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My son can barely write with either hand, but he can type far faster than I can. Writing demands fine motor control; typing doesn't.

If typing is so simple and natural, why did my high school feature a course in typing but no course in handwriting?

I don't know. Can you explain why mine offered a course in handwriting but not typing?

Chris Malcolm (Email Removed) +44 (0)131 651 3445 DoD #205 IPAB, Informatics, JCMB, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK (http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/)
We were taught handwriting in grade school in the first grade. I'm sure all schools do this. Typing classes weren't available until either junior high school or high school. I can't imagine a high school with a course in handwriting. Locking the barn door, wot.

We were taught handwriting at primary school. My secondary school also taught handwriting in the first term of the first year, to tidy people up and teach skills that may have slid. We were allowed to have handwriting that sloped to the right (forward) or stood up, but not sloping to the left (backward).
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Peter H.M. Brooks filted:
Yes. The claim is that the Dvorak keyboard works better even than qwerty used by left-handers. The Dvorak is designed ... less effective than my left. Some day, when I'm really bored, I might teach myself Dvorak and test this theory.

When I dabbled in Dvorak for a while, back in the mid-80s, what most struck me was not a change in the division of labor between the left and right hand but rather that the fingers of both hands left the home row less often..r
We were taught handwriting in grade school in the first ... with a course in handwriting. Locking the barn door, wot.

We were taught handwriting at primary school. My secondary school also taught handwriting in the first term of the first ... allowed to have handwriting that sloped to the right (forward) or stood up, but not sloping to the left (backward).

I was taught only the forward slant. In fact, the paper we used had slant lines we had to follow. That and the "thicker strokes downward, lighter upward" ink pen technique was strictly enforced. Man, was that pretty when done right. There was a period in my life (in my early twenties) when I wrote with a very noticeable back slant. Thanks to drafting and engineering courses, I don't do cursive at all anymore.

Skitt (in Hayward, California)
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Voice recognition is the way of the future.[/nq]It's going to have to get a lot* better probably to nearly flawless accuracy. When I'm typing, I can often tell without looking at the screen when I've made a mistake. With voice recognition, it's not *me that's making the mistake, so I have to be a lot more vigilant. Also, when composing at the keyboard, I don't have any trouble watching the screen as I type, noticing the words as they come out, and spotting mistakes as they come. With voice recognition, you've got two problems.

First, you have to be actively speaking and reading at the same time, with the speaking preceding the reading rather than the other way around, as it usually is. Second, any decent system is going to need to process your speech at at least the phrase level and probably the sentence level before committing, so the text will appear jerkily a sentence behind you, which will, I presume be disconcerting. (The alternative is that it tries to keep up with you, putting out its "best guess" and refining as it gets more information, but that's probably even worse, as you have to expect to see errors that you hope will be corrected later on.)
Until and unless somebody comes up with a system that's as good as a good secretary taking dictation, one that's able to to interrupt you when necessary (but not too often) when it's unsure of a spelling or word choice and one that can be counted on to get it right to the extent that you dont monitor it for errors while you talk, I don't see it actually replacing typing.

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Hmm. Didn't most of us learn to cut the nails on our right hands while wielding the scissors with the left (and vice versa for the sinistral-handed)? And don't we do it pretty well by now?

Some of us have, but I know a lot who haven't. And having bought a new pair not that long ago, I can say that my manicure scissors are certainly the most expensive (and probably best made) scissors I own. A cheap pair of nail scissors is almost impossible for me to use with my left hand. And I suspect that using them with my left hand is one of the reasons that the screw needs to occasionally be tightened or replaced, as the left hand pulls the blade apart and needs a tight screw to fight against.
As long as we're on the subject, am I the only one who has different techniques for the two hands? When I'm cutting my left hand, using the right, I extend the fingers, palm down. When I'm cutting my right hand, using the left, I curl the fingers, palm up. Doing it the "wrong" way with either hand feels funny.

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Voice recognition is the way of the future.

I've heard people say so, but the picture that pops into my mind is of an enormous room filled with people yakking at their computers. We're all going to be working in an environment modeled after call centers. Warm and fuzzy? I don't think so.

rzed
Hmm. Didn't most of us learn to cut the nails ... sinistral-handed)? And don't we do it pretty well by now?

Some of us have, but I know a lot who haven't. And having bought a new pair not that long ... hand, using the left, I curl the fingers, palm up. Doing it the "wrong" way with either hand feels funny.

This lefty uses clippers not scissors, but clips the right fingernails (clipper in the left hand) with the right hand palm-up and fingers curled. and the left fingernails (with the clipper in the right hand) with the left hand palm down and the fingers extended.

This is getting pretty close to being far more information about each other than we really need.

Tony Cooper
Orlando FL
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As long as we're on the subject, am I the only one who has different techniques for the two hands? ... hand, using the left, I curl the fingers, palm up. Doing it the "wrong" way with either hand feels funny.

So do I, though I had to go and find a pair of scissors and try it to find out.
And here's another thing I'd never noticed: I use the thumb and index finger of my right hand, but the thumb and second finger of my left, using the index finger against the side of the handle to help compress the blades.
(I wonder what else I do and never notice?)

Katy Jennison
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