Apple Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard Dvorak Hacking

It’s very easy to switch around the keys on Apple’s current generation of wireless bluetooth keyboard. The first time doing this hack I only had one “close call”, but know that I know how to get the keys off safely it’s simple, fast and easy. I used a couple razor blades to pop off the keys, but a very small screwdriver would work just as well and be much safer.

The keys are best removed by lifting the cap key from the top left or top right corners. The plastic mechanics beneath the key move analogously to a cherry picker, and you interfere with them less by lifting the top corners of the key.

Once you’re done, the only drawback to your new sleek Dvorak keyboard is the lack of nubs on the U and H keys. Very carefully dab a small drop of superglue on them to address the issue, and enjoy!

(Sorry for the lack of pictures … when I figure out where I put them I’ll update this post. Andy Skelton has some pictures in a similar post.)

Switching To Dvorak: One Week Later

dvorak.pngIt’s been exactly one week since I switched to the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (DSK) layout. Thoughts…

  • The first couple days are especially frustrating while you memorize key locations and build a small bit of muscle memory for common phrases. Hang in there.. this is the toughest part.
  • Temporarily relabel your real keyboard with cheap stickers from eBay or physically rearrange the keys on a cheapo USB keyboard while you’re learning. Physically mod’ing a QWERTY board kinda sucks, though, because..
    • The nubs for the pointer finger keys are in the wrong place. This alone is a deal breaker.
    • Keys aren’t necessarily manufactured to be of homogeneous shape. Even on my cheapo Memorex, for example, the key tops are sloped differently by row, so rearranging the keys results in what feels like a 3D topology of the Rocky Mountains.
  • The common typos (“teh”, “taht”, “nad” etc.) are different, so..
    • You’ll have to be more accurate in IM conversations. People won’t be able to guess what you meant to type.
    • Spell-checkers won’t work as well.
  • Make every reasonable attempt to avoid using QWERTY while you’re learning.
  • Be prepared to explain to people WTF you just did to their computer when you use it.. Every. Freakin’. Time.
  • Looking for an ergonomic, Dvorak Mac keyboard? LOLL3RSKATES!!! Good luck with that, and let me know if you think your new $300+ Kinesis is worth it.

Switching To Dvorak

After years of deliberation, I’m finally taking this Thanksgiving break to switch to the Dvorak keyboard layout. It’s been frustrating, yes, but I believe my wrists will be much better off with the change. Within a couple hours of switching I’m probably crawling at ~15 words per minute, which is faster than I expected. Stuff that still throws me off due to being permanently etched in muscle memory..

  • My name.
  • `cd` and my custom `ls` aliases.
  • OpenRain.
  • . (period)
  • Common commands such as cut/copy/paste, closing and opening files etc.
  • The letter ‘o’ for some reason.

Ohh, and I switched my command and caps lock keys too, so my brain is a tad bit overloaded at the moment 🙂