Keyboards of Doom

This is dedicated to everyone who isn’t going to have a normal Thanksgiving. That’s why it won’t mention it in any way.

The QWERTY keyboard is used by almost everyone with a computer. Ever wonder why the keys are in such a screwed up order? Be careful; the real story may enrage you beyond reasonable thresholds of anger. Continue ONLY if you have a strong stomach for human folly.

When the typewriter was first invented, much thought was put into the placement of the keys. The most frequently used letters were placed near the strongest fingers, enabling the highest efficiency possible from human hands to type the missives of yesteryear. It was so efficient, in fact, that people learned to type too fast. Recall that a typewriter has huge arms that fly out from the belly of the machine, strike the paper, and recoil back into the darkness from whence they came. Now, everyone has approached a typewriter and leaned on all the keys, causing the thing to completely jam up. This is what would happen to the newly efficient workers, causing broken typewriters, and lots of downtime for the purveyors of fine capitalism. Something had to be done.

The keyboard was looked at again. It was up to engineers to redesign the keyboard, this time making it as inefficient as possible, placing the most frequently used keys by the weakest fingers. This alleviated much of the jam up problem, and the wheels of democracy could once again whirl freely. Everyone got used to the keyboard. Class after class of high school students learned the virtues of the inefficient system, trying their hardest not to `hunt and peck’. It became part of the world, and everyone loved it. Enter the computer.

Free from the archaic strikings, the keyboards of the first computers were once again set up with the efficient system. Pretty soon, through sales, it became obvious that everyone liked the old keyboard better. Some could type fast with the inefficient system, some just liked a bit of familiarity with the new, scary computer technology. So it stayed, repelling all advances for improvement, and is the keyboard we have today.

Just think of how many more books could be written, how much earlier you could leave work, how much shorter you’d have to spend on a term paper if you had a proper keyboard. If we were just a little more adaptable to change (Toffler was right!), we could make things a lot easier, and I could have been done with this stupid segment of “Totally Uninteresting Facts That Only A Geek Like Me Gives A Shit About” already. Have a nice long weekend, and try not to get too sober.