Emacs Typing Tutor

Last night I re-read this Steve Yegge article about learning to type as a programmer. I can touch type, but I don’t usually manage to break 60 WPM. The article made me curious if regular practice could increase my speed any more.

A long time ago I mentioned a hack that would let you use Vim as a sort of typing test.

The original article that post referred to has long vanished into the internet (maybe retrievable by the wayback machine?) and it looks like through some of the migrations of my blog (or changes in versions of Vim through the years) the syntax of that post is no longer producing the behavior that was useful as a typing test.

So I went today looking for something else that could be used as a typing tutor. Since I spend a reasonable amount of time near Emacs these days, I figured that would be a good (and likely) environment to find something. And I did – I found something that I really like. It has essentially the same simplicity of the Vim hack (when it was working) but it offers a little more automation and more variety.

The speed-type package is available on Melpa and it installs in Emacs with basically no configuration via list-packages. It includes samples from Project Gutenberg books, so it also exposes you to new vocabulary – so double win. It can also use sample text you provide if desired.

So far it looks great. I spent a little time (is it wasted, or is it training?) playing with it this morning. I think I’m going to try practicing with it a little each day and see if I can make any progress.

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