something
Link Posted: 1/20/2006 2:36:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/20/2006 2:39:56 AM EDT by Floppy_833]
I beg to differ:
When typewriters were first invented, each different company would use whatever key arrangement they wanted--and so all were different. Most of these companies went under and took their keyboard arrangements with them, but still--when Dvorak invented his keyboard, there were at least five different typewriter companies in the US, each using a different key layout.

Dvorak's reasoning is sound but his tests were often suspect; sometimes they were plainly rigged. In one of the most dramatic set of results, he compared experienced Dvorak typists to inexperienced querty typists--and of course declared staggerig advantages to his keyboard. He tried for several years to sell the keyboard patent to the US army, but they conducted their own tests and found no significant advantage to ANY particular keyboard layout, in terms of speed or user fatigue. Dvorak never seems to have even attempted to start his own typewriter company.

The Sholes company did use the querty layout, but it is not generally presumed that this was the reason for their success over the last few other companies/layouts--that had much more to do with better business management on Sholes' part (-I've got a book that details this whole business further, but I can't find it at the moment--I am pretty sure it's one of William Poundstone's Big Secrets books).

Most independent tests done since then show that there is very-little to no advantages in speed or user fatigue with querty compared to Dvorak layouts, or even with any other (random) layouts. You can buy real Dvorak keyboards but you don't have to: every MS OS since Win98 (and probably Apple/Mac as well) has a "Dvorak" keyboard setting, so you can use any querty keyboard as a Dvorak--you just need labels to put over the keys.

The only keyboards that have been shown to be of any significant advantage (in decreasing user fatigue, and therefore allowing higher typing speed for longer lengths of time) are the heavily ergo-contoured keyboards such as the Kinesis models: www.safecomputing.com/contouredkey.html
...And you see--the Kinesis models all use the Querty layout--but they are built to decrease wrist and finger stress overall.

Straight Dope article: www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_248.html
~

Link Posted: 1/20/2006 2:41:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By the_great_snag:
Yeah, every typewriter I've ever seen was a qwerty type.




We use AZERTY here...
Link Posted: 1/20/2006 2:56:58 AM EDT
The way I understood it part of the QWERTY layout was to make it easy for sales people to memorize short strings to demonstrate to prospective buyers. Typwriter is all on the top line and so on.
Link Posted: 1/20/2006 8:51:38 AM EDT
20 or so years ago, the Guiness book of records holder for the fastest typer was a Boeing secretary using one of those special keyboards. I have no clue who holds it now.

Merlin
Link Posted: 1/20/2006 9:03:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By mgw1181:
Christopher Sholes, in 1873.



Coincidence?

I DON'T THINK SO!
Link Posted: 1/22/2006 8:11:34 AM EDT
Well damn. I cannot remember the book I saw.
I checked the Big Secrets books and it's not in them.
------
Reason magazine did publish a fairly-lengthy article once, that is now available online.
reason.com/9606/Fe.QWERTY.shtml
~
Link Posted: 1/22/2006 9:49:42 AM EDT
You can buy DVORAK keyboards for your PCs. They show up in catalogs for PC parts.
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