I thought I might as well post my 3 informative posts. They are below.
As to your question, homer, yes, I am annoyed at that too. But I didn't find fault with any of the 3 applications he mentioned; maybe I just got versions that fixed the problem. I actually have had no problems in either OS 9 or OS X in regards to what that author has written, except in one particular place: games. Games seem to assume the QWERTY keyboard layout way too often, although it's not much of a problem. All you do is set up your keys the same way, understanding that the keys that are shown in the configuration panel aren't the ones that you actually typed. Sometimes, though, you want the keys hardwired, like in Oni. In that case, though, you just temporarily switch to the US keyboard layout and you're fine.
In general, I've had no problems with the dvorak keyboard layout.
I couldn't tell if ksv was trying to be funny here or not, but the dvorak keyboard is named for the creator, not the keyboard layout. I'm not sure of the creator's first name, but he did extensive research on typing, and came up with this very efficient layout.Originally posted by ksv
It's a more effecient keyboard layout than qwerty, where the first 5 letters are dvorak, not qwerty
Here's what it looks like (sort of):
First line: ',.pyfgcrl/ (this is the line right under the numbers)
Second line: aoeuidhtns- (this is the home row)
Third line: ;qjkxbmwvz (this is the line below the home row)
In addition, the [ and ] keys are in place of the = and - on the QWERTY keyboard, and the = key is in the place of ] on the QWERTY keyboard.
The guy who made the layout did some very effective studies. The dvorak keyboard layout offers these advantages:
1) It promotes alternating typing. That means that you generally type one letter of a word with one hand, the second letter with the other hand, the third with the first, and so on. Of course, not every word follows this pattern, but much more so than the QWERTY keyboard layout. The result? The longest word you type with one hand is papaya, a 6 letter word. Here are longer words that are all typed with one hand on the QWERTY keyboard layout:
devastated, exacerbate, exaggerated, desegregated, stargazers, stewardess, streetcars, sweetbread, aftertaste, reverberated, uphill, killjoy, million, minimum, opinion, pumpkin, lollipop, monopoly
There are many more than that.
2) To go along with number 1, all of the vowels are on the home row in your left hand. Since most words generally do not have vowels together, this furthers the alternating typing style. Also, 70% of all letters typed are on the home row of the Dvorak layout. This compares to 31% for QWERTY. Obviously this is a tremendous benefit.
3) On the dvorak keyboard layout, you generally type with a strumming motion. The letters are arranged so that a strumming pattern, similar to the way a person would strum their fingers on a table, is encouraged. This provides more comfort to the hands. It is an often overlooked advantage of Dvorak.
Basically this means that as you type, you generally type from the outside in and then repeat the process.
A little history -- when typewriters were first invented, the keyboard was basically alphabetical, and it was much faster than the QWERTY keyboard layout. Because typewriters were mechanical, fast typing would often cause them to jam. Because of this, the QWERTY keyboard layout was invented to make typing as difficult as possible. Of course, with computers, this is no longer a problem, so the dvorak keyboard layout is much more efficient.
I found a great dvorak keyboard typing tutor (that also includes QWERTY typing drills), called Master Key. It's native in OS X, too. I did a lot of typing drills in Master Key for about 3 weeks, and after that, I was already typing faster than I did on the QWERTY keyboard layout. I must say, though, that my hands are much more comfortable when typing in the dvorak keyboard layout -- I don't put as much strain on them.
Furthermore, since I have no other computer that uses the dvorak keyboard layout, I am forced to use the QWERTY keyboard layout in other places. Although I don't particularly care for the QWERTY keyboard layout that much, I have come to be able to switch layouts pretty quickly. So I don't have that much trouble when typing on QWERTY keyboards anymore.
It took about another 3 weeks to be able to type well on both layouts, so it takes about 6 weeks to get used to, overall.
(A lot of this information came from http://www.cse.ogi.edu/~dylan/dvorak/DvorakIntl.html )
I should mention one more benefit, though. It basically secures you as the only user of your computer. Whenever my relatives or friends sit down at my computer, they can't type at all, so my computer is basically unusable unless they bring their own keyboard.
I think you can have a per-login layout, but the one thing that is global is the login window (which obviously poses a problem).
That's the direct download URL for the latest Mac OS X native version of Master Key (I believe it's carbon so it should work in OS 9 too). Master Key is $15, but allows limited typing before you register – it allows you to do a couple drills of the home row, and then a drill for the whole keyboard (you'd basically have to teach yourself). I'd recommend getting it, though, because it's a really good typing program. The only decent one for a dvorak keyboard.
Here's an image of the dvorak keyboard layout (the keys on the right edge are a little shorter than most keyboards).
Note that on all Apple Pro Keyboards, you can just pop off the keys and rearrange them. That's what I did with mine -- it was originally a black QWERTY Apple Pro Keyboard. It's very easy to do (and it allows you to clean your keyboard). Just use something like a toothpick or something from your swiss army knife. Once you get one off, you can get all the rest off with your fingers. When you do take off the keys, though, watch out for keys like the space and the shift keys: longer keys usually have a metal bar that assists it to staying on the keyboard.
gplex: Like I said, it takes about 6 weeks to get used to both keyboards after learning the dvorak keyboard layout. But lemme tell you, it's a relief typing in the dvorak keyboard layout. I much prefer it.....
... although you'll probably end up hating Navigator 0.2 afterwards because it won't be able to keep up with your typing.
UPDATE: Oh, a couple of things I should mention when using the dvorak keyboard layout. You'll need to use TinkerTool if you want to change the layout that the login window uses. You'll also probably want to activate the keyboard menu so you can quickly switch between the QWERTY and dvorak keyboard layouts (for games that play weird with the dvorak layout -- like Oni for OS X).
One last thing: if you use the open firmware password, BEWARE. The QWERTY keyboard layout is HARD WIRED into the firmware, so anything you type will be in the QWERTY keyboard layout. As such, I tried to password protect my computer, and then ended up having to take out a RAM chip and zap the PRAM because I didn't realize I was typing in the QWERTY keyboard layout.
homer: See my above post. You can easily change the keyboard mappings in OS X and OS 9 by going to the International preference pane (go to the "Keyboard Menu" tab) or the Keyboard control panel.
Furthermore, the physical keys of any Apple Pro Keyboard should be fairly easy to remove and switch around if you really wanted to. Just be careful and don't force the keys off.