Prison Pete

Sunday, June 12, 2005
  I thought of it first!
An article in the May 26, 2005 edition of the New York Times announced the arrival of a new computer keyboard.

This new keyboard has two distinctive features. One is that each key has a slightly different "weight" to it. "It takes less force to make the Z key register than it does the F," the article states.

The second feature is actually an omission. None of the 104 keys have any labels on them. That is right, the entire keyboard is blank.

The interesting claim made by the manufacturer, is that some users, once forced to memorize the keyboard, see their typing speed double.

I already knew that. Although I have put my key caps back in their proper place, when I randomly switched all the keys around, I found that for the first time in over thirty years I could indeed learn to touch type.

This further documents that there is more than one way people "learn." Some of us are willing to take a lazy person's approach to a task, even a repetitive task, rather than put in a little extra effort that would greatly increase our ability to complete the task efficiently.

I do have to say that this is by no means a new idea. My father has told me on more than one occasion that when he was being taught to type as a youngster, all the typewriters they were learning on had blank keys.

They started by looking at a layout of the keys at the front of the room and that was eventually removed. At that point they had to type strictly by having the keyboard firmly ingrained in their brains.

Yes folks, sometimes the simplest approach is the best for the brain to learn. Throw out all those typing programs and take some nail polish remover to the key caps.
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