Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 78 / NOVEMBER 1986 / PAGE 8

Dvorak Keyboard Update

Here is some follow-up information for the COMPUTE! reader who was interested in converting his Commodore 64 to a Dvorak keyboard ("Readers' Feedback," August, 1986). There are many products available for the 64 and other computers, ranging from inexpensive keycap overlays and emulation software to complete replacement keyboards and ROM upgrades. I'm sorry that you discouraged the reader by quoting the BYTE article from February, 1986. That article investigated only one topic—finger travel—and its results are controversial. The authors used a computer simulation, which is error-prone because of the assumptions inherent in any such program. In response to the article, a top English keyboard expert (Professor Hisao Yamada, University of Tokyo) noted that several factors influence the results when measuring finger travel, and it is very difficult to get accurate measurements.

It is a combination of factors, not any single factor, that makes Dvorak superior in the view of myself and others. According to a controlled study by the U.S. government, Dvorak can result in a 74-percent productivity increase over the qwerty method. It can be learned in less time, finger travel is less (how much less is controversial, but it is clearly less), and Dvorak results in higher speed and accuracy. If any of your readers want more information on the Dvorak method, including a list of products available for personal computers, please send a self-addressed, legal-size envelope with 39 cents in postage to me at the following address. I will also enclose a free copy of the "Dvorak Developments Newsletter."

Randy Cassingham, Editor
Dvorak Developments Newsletter
P.O. Box 1895
Upland, CA 91785

Thank you for offering this additional information.