Python vs. PHP (& Java?)

Tim Peters at
Sun Dec 31 05:13:27 EST 2000

[rturpin at]
> ...
> Looking at something where the stakes are much less, the
> benefit for each individual more clear, and the new skill
> is easily learned, cultural inertia STILL wins out over
> better notation. No one claims that the QWERTY keyboard
> is technically superior to the Dvorzak. I suspect, though,
> that the QWERTY keyboard will remain the major character
> input device for the next two or three decades.

Perhaps if the Chinese never take up typing <wink>.  WRT English speakers,
Liebowitz and Margolis published a now-famous paper ("The Fable of the
Keys") that kicked off a wave of serious skepticism about the oft-claimed
technical superiority of the Dvorak layout:

They had an economic axe to grind (i.e., their main interest wasn't
typewriter design), but all the same it's an interesting read.

>(Before thinking that voice recognition will knock it out soon,
> see how long your throat lasts speaking ten pages of text.  Twice,
> with edits.)

That's not hard for an experienced speech-recog user (but is probably harder
for an inexperienced one than for an inexperienced typist -- contra Star
Trek, these are both learned skills, and people are very resistant to the
notion that they need to *learn* how to speak to a computer).  Note that the
most steadfastly loyal market for speech recog is among people who need to
produce truly vast quantities of text every day, like medical and legal
transcriptionists.  Ten pages isn't a strain if you're using a normal,
quiet-room conversational voice (picture reading a book chapter to your
kid!).  Eight hours per day of repeating *anything* may lead to medical
problems, though.

with-the-exception-of-programming-python-ly y'rs  - tim

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