John Borland of CNET reports on Yet Another Attempt to Unseat the Qwerty Keyboard.
This time it's John Parkinson who thinks that placing the first half of the alphabet on the left side of computer keyboards (and the second half on the right) will fix the problems that Qwerty has. He is wrong, of course.
First off, there's nothing wrong with the Qwerty order of today's keyboards. As a professional writer who's been typing away for over 20 years, I reach peak speeds of 120 words per minute. Some 40 wpm is more common; after all, there's no point to typing faster than I am mulling concepts -- such as typing up the words of this blog entry. Typing at the speed of thought isn't actually all that fast.
Second off, once learned Qwerty, it works. It's like that silly thing here in Canada when we switched from imperial to metric units in the mid-1970s. Really, what does it matter if the temperature is measured at 90F or 30C. Different numbers that impart exactly the same information -- it's hot out. In the same manner, Qwerty keyboards get the job done, so there is no need to switch.
Third off, keyboards (we called it "Typing 9" in my day) are taught at the elementary school level (in our independent school). If a different keyboard is going to succeed, it needs to be accepted by the school system, whose adminstrations have no interest in change from which they do not bennefit. (Can you imagine the impact on school board budgets replacing all computer keyboards in classrooms and offices.)
Fourth off, I am always skeptical of products that one person is convinced the rest of the world needs -- especially with a name that implies it is superior by default: Parkinson's "New Standard Keyboard." It smacks of Cold Fusion to me.
Towards the end of Mr Borland's story, we get the real reason: Mr Parkinson is a failed typist: "Parkinson, a former aerospace engineer, said he was inspired to action after taking a typing class in which he reached 25 words a minute but then went back to hunt-and-peck after finding the touch-typing technique too distracting."Touch typing is too distracting? Sheesh.... In any case, the article fails to report Mr Parkinson's speed on his keyboard design -- is he himself now faster than 25wpm?
He admits that no corporation is interested in his product.