Tag Archives: typing

You’re and Your

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Yes, I am a grammar cop. It drives me insane when I see someone use common words incorrectly. For instance: your and you’re are NOT interchangeable. There is a distinct difference, one which you should have learned back in junior high. If you have forgotten the difference, I’ll be happy to explain!

Your is a form of the possessive case of you, used as an attributive adjective: Your jacket is in the closet. In that sentence, your clearly denotes that the jacket belongs to you.

You’re, on the other hand, is simply a contraction of the words you and are. You’re going to be late if you don’t hurry! In that example, you’re is clearly a shorter way of writing (typing) out the words you and are.

Now – close your eyes, and commit these to memory. I guarantee that the next time you use one of them incorrectly, someone is going to send you this video. If they do, you have no one to blame but yourself.

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How to Learn How to Type

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When I first started typing, my speed was about one word per minute – and it was on a typewriter. Back then, personal computers didn’t exist, and neither did electric typewriters. Later in life, I had to unlearn poor habits that I had learned in the course of teaching myself how to type. These days, I type around 100 wpm, which isn’t too bad. If you don’t type properly, there’s really no reason you shouldn’t learn. In this day and age of computers everywhere, you really need to be able to type properly – and quickly. The worst part will be unlearning your bad habits!

If you want to learn how to type, you don’t need to spend any money. You only need a computer and Internet access, and the knowledge that this website exists! typingweb is a free online typing tutor. Upon completing the Typing Test 5 times you will be given the option to create a printable TypingWeb Certificate of Completion containing your average score for the last 5 tests completed. There is support for all different types of keyboards and languages, as well as tutorials on mastering 10-key typing!

See what I’m telling you? There’s no reason in the World you shouldn’t be taking advantage of this site and the opportunities it can give you. As they say on the website itself: How can the Internet grow if it takes an hour to type an email?. Truer words were never typed!

If typingweb isn’t what you’re looking for, check out the old standby – Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. You can use these Broderbund coupons to purchase Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing Platinum for only $19.99:


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Are you a Touch Typist?

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Xenaol writes: “As many computer gamers and programmers will be aware, the art of typing without looking is a very useful and envied skill to possess. As a result of this, I decided to write this top 5 list of tips to help any learners on their way, so here goes.”

  • The Keyboard A popular tactic used in typing classes is the blank keyboard with a reference poster for support on the wall. This encourages you to familiarize yourself with the keyboard layout without looking down at it. If you have a spare keyboard, it might be worth coloring out the characters on the keys. Under no circumstances s it recommended you do this on your primary keyboard, just in case you lose your reference sheet (or someone else needs the keyboard/computer!)
  • Fading Out Deleting all identifying marking on your keyboard is not for everyone. If you are willing to put some extra time into the venture, then you might be more suited to the method of simply typing as you normally would. However, slowly force yourself to look at the keyboard less and less. This method is the one that I used to start learnin before switching over to the blank keyboard. This is evidence that the process is quite flexible.
  • Keyboard Position You could spend many hours, days and even weeks more than you need to learning this skill if you change the angle that you are at in comparison to the keyboard. This is because your hands and fingers remember each process in terms of the distance they move. A change of angle will normally change the distances, and you will find yourself lost. In addition, changing the type of keyboard should be avoided during the learning process because once again… it changes the key locations relative to your fingers.
  • Practice & Rest Another obvious but often overlooked thing you can try is to talk to your friends on instant messaging programs. This will create a much more random need for key location, and can speed up the searching process dramatically. After all, if you spent a week solid writing “the red rabbit jumped gracefully over the fence”, you will have to break that routine to type “hey there!” to a friend online. Using any method of learning touch-typing, make sure you take breaks and even change up the methods you use. This will help to refocus your fingers, and increase their accuracy.
  • Finger-Key Ownership Each of your fingers remembers a key as being in a certain location, and will often have a difference of opinion as to where it really is. To curb this annoying habit, you should allocate a finger to each key of the keyboard. This will decrease the amount of thinking that you will have to do, increase your spelling accuracy over time, and can even encourage you to utilize more of your fingers over time.

As I have tried to emphasize, learning to touch-type can take a lot of time. Some people will master this skill much faster than others, so don’t become discouraged. In addition, remember that even expert typists make mistakes at times, and have to sneak a look at the keyboard!


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Windows Key: Keyboard Shortcuts

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I find that my computing experience is greatly enhanced by knowing a few really good keyboard shortcuts. I think everyone should know a lot of these basic commands, as it speeds up your work, and makes life just that much easier when you don’t have to reach for the mouse, and can keep your hands on the keyboard. They may seem simple, almost basic computer knowledge, but I’m always surprised how overlooked some of these simple gems are. Between these keyboard shortcuts and a program called “Lauchy” (a command-line application launcher, much like Quicksilver for OSX) which I also suggest, I find I’m far quicker to get from point A to point B, and rarely have to use the start menu, or have icons on my desktop.

  • Windows Key Yes, everyone knows how much hitting the Windows key in the middle of your full-screen game can ruin your day, but outside of playing games, it can be very useful for more than just pulling up the Start menu. Commands such as:
    • Win + D minimizing all of your windows and displaying the desktop. This can be great if you have a lot of stuff up, and just want to get it all out of the way. Hitting Win + D again will bring up your windows just as they were before you hide them all.
    • Win + R Opens the “Run…” dialog box. Great to get to the command line, or calculator quickly (typing in cmd or calc respectively) without having to go through the Start menu. It’s also good for re-lauching explorer if it bugs out for some reason. Other good ones to know are msconfig and services.smc, which are great for tweaking both system settings and running services.
    • Win + E Opens up the Explorer for “My Computer” Get to files nice and quick, especially with my next tip.
  • Use your keyboard to navigate folders What? Your keyboard works to navigate folders? Holy file browsing, Batman! Give it a try. Open up your C: drive and hit “P” it will immediately jump to the files starting with “P” and if you keep typing, it will keep refining. “Pro” will usually highlight “Program Files” Hit enter to open the folder, and then off you go typing the next folder you want.
  • Tab and Shift + Tab Tab will move you automatically to the next field within the in-focus window. What does that mean? Well, say you’re composing an e-mail. Type in the To: line as “[email protected]” then instead of clicking on the subject line, you can just hit “Tab” until it highlights the subject line. Type in your subject, hit tab again, and you’re in the body of the e-mail. This works great in conjunction with Win + E, as by default, Windows selects the file tree on the left, and to navigate with the keyboard, you want to have the main field selected which is on the right. Alternatively, Shift + Tab moves you to the previous field. Say you’re in that same e-mail, but you want change the subject. Hitting Shift + Tab while in the body of the e-mail will pull your cursor back up to the subject line, and select all the text in the field.
  • Alt + Tab While in a window, Alt+Tab will switch between windows on the taskbar. Holding down Alt, and repeatedly hitting tab lets you select which window you want (it gives you a little pop-up on screen) Letting go of alt pulls the window up.
  • Alt + F4 Closes a window. Plain and simple. It’s the keyboard’s way of hitting the X in the upper right.

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