Get back to touch typing

I’ve not had as much time with the TB as I would like yet. Some egg/chicken problems, I want to have greater accuracy to edit in vi and I’m not going to get it without practice. Touch typing on whatever keyboard I’m using is going to help.

If you’ve strayed, I suggest that you all force yourselves back to touch typing. My big, rectangular keyboards have motivated me to evolve my typing away from ten-fingered-touch-typing over the years. The TB takes up minimal space and if you are looking around on the keyboard for that symbol that you want, it’s likely that your fingers are covering up the keycap that you are interested in. Removing your hands, taking your eyes off the screen, tracking down the symbol, and replacing your hands is going to be tiresome.

I did some screen captures from the iPad app and stitched them together with the GIMP

I find it’s much better to keep my hands in place rather that lift, search, and recalibrate.

I want to adjust the printed map to be higher contrast, the green on dark gray is not conducive to quickly recognizing the symbol. I think that’s a bit of a problem on the physical keyboard as well, the green printing should be higher contrast. Maybe the inks could even be florescent so that if you had a small UV LED nearby, you could have a temporarily high-contrast keyboard without violating WT’s desired aesthetics.

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I swear, that green paint on the TextBlade looks as though it ought to be phosphorescent!

I made a PDF with a stitched iPad screenshot and when I printed it, it was just fine for reading. I think if you use an iPhone to make the screenshot, then maybe the letters will be bigger compared to the rest of the TB? Not really sure on that though…

I definitely agree that this is at its best when touch typing, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the results even when one-finger poking at it.

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Here is a nice thread with printable layouts:

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If you have overhead light or if the TB is close to the screen, the reflection in the metallic inks is good enough to see the legends.

That said, combined with switching to Colemak it took me maybe 2-3 weeks of practicing 15-30 minutes every night to get to 20wpm blind typing, at which point I switched to it full-time and now a year later I type real-world 60wpm including all the punctuation. My speed and accuracy are still increasing linearly so I still hope to beat 100wpm one day.

It’s really a matter of daily practice using something like and later when you’re fluent


Thanks for the key hero link, I don’t know why I missed that last time around, but it’s testing well with the TextBlade. Back up to my earlier speeds and I feel like I can probably keep getting faster with that. :slight_smile:

I don’t understand why some folks don’t learn to touch type when they need to type everyday. It’s not hard to learn, but many prefer typing with two fingers and hunt and peck

I agree. It really isn’t that hard. And I think people learning for the first time may really find it easier with the TB since the reaching is eliminated.

But as to why, I suspect it is the same reason people stick to old habits when working with computers. For example, if they are used to doing things by keyboard which may now be easier with a mouse, they may still just stick with what they know best. Or vice-versa.

Or to take my own habits as an example, if deleting something, I’ll always to the single character delete even if I have a command that lets me delete by word. Heck, if I realize I made an error six words back, rather than move the cursor to that error and correct it, then jump to the end, I’ll tend to delete everything by holding down the delete key till I get to the error. Makes no sense at all except that I just do it automatically.

But one thing about switching to a TB - there are enough differences that I’m tending to try new things so I’ll end up improving more.

Also, I believe more than one TREG tester has mentioned that they or someone in their family has been motivated to touch type because it does seem so much easier.

A long time ago (20+ years) I tried for a couple of months. I never could get the hang of touch typing. What’s funny is I was enrolled in a keyboarding class at the local college. The instructor was having an issue with one of the PCs and I offered my assistance. After watching me running through the command prompt, the teacher asked why I was enrolled in the class as I was typing at near her speed. I explained that I stare at the keyboard rather than (correctly) looking at the screen, don’t use the home row, and really can only type certain commands that quickly.

Some people adjust to touch typing easier than others. I take to touch typing like a duck to an oil slick. It’s a mess that requires a lot of cleanup.

Typed (albeit slowly) on a new G.Skill KM780 RGB w/ Cherry MX Red switches


This was great. :smile:

Yeah, I couldn’t get it for years and then I finally started adding more and more fingers as I was forced to type more in different situations. Never found the courses or programs to do much for me.

This is true for me, to be sure. Many people refer to the concept of “muscle memory” in regards to touch typing, playing music, dance, etc. But I have seen over the years that speaking purely of myself, I simply do not have it. I have always presumed it’s related to the way my brain is wired… The same neuronal links that allow me to analyze software more quickly than most people and to “think outside the box” prevent me from developing that “learned automatic” response that comes so easily to many others.

Add to that the difficulties I have with locating items in three-dimensional space (due to childhood eye problems) and it’s not surprising that I am a rather clumsy individual. As I have mentioned previously, the only time I was ever able to type without watching the keyboard was when I used a very unusual keyboard called the ‘DataHand.’ That device was similar to the TextBlade in that it had a VERY small amount of finger movement required. That is one of my primary reasons for hanging on and waiting for the TextBlade – I remain hopeful that I will be able to touch-type with it.

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This is a similar question I ask when I see Koreans and Japanese unable to speak English properly even though they’ve studied it for years, and their livelihood depends on it. Same when I see Americans butchering even the simplest of Japanese words, like karaoke (carry oakey), sushi (sue shee). Or those who can’t seem to tell the difference between it’s/its, lose/loose, they’re/there/their even though English was the only language they were tasked to learn.

I just think the brains of such people are wired for a different purpose. I like to think their potentials lie elsewhere.


It might have been on the Waytools site, but someplace I saw something about how even expert typists, if given a blank keyboard chart, can’t fill in many of the correct character positions - and I’m sure that many which they get right they really aren’t sure about or are only figured out as other characters they are sure of are filled in.

Yet they, when typing, just automatically know where to type every character in a word.

I remember when I started to teach myself, using Mavis Beacon, that for quite awhile I was thinking of every letter as I typed - and then, all of a sudden, I was reading the words rather than the letters and I could then type much faster. Much like a musician will first read individual notes but as they get better, they see patterns of notes just as kids move up from sounding out letters to get a word to just reading the whole word.

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Very interesting, Billmeek. Have you ever tried using computer typing programs? I learnt touch typing by using a computer game called Typing Tutor.

It’s not to say that everyone would definitely get touch typing; I do think most people can do it.

I have. But again, it was a long time ago.

Something that may be related. I’ve played a few wind instruments over the years… mostly Akai EWIs these days. But can’t easily associate notes on sheet music or even the letters to the keys of the instruments. I only play by ear. Ask me to play a G and I’m dumbfounded. Play a note and I (usually) hit it right away. Trying to memorize the notes or read music is an exercise in frustration for me. My brain just isn’t wired that way. I know how to read sheet music and have pretty decent dexterity, it’s just reading music and applying it to the instrument that causes me issues.

To put it bluntly, I’ve always had a pathetic memory. Memorization of any type is, at best, difficult. That’s why I do have some concern about learning to use the TextBlade other than for basic typing input.

Your memory isn’t pathetic, for your comments are both lucid and spelled correctly. Remember the joke, “Can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?” Reply - “PRACTICE!” There is little difference between learning to play a musical instrument / playing while sight reading and learning to touch type / transcribing while reading. Learning on one’s own is like reinventing the wheel; it takes too long and bad habits are too easily created. Teachers and tutors can make learning fun. The best thing about learning / practicing is that eventually, DOING becomes quite automatic–wax on; wax off…do you not write, speak, spell, walk, bicycle and drive a motor vehicle? Practice anything properly and become good at it; practice poorly and all you’ll do is create a bad habit.

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Thanks to a spell checker.

At this point I have about 35 years of bad typing habits to overcome. Starting back with a VIC-20 in the early 80’s.

Cool…I didn’t, but back then many 20-somethings I worked with bought VIC-20s. One fellow had a Radio Shack TRS-80. I was a hold out but eventually bought a Sinclair Z-81. For a long time, lunch time at work was full of cigarette smoke and the din of keystrokes. About habits…they are more easily replaced than eliminated. In with the good and out with the bad…

Maybe. For me though, I’m not so easy to give in and say I can’t do it. Generally, I attribute to my lack of something more to not putting in the time, energy, and effort. I’m terrible at sight reading and in the four years of piano lessons, didn’t get good at it. But I don’t think it’s a matter of me not being wired that way; it’s rather me not putting in the effort and not being taught the right approach to doing it.

My spouse is a professional musician and sight reads and sight sings. I think sight singing is quite a bit harder than sight reading though, since you’re supposed to hit the notes right when you sight sing.

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Well, you certainly know you best, but I think everyone has their own set of strengths. Hand eye coordination is there for some and less for others. Nothing wrong with that in my view.

Anyways, I just wanted to say that I hope the TextBlade helps you (I know you were saying the reduced movement required could help) and I can certainly attest that there is significantly less movement required. So, hopefully it makes a difference for you!