Fake for Real: QWERTY, the Right Order

Van Mensvoort
October 23rd 2007

qwerty - the right order

Did you ever wonder why the letters on the keyboard are in the order they are? The reason for QWERTY goes way back. This order was chosen to reduce the probability that mechanical typewriters' hammers would get entangled. Over time, typewriters were replaced by computers. Though various alternative keyboard layouts have been developed from a user-centred perspective, to enable more comfortable and faster typing, the QWERTY layout remains the standard today. Once a technology has become the norm, it seems to take on a certain aura of authenticity. To supplant it, an alternative must be significantly better.

From our Fake for Real series.

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Hendrik-Jan Grievink
Posted 02/11/2007 – 00:42

DVORZAK hey? I knew there was music in the alphabet!

David Spreekmeester
Posted 26/10/2007 – 19:18

Even if alternatives are significantly better, it can be hard to stray from the path of such renowned standards. Since I write a lot of code, I have tried using the DVORZAK layout in the past. This layout exists already since 1932 and enables one to type 150 to 200% faster than in QWERTY. After a steep learning curve, it's pretty doable learning it (although you feel like an analphabetic turtle during the first week). But then the problem arises. You're finally used to your new system and want to write a quick mail at a friend's house. Disaster.
Concluding, you can improve your own use of technology, but trying to start a revolution on your own is very frustrating.

Should men be able to give birth to children?


Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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