Touch typing

This is a discussion on Touch typing within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; Hi there. I have a question to people like you - who spend millions of hours in front of their ...

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    Touch typing

    Hi there. I have a question to people like you - who spend millions of hours in front of their PCs.

    Do you really care about typing keys with propers keys? For example, the letter P with right little finger?

  2. #2
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacek View Post
    Hi there. I have a question to people like you - who spend millions of hours in front of their PCs.

    Do you really care about typing keys with propers keys? For example, the letter P with right little finger?
    No. That is a good place to start if you are just learning to type, but very few professionals use that method. You shouldn't try to skip that stage though, just be aware that eventually everyone learns their own typing style, so dont get too hung up on being pedantic about finger placement.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    I think I only knew one programmer in my entire life who actually used the keyboard like a professional typist. He did have an awesome typing speed. You would marvel at his ability. It also made him an expert on macro and key combinations defining -- things he would take full advantage of.

    But the act of programming is so lost in other details like debugging a snippet of code we just wrote, stopping to think what to do next and how to do it, navigating between source files, looking up references, et cetera... that despite his speed and keyboard expertise he would write about the same number of lines in about the same time as everyone else on the team.

    ...

    Personally I never bothered with that. I feel I'm sufficiently good with the keyboard and have no interest in speed competitions; only on the quality of my code.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    I learned to touch type in high school and I'm very glad I did. I did a BA in English (which is all essays) and wrote a book that way too.

    I totally disagree w/ Abachler, re, most people who type for a living develop their own style or something after they can already touch type. Not if they learned properly to start with, they don't. This is like saying not everybody fingers a G chord at the bottom of the neck the same, because it is subjective what the easiest way to do it is. Some people with very big hands may, but most guitarists play a chord with the same fingering the same way as every other guitarist (watch them) and there is a reason for it -- it is not subjective, there is a best (often only) way to finger a chord.

    The exact same is true of typing. If you went to the world typing championships or something:
    YouTube - Ron "Typewriter" Mingo - Real People (160 wpm!)
    You would notice they touch type, they do not develop individualistic styles..

    If you give up on it early, or never really learn to do it properly*, then you will probably develop something unique over time as you start throwing more fingers in. But, for example, if you are not going to use your pinky on the p, what finger are you going to use? I'll admit, my right hand does sit slightly right a lot (coming and going from the Home keys and shift combinations, which the right shift is offset more than the left) so I will use the ring finger more on p (to be honest ). I kind of feel that is a bad habit, actually, and may contribute to fatigue.

    But q is usually the pinky.

    HOWEVER, I totally agree with Mario F. re, speed is not a crucial element in programming anyway. I can transcribe at about 45 wpm, but I have a friend who works for 911, and she can do like 70, which is inhuman. No one would want to write code that fast. So in fact, I do not think touch typing is a prerequisite skill for programmers, because
    1) they do almost no transcription (in school I wrote essays on paper first) and,
    2) they are dealing with a lot of punctuation and fewer actual words, et. al.

    In other words, if you don't like it or can't be bothered, don't. It doesn't matter much.

    * I took a class, so there was no choice -- do it properly or fail. Once you can do it, it is easy, and I am sure people stick with it because it really is optimal.
    Last edited by MK27; 11-29-2009 at 11:35 AM.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

  5. #5
    and the hat of sweating
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    I took a Typing class in grade 9 because I knew I was going to be a programmer and wanted to type as fast as I could.
    I don't see very many people at work using the hunt & peck method.
    "I am probably the laziest programmer on the planet, a fact with which anyone who has ever seen my code will agree." - esbo, 11/15/2008

    "the internet is a scary place to be thats why i dont use it much." - billet, 03/17/2010

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    I can do about 60wpm, using almost-standard touch typing. Like MK27, I sometimes "borrow" fingers if the designated finger is occupied, or if I need to hit 2 keys on the same column (eg, I use index and middle finger to type "ju" in "just", same for "tr" in "train"). but I use the standard fingers 95% of the time.

    People always say they do equally well with "hunt & peck", but I find it painful to watch them type at 10wpm while staring at the keyboard.

    Typing really fast is not important in programming, but I wouldn't want to "hunt & peck". It disrupts thoughts to have to think about the actual typing process while you type.

    Just spend a few hours to learn touch typing. Very good investment, since you will most likely be typing for most of the rest of your life. Once you get the basics down, you don't need to worry about it anymore. As long as you continue to use the right fingers and don't look down, speed will go up automagically.

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    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abachler View Post
    No. That is a good place to start if you are just learning to type, but very few professionals use that method. You shouldn't try to skip that stage though, just be aware that eventually everyone learns their own typing style, so dont get too hung up on being pedantic about finger placement.
    Good luck trying to write thousands of words... There are a few proven methods where your hands don't get tired, and reduce the risk of RSI. Typing your own way may indeed not have these benefits.

    While speed may not be an issue, endurance certainly is.

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacs7 View Post
    While speed may not be an issue, endurance certainly is.
    I've been programming for well over two decades. To that I even add typing poke listings from 5, 6, 10 pages on a ZX Spectrum rubber keyboard (if you ever saw a pokes pages, you'll know what I mean). And then there's countless hours of documentation, 20 page proposals, project definitions,... I can assure you that for the past 25 years, or something around that, my life has been spent in front of a computer keyboard for anything between 3 and 20 hours a day.

    What endurance are you talking about exactly?
    Or is that we are discussing common places again?
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F.
    What endurance are you talking about exactly?
    Or is that we are discussing common places again?
    Maybe you should read that again:
    Quote Originally Posted by zacs7
    There are a few proven methods where your hands don't get tired, and reduce the risk of RSI. Typing your own way may indeed not have these benefits.
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    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    The exact same is true of typing. If you went to the world typing championships or something:
    I type 65 words per minute (composition) and do not use touch typing. Therefor your argument is unsound. Like most of the other professional programmers here, I spend anywhere from 12-16 hours a day at the keyboard. My hands havent gotten tired from typing since I was 12 years old....
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    Last edited by abachler; 11-29-2009 at 09:57 PM.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laserlight View Post
    Maybe you should read that again:
    Well, I did. But I stand by my words.

    It's a common place. And it doesn't tell us much. As I said I only knew one person who used the keyboard correctly. Everyone else I know or knew (and I'm sure the vast majority of those I'm yet to know) learned to type "their way". And not even once I remember someone complaining my "hands are tired/hurt".

    As for RSI, a good sitting posture will do a lot more to avoid it than how one types. Not to mention that long hours sitting introduces a bunch of related problems that will only complicate tracking down the actual cause. One can argue it's all down to how you place your hands on the keyboard. Fine. I'm arguing that's nonsense. Want to avoid RSI? Do daily exercise and eat well. That will beat any sedentary touch-typing activist.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  12. #12
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F.
    It's a common place.
    I do not understand what you mean by this. Do you mean to say "it is commonplace"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F.
    And not even once I remember someone complaining my "hands are tired/hurt".
    I do, mainly due to the overuse of just a few fingers, which is why I think proper touch typing should have the purported benefits that zacs7 outlined. Of course, part of avoiding RSI is the taking of breaks, and rest probably helps the boost the accuracy of all typists, so in the end the endurance problem is something of a non-problem.
    Last edited by laserlight; 11-29-2009 at 10:04 PM.
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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    I can assure you that for the past 25 years, or something around that, my life has been spent in front of a computer keyboard for anything between 3 and 20 hours a day.
    Being an exception does not make you the rule. I could say, "Look, I can drive better than most people even after a case of beer, 4 hits of acid and with a crack joint burning in my mouth" and that may be true, but it is not good advice to give the general public.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

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    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Being an exception does not make you the rule. I could say, "Look, I can drive better than most people even after a case of beer, 4 hits of acid and with a crack joint burning in my mouth" and that may be true, but it is not good advice to give the general public.
    And neither is suggesting they stick with touch typing, when the general consensus is that using your own method is better, or at least no worse.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

  15. #15
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abachler View Post
    And neither is suggesting they stick with touch typing, when the general consensus is that using your own method is better, or at least no worse.
    There is no question that it is worse, which is why I pointed that thing out about "typing competitions". The people who win touch type. In fact, you will not even be qualifying to enter any other way.

    TypingTest.com - Free Typing Test & Typing Games Online

    The "consensus" to which you refer is that some people who don't drink and drive think it is dangerous and should be illegal, whereas some other people who do drink and drive think it is fine and everyone should just get off their ass.

    Strangely, I understand there is a cross-over issue here with "texting", which of course even after that is banned many people will still insist they can type messages on their phone and drive a car competently at the same time. Sorry if I say you are either 1) deluded, or 2) lying.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

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