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Thread: Learning to type

  1. #11
    The Pompatus of Love C.J.Woolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sistamatic View Post
    Anyway, I wonder how many of them can touch type and just don't realize it.
    I'd be impressed if they can. I took a typing class in middle school. I had to write papers on a manual typewriter (yes, I'm that old) before I ever touched a computer keyboard. Hunt-and-peck is sheer hell on a manual, so I had an incentive to learn touch typing.
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  2. #12
    Mens bona regnum possidet ferrus's Avatar
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    I just learnt by just being around computers from a small age.

    It does mean you learn bad habits though. Took years to cure myself of touching caps lock on and off.
    Die Logik ist keine Lehre, sondern ein Spiegelbild der Welt. Die Logik ist transcendental. - Wittgenstein

  3. #13
    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferrus View Post
    I just learnt by just being around computers from a small age.

    It does mean you learn bad habits though. Took years to cure myself of touching caps lock on and off.
    Same. I spent all my typing-formative years on 8-bit Commodore machines (from Vic-20 through to C128). I still have odd habits and quirks as a result, things never quite fully adapted to the standard PC-ish keyboard layout. Doesn't help that from time to time over the years, I reinforce/reactivate the C= keyboard habits by playing with the vintage machines.

  4. #14
    Homo siderius Sistamatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.J.Woolf View Post
    I'd be impressed if they can. I took a typing class in middle school. I had to write papers on a manual typewriter (yes, I'm that old) before I ever touched a computer keyboard. Hunt-and-peck is sheer hell on a manual, so I had an incentive to learn touch typing.
    When I graduated from high school, my Grandma gave me an electric typewriter for college. It was, at the time, considered fancy as hell because it had a one line screen on it and did not type that line until you hit enter. It also had a corrective tape ribbon and a corresponding backspace key. I had a huge advantage over the people who had to use the library typewriters. They were also electric, but no screen and you had to use white out. This was before I went to secretary training, so I had to hunt and peck. I still remember my Grandma's mortification that I couldn't touch type. In her mind, that made me utterly unemployable as a female.

    For me, the worst part of typing on a typewriter was having to deal with all the margins and everything. Most teachers would take a ruler to them. To this day, I am awed when I crack open a bound thesis that was produced entirely on a typewriter. Word processing by computer was a thing by the time I wrote mine, and it was still an undertaking to format the fucking thing to spec.

    When we were kids, Dad got a Tandy 1000 and the first King's Quest game...the one where you had to type in everything you wanted your character to do. i.e. "Look under rock." We played together, the whole family, with Mom, the only one who could touch type, entering all the commands as we yelled out our ideas.
    Insults are effective only where emotion is present. -- Spock, "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Stardate 3468.1.

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  5. #15
    Formerly PiccoloNamek Lunar Delta's Avatar
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    I've never taken any typing lessons, but I can touch-type even in a dark room without looking, sometimes in excess of 90WPM or more on a good day. No backlit keys either. I use a style that is unique to myself that I taught myself through sheer exposure and experience. Professional typists would probably be horrified by the way it looks.
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  6. #16
    know nothing pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    I just can't imagine how you could get by in a university environment, let alone make it to the fourth year of an engineering program, while having to look at your fingers when you want to type. That seems like it would be such a huge setback.

    The question arose when the instructor was discussing the merits of vim and why all of us should make the effort to really learn it or emacs in order to be competent programmers. "You'll be amazed how much faster you are at navigating code when your fingers don't need to leave the home row" and then he probably got a bunch of blank stares. Poor guy, trying to teach us to run and discovering half the class never learned to walk.

    It did occur to me that we have a large amount of international students, so that's one possible explanation.

    I went to high school in the 90s and "computer keyboarding" was a required class. It really surprises me that this is no longer commonly the case and I think that's a big mistake. Typing correctly on a standard keyboard isn't all that intuitive. Just that one class made a huge difference to my ability to communicate by typing. What would my life be like if I had to be thinking all the time about where to put my fingers while trying to form thoughts into sentences?

  7. #17
    Now we know... Asteroids Champion ACow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pathogenetic_peripatetic View Post
    Senior-level microcontroller class, maybe 100 students, instructor asks "how many of you would consider yourselves touch typists, as in you can type without looking?"

    Less than half the class raises their hands
    Tech is one of those areas where a great deal of the populace can get away with not having the basic competencies....

  8. #18
    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    I throw that off a wee bit because my dad was a computer programmer. My computer access at an early age pales these days when elementary kid have smartphones, but still. I had early access.

    I do remember some formal typing classes though. My fourth grade teacher in particular was very gung ho about kids learning to type on computers. It was probably pretty progressive and forward thinking of her. I remember the computer labs in elementary and middle school both used Apple IIe's.

    I also remember being abysmal at the typing tutor program. It gave us bullshit words. It challenged us to master letter by letter typing because it was all:

    lji geut vbd sykkl pidf vbde. Aeds tbrdf dffg uio ewtcr bvrt gny hyffrd, fbtf juhgf fd hthg d!

    Etc. That was in part because they were using a gradual structured approach that brought you from using one finger with your hands o home to full fluency from home row--one finger at a time. This meant there were many lessons that couldn't include words.

    It also meant they taught me wrong--at least from how I now think of what I type. I rarely type letters, I type words. But maybe I underestimate the need for the atomistic start.

    I just know I was a two finger hunt and peck typist (still handy with touchscreens...grr) until gaming helped reinforce the advantages of being on the keyboard and being able to push buttons without looking away from the screen. From there I started getting into a hybrid mode where I'd hunt and peck as needed, but keep my hands in the proper place. And one day, I realized my 'as needed' moments were for special characters only.

    It was a revelation. I tested myself and was ecstatic. I could now type when my eyes were burning from being up so long.

    Still, our generation didn't formally learn to type by comparison to how our parents formally learned. That shit was formal.
    See that sounds somewhat familiar to me, except I think typing was a universal grade-school subject by the time I reached the age where it was taught. (I want to say it started in 3rd grade.)

    In my case I remember it being done almost entirely via a "game"-type automated program on Apple II's or similar machines during a few-times-a-week excursion to the school computer lab. I don't recall any direct instruction from a teacher (I believe these sessions were supervised by a school computer specialist), although perhaps there was some.

    Mostly what I remember is that the program featured an animated cat, and that the training sessions with it used to stress me the fuck out. That cat became my sworn mortal enemy when I was 8 years old, and I probably would have killed it in some unspeakable way if I could have.

    Hell, I still might just based on the emotional memories evoked by thinking about it.

    Fuck that cat. Fuck it straight to Hell.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
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  9. #19
    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    That's such an awkward image. If this had been my typing program, I would have been unable to continue. The name of the program doesn't help at all.
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  10. #20
    wetback Space Invaders Champion Fitz's Avatar
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    I guess I went to school in the ghetto. I'm younger than both of you and we never had any typing lessons.

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