I learned something new yesterday about the modern keyboard while reading an essay for Writing 102. The essay was "Necessity's Mother" by Jared Diamond, the guy who wrote Guns, Germs, and Steel. Here's the quote from the essay:
"Still another factor is compatibility with vested interests. This book, like probably every other typed document you have ever read was typed with a QWERTY keyboard, named for the left-most six letters in its upper row. Unbelievable as it may now sound, that keyboard layout was designed in 1873 as a feat of anti-engineering. It employs a whole series of perverse tricks designed to force typists to type as slowly as possible, such as scattering the common most letters over all keyboard rows and concentrating them on the left hand (where right-handed people have to use their weaker hand). The reason behind all of those seemingly counterproductive features is that the typewriters of 1873 jammed if adjacent keys were struck in quick secession, so that manufacturers had to slow down typists. When improvements in typewriters eliminated the problem of jamming, trials in 1932 with an efficiently laid-out keyboard showed that it would let us double our typing speed and reduce our typing effort by 95 percent. But QWERTY keyboards were solidly entrenched by then. The vested interest of hundreds of millions of QWERTY typists, typing teachers, typewriter, and computer sales people, and manufacturers have crushed all moves toward keyboard efficiency for over 60 years."
I read this and I think hmmm, i always thought I was pretty fast at typing without looking down at the keys, but you are saying I can type faster with a better keyboard? And why would we not want a faster more efficient way of getting things done? Didn't make sense at first until I realized, oh wait, people don't like to change! So all of those people who refused to change how they typed because they were already too set in their ways to even comprehend wanting to try a new keyboard have screwed us all over. Thanks a lot. Seems like this happens a lot when people don't want to change because it takes too much effort, but I don't need to go into my political views on how religion in politics is way outdated.
By the way: the keyboard thing was not the main point of the essay. The essay was about how inventions come about and how the Heroic Theory of Invention is a myth.
I have come to realize that I really enjoy my writing class. Not just because I do enjoy to write (I have a journal of poems I have written) but because I like the essays that my professor has us read. They make me question life and the way I perceive things. Yea at the time it may seem that I am being influenced by the authors' opinions at the time I read them. However as I read more and more I learn to sort out what I really feel about things. I'm a slow reactor. I'm kind of sad that after this semester I don't have to take writing anymore. I really enjoy it. And I know, if I enjoy it I should take more classes, yet I just don't have the space for it. I have so many requirements to fulfill in order to get my degree and apply to med school, none of which require anything above this writing class. It's sad. I'm also worried that I may get put in a class I really don't like.
For example first semester of freshman year I was in a really slow and basic writing class. I was placed here and I felt so out of place. I always knew the answers and was willing to talk yet no one else was. It was like talking to a wall. The teacher would ask an analysis question and I would be the only one raising my hand. I started to not raise my hand because I felt like maybe I was intimidating the other people in the class, many of which really did not do so well in the class because English wasn't their first language.
It got to the point where the teacher told me to stop raising my hand all the time and let other people answer. This made me mad. Since when am I not allowed to raise my hand in class? No one else was talking so why can't I? It isn't my fault that they didn't want to discuss the readings and connect things like I love to do and like she was looking for them to do. It pissed me off because normally I never raise my hand in a class and here I am raising my hand and I am told not to. What?! I never had the same respect for the teacher after then. She knew I was more advanced than the other people in the class and she told me that (I'm not trying to brag). But why can't I talk out loud? I was trying to spark conversation with what I said, hoping someone would disagree with me. It didn't work.
So I'm afraid of that happening again because it would just be a waste of my time. Plus I really like how my professor this semester has us read essays and makes us connect them, first with discussions, then feeder assignments, and then an essay. I think it's cool. It also is cool how some people in the class actually discuss and sort of debate. It's way more interesting and it is also a much better learning experience, at least for me.
Wow, I wrote a lot and I'm sure if anyone reads this in the first place they probably didn't read the whole thing. Well, I'm gonna try to take a nap since I haven't been able to sleep all week.