Thursday, September 01, 2005


THis is a new series which I will most probably ditch bcoz of lack of enthu. WYSBNTA stands for What You See But Never Thought About. I will just try to take a look at some things we take for granted, but never thought why they are the way they are!

#1 - Why are keyboard keys arranged the way they are in a computer keybopard/typewriter?

It was supposedly done to reduce the speed of typing!

The origin of QWERTY could be an archetypal example of historical and technological evolution. Those who used or knew those old mechanical typewriters will undoubtedly remember their defects. One of the most typical was the jamming of two or more typebars caused by too rapid typing. Thus, in those old times, during the initial stages of development of the different machines, maximum speed was not equal to maximum efficiency. Furthermore, the first QWERTY prototype, a machine invented by C. L. Sholes in 1860, did not have the paper visible in front of the typist but hidden beneath the machine itself, held by a flat carriage. With this design the risk of ruining a whole typing session due to a non-detected jam was especially high and made even more important to make every effort to get a design which would minimize clashes. QWERTY resulted in fact from trial and error modifications of an originally alphabetical arrangement in order to minimize those clashing and jamming events. To accomplish this goal the keys were actually dispersed to avoid fast typing! (Note that the sequence DFGHJKL found on the middle row is an important fragment of thew alphabet with the vowels E and I removed). A compromise between speed and efficiency in a dull design tailor-made for the first QWERTY machine.
Some links on this
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3

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