Learn to type from scratch, or improve your skills
You're new to typing
You lack speed or confidence
You type two fingered, and would like to use the lot ...
'Ten Thumbs' typing tutor will help - Bath Spa University has a networked training package available from any networked 'Windows' or Apple Mac computer. 'Ten Thumbs' is a product of a UK based company called Runtime Revolution
Don't be put off by the sight of the Viking chap (he fronts the program). Unlike Microsoft Office's much missed paperclip, if he moves, dances or distracts you, you can set preferences so he keeps still. Ten Thumbs is intended for all ages: when we evaluated typing tutor software, we initially thought this product would be pitched too young for adults. Then we remembered the paperclip, noticed that Ten Thumbs ran beautifully, and was doing all the right things.
A word of warning. It's likely that using a typing tutor will really get up your nose at some point. Just like every other physical skill we develop, you'll likely find it will take effort for you to change the way you type. Use self-discipline, and practice each day, and you'll rapidly find yourself typing 30 words a minute without thinking about it - and that's very a respectable speed.
Ten Thumbs used to have a couple of idiosyncrasies. Now it just has a couple of idiosyncratic vikings, and that's fine by us.
To benefit, you'll need to use it - heed the advice that 'Ten Thumbs' offers, install a shortcut so that you can start the course easily and spend 15 minutes with this on a regular basis.
At the very start, you'll be asked to set up an account by providing your name.
If you'd like to log on anonymously anyway, simply make up a name.
'Ten Thumbs' also asks you for an (optional) password. Do not use your NT password - you need to keep that secure - what you need here is a soft password - a simple word that you'll remember. If you don't set the password, it's not life or death - other people using 'Ten Thumbs' will be able to log into your account though.
Your learning preferences
When you first use it, 'Ten Thumbs' takes you through a short quiz to establish your preferences. Here you can set things like 'No music', 'No beeps', 'No jiggly Vikings'.
You can change things
You can change these preferences later - look for the 'Ten Thumbs' menu at the bottom of its screen and then select the options once more.
Learn only the things you need
In the preferences 'Quiz' you can say whether you want to practice the symbols keys - many people don't need to be able to type "&£<>" fluently, so this may be a good timesaving option for you.
Getting it going - Windows PCs
Run 'Ten Thumbs' typing tutor from your workplace pc. To make this easy, add an icon to your desktop - following the instructions in the box below. Ask for help if you need it.
You will need the path to the course - there it is below: use this to make a desktop shortcut. First, copy the path. Using your mouse, highlight the path below, then hold down the 'Control' key and press 'C' (to copy the text)
Now create the shortcut, Right-mouse-click on your computer desktop.
From the menu that pops up, choose 'New' and then 'Shortcut'. A dialogue box opens, asking you for a file location.
Paste the path you copied earlier into the dialogue box - by holding down the 'Control' key and pressing 'V'. Then there's a 'Next' button in that dialogue box.
Provide a tidy name for the shortcut - call it 'Ten Thumbs'.
It's done - when you want to use the course, select the icon that's now on your desktop.
Getting it going - Apple OS X
Make it easy to run 'Ten Thumbs' typing tutor from your own machine - add an 'Alias' for the program to your desktop.
You'll need the path to the course, here it is. This version is actually a universal binary, it's known to run on anything later than OS X 10.3.
Copy that path ... perhaps by selecting it and using 'Apple + 'c'.
If you have permission, you can create an alias on your desktop:
click on your desktop and then from the menu select 'Go/Connect to server'
Paste the path to provide the name of the server to which you'll connect.
You may well find yourself needing to log on to the server at this point using your University username and password.
Browse to the Mac version of 'Ten Thumbs'. The program file will look like a little viking.
Now we'll make an alias. Don't select the file, but first hold down the 'Command + Option' key combination.
With the 'Command + Option' key combination held down, select and drag the program file to your desktop. This should create an alias there, the alias will take on the appearance of a viking. If you've accidentally dragged the program file itself to your desktop, put it in the trash and start again ...
When you select the new alias to run the typing tutor for the first time, your machine will set up a connection to the server if it's not already open, you'll need to provide your University username and password - and you can ask your computer to remember those for subsequent times.
If you don't have the permissions to create an alias, just run 'Ten Thumbs' by double clicking on the program icon.
When you run the typing tutor for the first time, you should see a list of existing students and a 'New' button - use the 'New' button to add yourself to the list and thereafter, choose the name you've given yourself from the list of users.
Running 'Ten Thumbs' from home
There's nothing to stop you using Ten Thumbs from home ... except that before you do, you'll need a VPN connection to enable your home machine to connect to the BSU network drive on which it lives ...
All before you, in this world, is smoke and shadows.All before you, in this world, is smoke and shadows. Words found on a door lintel in the garden of a house in the Cretan village of Argiroupolis. The lintel is a fragment from the city state Lappa, which occupied the same site. Fifteen hundred years later, when you use the web, from time to time you might well feel that the author was on to something. And if you work with particle physics, you'll know he was ...