1. 7

  2. 5

    That’s indeed a great way to learn, but purchasing a new keyboard is not necessary. When I learned, I was working with an Apple IIe, where you could not easily use an alternative keyboard.

    I did something very similar to this to prevent myself from looking at the keys when typing. It worked quite well.

    1. 4

      Do most schools not teach kids how to type? I went to a tiny rural elementary school and even we had a typing class. It’s a skill that has a pretty decent ROI - eliminating the cognitive overhead associated with typing reduces the friction between your brain and the machine you’re interfacing with.

      Relevant XKCD (although it should be extended up and to the left for this…)

      1. 5

        Nope, that’s not very widespread at all.

        1. 3

          Here in the UK I’m not aware of any formal touch typing education in the Curriculum…at any level.

          1. 2

            I believe it was an elective when I was in grade school in Sweden in the 1980s… none of the kids in our household have encountered it.

            1. 3

              I took a touch typing class at a Swedish grade school in the middle of the 1990s. I remember using SPCS Tangentbordsträning and typing the alphabet in under 4 seconds (but when the teacher wasn’t looking we played a climbing game that advertised a fruit juice drink). Touch typing was not a widespread skill among my peers at the time, some were stunned that I typed without looking down.

              Even though we were using computers, I got the feeling that the class might have been a relic from the time of typewriters.

          2. 3

            honestly you don’t need a new keyboard for this. Just always look at the screen and don’t look at your hands when you type. If you find yourself looking down out of habit and can’t watch the screen while typing because that seems unnatural, close your eyes. One of the things that’s tough about watching the screen while typing when you first do it is that it’s an entirely new channel of information. You’re not just taking away the old channel of information (looking at the keyboard to guide your hands), you’re adding a whole new channel of information: the stuff on the screen. So the intermediate is simply … every time you find yourself looking at your hands while typing, close your eyes.

            (edit: although I should probably add: I have an unmarked, all-black HHKB2 exactly like the one shown in the post and I love it, and my other keyboard also has blank keycaps.)

            1. 2

              I switched to Dvorak layout as a teenager, but I kept my old keyboard. With mismatched key caps, I learned to touch type very quickly.

              If someone is going to spend the time to learn touch typing (which I do highly recommend for anybody working with computers), I think you should first take a moment to consider if QWERTY is the best layout for you. Unless you’re very social/sharing your keyboards, QWERTY is probably not ideal.

              1. 2

                I learned to touch type by removing the labels of the keys of my laptop with sand paper and then playing Typing of the Dead. I couldn’t bring myself to use any of the “normal” typing trainers, because I got bored and frustrated too quickly, but the game doesn’t only teach you touch typing, but it’s also highly entertaining. Can recommend.

                1. 2

                  I can totally see where the legend-less keycaps could be an aid in learning touch typing, but I had a Das Keyboard like this for about a year and as a very experienced touch typist, it drove me batty, not because of the touch typing (Which I NEVER look at the keyboard for) but for those times when you need to hit Ctrl+F10+ScrLck. Who memorizes THOSE keys? :)

                  1. 2

                    I have one of these (which I don’t recommend for a variety of reasons, mostly to do with das keyboard being in my shitlist for hostility to reverse engineering efforts), and no trouble with odd key chords.

                    Where I used to suffer a lot (now not so much after 5+ years of use) is passwords. Passphrases are no issue, but passwords (the random-generated-then-memorized kind) aren’t words, and unless typed a lot, automatic typing doesn’t engage.

                    1. 1

                      for those times when you need to hit Ctrl+F10+ScrLck. Who memorizes THOSE keys?

                      Shouldn’t you be able to rebind that to something a little less hideous?

                      1. 2

                        My point is that sometimes there are oddball key combos you need to hit that are one-offs and don’t make sense to rebind.

                        1. 3

                          Yeah I guess I’m spoiled by Emacs where every command can be invoked either by a key binding or by name using M-x command-name.

                    2. 2

                      The header image is enough to give me RSI by association…

                      1. 1

                        I postulate most of the benefit actually comes from switching to a mechanical keyboard.

                        Particularly, since what was used beforehand was one of those newish Apple keyboards, which I consider throw-at-wall irritating to use.

                        1. 1

                          I’ve been using a Das Keyboard Ultimate for years now which has blank keycaps. But I could touch type long before I bought it, it has still improved my typing on all keyboards (even those with lettering) - perhaps it’s forced me never to look down even when making a mistake or similar. I think the mechanical nature of the keyboard is the real winner though - I’m significantly more accurate on it than other, non-mechanical, keyboards.

                          1. 1

                            It’d be time for a new keyboard standard. Split keyboards are incredibly useful, but there is bit of a disagreement how their layout should be oriented. Also I find location and modern use of modifier keys an atrocious design. Ctrl+something to run a command, why? Ctrl+Alt+Something, what? Who made this up and who still keeps this up?

                            Plus, who’s trying to remove the esc-key from the keyboard?

                            1. 1

                              This brings me back to my childhood learning to type on my father’s typewriter. I always hated handwriting my papers and such and I was able to use the typewriter for essays/writing assignments. The catch was that my father told that I could only use it if I learn to type “like a professional” first.

                              It was challenging, took me a whole summer of almost daily practice (copying from books and random documents). It was not only about memorizing the layout and building up the muscle memory, but also about having the strength in the not-so-used fingers to actually trigger the mechanical action of the typewriter (it was not even an electrical typewriter). The last few weeks I actually covered the entire layout of the typewriter with electrical tape to really probe that I didn’t need the layout x).

                              Fun times! I will always be grateful to my dad because of this.

                              1. 1

                                I learned to touch-type-ish since a I was comfortable with a computer thanks to my mother being a secretary. Ish because I never forced myself to use certain fingers for they correct usage for example I tend to try to reach the “<” key on a AZERTY keyboard or “" QWERTY keyboard for laptop (link the Thinpad one) with my thumb and different stuffs like that.

                                You don’t need a brand-new, albeit beautiful, keyboard to learn. You just have to force yourself to look at the screen. It was always logical for me that I want to see the output of my action rather than my fingers pressing a key. And after that, it is mostly muscle memory. Going for a blank keyboard just force your to acquire it faster but it can be painful. Even changing keyboard layout is painful. I use mostly azerty by habit but for programming and other stuffs, it is a bad keyboard layout.

                                Muscle memory is your friend. It will take time to build it. Treat yourself with honesty and accept that you may take more time that any blog post praising something can tell. Even if you can touch-type in one layout, we will be lost when you switch to a totally different one. I know that I can switch from AZERTY to QWERTY in okay-ish fashion (I just get a hard time with the “M” letter) but when I tried to learn Bépo or Colemak, it was hell, I was bak to 12 years old me fighting the keyboard.

                                Bref, take your time.

                                (I realized that I use my thumb to reach all the “WXC” keys, “ZXC” in QWERTY.)

                                PS: 70-90 wpm is good and nice but it is not a expert typist speed, I type around that range and it is comfy but far from expert level.

                                1. 1

                                  what really did it for me was a indie videogame with asteroids, you had to type the sentences correctly to charge your lasers and be able to shot them out of your way before getting crushed. I can’t remember the name at all, but it was great. oh, that and typeracer. Edit: ztype [https://zty.pe/] comes close