Of all the subjects I took in school, none were so useful as typing, which I took in the ninth grade. My taking it was actually a happy accident: our school had both an academic and a technical track, and had I taken technical drawing as I’d intended I would have wound up in a class with the students taking the latter, with the result that I would have had, let us say, less experienced and less able teachers for key subjects such as Science and Maths.
As I was a straight-A student this was less than desirable, and between the principal and my mother I was convinced to switch. While I had really enjoyed technical drawing, I have never regretted the choice, though, as it’s the only one of my high school subjects (besides languages) that I still use on a daily basis. I can crank out a respectable sixty to seventy words a minute if I know what I want to write (knowing what to write about is a whole different problem…)
It took me an afternoon to learn the new key positions and four days later I’m already up to about thirty words a minute. For the past two days I’ve been typing almost exclusively in Colemak – I’m typing this post with it – and I’m rather enjoying it. (Though there was a brief moment of panic when my computer went on standby and the password wouldn’t work when I powered up again and couldn’t remember which layout I’d left my computer on. Turns out I’d forgotten my password starts with a capital letter.)
I don’t know if I’ll switch to it permanently. I think it could be fun to know multiple keyboard layouts, and if it really can increase my typing speed and ward off carpal tunnel syndrome it would be worth it. At the moment my forearms and hands are getting a little sore if I type for longer periods of time. I’m chalking it up to my fingers moving in different patterns than they’re used to, but if it persists that would certainly be the end of Colemak for me.
Whatever I decide, I think I’ll be permanently remapping my Caps Lock key to Backspace, cause that just makes so much sense I can’t believe I didn’t think of it myself.