AlphaGrip Keyboard Reviews
Ars Technica AlphaGrip Keyboard Review Excerpt:
“Despite the steep learning curve, adapting to the AG-5 wasn't quite as difficult as I had anticipated. After a week of semifrequent use, I became comfortable using it for writing articles, responding to e-mail, and chatting with friends. I can consistently achieve about 45 words per minute with the AG-5 (vs. 65wpm on a traditional keyboard), and I think that with more experience I could probably exceed 50."
techFEAR AlphaGrip Keyboard Review Excerpt:
"The first few hours with the AG-5 made me think back to early typing classes in primary school. It quickly seemed like I would never be able to overcome decades of muscle memory hardened by years of QWERTY use. I can touch type at around 70 words per minute (WPM) which isn't record-setting, but certainly allows me to get by. It was frustrating to be knocked back down to a paltry 3-5 WPM while continually concentrating on learning new button locations and focusing on accuracy. At this point, I'd imagine that most users will want to put the AG-5 out the window. My advice? Stick with it. The experience does get better.
Surprisingly, my speed got better very quickly and within a short time, I was at the 17-20 WPM mark with a high degree of accuracy. Of course, this also happened to be my first plateau and I would find it difficult to make any gains for quite some time. It's important to remember that muscle memory is easiest to reprogram by spending short sessions with a new task and letting our brains absorb the changes over time. I can attest that 8 hour sessions will not make your learning experience any better. I spent approximately 30 minutes a day between other tasks over the past 60 days and tried not to stress too much over my own learning curve.
I haven't reached my more natural 70 WPM yet and can't report that I ever will at this point. However, following the advice of Willner and the user community, I've achieved what I initially thought would be impossible. I can readily average 40 WPM on the AG-5 and use it with comfort leaning back in my office chair with my arms resting comfortably in my lap."
Tips to Improve Typing Speed
There are several free programs you can use to practice typing with your Grip:
1. TypeMaster has a typing test website http://www.typingtest.com/test/default.asp
2. There are several typing games you can download:
a. Typing of the Dead is gory but fun. You can download it at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6gcqobq0zby12cz/Typing_of_the_Dead.rar. You may need to download a program to unzip the file, like this one: http://download.cnet.com/WinRAR-32-bit/3000-2250_4-10007677.html.
b. Tux Typing 2 may not be gory, but it is fun: http://tuxtype.sourceforge.net/download/.
c. Stamina Typing Tutor is another good one: http://typingsoft.com/stamina.htm.
3. Typing Tutor has games, tutors and tests available at http://www.touch-typing-tutor.com/.
4. If you want a Linux typing tutor, try Klavaro. It has a very simple and intuitive interface, and it comes with an Alphagrip layout out of the box. http://klavaro.sourceforge.net/en/index.html/
5. Playing online multiplayer video games, such as World of Warcraft, requires the use of many keys and can speed up the learning process. You may also find it more fun to practice typing the text of a book; that way you can read something interesting and learn to type on your AlphaGrip at the same time. Here’s a link to a text file of an uncopyrighted book entitled The Log-Cabin Lady. There are more free e-books available on the Internet; try visiting http://www.gutenberg.org/.
6. But the best way to learn the Grip is to use it 30-60 minutes a day doing what you normally do with your keyboard and mouse. Here's a link to some interesting posts on the AlphaGrip Google Group which describe how muscle memory (post #10) helped a college student become proficient with his AlphaGrip ... and, in the words of Maxwell Smart, loving it!