Beeminder For Typing (Will I finally learn Dvorak?)

I stumbled across the Dvorak Zine this morning. I have known about (and been interested in) the Dvorak keyboard layout for about fifteen years, but have never actually stepped up and really made myself switch.

My interest is piqued again and–unlike in 2001–I suspect that I could actually make the switch with Beeminder’s help. But before I dive in, I have some questions for all of you…

  • Does anyone know of an autodata-friendly typing tutor?
  • Are there any Dvorak users here who want to chime in with tips and/or encouragement?
  • Are there any Dvorak skeptics here who want to chime in with data and/or discouragement?

It may slightly complicate matters that I am a part-time Vim user.


I switched to Dvorak during university, and am now stuck with it. :slight_smile:

I remember putting little stickers on my keycaps with the new letters, and then slowly they fall off or go blurry and you don’t need them any more. I used those little round dots that you sometimes see on book spines.

The absolute best thing about using Dvorak is that I can touch type quickly and while looking elsewhere, exactly because the default key caps are not helpful…

The worst thing is that most of the world uses some other keyboard layout, so I’m clunky when using someone else’s machine. Conversely, most folks can’t type on mine, which makes sharing more tricky.

Not sure what Vim’s got to do with it. Me too. Don’t recall it ever being a problem.

Also not sure what you’d beemind.

A complete switch might be the only real way to experience. Seems like the time that I half-heartedly tried Android but actually kept using my iPhone for anything important. I don’t think that I would’ve learned Dvorak gradually while switching back and forth from qwerty.

What you could beemind is, for this holiday break, typing a thousand words every day or whatever, so that when back-to-work in January arrives your fingers will have learned what’s going on.

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I was thinking of Beeminding time spent doing Dvorak typing lessons, but I guess that implies switching back and forth with qwerty - sounds like that would be counterproductive.

Did you remap the Vim navigation keys? I only thought it might be weird because hjkl keys are home row in qwerty. I guess I was assuming I would need to use the right hand home row in the Dvorak layout for my navigation keys.

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Interesting. I guess I learned Vim about the same time as Dvorak, so I never got used to using the physical home row to navigate. i.e. I just use h j k l in their Dvorak positions.

I suppose you could use nmap and vmap to change them if you’re willing to sacrifice whatever it is that d h t n do in normal and visual mode. But that seems like it might have unfortunate side effects, because dd is pretty common…


I switched to Colemak a while back – much easier to switch than Dvorak from what I read. The only problem is that it means I can’t use an iPad any more. Luckily my Freewrite comes with Colemak and Dvorak support.

In terms of adding in BM support, I would strongly suggest a time-spent goal. Though most people advocate a cold turkey approach, just immersing yourself in the new layout and having a tough week or two at the beginning. That’s what I did with Colemak, though again I think it would be harder with Dvorak.

I’m now hoping to switch to a steno keyboard using Plover. It’s a much much steeper learning curve, and in this case it makes sense to do it incrementally, spending 30-60 mins per day doing the drills, but luckily there are now many resources for this.


Dvorak typist here.

How is Beeminder going to help you with learning Dvorak?

Just switch to Dvorak and start typing. Why would you even need Beeminder??!?

It’s not like oh, I am going to type 30 minutes of Dvorak today, then switch back to qwerty again and completely mess up my muscle memory.

Also, the greatest challenge of switching to Dvorak is not the relearning to touch typing on a different layout, but the incompatibility with the workplace. So unless your workplace allows you to change keyboard layout or let’s you bring your own keyboard. You should consider these factor because you embark on Dvorak journey.

Mechanical keyboard I would suggest you consider getting are Pok3r or Code WASD because they have a DIP switches that lets you switch to Dvorak/Colemark without the need mess around with the operating system.

Programmable mechanical keyboard such as the Ergodox is also an option, but they are more expensive and esoteric, you can build one yourself or buy a prebuild one on ebay, requires some programming, you can write a code to have any layout you want.

Lastly, it take about a month or two to get back to your qwerty typing speed, so I would suggest you start immediately to take advantage of the holiday break and practice as much as you can by racing on typeracer or something.

Once you switch to Dvorak, no one will be to use your computer/laptop. The look on their face when they use your computer and all they see is random letters when they type lol.


Happy to say that iPad + most other devices all support Colemak now.