Pleasing progress

I have previously mentioned on this blog my desire to learn to touch type, for greater speed and efficiency when using a computer keyboard (which, of course, I often am). When I started out I did a typing test using my normal haphazard manner, and achieved a speed of 53 wpm with 3 mistakes. (wpm stands for words per minute, and a word is defined as 5 characters on a keyboard).

Today I retook the test twice, and scored speeds of 72 and 68 wpm, with no mistakes on either test (because the recorded time included the time it took me to correct several mistakes). I was surprised to find that I now type faster than I used to, I had the impression I was still slower than I used to be. Doing a test without bothering to correct any mistakes gave me a speed of 78 wpm with 4 mistakes.

I’m pleased by my progress, but I still have some way to go before being as fast or as accurate as I would like to be. Sadly I don’t think there is any shortcut to practice, so I’m sure I’ll gradually speed up and become more accurate as I type.

More touch typing

This touch typing lark is slow going but still rewarding. This post is typed using my new found skills, but whenever I male a mistake I re-type the whole word. It’s especially irritating knowing that my primary motivation for learning is that the increased accuracy will lead to increased efficiency, but of course while I’m still learning my accuracy is way down. Still, if it was easy I wouldn’t put as much effort in, and I expect it’s the effort which is so valuable.

For reference, the title and the above paragraph took 5 minutes and 18 seconds to type and correct.

A type of touch

I came back to university on Saturday and the wireless keyboard I use on my computer died soon after I started using it. I assumed that the batteries were flat, but that soon turned out not to be the case. I took it apart to check for loose wires and the like, but (as expected) couldn’t find the problem. I finished off what I was doing using the windows on-screen keyboard and dealt with emails from my mobile phone. The keyboard now lies dead next to my desk waiting to be thrown out (I’m not just being lazy, the outside bin is full and the second bin is the other side of lots of snow).

The keyboard is dead.

Long live the keyboard!

It wasn’t realistic for me to work without a keyboard, so I purchased one pronto and it arrived on Monday. It’s an ergonomic keyboard, which serves to highlight that I can’t type properly. I can manage a reasonable speed, but I’m still really just a two finger typist (though depending on where the key I want is I might use any finger or thumb).

Touch typing is virtually always faster than typing like I do, but it takes time and effort to learn. As I googled for a website that would teach me I came across one which also listed some extra benefits I’d not previously considered. Touch typing is more efficient once you’re proficient at it, because you can have confidence that what you type is the same as what you mean to type. This allows you to avoid wasting time looking at the keyboard or screen when typing something from a paper document, and means you don’t have to break your train of thought if you’re authoring the content as you type. The typing should not only be fast, but accurate.

Typing tests take both into account, measuring speed (measured in words per minute, wpm, in which a ‘word’ is defined as 5 key presses) and accuracy (reporting the number of mistakes). Using my usual typing style I took a typing test and was asked to type this:

“My name is O’Kelly, I’ve heard the Revelly From Birr to Bareilly, from Leeds to Lahore, Hong-Kong and Peshawur, Lucknow and Etawah, And fifty-five more all endin’ in “pore”. Black Death and his quickness, the depth and the thickness, Of sorrow and sickness I’ve known on my way, But I’m old and I’m nervis, I’m cast from the Service, And all I deserve is a shillin’ a day. Shillin’ a day, Bloomin’ good pay, Lucky to touch it, a shillin’ a day!”

My result was 53wpm, with 3 mistakes (though I could only find one, even though they were highlighted in bold – two looked to me like they were identical to the desired words!). The challenge now is to invest the effort to learn to touch type and see how much I can improve.