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It’s eight months already since I got my ipad and I haven’t boasted about it here yet. (But I did try to piss everyone off by constantly playing with it during the summer game theory workshops, with a considerable success.) Well, everything you’ve heard is true, the pad is awesome. I will pour more detailed praise in another post, but first I have a complaint to register: There is no Dvorak layout option for the software keyboard.

If you don’t know what is Dvorak, then the keyboard layout you work with is the one invented million years ago. The hunter gatherers who were roaming the earth at that time were typing their papers using a mechanical device called typewriter which was something between a keyboard and a printer: When you press a key it would squirt ink onto a paper. Since the typewriter would jam when two keys were pressed together rapidly, the layout of the keys was designed to slow down the typing. That’s why the vowels in your qwerty keyboard are all over the place and you have to move your fingers a long distance from one letter to another when you type. I, on the other hand, and other members of the exclusive club of dvorak users, rarely move our fingers from the middle row in our keyboard, which reads, from left to right, AOEU ID HTNS. Notice how your favorite letters are all there. make sense, no ?



How come Dvorak didn’t conquer the world already ? Well, some people view this as a market failure. Other, especially those who believe `market failure’ is a logical contradiction, view this as a proof that the dvorak layout is actually no more efficient and that the story about the qwerty layout being designed for inefficiency is a crock. Other say we are in a transition stage between one equilibrium to another: Just wait another million years and everybody will be using dvorak.

As for me, I know that the dvorak layout doesn’t improve my writing speed since, dvorak or no dvorak, it takes me so much longer to think what I want to write than to actually type it, that even if the letters will randomly permute after every key i press the impact on my writing speed will be negligible. Also, I usually take a couple of days break after every sentence I write (my exasperated co-authors could elaborate on this point), so again — the bottleneck is definitely not in the keyboard layout.

Why then am I using dvorak ? Because it’s a status symbol, because it’s cool, because I will enjoy seeing your face when you try to type on my notebook and get gibberish, because i am an avid consumer of useless gadgets. In short, I am using dvorak for the same reasons I am using ipad. So how come the ipad’s operating system doesn’t support dvorak layout ?

Ok, just in case you missed the subtext of this post, let me make it explicit: I have an ipad ! it’s awesome ! i am totally smug about it !

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