Apr 01, 2021

This is probably the only blog post you'll ever read by me in which I say something positive about gaming. But you'll really have to hear me out on this one before you call the police, trust me, I have a point. Not a good one, let's be real, but a point nonetheless. So sit back, relax your anuses, and get ready for some complete nonsense.

Normally, when you use a (qwerty, of course) keyboard, you find your hands on the “home row” with index fingers on the f and j keys. While this is a great manual position for everyday typing and average computer use, it begins to display it's incompetency when we expand our use case a little bit.

Take for (lack of a better term) example a gamer who needs to frequently press the SHIFT and CTRL keys while playing, and also keep his left hand the universally accepted movement keys: WASD. For the most part, this doesn't elicit a major change in finger position and can be easily managed for most people. Though, if you are one who needs to quickly switch over from your game and type somewhere else or even type a lot in game, you may find the constant switching over, while seemingly minor, to be quite disturbing.

This is where my proposal comes in: keep your hands on WASD anyway, whether typing or playing, it removes the need for constant hand switching and employs a more stable usage of the keyboard throughout your day.

Now you may be wondering, this is just for “gamers”, who cares about them, it's not like they make up some actually valuable part of our society. It goes further than gamers, actually! Think about it, who integrates the modifier keys, tab, and many advanced keyboard shortcuts frequently into their workflow. That's right, so called “power users” are a prime example of this demographic of computer user. If you've tried getting into keyboard focused workflows, you've probably had to deal with the frustration of always having to shift your hand that slight little bit every time you want to execute some advanced action.

This problem becomes exponentially worse when talking about using Vim. It's almost as if the true power of the editor is locked behind the position of your fingers. First and foremost, if you use <ESC> to go from insert to normal mode, educate yourself. IMO everyone should be using <C-c> instead, it's faster and elicits far less hand movement, regardless of keyboard format. Add that to the WASD finger placement and your efficiency immediately spikes, you'll find yourself able to do longer chains of commands and shortcuts way faster. This applies system wide too, you can use Super and ALT a lot less sparingly and will have a smoother workflow overall.

Of course, this does take a while to get used to and probably won't work amazing on all kinds of keyboards (Newer “slim” laptops and HHKB's, for example), but in general is a much better way of placing your hands on your keyboard. Surprisingly, however, actual typing differs little and only took me a few days to get used to, so that was far from an issue for me.

Your mileage may vary.