How I Type

by Octapoo

Saturday, May 28, 2022 at 13:42:55 UTC

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I haven't done much lately, so I haven't had anything to blog about, but I found this image I made back in January which I think is kind of interesting, so I'll share it.

I never learned to type "properly" since I learned to type as a 12 year old writing BASIC programs on an Apple II at the public library. It wasn't until a few years later that I would have a typing class in school. However, the way they wanted me to type felt unnatural, so I ignored it and did my own thing. So I've always just typed rather randomly, and didn't really think there were rules about which fingers go to what until I decided to pay some attention and map it out.

People talk about being slow typists because they type with two fingers, and here I am almost typing with just four, but it works fine for me.

I was surprised to see that my left middle finger is almost my E finger, as the only other use it gets is to sometimes press S. If I type "as" then it will move down and type the S after the middle finger types the A, but that's all. If I type "tropical," it won't move over and type the R after the index finger types the T. Instead the index finger types both letters.

My left hand mostly stays in the same place, which enables that E finger to be a thing, but my right had moves around more, typing almost everything with two fingers, with the ring finger getting involved only when other letters in the word move my right hand so far to the left that he middle finger can't reach the key. An example of this is "above" which, contrary to what the image above shows, causes my ring finger to hit the O since the index finger just typed the B and so the middle finger can't easily reach the O.

If I do a typing test it's around 70 WPM, which is fine with me. Also, if I just type my own words, I get 439 characters in a minute, which is 88 WPM according to the "5 characters = 1 word" rule, or 98 WPM if you count the actual words in what I typed.

I'm kind of curious why typing tests are still "type this pre-written text" and measured in "words." I know they started that way because, in the ancient past, typing was mostly something done in a business setting to reproduce existing documents, so measuring performance at reproducing documents made sense, and without computers, counting characters would have been difficult. It's a different world now though. Everyone is kind of just measuring what doesn't matter anymore, and quantifying it in ambiguous units since no one is ever really sure if the W in WPM means actual words or just the character count divided by five.

It's also kind of pointless since I think everyone types reasonably fast now. Everyone learns when they're like ten years old and modern keyboards are far easier to type on than old typewriters, so typing speed seems like a non-issue now. Even people like me, with no "proper" education in typing manage to pick it up well enough. It's kind of like talking now, in that everyone just picks it up and learns to do it well enough on their own. No one ever taught my mother to type, but she types messages and search queries on her computer all the time.


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