Learning To Type in Colemak

I made a half-hearted attempt to learn to type with Dvorak last year, but it didn’t take. When I saw that Ian was learning Colemak, I decided to dive in as well. I first made a Mac-style Colemak layout so that I’d have something better-looking to reference. It also meant I had a bit more vested interest in seeing it through.

But why learn a different keyboard layout? The two main reasons would be reduced risk of RSI and because I enjoy technical challenges. The particular appeal of Colemak is that it changes less keys around than Dvorak, meaning I would hopefully pick it up more quickly. Notably, the z,x, and c keys are identical, keeping cut, copy, and paste keyboard shortcuts in the same place.

I started this past Monday and have been plowing though drills in Master Key 3–4 times per day. I’m quite happy with my progress:

Ian went on to detail his Colemak learning strategy, and I especially liked that he was importing text from a great speech to augment his drills with real text that was simultaneously useful and edifying. Instead of a speech, I decided to go with a classic: St. Augustine’s City of God. This way I can double-down on completely frying my brain.

Some observations:

  • Muscle memory fights very hard to not change things. My jaw and shoulders have started to clench up as I’ve moved into higher speed and broader keyboard coverage.
  • Somewhere around 25 wpm requires some unconscious typing, triggering the above feelings. I’m trying really hard to stay relaxed while typing.
  • It’s much easier to type in the drills because you can focus on the letters, while “real-world” typing operates on more of a words level.
  • The City of God starts with Augustine talking smack against the Pagans.
  • I wrote this whole post in Colemak. It was slow and I had to use the backspace key a lot.

Religion is the Love of God

I just started reading Jack Caputo’s little book On Religion. It has what must be the best opening section of any book I’ve read for quite some time! After saying that “religion” in the singular means nothing, he lets loose:

By religion, therefore, let me stipulate, I mean something simple, open-ended, and old-fashioned, namely, the love of God. But the expression “love of God” needs some work. Of itself it tends to be a little vacuous and even slightly sanctimonious. To put it technically, it lacks teeth. So the question we need to ask ourselves is the one Augustine puts to himself in the Confessions, “what do I love when I love God?,” or “what do I love when I love You, my God?,” as he also put it, or, running these two Augustinian formulations together, “what do I love when I love my God?”.

I love this question in no small part because it assumes that anybody worth their salt loves God. If you do not love God, what good are you? You are too caught up in the meanness of self-love and self-gratification to be worth a tinker’s damn. Your soul soars only with a spike in the Dow-Jones Industrial average; your heart leaps at the prospect of a new tax break. The devil take you. He already has. Religion is for lovers, for men and women of passion, for real people with a passion for something other than taking profits, people who believe in something, who hope like mad in something, who love something with a love that surpasses understanding. Faith, hope, and love, and of these three the bets is love, according to a famous apostle (I Cor. 13:13). But what do they love? What do I love when I love my God? That is their question. That is my question.

The opposite of a religious person is a loveless person. “Whoever does not love does not know God” (I john 4:8). Notice that I am not saying a “secular” person. That is because I am out to waylay the usual distinction between religious and secular in the name of what I shall call the “post-secular” or “religion without religion.” I include a lot of supposedly secular people in religion… even as I think a lot of supposedly religious people should look around for another line of work. A lot of supposedly secular people love something madly, while a lot of supposedly religious people love nothing more than getting their own way and bending others to their own will (“in the name of God”). Some people can be deeply and abidingly “religious” with or without theology, with or without the religions. Religion may be found with or without religious. That is my thesis.

Thus the real opposite of a religious person is a selfish and pusillanimous curmudgeon, a loveless lout who knows no higher pleasure than the contemplation of his own visage, a mediocre fellow who does not have the energy to love anything except his mutual funds. That is what the philosophers call an abusive definition, but I do not feel any great compunction about that, because the people I am abusing deserve it. They do not love God. What is worse than that ? What can you say on their behalf? If you know, you should write your own book and defend them. This book is for those who love God, that is, for people who are worth their salt. The New Testament is peppered with references to salt (Matt. 5:13; Mark 9:50; Col. 4:6). Salt is my criterion of truth, and love is my criterion of salt.

John D. Caputo, On Religion, 1-3.