Learning the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard

This is a brief instructional blog post on how to switch to the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard, an alternative to the standard QWERTY keyboard layout used by most English speakers. The advantages are that it is much faster than QWERTY, and it involves far fewer hand movements, making its users less susceptible to RSIs like carpel tunnel syndrome.

First thing I would recommend: DO NOT buy stickers for your keyboard, or a keyboard with the keys in a different layout. These will help you short-term, but will be a serious hindrance in the long-run. By not having the keyboard layout visually correct, you will be unable to look down, and will be forced to learn to touch type. I know that myself, even though I could mostly touch-type QWERTY before, I still looked at the keyboard a lot. Now, I don’t need to do it at all. This allows me to type a lot faster than I could before, even ignoring the advantage inherent in the Dvorak keyboard.

A good idea would be to print out a copy of the Dvorak keyboard (linked directly below this paragraph), and place it under your monitor, where it can be easily seen. Draw lines under the U and H, just like on the F and J on a QWERTY keyboard, to help give you a visual reference.
http://www.theworldofstuff.com/dvorak/dvorak.png

Then, go to the keyboard preferences, and install the Dvorak keyboard. Let me know your Operating System and I can provide more detailed instructions on how to do that, but it’s quite easy. No CDs or downloads required.

Next, you should find somewhere you can take lessons online. I’ve posted two of the sites that I used when I made the switch.
http://www.powertyping.com/dvorak/typing.html
http://www.typingweb.com/tutor/

Now comes the key point: type in Dvorak as much as you can. Let your friends know what you’re doing, and tell them to expect slow responses on Instant Messengers and Facebook, etc. Only go back to using the QWERTY keyboard in times where you really need to type fast.

Two extra pages that can be really useful, are
http://www.theworldofstuff.com/dvorak/
http://www.theworldofstuff.com/dvorak/compare.html

I hope you can keep in touch and let me know how it goes! Comments on this blog are appreciated, and if you Reddit, then consider joining /r/dvorak
Good luck!

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How to update Facebook from Twitter

This post looks at how you can easily update Facebook and Twitter at the same time, while only visiting Twitter, or your favourite Twitter client.

  1. Go to Facebook, and search for “Selective Tweets”

    Select the App with that name.
  2. Type in your Twitter handle in the box next to the “@”, and click “save”
  3. Then just append “#fb” to the end of any tweet, and it will automatically be sent to Facebook as your status. Read past the break for a few little extras

  4. One final thing you can do is choose to be able to put the #fb anywhere in the tweet. The developer mentions that there can be some complications to this, however. If you want to do this, go to the settings, and put a tick in the box next to “Allow the #fb tag anywhere in the tweet?” You should then be able to put #fb anywhere within the tweet to send it to Facebook.

Please leave a comment, was this useful or not? Do you know any good alternatives? What did you think of the post? Or just any general comments.