I learned to type on a typewriter sometime after they became electric but before they had spell checkers. I was never very good at it, but it got me through a metric boat load of term papers. Particularly important since my handwriting has been pretty illegible since I learned to hold a pencil.
In college, I learned to program in a variety of arcane languages all of which depended on entering large quantities of numbers and special symbols into a keyboard. Touch typing was pretty useless, at least the version I was capable of because I never really got much past the letters and an occasional period or comma. Out of a sense of self preservation I developed my own technique that involves 4 fingers and one thumb across two hands and requires me to stare at the keyboard while I type. I can still manage 30 wpm which gets me by for what I do and provides an unnatural source of amusement for Kim who can type 1,530 wpm while looking at me, carrying on a conversation, and knitting an afghan.
Anyway, along came 2-way pagers, smartphones and other things that forced me to learn to type with just two thumbs. The technique is different enough to require a learning curve, but I managed. Still, I’d barely hack out a sentence while Kim explained the finer points of why the Celtics have been the dominant force in basketball for the last 3 decades with just two digits.
Well, now we’re up for stage 3. The Swype technique. The new Droid X phone is sporting a new keyboarding method where you don’t touch each letter of the word, but rather trace a path through all the letters of the word. Samsung and HTC are also planning offerings. This is the method that recently shattered a text messaging speed record. And yes, here’s yet another learning curve, but I’m hopeful as this seems somehow different enough to maybe give me an edge. Oh who am I kidding? She’s gonna smoke me again.