Dvorak users of the world scored a little victory this week. The TextExpander team at SmileOnMyMac fixed the problem with the Mac OS Dvorak-Qwerty keyboard layout, detailed in an earlier View from the Dock post.
A recap of this bug: when using the Mac OS Dvorak-Qwerty option, TextExpander did not previously work. Now it does. How did this come to pass? Me and at least one other user asked that it be fixed. And it was fixed, very promptly. I’d like to thank SmileOnMyMac for listening. I am a very satisfied customer. And here’s more unsolicited praise for TextExpander — it saves me an amazing amount of time (I just used it to add the previous Em dash). My wife is a devoted user, too. She uses TextExpander to save keystrokes on her website.
Now I am going to try to get Adobe to fix their Creative Suite. Unfortunately, I must still switch to the QWERTY keyboard layout when I’m using PhotoShop and the other Adobe apps, and I shouldn’t have to do this. Maybe it will be fixed if Apple buys Adobe!
If you do your typing on a Mac and you use Dvorak, I want to ensure you know that you can quickly toggle between Qwerty and Dvorak (or Dvorak-Qwerty, or other languages). Once you enable these option in the International Preference Pane (found under Apple’s System Preferences), you can choose to show this input menu in the Apple Menu Bar. You may then quickly toggle between the different keyboard layouts using a keyboard shortcut of your choice (I use option-command-space).
A quick reminder: if you use Windows, check out SkyEnergy’s HotKeyz. This little freeware program allows you to easily remap shortcut keys (paste, save, copy, etc.) to match the QWERTY key positions while using the Dvorak layout. It works quite well.
Finally, I want to point out a new development that is full of potential for those of us who use alternative typing layouts. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to look down at my keyboard and actually see the Dvorak layout. I may be able to do just that in the not-to-distant future. Check out this ArsTechnica report about a recent Apple patent for a dynamically controlled keyboard.
Imagine a keyboard with organic LEDs on each key. If you’re curious about the possibilities, see Art Lebedev’s Optimus Maximus (it’s available now, if you can afford it). I imagine a future Apple keyboard that displays the Dvorak keys, then dynamically displays QWERTY keys when I press a command-key combination. And I envision my keyboard dynamically changing to display game-specific commands or key combinations for shortcut-intensive programs like Photoshop or Final Cut Studio. This is surely the keyboard of the future, and I can’t wait to get one.