Alphabetical keyboard for QWERTY phobes

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Almost 140 years after Christopher Sholes solved the typebar jamming problem in alphabetically organized typewriters by creating the QWERTY alignment comes the Fast Finger Keyboard, which will prove maddeningly unusable to all but Luddite grannies and time-traveling Gutenburgians. $27.95, comes in whore red. Fast Finger Keyboards [Official Site]
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22 Responses to Alphabetical keyboard for QWERTY phobes

  1. Anonymous says:

    Am I the only touch-typist who wants one of these, mapped to bog standard qwerty in software, just for the double takes from anyone who happens to look at my keyboard?

  2. riazm says:

    @bugs, tp1024
    Someone has done this, I remember because my friend started to do it, and when I googled it I found it had already been done. I use Dvorak, actually, but I can type qwerty too. I recommend Dvorak to anyone who’s been thinking of learning it. It’s not that hard and if you type enough to wonder about it then it’s probably worth it, especially if you aren’t touch typing properly on Qwerty.

  3. NoahApples says:

    I really don’t understand why Dvorak isn’t the standard layout these days. QWERTY is hella’ archaic at this point.

  4. geekpdx says:

    The only people this could benefit are the same people that’ll never be able to figure out how to plug it in.

  5. grimc says:


    1) Acquire cheap QWERTY keyboard;
    2) Pop keys off;
    3) Rearrange;
    4) Profit

  6. GTMoogle says:

    Because dvorak is snake-oil?

    Of all the studies done on dvorak vs querty, guess who was the only researcher to show any advantage in dvorak? Dvorak.

    On top of that, using dvorak is a pain, it’s a pain for other people who use public computers after you, and any minor advantage it could theoretically have is specialized into one type of writing. It’s not necessarily good for coding.

    Qwerty wasn’t just some half-assed hack job. It and many other keyboard layouts competed in the marketplace until it eventually won out. The principles behind its design are ultimately ones that also lead to good typing speed and comfort.

    I should just start selling dvorak keyboards with wooden keys to reduce electrical interference and produce higher typing fidelity. I’m sure the audiophile computer users out there would love them.

  7. george57l says:

    I’m pretty sure the purpose built screen/keyboard combo at the local Kwik-Fit (UK only) has an alphabetical keyboard not a querty. I guess Kwik-Fit also figured they wanted employees who would use tyre fitting skills and not typing skills.

    (If I’m wrong – forgive me – but I know for certain I’ve seen the same thing at some such retailer.)

  8. ridl says:

    TP @ 10’s casual usage got me wondering:

    there are 85,100 google hits for “cromulent”.

    Now we know!

  9. Halloween Jack says:

    Why are we even still using this 19th-century paradigm? We should be using chording devices instead. That way, you could type in comfort by tapping away at the armrests of your Captain Kirk-style chair instead of pretending that you’re using Soviet-style office equipment.

  10. muteboy says:

    When I worked in Woolworths record dept in 1989, we had a little Epson(?) laptop with an LCD and a light pen for recording sales for the charts. That had an ABC keyboard as well. PITA.

  11. hohum says:

    Somebody needs to come out with a Linotype-layout keyboard for the computer. Get rid of that pesky shift key once and for all!

  12. Hoopy Frood says:

    My Garmin GPS has an alphabetic touch keyboard. It drives me nuts! It takes me at least 3 times as long to type on it as it would take me on a QWERTY touch keyboard.

  13. tp1024 says:

    Well, there’s no reason to attach *this is a word invented for a Simpsons episode* to cromulent, especially in a place where everyone knows it anyway.

    You wouldn’t say “Let’s have a quiz today (you know, that word that was supposedly written all over Dublin in 1791).”, would you?

    And damn it, I have only been speaking this language for half of my live, so cromulent is no worse than (though not quite as much fun as) flabberghasted or gobsmacked, just another word, period. As for all the rest:

  14. Wordguy says:

    I was loving “Gutenburgians” so I Googled to see if that was a Brownleeism or for reals. Turns our it should be “Gutenbergians” unless you are referring to some Swiss folks. Anyway, cool new-to-me word!

  15. ridl says:

    Listen, TP, I didn’t mean to disembiggen you, no need to be so defensive.

  16. SC_Wolf says:

    I’ve always been fond of FITALY for single-finger hunt-n-peck and/or stylus input.

  17. tp1024 says:


    I’ve been using Dvorak for the last 3 or 4 years. I learnt to touch type using it and it is at the very least equally well suited for typing. In my humble opinion it is better though, since it simply does add some comfort not to have letters all over the place, but mostly typing on the home row. I can’t really comment on it though, since I never learnt to touch type on the QWERTY.

    As for RSI, faster typing speeds or whatever. I don’t care. I use Dvorak, I like it and so do quite a few other people. In fact I was once talking to two guys in a cafe and it turned out that all three of us were using both Linux and Dvorak … (No, that’s not the most frequent experience I have.)

    In short, Dvorak is a perfectly cromulent keyboard and there is no reason against its use or even to actively oppose it, especially in a world of software exchangeable keyboard layouts.

  18. tp1024 says:

    As for a more serious idea I just had: hasn’t anyone developed a genetic algorithm for optimizing keyboard layouts yet? The only problem I see with it would be an appropriate fitness function, but that doesn’t seem to be an extraordinarily hard problem. Once you have that algorithm you can design keyboards for any language, just by feeding it with enough material of that language.

  19. Scuba SM says:

    Alrighty, I read an article on all this mess not to long ago, and I know no one will believe me unless I give a link, so here, everyone go read this.

  20. Bugs says:

    I think the biggest retail market for ABCD keyboards is badly dyslexic people. I used to know a guy with really bad dyslexia (and the need to re-learn typing after some brain surgery) who found the qwerty system an absolute nightmare.

    On his request I found a site selling alphabetical keyboards for dyslexics and bought one for him; he said he found it much easier to find the keys he wanted when hunting through the alphabet instead of an apparrently random mess.

    That’s a fascinating idea, but I can’t see how it would solve the problem. The fitness criteria would necessarily be a measure of how comfortable and efficient the layout would be to type on. If we could all agree on that, we’d already have an objective answer to the DVORAK/QWERTY/BUGSRULEZLOL keyboard debate.

  21. grimc says:

    How much faster could somebody type? Or more to the point, how much faster does anybody need to type? There are probably real advantages to Dvorak or alphabetical keyboards, but those have got to be severely marginalized when the cost of replacement is considered. Wouldn’t it be like the US, Germany, etc. deciding to switch to driving on the left side of the road?

    I like the whore red, though.

  22. GTMoogle says:

    Thanks for posting that Scuba, I’ve seen that before and it’s a quite excellent spotlight on this nonsense.

    The problem with easy software keyboard switching being the solution is that I’ve personally seen dvorak users accidentally leave a public terminal in dvorak mode, and the next user doesn’t happen to know the easy and fast magic input to switch it back.

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