Tommy Stanton

Computer programmer and banjo picker

Learning to type with GNU Typist


After diligently learning through Series Q ("Quick QWERTY course") and almost all of Series R ("Long QWERTY course"), I'm happy to say that my average WPM is about 80, using proper technique! Thanks, GNU Typist!

After my friend Jamie Pitts mentioned to me that he was revisiting the art of typing (you know, stuff like "WPM" ;), I was inspired to reconsider typing as well.

My last exposure to typing was using software like Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing or Mario Teaches Typing in elementary school. Mario Teaches Typing was definitely my favorite. It also runs great in DOSBox. ;)

I am well aware that, although my typing speed is decent and I have a good feel for my keyboard, my technique sucks. I don't use the home position. I think that piano instructors usually begin teaching their students with a similar idea, the concept of placing your fingers on certain keys at the start.

Enter my tool of choice for becoming a better typist: GNU Typist. It is an ncurses-based TUI, so I love it. :) It's a great teacher, with instructions like this:

    Above the D-key is the E-key.  Above the K-key is the I-key.  Learn these
    positions well.  Whenever you are about to type a line, look at your fingers and
    make sure they are in the HOME position.  Then don't look at them again.

    -- GNU Typist, 2nd screen of Lesson Q1 (Licensed under the GNU GPL)

With my self-learned technique, my average WPM is somewhere between 60 and 80. With the correct technique that GNU Typist teaches, my average WPM is currently somewhere between 20 and 40. Quite a difference, but I am confident that my WPM will increase over time with this proper technique.

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