I thought I Could Type, But As A Programmer, I’m Missing The Important Characters

I learned to type in school.  I was about 16 when we had to do the drills; you know:

as as as aa aa aa sd sd sd

Well, I was watching a video by the creator of Node.js, Ryan Dahl.  I was noticing this guy could not only type, but his ability to make changes to his program made my jaw drop.  I thought I knew the vi editor.  I didn’t know anything.  So I resolved to learn the vi editor.  I didn’t really know that there were people who could type like that until I saw it.  And this is just some guy.  Well he did create a language that probably will change JavaScript but he’s just some guy.  So being able to edit like that is probably not that big of a deal.  But I was severly lacking.

I learned a little of the vi editor.  Then I saw another video.  It was a talk done by a professor who has written a lot about Scala and other new programming techniques.  He was also typing in real time.  What I noticed was when he typed, I was embarrassed.  I was embarrassed because 1/3 of what he was typing, he’d hit the backspace key and make a change.  I was just watching a video and I was embarrassed.   The video had nothing at all on it that indicated that this wasn’t a good technique during a presentation.  Not a pause, not an oops, not an apology.  It was like a statement saying “all we programmers type in programs like this”.

Well the truth is that I don’t type that badly.  I don’t type as badly as Venkat.  Yet I’m nowhere near the skill of Ryan.  So I decided to do lots of drills on the parts I have problems with.  And here are my results.  I can basically type about 60wpm on text, but when it comes to typing programs, my top two mistakes are the “=” and the “+”.  This is bad.  Real bad.  Why?  Because most programs use the = and use it a lot!

And the = and the + key are the same key.  That key is very hard to hit.  It’s a baby finger key, and it’s one of many keys that the baby finger is expected to hit while programming.  That’s poor design.  I mean the hardest key to hit is the one we use the most.

Scientific American has an article that you should really read regarding how we learn.  They did tests on a slug’s neuron or something like that, and found that it learns best when doing a repetition ten minutes apart three times, then 30 minutes (or something like that).  The article in the magazine is much better, but here’s a link that’s close: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=molecular-learning1

Just some ramblings inspired by my friend’s blog coz I noticed my blog entries are really really dry.  lol.


About SunKing2

Former web developer, guitar player, started Piano 2012 -yes still doing it! Recovery, sobriety, mental health advocate.
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