david at lang.hm david at lang.hm
Thu May 22 20:41:49 EDT 2008

On Fri, 23 May 2008, Gary C Martin wrote:

>> it's not 'keyfeel like a remington typewriter', it's enough keyfeel to be
>> able to touch-type. it doesn't take much, but I haven't seen any
>> touchscreen that has any.
>> I realize that kids aren't going to start off touch-typing, but if the
>> keyboard layout is close to the standard for that country (which the core
>> of it should be, even if there are extra keys) they should learn the skill
>> sooner or later.
>> David Lang
> Touch type, blimey, I didn't think we were trying to rote train kids to be 
> secretarial staff – didn't that go out with the arc? Well it should have. 
> I've used computers with standard QWERTY keys for the last 26 years, perhaps 
> the last 18 professionally, and I've never been able to touch type. I look at 
> keys and use just a few fingers to hunt and peck, and I pay my bills just 
> fine. I'm guessing I usually re-edit my texts way, way more than just write 
> in one pass, so touch typing in a single pass is just a carpal accident 
> waiting to happen.

I hear 'who needs to touch type' from a lot of computer users, but those 
same users at different times say 'wow, how do you do that so fast' and 
frequently get distracted from what they are trying to do by the mechanics 
of entering the data.

it's not just secretarial staff that benifits from typing instruction, 
it's anyone who uses a computer freqently.

this is very similar to reading, yes you can get kids to where they can 
sound out each word and they can get through a book, but once they get to 
the point where they can stop paying attention to the mechanics of reading 
they can then start paying attention to the content of what they are 
reading (this is why speed reading classes frequently improve 
comprehention and retention as well as speed)

> ***Immediate visual and low frequency sound feedback (from the touch surface) 
> would be a real good start, and BTW power saving is going to get even 
> tougher... Also physical registration dimples for those that need them would 
> be a very good plan for the HW mould, even if they are just bumps for the F 
> and J positions. And I hope there is a cheap/safe solution to the scratch 
> issue, iPhones and iPod Touches use glass (opinion).

normal keyboards get away with FJ dimples becouse you can tell where your 
fingers are from the feel of the keys. putting raised outlines around the 
key locations would be a wonderful step forward from a flat touchscreen.

the other problem with a flat touchscreen as a keyboard is that a typist 
wants to rest their hands on the keyboard and press to type something. 
trying to tell the difference between the hands sitting on the home row 
and a person trying to type something is going to be extremely difficult.

> Sorry David, I think it was the touch-type comment that set me off. If in 
> 2010 we have affordable HW that works at least as well as the iPhone / iPod 
> Touch (but with copy/paste), XO-2 will be a fair proposition, and having one 
> of the dual screens devoted as a touch keyboard when needed will be a big UI 
> improvement over current PDA/smart-phone type input.

if you are comparing this to a cell-phone, you are probably right, it 
would be an improvement (although even with them tactile feedback makes a 
huge difference), but I don't agree that that should be the standard for 

David Lang

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