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Learning all over again


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Learning all over again

2 May 2021 11:41AM   Views : 466 Unique : 283


I’ve had my new reading glasses – my first pair ever – for a few days, and I am finding them interesting, as they say in China. As in ‘may you live in interesting times!’

I’ve realised that while I know my way around the keyboard on my computer, I tend to look down at it a lot. This is disorientating with glasses on, so I am going to have to learn to type without looking down. In general, I’m sort of OK with this, but my wayward habits are very much on display!


I know where the keys are, and have a good idea of the relationship between them, so that I have typed this sentence without looking down. However, I have realised why experienced touch typists, like my sister, always use the same finger for the same key! (That’s one of my bad habits: although I use all my fingers, some of them have been interchangeable!)

But it’s magical watching the text appear without looking at the keys. And it made me think on, as they say. I do better than this with my car and my camera, and usually with the TV remote… I seem to be going slower than usual, but with no more typing mistakes.

Typists come in several varieties. My favourite is the type (see what I did there?) who looks around the keyboard for the second T in letter. Basic fail.


I quite quickly graduated to the next level, of confidently moving my left index finger around the keyboard, and then two index fingers. Around this time, PCs happened, and started to get into the office. About that time, too, a sensible government would have added touch typing to the basic skills taught in every primary school. Didn’t happen here: I wonder if any country got it right?

Things lingered on until around 1990, when the move to having computers in every office got to Coventry City Council, and it was realised that it wasn’t entirely a rubbish idea to let auditors (and everyone else) type letters and memos as well as spreadsheets. The typists were unhappy, but managements everywhere realised that this would unblock logjams when everyone wanted things typing at the same time.


And while this war was raging all over the world of work, my pragmatic boss and I went another way. He’d learned to type young, being a thorough sort of person. (He actually put the monitor on a cupboard beside his desk, and typed without looking at it or the keyboard. That’s an admirable level of competence and confidence: he looked at the source material and notes he was working from.) I hadn’t, so was interested in getting a little better. Some wonderful person in Training and HR lent me a disc called ‘Two Fingers to Touch Typing’ – and for me it succeeded, more or less, where my sister’s formal typist course book failed.

TFTTT was experiential, and didn’t rely on repetitive exercises. It accepted that users would already be typing, badly, with a couple of digits, and weaned us off the habit, a finger at a time. The exercises were fun and amusing so that they didn’t involve massive boredom, and were short, so they could be fitted into a spare half hour in the working day. However, I never learnt to not look at the keys, in the succeeding 30 years.

‘And what has that got to do with me?’ I hear you ask. Well… If you look down to check which pedal to push to slow the car down, you may want to pause for thought. More to the point for a blog on Ephotozine, you may want to be sure that you know which ring operates the zoom, and where the second control wheel on your camera is. And for pity’s sake, put that touch screen away! That really IS the same thing as looking at the keyboard.


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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2063 England
2 May 2021 11:49AM
Physical keyboards have little tabs on the 'home keys' where an experienced typist's fingers rest.

Virtual ones on tablets don't, encouraging 'hunt and peck' typing.

Cameras - even with lots of buttons - don't have confusing rows of identical ones!
PaulCox Avatar
2 May 2021 12:50PM
I was lucky my mother trained as a shorthand and touch typist, and worked for the Health Board in Ebbw Vale and Tredegar, Aneurin Bevin was their MP, and many think it was because of his constituency Health scheme is why he championed the NHS, anyway getting back to the typing thing, my mother made me type correctly if I was playing on her Typewriter as she would say "if your going to type do it right", she could be a real tyrant. Paul.
PS Since the advent of tablets one finger on each hand is enough.
whatriveristhis Avatar
3 May 2021 7:23AM
From the number of typos I regularly see on the site it's clear to me that some people never take the trouble to actually read over what they've typed. It tends to be the same people making exactly the same mistakes over and over again... often it's just daft things like "hte" instead of "the"... and the names of a couple of the worst offenders, incidentally, would be very familiar indeed. I don't understand it... why the hurry? I suppose it's just laziness – can't be arsed.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2063 England
3 May 2021 4:16PM
'hte' is horribly familiar to me!

I generally catch it these days, as I've downloaded a spellchecker for my browser, Firefox. Before that, I had problems, especially in a hurry, unless I drafted things in Word and transferred them over.

And I never claimed not to be lazy.

As it goes, I've just watched last night's Line of Duty, with a misspelling as a significant plot device.

At school, I don't think that formal English grammar was that extensively taught to me, but maybe I have a natural ear/eye/pen for much of it. I twitch at 'incidences' which has become a common term, mixing 'incidence' (how often something occurs) up with 'incidents' (individual occurrences), and at the modern tendency to debate a person, rather than debating an issue with a person... Among many other grievous offences.
pablophotographer Avatar
pablophotographer 12 2.2k 451
4 May 2021 4:14AM
A curvaceous lady sent a text message to a fiend "Do you think I'm fat?" and the friend texted her back "Noooo". Unfortunately, the spell checker corrected the text to "Moooo". They don't communicate anymore.

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