As I mentioned previously, I’m using City of God a…

As I mentioned previously, I’m using City of God as my practice text for learning to type in Colemak. I found the following quote from Book I.VIII insightful regarding the importance of virtue:

Wherefore, though good and bad men suffer alike, we must not suppose that there is no difference between the men themselves, because there is no difference in what they both suffer. For even in the likeness of the sufferings, there remains an unlikeness in the sufferers; and though exposed to the same anguish, virtue and vice are not the same thing. For as the same fire causes gold to glow brightly, and chaff to smoke; and under the same flail the straw is beaten small, while the grain is cleansed; and as the lees are not mixed with the oil, though squeezed out of the vat by the same pressure, so the same violence of affliction proves, purges, clarifies the good, but damns, ruins, exterminates the wicked. And thus it is that in the same affliction the wicked detest God and blaspheme, while the good pray and praise. So material a difference does it make, not what ills are suffered, but what kind of man suffers them. For, stirred up with the same movement, mud exhales a horrible stench, and ointment emits a fragrant odor.

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.