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The Dvorak Keyboard and the Bat Pad

For over 20 years, I used the QWERTY keyboard that I learned in junior high school. This keyboard was actually designed to slow typists down so the keys wouldn’t tangle. But I’d read Galbraith's Cheaper by the Dozen and the efficiency experts who foresaw that someday there would be no keys to tangle up on a typewriter. When I got my first computer in 1983, I bought software to learn the Dvorak keyboard. The rows look like this:

on my keyboard, \ | and * are slightly off the rows.

I never typed over 50 words per minute on the QWERTY keyboard. I type over 100 words per minute on the Dvorak keyboard. My shoulders don’t ache the way they did with QWERTY. The Army (trust the army to do something like this) actually logged the miles a typist’s fingers travel in an 8-hour day on the two keyboards. On the QWERTY keyboard, the fingers travel 12 to 20 miles. On the Dvorak keyboard, they travel less than one mile. When I’m writing a story, I often read the words on the screen before I’m aware of having thought them -- it’s that easy.

Lately my right arm hurts sometimes. I bought a one-handed Bat Pad for those days. I only type 30 words per minute on it so far, but I’m still learning. The Bat Pad has 4 finger keys and 3 thumb keys. The fingers never travel and the thumb only has three places to be. The Bat Pad has a built-in wrist rest and is completely comfortable. When I’m using it, all my right hand has to do is move the trackball or mouse.

I’d be glad to answer any questions you may have about these boards or discuss other unusual keyboards you may know about.