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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Are you a Dvork or a Qwerty?

If you recognize Dvork or Qwerty, then you know those names refer to the keypad designs on any computer keyboard. I was going to add typewriter too, but some will ask, what's a typewriter? Typewriters were actually developed in the 1860s and have virtually disappeared with the growth of word processors.

Almost all keypads today are Qwerty (referring to the first six letters of the keyboard reading left to right). The Dvork keyboard is named after it's designer.

Originally, the first keyboards were arranged using the letters of the alphabet in correct order, but that soon proved to be unefficient. Keys jammed when struck in rapid succession.

The Qwerty keyboard was designed by placing the most commonly used letters apart from one-another. That's the way all of us learned, so today that seems most correct and easy.

Along came August Dvork, a professor of education at the University of Washington. He designed his layout in the 1930s, placing the most commonly used letters, like vowels, on the home row. The lesser used, like J, K and Q, were moved to less busy positions. He found that if a person typed 40 words-per-minute on a Qwerty keyboard, that same individual could commonly type at twice or greater speed with his system.

Then, he campaigned diligently to get his more efficient system to be the standard. And he did gain followers who swear by his system for valid reasons. There are a great many Dvork aficionado's who champion that cause and naturally, use Dvork keyboards. And so can you.

All of today's popular computers have a "Dvork" setting that will transform the Qwerty keyboard to Dvork with a change in the computer's preference settings. The letters on the keys will not change, of course, but the Dvork keystrokes will be the results of the key strikes. And, if you know how to 'type,' seeing the letters on the keys is not an issue. The rub is, you have to learn the system... no cheating by peeking at the letters printed on the keys, or get a bonafide Dvork keyboard. There are even apps that work on unbound iphones if that is your thing.

Is it a big deal? Some think so. Others, per the Wall Street Journal, aren't sympathetic. One wrote: "How's that Beta max tape player working for you?"

Which brings to mind the question: How did the order of letters of the alphabet become as we know them? Comedian Steven Wright theorizes, "Do you think it is because of that song?"

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm still on that 'old' kick.

I recently wrote about the death of the world's oldest person. She was 115. Then I told you about the 107-year-old who had been married 22 times and is working on her 23rd. Well, you are in for another treat.

Max, the oldest dog in the world, just celebrated his 26th birthday. That, my friends, is 182 in dog years. "We don't spoil Max," says his owner. "We don't give him food from our table and he doesn't have any fancy toys, just a bit of rope."

Lots of stuff out there...

... which only proves my blog has it right... it IS nuts out there. The Week magazine usually has some fine examples:

  • A Florida bank wouldn't cash a check drawn on his wife's accout for a man who had two photo IDs. Bank demands a thumbprint for identification. HELLO! The man has no arms. He wears prosthetics. Oh well. Rules is rules.
  • Bob Dylan is working on a Christmas album. Songs included are "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "Here Comes Santa Claus." There goes the image.
  • Cuba will run out of toilet paper before year-end. (True.) Emergency exports are a distinct possibility. That and tree leaves, I guess.
  • A Florida city employee was threatened with job suspension or firing because she failed to say "Hello" to the mayor as the two passed in the hallway.
  • A high school football coach used a school bus after practice to take nine of his team to his Baptist church where they were baptised without the parents permission.
  • A comedian is being sued by her mother-in-law for telling mother-in-law jokes.
  • Brad Pitt just built a gerbil home for his children's pets. It features tunnels, bridges and seesaws as you may expect. It only cost him $82,000. Report says his children were delighted... to say nothing of the gerbils. I wonder if Angela knows this? Meanwhile, I'll bet those homeless living under bridge overpasses are wondering why gerbils live better than they do. (If it is of any consolation, homeless folks, at least you don't run the risk of another gerbil biting off your head.)
  • After a dinner-date, a Michigan man, upon receipt of the check, needed to borrow his girl friend's car keys. Seems he left his wallet on her car seat. Not only did he leave her stuck with the bill, he stole her car. So much for going too far on the first date.
  • A Missouri high school marching band had to change their matching T-shirts. The shirts depicted brass instruments evolving into one another over the slogan, 'Brass Evolutions.' The shirts drew complaints from religious conservative parents. "If the shirts had said "Brass Resurrections" and had a picture of Jesus on the cross we would have done the same thing," said a spokesperson. Hmm, somehow, I can't picture that "Brass Resurrections' T-shirt being something a marching band would do.

See. I told you It's Nuts out There.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

22 and counting...

Two posts ago (scroll down), I mentioned the death of the world's oldest person. She was 115. Well, I thought that would be hard to top. WRONG!

Wok Kundor (I'm guessing she is not Irish) is a 107-year-old Malaysian woman (See, I told you she wasn't Irish) who is concerned her husband, a kid of 37, may be seeing other women. And Wok has the experience to know. This current four-year marriage is her 22nd! Makes Tommy Manville, who was married a mere 13 times, look like a piker.

Not one to let grass grow under her feet, Wok may divorce her current O.A.O. (one and only) and move on. She has a sprightly 50-year-old in mind. "My intention to remarry is to fill my forlornness," she said. "I realize that I am an aged woman. I don't have the body nor am I a young woman who can attract anyone," she acknowledged. (I saw her picture. I concur!) But, according to 22 husbands to date, she has a wonderful personality.

Wok won't discuss past relationships or children. Maybe at 107, she can't remember them.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How fast is fast?

It depends, I guess.

Usain Bolt, Jamaican running sensation, just hit his stride at 23 mph... and earned the title fastest human being. No has ever run faster. His 100 meter record time is 9.56 seconds... unless he has broken his own record, again, by the time you read this.

Well, Bolt IS fast... but if a cheetah was chasing him at 70 mph, he's a dead man. And if a peregrine falcon was diving on the cheetah at 200 mph, no way the cheetah is going to avoid an attack.

On the other hand, if a sloth was running from a sand dollar, the sloth would leave the sand dollar in the dust, so to speak, at 6 inches a minute. But a slow turtle could easily run down a sloth.

See what I mean?

How high is high? The world high jump record is a half inch above 8 feet... like leaping over a door frame with a running start. The pole vault record, using a standard 16 foot pole, is over 20 feet. Wow!

But a lowly flea can jump 100 times it's body height. For a 6 foot man, that would be a leap, from a standing position, of 600 feet... up to the 7th floor of most buildings.

Still, that is nothing for Superman who is able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

So it's all relative. Unless you consider the speed of light. At 186,000 miles per second. That is absolute!

Impressive.

Movin' up the ladder

Gertrude Baines died a few days ago. Big deal? Was for her... and me. She was the oldest living person at 115. Know what that means? I moved up a notch. Hmm. Someday maybe. Don't really know if that is good or bad.

Gertrude attributed her longevity "to the Lord, that I never did drink, never did smoke, and never did fool around."

Maybe she wasn't really 115... maybe, not doing all those things, it just seemed that long to her.