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products I use | The view from down here

Tag: products I use

type cast

The end of this piece sounds like a promotional piece. It’s not. No sponsorship is in place.

When I was in primary school I had a simple text-book on touch typing or at least typing efficiently with one hand. It wasn’t really a text-book in the traditional sense; rather a case of 100 typed pages, somewhat yellowed and simply stapled.  My school at the time decided (with my parents I’m assuming) that it would be useful for me to learn to type. My hand writing though neat was incredible slow and unlikely to improve substantially with an ever-increasing volume of material through high school and later university. It was also not an efficient use of resources for my one good limb.

I remember sitting in a cozy room aged about 11 with this booklet, an electric typewriter and Mr Campbell the vice-principal of my primary school a man I liked running through what I now know as drills

frfrfrfrf fvfvfvfv

etc.

I liked those classes. That school particularly was good at making what we now know of as reasonable accommodations for me their first student with a disability without needing to know the right forms to fill in. We all just (seemed at least) to get on with it. I wasn’t left feeling bad for any of it and this was one “special” class that I looked forward to. I loved the teacher. I loved the book and I felt accomplished.

From memory those lessons did not last very long. We moved interstate soon after they started. I held on to the book everyone hoping I would continue. Things changed after that though, personally and at school. It was a different system.

I was soon trained up on dictation and voice recognition systems, given scribes for exams and other good accommodations were made. In typical style I regularly misplaced than relocated the typing book. I never used it, but was glad to look through it, almost like a year book. Eventually in one of my many house moves through my 20′s the book did its usual disappearing act and never reappeared.

Voice recognition software is very useful for some times and in some places. Academic and business writing where the thought process is more factual and formal.  But typing, however badly seems a key activity. It’s very tactile and active as well as being cerebral. You can type with music playing, as I am now. If I can find keys I can find a way to make myself heard, regardless of software installed.

While using and enjoying my software solution I started periodically “googling” “one-handed typing” solutions. Just curiosity. Although most of the offices I have worked in, have been too ambient noisy to dictate super-efficiently without being quite rude. I also think more stiltedly  if I have to remember to say punctuation marks. But mostly I was interested in the progress that I assumed had undoubtedly been made since the 1980′s.

I was wrong. Until recently I found very little for standard keyboards. There were options, good options I’ll bet for half qwerty keyboards, but until recently it seems no good options online for teaching myself one-handed typing on a standard keyboard. Given that I prefer writing on my laptop that’s what I need, to improve my own skills. In my case I know I’m skill deficient. I’m actually fast-ish at the “hunt and peck” method because I know basically where the keys are on the keyboard, but I need to look. My fingering is all off though.  I’m slow if I try to use the right fingers and the right keys!

So what I have found and am using is Custom Typing which offers standard typing tutoring as well as one-handed (l and r). Its got programs for group work and has programs and words for children as well. There is an animated tutor (which I think is only for the standard two-handed modules :( ) which supposedly provides encouragement. It’s free for a month. I’ll see if it’s still interesting/useful after that.

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