One of the most useful and easy improvements I ever made to working was simply learning how to touch type. Its never been particularly necessary for programming as I find anytime I’m programming I write relatively little and the combination of tabs, weird characters, automatic code generation, intellisense and strange syntax results in a fairly uniform speed, touch typing or otherwise. No were it tends to be useful is simply for smashing out quick communications with individuals. If things are going well things tend to change quickly. Yes I need that no hang on things have changed cancel that have you got this? That kind of thing. This is were it helps to have a work colleague who is also a quick typist and a quick responder.
So I went out and bought what is called a mechanical keyboard from Das Keyboard (link to their site below) a name I might add was quickly noted as somewhat inaccurate. A colleague immediately pointing out that a mechanical keyboard really has no electronic parts whatsoever like the old key and lever ones you sometimes see in old black and white films.
I settled on a the S Ultimate model which has no labels on the keys. I figured hey I’ve started a bit of Russian if you change the key mapping to cyrillics any letters are useless anyway so lets go hard core. It arrived at my work and female colleague no 1 enjoyed watching me eagerly unpack and plug it in. Now I thought I was a touch typist. Turns out that wasn’t quite true. To register the keyboard I had to re-start the OS. Fine except I immediately had to re-enter my password to get to desktop. Three times later I had to phone support to unblock my password. Yep you guessed it I wasn’t quite the Ninja touch type artist I had fully convinced myself I was.
I’m down with it now but it did require me upping my game. I am particularly careful using some of the USB sticks as those that are encrypted have a three strikes and your out policy with NO recovery – that did slightly concern me.
So what is it like as a keyboard.
I was immediately about 4% faster I have raised my average speed from about 59 words per minute to something like 66 words per minute. On the rare occasion that I don’t make any typing mistakes I can get up to 75. Think of the discipline some must have had to use the old mechanical keyboards I’m sure that the requirement to use typex would have concentrated the mind on not making mistakes.
It makes me think that maybe Das Keyboard should do a special keyboard with the option for electrifying the delete key.
I am writing a letter now.