Tag Archives: dvorak

DIY Home Row Finger Placement Nubs for Remapped Dvorak Keyboards

Pro tip: converting your keyboard to Dvorak is awesome, but you lose the little nubs on the “J” and “F” keys that let you plant your hands by feel. I use little strips of vinyl stickers on the index-finger home keys (“U” and “H”) so I can find them by fingertip. Paper stickers will get gross pretty quickly, but the vinyl holds up pretty well. I have to replace them every 3 months or so, but that’s not too big of a deal. Finger-feel-key-finding doesn’t sound like a big deal, but in practice the difference between having and not-having nubs is enormous.

finger-nubs-laptop-wide

If you’re in an office setting and can’t find stickers, I’ve also had success with excess label-tape. The tape is too thin to feel when stuck flat to the keys, but it works nicely when folded into flaps.

finger-nubs1

Pro tip 2: if you’re in an environment where sharing keyboards is the norm (e.g. a pair-programming shop), prominently label the Dvorak keyboards. I can’t tell you how many times someone’s walked over to my machine, started typing, and gotten that “is-the-world-crazy-or-is-it-just-me?” look in their eyes before spending 5 minutes trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

tl;dr: Vinyl stickers make great home-row-key nubs on remapped keyboards. While your at it, label keyboards as Dvorak to prevent confusion.

Vi Tutorial for Dvorak Typists

Vi has interested me ever since I realized that it may be the only text editor I’ll find on a remote server. I spent a little while using it, but it was hard and I got distracted by something shiny and—

Lately, it feels as if an inflection point has been reached among rubyists moving to Vim en masse. Tired of waiting for Textmate 2? Unhappy with bulky IDEs like Rubymine? Just getting back to their nerd roots? Beats me, but I’m excited to be able to pair in Vi these days.

So what sucks about Vi for Dvorak users? Spacial navigation using the “J”, “K”, “L” keys, that’s what! For Qwerty users, its a win: navigational controls are at your fingertips, under your default hand position. For Dvorak users, those same fingers would rest on “H”, “T”, and “N”, so the choices are 1) a cascading series of non-standard remappings, or 2) suck it up and learn to live with it.

I chose option 2), and in order to facilitate said learning (and said sucking-it-up), I made these Dvorak versions of Viemu’s Vi tutorial. Enjoy!

Here’s a .zip file of all the images, and here’s a copy of the svg if anyone wants to clean it up or make changes.