31
Jan/10
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The QWERTY efect

As many things that seem random the order of the keys on the computer keyboards (at least the more popular ones in USA and Mex) is not. But against common sense it’s not made  to simplify typewriting but to make it harder.

The QWERTY keyboards are named so because  -q-, -w-, -e-, -r-, -t-, e  -y- are the firsts 6 characters of the first character row. This has been so since the mechanical type writers times. It turns out that the original typewriters keyboard layout allowed faster writing than the qwerty ones and the mechanisms of that time couldn’t keep the phase. There fore to avoid the constant jamming of type writers the qwerty layout was designed and popularized .

I believe this history encloses some valueble lessons. To begin with it teaches us to leave aside perfection and adapt to the possibilities to achieve  things. with out the qwerty layout it’s very likely that typewrites have never become popular (who like a machine that jams when it does what it is intended to do) and this would have a affected many things like science, literature, mail, etc. just think of the impact  that means writing faster and with clear and homogeneous charterers.

Never the lees the phenomena I’ll like to baptize as the qwerty effect refers to something negative and its the tendency to inherit solutions of the past as valid without reevaluate them. I’m talking about the things we do because they have always been done that way. The really valid reasons to do the qwerty layout are not applicable to the circumstances since decades ago, but most of keyboards are still qwerty. We invest millions of resources on improving PCs and millions of man hours learning to use software to be more productive but for some weird reason we still use qwerty keyboards.

This QWERTY effect that consists on attach to and take as valid solutions which circumstances or motivations are not longer  current or valid happen ant many levels, from large societies to small more defines groups and individuals. I invite you to think about the qwerty effects in your life, you’ll find that a small effort to change will bring you great benefits.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dvorak_Simplified_Keyboard

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