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Monday, 16 March 2015

WRITING IN THE XXIst CENTURY: THE QWERTY KEYBOARD

 (6th Cultural Week-7: Writing in the 21st century)


Most of the writing we do in the XXIst century is done via a keyboard rather than using a pen or other means of handwriting. Keyboards available on old-fashioned typewriters and more modern uptodate computers, tablets or mobile phones.
Many people are surprised the first time they sit in front of a keyboard to see the strange way in which letters have been displayed and how this order has nothing to do with the alphabet.
The keyboard as we know it is called QWERTY, but its name doesn't come from its inventor, but for the first six letters starting from the left. The reason why they were disposed in this way is due to Christopher Sholes when he invented the first typewriter in 1868.
Trying to accomplish his invention, he placed each letter in alphabetical order in two rows, but he soon realised that, very frequently, the keys got stuck. He realised that this happened because some were more used than others, so he thought of displaying them at random, placing together letters of more, few and lesser use, what made it easier when typing without the mechanism getting stuck.
Since then, many other keyboards with perhaps more logical displays have been introduced, but the popularity of QWERTY's keyboard hasn't made them very successful.

Galician version of this post @ ArquivosDoTrasno.




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