Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
IT

Ask Slashdot: Typing Advice For a Guinness World Record Attempt? 307

Posted by samzenpus
from the pushing-keys dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In fifth grade, I amazed my fellow classmates when I demonstrated what 132 words per minute looked like. Recently, an acquaintance of mine saw me typing out a word document for graduate school and was impressed by my typing abilities. He suggested that I seriously contemplate attempting a Guinness World Record with such abilities. At the moment, I can manage an average of about 155-160 words per minute, with bursts around 180-185 words per minute (in the typing world, five characters defines a word, in case you were wondering). That aside, I have a few questions to pose to Slashdot readers (whom I am sure have been typing much longer than I have): What are some tips to fully maximize one's ability to type at the fastest possible rate? Do you have any specific keyboard recommendations that will improve my speed? Has anybody here ever competed in a typing event or thought about going for the world record? Is it worth learning Dvorak for the sole purpose of attempting such a record? How difficult would it be to improve my typing abilities from where they are now to where they need to be to acquire such a record?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ask Slashdot: Typing Advice For a Guinness World Record Attempt?

Comments Filter:
  • Bad place to ask (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jfdavis668 (1414919) on Monday December 24, 2012 @09:52AM (#42381305)
    Most /.ers are far from good typists. You can tell by the typos.
    • Re:Bad place to ask (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Monday December 24, 2012 @10:07AM (#42381415)

      Programmers and IT workers are actually rather bad typist.

      Just because we are on a computer all day... It doesn't mean we are typing all the time, we are Programmers not data entry. If we end find that we are typing too much we write a program to do it for us.

      • by thereitis (2355426) on Monday December 24, 2012 @10:16AM (#42381487) Journal
        A problem I find is that my muscle memory is tied to typing computer terms, so I often misspell ordinary words as a similar, computing-related word. I've never progressed past 106wpm (probably not that fast anymore as I've gotten a little sloppy). I can't really imaging 'scaling up' to 160 wpm without making a personal breakthrough on typing efficiency.
      • We use an instant messenger product at work, and the programmers often use it to ask me questions. I will spend about 20-30 seconds to type a 4-6 sentence response. They will take 2 minutes to respond with 4-5 words. BTW, you can see when they are responding, so I know they are typing the entire time.
        • by nedlohs (1335013)

          because they couldn't type one word and then go and look up something in another window or anything.

          By that metric I type about 1 word a hour - given how many times I've not pressed enter and have hence been responding for about 14 hours until I press enter the next day.

        • Well normally, when I have to IM, I will tend to go back and re filter my response.

          For example...
          You: The system is down.
          Me: It has been up all day check your pc. ^M^M^M^M^M^M^M^M^M^M^M^M^M^M Let me check, maybe something is of.
          You: Let me know it when it is back up.
          Me: ok. (I go and find and fix the problem) It should be good now.

          • I understand your point, and I don't get angry about this...but I have told IT ppl and non-IT ppl I work with this before as a polite FYI....It can't take you much more than 5 seconds to type "one sec".
            • Well normally while they are typing one sec, they are busy looking up the issue. They would prefer to have the answer right after you asked them. But they wanted to check it out. So they may have instinctively tried to answer your question... Then went to double check thus the delay in typing...

              Just because the IM is saying they are typing a response it doesn't mean they are busy typing in a response.
              Heck In the middle of this response, I had to stir my lunch that is in the microwave.

            • by QuesarVII (904243) on Monday December 24, 2012 @12:40PM (#42382419)
              Or you could be polite and realize it takes a minute to figure something out sometimes, and not demand immediate responses. You should expect a delay in many situations.
        • Our first response is usually obscenity laden and we realize before hitting send that if we send it, we're going to be paid a visit from HR. Again. So we have to clear out the line and start over. Then we realize that saying someone doesn't actually know how to do their job will still cause that visit from HR. You're lucky if it's just two minutes, sometimes it takes half an hour to craft a diplomatic response with just the right level of passive aggression. "Oh look, SOMEONE killed the database server. Aga
        • by sco08y (615665) on Monday December 24, 2012 @01:12PM (#42382607)

          We use an instant messenger product at work, and the programmers often use it to ask me questions. I will spend about 20-30 seconds to type a 4-6 sentence response. They will take 2 minutes to respond with 4-5 words. BTW, you can see when they are responding, so I know they are typing the entire time.

          It's called editing.

          • by maestroX (1061960)

            We use an instant messenger product at work, and the programmers often use it to ask me questions. I will spend about 20-30 seconds to type a 4-6 sentence response. They will take 2 minutes to respond with 4-5 words. BTW, you can see when they are responding, so I know they are typing the entire time.

            It's called editing.

            Nah, the managers use the messenger at work, we programmers like to, you know, program.
            We're typing the entire time, cause doctor.el is running in another buffer.
            Only bugger is reading S

        • by PRMan (959735)
          No, it's true. I hate IM because I type over 90 wpm and the other person types 5-10. So my side takes 2 seconds and then I wait a minute for the response.
      • by Bogtha (906264)

        It is funny though when somebody sees me typing at full speed not realising that autocompletion is increasing my output by a factor of 3-4. Also: Hacker Typer [hackertyper.net].

    • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Monday December 24, 2012 @10:22AM (#42381533) Journal

      Like I tell my wife, "I may not be good, but at least I'm fast!"

    • When attempting a typing record nowadays, do they deduct all the words underlined with red squigglies from your total?
  • Dvorak bad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Don't listen to the people who are invested and have learned to type on Dvoraks: scientific evidence shows that Dvorak is no better than a regular keyboard layout. So you will just be re-training yourself to be unable to type on QWERTY's and type slower on Dvorak's.

    • by xonen (774419)

      Sais someone who obviously didn't take the time to learn him/herself Dvorak.

      The only disadvantage i found - as Dvorak typer - is compatability with games. For any other purpose like typing text and programming, i like it and will never go back to qwerty. I'm not telling anyone they should learn Dvorak, i'm also not saying it's superior - it's a matter of personal taste. And yes, once you learn it you will notice it performs as promised. Also, these days Dvorak is thus widely accepted, that international key

      • Another Dvorak disadvantage is that sometimes you type "simular" instead of "similar".

      • Colemak is much easier to learn with very similar letter frequency improvements. It only took me about a month to return to my original typing speed and then it just kept getting faster. Unfortunately colemak is not pre-installed in windows (even windows 7 doesn't have it), but Mac and every Linux distro have it.

        If you learn colemak, then ever have to use a querty system, you will be absolutely astonished at home many of the most common keys you use are on the top and bottom rows in querty. In colemak ~80%

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        How did you measure that? Maybe it's only 'better' because it's better in your mind (you went out, bought a keyboard, learned to type on it so you must have had a strong belief before you even started).

        All empirical tests show Dvorak is no faster (PS: the myth that qwerty was designed to be slow is... a myth. Qwerty won several typing speed competitions before it was chosen).

        There's claims that Dvorak reduces RSI but they're also unproven.

      • I used Dvorak for 6 or 8 years. I may have been slightly faster with it, but it wasn't worth the hassles. I gave up on it a decade or so ago.
        • Also Slashdot's mobile beta thoroughly sucks. This was supposed to be a reply to the GP. I have no idea how it landed here. Hopefully this lands as a reply to my original mislocated message!
    • Regardless of the relative merits of Dvorak vs. Qwerty, there's absolutely no benefit in this situation in throwing out however-many years of muscle memory on one layout (which is absolutely critical to speed-typing), to start over learning a different layout.

  • by fph il quozientatore (971015) on Monday December 24, 2012 @09:56AM (#42381329) Homepage
    Cotnact me if your gonig for teh recrod. I am a nexpret in tiipyng and can gvie you ltos of usfeul tips .
  • PS2 VS USB? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Monday December 24, 2012 @09:56AM (#42381333)

    PS2 VS USB?

    what one can handle faster input?

    • by rossdee (243626) on Monday December 24, 2012 @10:01AM (#42381365)

      Do they have USB 3.0 keyboards yet? That could handle millions or words per minute...

    • by Guppy06 (410832) on Monday December 24, 2012 @10:23AM (#42381539)

      USB easily; a DualShock 2 controller is lousy for picking letters at any decent speed.

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      For a long time back in the PS2 adapter days, I found that at the speed I typed, any capitalized word ending in UCK would drop the K. The first few times I thought it was a typo but after the third or fourth time I experimented with it and discovered that if I held down left shift and went across those three keys, the keyboard would almost always drop the K. You didn't even have to type it that quickly.

      Fortunately newer keyboards seem to have resolved that issue, or at least I can't seem to reproduce it o

  • Seriously as there are many people here (myself included) that do not respond to Anonymous Cowards. I would have thought the person doing this would want everybody to know who they are so that they will gain noteriety in the lead up to their attempt.

    Very impressive numbers, but I would have thought there would be a YouTube video or somesuch which backed up the claim.

    If I submitted as AC, would the editors accept my claim to my questions regarding my unusually long eyebrows, which irritate my eyes and I can

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 24, 2012 @10:06AM (#42381413)

      I've never had a Slashdot account, though I've been posting here for years. Your sort of bigotry is not nearly incentive enough.
      I've had several dozen +5 first posts over the years, and have made a positive contribution to many discussions.
      What does it matter what silly pseudonym is displayed above a good comment, or how many digits are in the number next to it?
      Even if the submission is completely made up, the discussion will still be meaningful.

      Now on topic: if the submitter's been typing QWERTY mad-fast since fifth grade or before, I find it hard to believe he can do any better with Dvorak.

      • by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Monday December 24, 2012 @01:44PM (#42382871) Journal

        What does it matter what silly pseudonym is displayed above a good comment, or how many digits are in the number next to it?

        Simple: In a discussion, I like to know if discussing with the same person, a different person, or with several people.

        I also prefer some level of surety that the person I'm replying to might actually read it.

        I do realize that logging in on /. offers no guarantee of either of these things, but it's a start.

        Meanwhile, I killfile all reply notifications that come from Anonymous Cowards because doing so makes discussing things on /. feel more like conversing with humans instead of talking at a wall.

        If I wanted an anonymous place to randomly comment on the world with no sense of personification, I'd just go over to pastebin and be ignored there instead.

      • by jamesh (87723)

        I've never had a Slashdot account, though I've been posting here for years. Your sort of bigotry is not nearly incentive enough.
        I've had several dozen +5 first posts over the years, and have made a positive contribution to many discussions.
        What does it matter what silly pseudonym is displayed above a good comment, or how many digits are in the number next to it?
        Even if the submission is completely made up, the discussion will still be meaningful.

        Hooray for your +5 posts, but i've also seen you say some really really stupid things over the years.

        And all those nigger comments are _not_ appreciated.

  • by yurik (160101)

    I learnt it during a summer internship in about a week, and never looked back to qwerty. This is purely a preference, and I heard both positives (speed) and negatives (fingers don't move as much so causes more rep strain injuries). It def improved my overall typing speed, but caused some grief when using CTRL+ZXCV and also in various games with one hand on keyboard (usually switch back to qwerty for them). You won't have as much problem switching because you already got the motorics skills down, just need

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 24, 2012 @10:02AM (#42381371)

    I'm a speedtypist as well (130-150WPM average, 160+ bursts) the issue that you will run into is that it gets incredibly hard to add the extra WPM, and last I checked your goal is above 200.

    Good luck but you generally peak out eventually.

  • Mechanical Keyboard (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday December 24, 2012 @10:04AM (#42381397)

    Try a keyboard with mechanical switches. They're a bit noisier than the cheap ones, but I find them much faster and I make fewer typos. My fingers also get less tired. You might be able to scrape out another percent or so.

    • by tsa (15680)

      IMO the old MacBook Pro with the grey keys had the best keyboard ever.

  • by PlusFiveTroll (754249) on Monday December 24, 2012 @10:07AM (#42381417) Homepage

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_curve [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experience_curve_effects [wikipedia.org]

    Gaining a little bit if typing speed is easy, it's the ever increasing difficultly of getting faster and faster that can stretch training out for years.

  • Current Records (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr. Sketch (111112) <mister.sketch@nOSPAM.gmail.com> on Monday December 24, 2012 @10:08AM (#42381429)

    According to Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Words_per_minute [wikipedia.org]

    The fastest typing speed ever, 216 words in one minute, was achieved by Stella Pajunas in 1946 on an IBM electric.[6][7][8][9] As of 2005, writer Barbara Blackburn was the fastest English language typist in the world, according to The Guinness Book of World Records. Using the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard, she has maintained 150 wpm for 50 minutes, and 170 wpm for shorter periods. She has been clocked at a peak speed of 212 wpm.

    One of the most notable online records considered genuine is 256 wpm (a record caught on video) on TypeRacer by American Sean Wrona, the inaugural Ultimate Typing Championship winner, which is considered the highest legitimate score ever set on the site.

    • by jittles (1613415)

      According to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Words_per_minute [wikipedia.org]

      The fastest typing speed ever, 216 words in one minute, was achieved by Stella Pajunas in 1946 on an IBM electric.[6][7][8][9] As of 2005, writer Barbara Blackburn was the fastest English language typist in the world, according to The Guinness Book of World Records. Using the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard, she has maintained 150 wpm for 50 minutes, and 170 wpm for shorter periods. She has been clocked at a peak speed of 212 wpm.

      One of the most notable online records considered genuine is 256 wpm (a record caught on video) on TypeRacer by American Sean Wrona, the inaugural Ultimate Typing Championship winner, which is considered the highest legitimate score ever set on the site.

      I guess I should go for the record then. The last time I took a typing class was in college. My car broke down, I had no way to get to school, so I had to drop 9 units of classes that were during a time of the day where I couldn't bum a ride from friends/family. I went below full time, and had to maintain full-time status so I took some typing classes, intro to word and excel, and other one-unit self paced classes at the library. If the software they used calculated the data right, I averaged over 150WP

      • by rickb928 (945187)

        I see the 1 minute record is pretty much unbelievable, but the 5 minute record is attainable. PC based records were considered suspect by us old farts from the typewriter days, since the buffer and all that software got in the way of accurate recording. We would want to see a specially made keyboard without buffer, able to reliabley send 300+ wpm, and then software to record that. Which requires a whole different way of testing.

        My mom could type 90+ steadily on an Olympia SG3, and older competitions usua

    • There was an epsiode of Late Night with David Letterman back in the 1980's where they invited the world's fastest typist for a demonstration of her skills. Having gotten their hands on her typewriter before the show, they detached the metal ball with all the typefaces on it and reattached it in the wrong orientation. All her typing came out as complete jibberish. I still laugh when I think about that gag.
  • Confusious Say;... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flyneye (84093) on Monday December 24, 2012 @10:12AM (#42381459) Homepage

    - Practice, Practice, Practice- --10,000,000 anonymous piano teachers
    - See the ball, be the ball- --Chevy Chase in "Caddyshack"
    - Use the force, Luke- --Obiwan Kenobi in , you know, that one show...
    - Lay off that whiskey and let that cocaine be- --Johnny Cash-- "Cocaine Blues"
    What can I say, go for the record.
    I had a friend, of simple mind and scheming disposition, who in his drifting sought donations to fund his time and sojourn to Ireland to demonstrate for Guinness his ability to bicycle backwards continually. For months he drifted around the country putting on exhibitions and demonstrations of his talent amassing quite a warchest. He traveled to Ireland, pretty much free of charge and being free of responsibility for months in pursuit of his dream. He did then bicycle around the Guinness buildings for 24 hours and change , setting the record. The next week a local Irish held the record. There are no losers in this story. Cheers and Happy Holidays!

  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Monday December 24, 2012 @10:13AM (#42381475)
    I understand why you asked for advice, but I think your reasoning is flawed (ie. your assumption that Slashdotters would know technical stuff about typing). As an IT worker who can type at a good (for an IT guy) rate, my observation is that I am lots faster than most IT people and I am not even close to being fast enough to do secretarial work. Most IT people are terrible at typing. It's not that uncommon to find 2 finger typists in IT. Since a lot of Slashdotters are IT geeks, you're asking the wrong folks to begin with. I'm sure we'll get a few people to post who are the exception to the rule, but again, they are the exceptions.

    Dvorak has its detractors and fans. You'll likely get some who swear that only by using it can you achieve your goal and they will possibly cite some studies to back this up. Then others will cite their own studies that show that QWERTY is even faster than Dvorak. I've seen QWERTY vs. Dvorak religious wars here and I doubt that you'll come away convinced of anything.
  • by paiute (550198) on Monday December 24, 2012 @10:17AM (#42381491)
    Find someone who plays the clarinet and ask them how they mastered Flight of the Bumblebee?
    • Just a nit, but clarinet is more like chording input -- multiple fingers change position at once. I assume that any sort of chording keyboard that recognizes particular combinations as entire words is illegal for typing competitions. Basic certification as a stenotype [wikipedia.org] operator requires that you be able to do on the order of 180 words per minute. There's considerable dispute about the world record for stenotypes, but it's clearly in the 350-375 words per minute range, much higher than the record for char
      • by paiute (550198)

        Just a nit, but clarinet is more like chording input -- multiple fingers change position at once.

        How about the piano? Seems like the right hand part anyway is lots of individual notes.

        OP should also look into finger-cooling technology.

  • Get a decent mechanical keyboard if you want to go for the record - probably a Filco Majestouch 2 with Cherry MX Blue switches [amazon.com], although you could also go for a Topre Realforce [amazon.com] if you wanted something a bit quieter and lighter.
  • I type for a living on a voice recognition system that handles medical reports for a large university hospital in a major metropolitan area in the Southeastern US. I can achieve an effective rate of 300-400 69-character lines per hour using a word expander program called Shortcut for Windows while editing voice recognized text. If our physicians are well scripted in their dictation, using the same phrases and format as usual, I can easily double that as I learn where the VR usually fails, move to those spot

  • by dotancohen (1015143) on Monday December 24, 2012 @11:06AM (#42381805) Homepage

    If you want speed, the Cherry Blue keyboard switch is ideal. It requires only 55 grams of force to depress (compared to 70-90 grams for a buckling spring) and has a loud click and tactile feedback for when the keypress is detected. You don't need to bottom out the keys, though you can do so if you are used to it. The Blues are a bit loud if you are working near other people, but they are the perfect high-speed typing switch.

    You have a high speed in QWERTY I presume, not DVORAK. I therefore recommend that you practice QWERTY for the record. You may have an innate ability to type fast, but you will be throwing away years of practice if you start with a new layout. Also, you will find yourself prone to errors on uncommon words when your muscle memory defaults to QWERTY on slightly-confusing words.

  • make sure you lube those fingers up real good just before you get started
  • "(in the typing world, five characters defines a word in the typing world, in case you were wondering)."

    If you are in the typing world,
    and you want to communicate
    something in the typing wold,
    and you can avoid repeating
    items in the typing world,
    you would have less time spent
    typing about things in the typing world,
    and then you would go through documents
    really fast as you type then in the typing world.

    GO SPEED RACER, GO!

  • by ildon (413912) on Monday December 24, 2012 @11:33AM (#42381965)

    Can cause errors like this:

    (in the typing world, five characters defines a word in the typing world, in case you were wondering)

  • ... on what are the main factors that drive your typing speed. I'd go find some smart people / physicists and get some data to figure out where you are weak (in typing) first and what possible avenues you could take.

  • Play lots and lots of video games. You'll type really quickly if your teammate is about to screw up a raid. I seriously type around 98WPM and it's 100% by letting my fingers do the logic subconsciously, crossing over all the time, and generally breaking every proper rule of typing and just doing it my way. Considering everyone doing it 1 way hasn't broken the record, doing it differently might. You know how at the Olympics, every 16 years or so someone invents a new way of doing the sport because they d
  • I personally use the dvorak layout and love it, and I think it's certainly much easier to use and far lower stress. However, aside from individual cases, every study I'm aware of has concluded that dvorak doesn't actually improve to typing speeds. So while I personally think you should try it anyway, it might not help with this particular goal.

  • by Andrio (2580551) on Monday December 24, 2012 @12:39PM (#42382405)
    Around the end of January I made the leap into Dvorak, rewriting some 15 years of muscle memory. I still feel I'm in the process of learning it, despite having gotten back some 95% keyboard typing effectiveness. Some notes:

    1. Your right pinkie is underdeveloped. With qwerty, your right pinkie doesn't do nearly as much typing as the rest of the fingers. Under Dvorak, it's new responsibilities will include 'S', one of the most used letters in the alphabet. In addition, 'L', question marks, 'Z', hyphens, and others. You will notice that your right pinkie being a bit of a bottleneck at first.

    2. You'll be somewhat "dyslexic" when typing, as you learn Dvorak. I think this because each half of the brain have gotten used to always being in charge of a letter. The right side always handled 'S' for example, but now the left side will handle it. That's just one example, but you'll find yourself making weird typos until your brain gets used to the new layout.

    3. Keyboard shortcuts will require some work. Things like Ctrl C, Ctrl V, etc are now undoable with your right hand. This was unacceptable to me, so I downloaded a custom keyboard layout called "US - Dvorak - QWERTY" that basically makes it so that when you hold down Ctrl, the keyboard is mapped as QWERTY again. This works pretty good 99% of the time. But keep in mind Windows doesn't have this built in.

    4. The social aspect. One of the biggest 'challenges' to the new layout is the social aspect. People won't be able to just jump on your machine and start typing, and you won't be able to get anyone else's computer and type without looking at the keyboard, making typos, etc. If they don't know about your alternate keyboard, they may make the assumption that you don't know how to type, which can be a bit embarrassing. In addition, I hear growls from my wife when she starts typing on my computer, and realizes she needed to switch back to qwerty (which, thankfully, can easily be done from the taskbar with the language toolbar)

    So, was the switch worth it? Yes. I'm still learning, but when I see others type, it almost looks ridiculous how their fingers are going crazy on the keyboard, smacking almost randomly. Whereas when I type, 70% of everything I write is done without my fingers ever leaving the home row :) This best illustrates what I mean:

    "It has been estimated that in an average eight-hour day, a typist's hands travel 16 miles on a QWERTY keyboard, but only 1 mile on a Dvorak keyboard."
  • In the late 1980's, I had occasion to meet a young woman who apparently had a typing speed of just under 180 words per minute. She had won several regional competitions on account of her skill (I imagine largely attributed to her youth... she was not even 20 years old at the time), but she did not hold the title of international record holder.

    (To be frank, I don't even know if she or anybody else even bothered to check if she was a record holder or not. All she had ever told me in that regard is that s

  • by Jaktar (975138) on Monday December 24, 2012 @01:17PM (#42382645)

    Then learn how to speed talk and use voice to text. You'll never type as fast as that.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Words_per_minute#Speech_and_listening [wikipedia.org]

  • Type as fast as you can!

  • by dynamo (6127)

    Yes, it is worth learning Dvorak just for such an attempt - but you will not be faster with it for at least a couple of weeks. It's worth learning Dvorak for many other reasons too - one of the most important being minimizing long-term wear and tear on your hands, which gets to be absolutely crippling at times if you aren't careful.

  • now, you can probably type as fast as lightning if the judges don't have to read your opus. writing is easy. reading is hard.

  • by sacrilicious (316896) on Monday December 24, 2012 @03:58PM (#42383705) Homepage
    There's a neat web-based type racing site at www.typrx.com, which allows a person to measure their word-per-minute score either by themselves or against strangers or (in the case of "private" races) friends. The current top score on that site is a bit over 200 words per minute.

A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough For Love"

Working...