Thursday, 23 August 2012

A year later and my Facebook app may actually be coming back to life!!

Ok guys I'm really excited at the moment. As some of you know, for part of my final year at university and for the following 6 months or so I set up a company with Andy Sheperd-Waring and Rob Rolls with a mission to create a fantastically beautiful and amazingly useful Facebook application.

Come September we were all skint and had to get 'real' paid jobs somewhere else and slowly we came to realise that we had added too many fancy features and never really finished the 'core' of the application. We realised that the route to success may have been to actually finish the core parts of the application and to launch the app without all the extra features we wanted.

A year has passed...

Today Andy and I went through exactly what needs doing to bring this thing back to life and to launch the core application. We will be removing some of the fancier features that people may find confusing and would delay launch and focussing all our efforts in getting the application out there.

I will not be giving away more details about any possible launch dates as of yet, but expect to hear more on this front!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Why I gave up learning Dvorak

After 3 weeks of using Dvorak as my keyboard layout and actively trying to learn to touch-type again I have given up! My typing speed in Qwerty is about 4-5 times faster than Dvorak and it has barely improved since I started.

I think this reflects partly on my personal inability to learn to type as some of my colleagues are typing faster than me in Dvorak after only one week! I suspect that learning to type in Dvorak in the first place would have its advantages over Qwerty but I feel that it's too big a hit to take considering I can type already. It is also worth while if you have RSI or similar issues as it reduces strain on the wrists and fingers.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Dvorak so far...

I noticed one of the guys at work was using Dvorak as his keyboard layout. I'd thought about converting over before but I couldn't bare the idea I going back to basics again.

Well, it's now been 5 days since I first tried using Dvorak and I've got to say its already looking worth while. When I first started it has to be said that I was completely incapable and my memories strayed back to my first IT lessons at primary school where I learnt to touch type all those years ago.

The first 2 days were terrible and whereas before I could express myself at almost my speed of thought, I found that I was managing only about 10 words a minute with the new layout!!

After that initial sacrifice and after taking a couple of free online Dvorak typing lessons I have managed to bring this up to around 40 words per minute. I was never the fastest typist in querty but I used to type around 70 words per minute.

After 5 days I feel I am still rapidly improving and that I will very soon relearn the muscle memory required to type in Dvorak. I can already feel the benefits in terms of how little I need to move my fingers to type commonly used words, I think I will soon overtake my qwerty typing speed, and I certainly find typing much more comfortable already.

If you're thinking of converting I would advise you try it during a quiet time in your life / at work where you can afford to type VERY slowly for a bit. The most important thing is to keep at it and not to chicken out to qwerty at any point.

My only problem with Dvorak is the fact that keyboard shortcuts tend to be designed for qwerty keyboards so I would recommend using "autohotkey" to remap all shortcuts to qwerty. For me this made the transition considerably easier.

Finally, if you have RSI or similar issues I would advise you to make the effort to move to Dvorak. Qwerty was designed to slow down typists because typing too fast used to jam type writers. In doing so qwerty was designed to have many awkward movements which slow you down and strain your wrists. These movements are avoided using Dvorak and therefore minimise the risk of RSI.