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Moving my fingers
Muse #260 - the magic of touch typing
I recently read something that brought back memories of yesteryears. It was strange to note from that article that manual typewriters are still in vogue today in 2021 in India, long after their demise or at best relegation to antique status.
My first real computer terminal was connected to a Data General AOS mini-computer system. And subsequently the next was a PDP 11/44 system running Unix. Initially, I struggled to touch type on these as I had no prior experience in typing.
Therefore in 1982, I started manual typewriting classes for three months. I would get up at 5 AM and walk my way to the nearest typewriter class to be the first to practice when they opened at 6 AM. I would hammer away paragraphs of text on the manual Remington typewriters starting initially with letters, words, and then sentences ("The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog") and transcribing text from books as my fluency improved.
This went on three times a week for around three months. And at the end of it, I had fairly enough proficiency to type without looking at the keyboard. Usually, this led to an exam in case one goes on to become a typist (really, this was a career once in India) but I skipped that part.
And ever since, I have been typing fluently, though it varies based on the device and the keyboard layout. Generally, standard external keyboards are better for fluent typing than notebooks computers.
And recently most of the typing on the iPhone and iPad has been using swiping rather than touch typing as it is more convenient to do that. And coupled along with some voice input occasionally. And it is still evolving.
These skills we now just take for granted and float away to the background, but good typing is a matter of posture, table height, chair height, arm support, keyboard, angle, and height of the monitor and typing skills all coming together to a state of effortless experience. And I know about it and notice only when all these don’t fall into place. And only when one gets neck, back, or wrist pain for prolonged misuse of the body parts.
More to read:
India's nostalgic passion for old typewriters - https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20210928-indias-nostalgic-passion-for-old-typewriters