Fry’s English Delight: The Trial of Qwerty (Radio 4) was an entertaining romp through the keyboard’s history. But it didn’t need the naff mock-trial aspect – played in the many trails for the programme – and irksome lines such as “How do you plead? Not gluity.”
But these were just a framing device for a fascinating programme. It is, we learned, easier to learn to fly a plane than to master touch-typing. We also heard about some of the keyboard’s myriad quirks. The letter “i” sits under the number 8 so that you can easily type I8 hundred and something as a date; an issue for something invented in the 1870s. “So convenient,” Stephen Fry quipped.
The programme relished all the things wrong with Qwerty, and the many alternatives: some have blank keys for you to customise; others are for typing while you dive; and then there’s the diverting-sounding Orbit keyboard, described by one expert as “like a stenograph machine but powered by knobs”.
Fry also visited a primary school that teaches its pupils touch-typing from an early age, and many of them can type more than 100 words a minute. They’re not obsessive about it, though. “My dad explained why the keyboard is like that,” said one delightful boy. “But to be honest, I wasn’t really listening.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
Seit 1996 bin ich freier Mitarbeiter der Salzgitter-Zeitung, als Experte für das Geschehen im hiesigen Kreisfußball. Daneben sind meine Kolumnen seit 2005 fester Bestandteil im Lokalteil der Salzgitter-Zeitung. Zusammen mit Frau und Tochter sowie zwei gefräßigen wie faulen Stubentigern versuche ich das zu meistern, was das Leben, das Universum und der ganze Rest an Absurditäten für uns bereithalten.