No, not John Dvorak the columnist, but Dr. August Dvorak, the inventor of the DSK (Dvorak Simplified Keyboard).
Dvorak was actually following up on work by Frank Gilbreth, author of Cheaper by the Dozen. It was Frank's wife Lillian who apparently helped Dvorak refine her husband's earlier work (http://gilbrethnetwork.tripod.com/qv4n2.html)
There has been plenty of controversy about Dvorak's layout. This page sums it all up: http://www.mwbrooks.com/dvorak/dissent.html
Here's someone who wondered if analysis aided by modern computers could produce anything better: http://www.visi.com/~pmk/evolved.html(link dead, sorry)
After quite a bit of work, it seems that he found that Dvorak was on the right track:
The next step was to actually try using the layout. I spent a couple days with it, and learned that my layout evaluation function was just too smart for its own good. Too many words required complicated patterns using the fingers of the right hand. The word bottom convinced me that Dvorak was on to something when he designed a keyboard that maximized alternation between the hands. (The insight is that hand alternation increases parallelism. When the fingers of one hand are hitting keys, the fingers on the other are getting into position atop the next keys. This should have been obvious, but it wasn't until I started the third experiment and saw some empirical timing data that I realized how much faster things are with high rates of hand alternation.)
I'm a two or three finger typist, so none of this affects me.
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