About Computer Keyboards

Interesting Facts About Computer Keyboards

Do you remember a time before keyboards? Most people, especially millennials and younger generations may not have experienced such a time. They are one of those things everyone takes for granted as part of their daily lives. However, there is a lot of history and interesting factoids you may not know about. You may mainly use your keyboard to work and utilize your Cox customer service number, but there’s a lot more to them. 

Keyboards have been around longer than people think, and predate computers by some time. There is a lot of thought behind their design, as typing efficiency and comfort are key factors. In addition, while most laptops and phones have a standard keyboard design, this is not the only design out there. Keyboards can vary in different countries, and some of these options may even be better. Here are a few fun facts you should know about keyboards and their history. 

The QWERTY Layout was Invented in 1872 

The QWERTY layout you see on most of your devices dates back to 1872. A man named Christopher Stoles invented it for typewriters. However, you’d be surprised to know that this layout was actually designed to slow down typing rather than speed it up. 

The problem was people would type too fast and accidentally press adjacent keys on alphabetical keyboards. Stoles decided to fix this issue and thus created the layout most people use these days. 

Longest Words You Can Type with One Hand

If you use standard typing hand placement, the longest word you can type with one hand on a QWERTY keyboard is ‘stewardess’. You can type it with your left hand. The longest word you can type with your right hand is ‘polyphony’. 

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However, if you use the alternative Dvorak layout, you can go up to the 14-letter word, ‘overemphasized’. This is an improvement over the standard QWERTY layout and puts doubt on whether adopting it is the best decision. 

Keyboards Carry More Germs Than Toilet Seats

Keyboards are extremely prone to spreading germs, especially if multiple people use them. Some studies suggest that they can carry more germs than a toilet seat, which is quite a lot. Another study even found that four out of thirty-three keyboards are actual health hazards. 

So, it is best to have your own personal systems or keyboards. In addition, you should wash your hands regularly and clean your keyboards once in a while. This should put off most health risks, and should be standard hygiene practice in any case.  

The Space Bar is the Most Commonly Used Key

The space bar is the most commonly pressed key on a keyboard. Every 1/20th of a second, 600,000 people are pressing the space bar. This is quite an astounding figure, and makes sense due to its utility. Research states that around 18% of all keystrokes are space bar hits. Therefore, it outranks all other keys by far. 

This should also show you how useful keyboards are, and how widespread their use is. They may not have been around before half a century or so, but have become an integral aspect of technology. 

The Purpose of the Scroll Lock Key

You might be confused about the purpose of the scroll lock. It is one of those keys which has lost its utility over the years. It was invented to lock scrolling with arrow keys. However, with computer mice and trackpads for scrolling, this lock is no longer needed. 

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The scroll lock is one of those historical hangover keys, which also include print screen, pause/break, and SysRq. These keys are not used generally, but only have minimal utility for programming. Some of them even originate from 19th-century telegraphs, such as pause/break. They are still included on keyboards to maintain the standard layouts and are only ever used in programming or in some games.  

QWERTY is Not the Most Efficient Keyboard Layout

You’d be surprised to know that the standard QWERTY layout is not the most efficient. A man named August Dvorak challenged this layout in 1936 and created the Dvorak layout. This layout was designed with the intent to minimize movement and reduce repetitive strain. It is much more efficient than the QWERTY layout and can be found on operating system keyboards. 

Some of the fastest typists in the world use the Dvorak layout to this day, and you can adapt it as well. However, it is mostly used by programmers and professional typists, so the user base is quite a niche. The most efficient layout, however, is the Turkish F. It was designed by Ihsan Sitki Yener in 1955. It offers an optimal balance between both hands and beat multiple speed records over the years. It is not commonly used anywhere, but can still be found on some Turkish systems. 

In conclusion, keyboards have some really interesting details and history behind them. It just goes to show that you can’t take anything for granted, and should appreciate the effort put into these things.

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