back to article iPhone thumb trim hoax gets online media buy-in

Claims that Thomas Martel, 28, of Bonnie Brae had his over-sized thumbs "whittled" to make using his iPhone easier have turned out to be a marvellous hoax perpetrated by the North Denver News, though one that fooled many online news sources. Despite the story being littered with clues - references to muscle alterations in the …


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  1. Adam


    "It's true that the QWERTY keyboard is an abomination "

    In what way? It's no better or worse than an AZERTY or Dvorak, and an alphabetic keyboard is just painful for those of us used to a proper lay-out! If there is a better way, I'd be interested to hear of it so I can try it out for myself!

    Straying from the lay-out point, I think the bigger issue is that keyboards are sized for ladies, and it's not possible for a chap with broad shoulders to hold his wrists and arms at the "correct" angle the health and safety bods at work insist on. Curvy keyboards are great, but they need to be available to the 50% of the population who require them.

  2. Frank Bough


    ...why don't you just shut up about the iPhone?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    what's an iPhone?

  4. elder norm

    Not so strange

    First Bill, this is about weird surgery, for what ever reason, not really an iPhone article. Hmmmm try reading some MS update tech data, maybe that will help. :-)

    Second, why is this article so hard to believe (true or not)? Have you not read the news lately. There are people having over 50 cosmetic surgerys so they can look like a barbie doll, or a tiger, etc. Its a strange world and there are many strange people in it. Just take a look at the staff of the Register!!! LOL :-)

    Ahhhh, guys. . . . . It was just a joke . . . . . Guys! NO...... don't . . . . . . ..



  5. Ian Ferguson


    The thing I love about QWERTY, is that it's now an 'official' Scrabble word. I strive to save up letters and use it, just to piss people off.

  6. Player_16


    ...Talk about Paris Hilton or something.

  7. Dillon Pyron

    80 wpm

    I can type anywhere from 80 to 100 words per minute on a typewriter, where you need to do little things like carriage returns.

    QWERTY is easy to use once you learn how. I touch type.

    Who remembers the Write Hander? Is anyone actually using the Dvorak?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    AZERTY is optimised for different languages than English. Dvorak is a complete redesign based on rational principles of ergonomics and exploiting the improvements in typing technologies since we moved away from mechanicals.

    Doesn't seem to lie too much or make overblown claims. Dvorak is claimed to be faster once you're trained on it because the most often used characters are easy to get at and under your primary fingers.

    Try looking for FITALY too. I bet there are loads of variations on that theme.

  9. Ross Fleming

    RE: Abomination

    I'd guess Bill believe the urban legend that QWERTY keyboards were designed to "slow down" typists to stop typewriters from jamming when common letters were used together. From what I remember of the true story, QWERTY was created to allow faster typing, by moving the bars of common key-pairs away from each other and preventing jams.

    Keyboard styles are largely irrelevant, the brain remaps over time to whatever layout is available - i.e. the only reason you "know" where the A key is (for example) is because you've become accustomed to it.

  10. tranquil

    Anachronistic? perhaps. Abomination perhaps a little strong.

    Remember that the QWERTY keyboard was specifically designed to slow down typing speeds in order to prevent typewriters jamming, and it becomes obvious how out of date it is.

    I'll admit that I sill use a QWERTY but that has lot to do with it being good enough, rather than being good. That and the fear of the unknown.

  11. Dan

    I remember...

    in first or second year secondary school (about 85/86) we spent one period a week learning how to use some 5 button typing device linked up to BBC Micros 'cos apparently these were much faster to type with and by the time we left school, qwerty keyboards would be obsolete. Even after a year we were all slow as hell at it and I got told off for being stupid when I pointed out that maybe having two of these devices and using both hands could be faster still.

  12. Jason

    no no

    Qwerty was not designed to slow down users, that is a myth. It was made so that most commonly type letters would be in places where they would not jam up the hammers. It was made for speed on the hammer typewriters, not to slow the user down. It was also made so the salesmen could type typewriter just using the top row. Without worrying about hammers, people have tried to make faster keyboards, with mixed results. The alternating hands involved in qwerty use has proven resilient.

  13. Orv Silver badge

    Dvorak vs. QWERTY

    I actually tried Dvorak for a while. It took me a week or two to re-learn touch typing on it. I didn't really find it any faster, but it *was* more comfortable, and some wrist problems I was having at the time went away. I don't know if this is because of the layout, or because I was paying more attention to my typing posture. I found I was even able to "context switch" between keyboard layouts, and touch-type on either one, after a few minutes of adjustment.

    That said, I eventually went back to full-time QWERTY use. Remapping keyboards was a pain, and when I started being asked to maintain other people's machines the need to "context switch" (and the resulting slower speeds on QWERTY as I adjusted) got annoying. Also, most keyboard shortcuts are done with QWERTY in mind -- especially the commonly-used X/C/V cut/copy/paste shortcuts.

  14. Graham Bartlett

    Keyboard styles

    Sure, it's to stop hammers jamming.

    Problem is though that the reasons the hammers jammed was because particular movements between keys were faster than the hammers could handle. Whilst there is an element of geometry involved in avoiding clashing hammers, there is also an element of stopping typists making these fast movements. That's called "slowing down the typist" - not deliberately for the sake of it, sure, but it's eliminating those high-speed movements which could otherwise speed up your typing. In addition, it puts the most-used keys on the left hand, which naturally slows down the 80-90% of the world who aren't left-handed.

    There's a reason that court stenographers don't use QWERTY keyboards, and it ain't just government pork - it's the 200-300 words per minute they can crank out. Granted, a stenotype has some significant disadvantages (lack of case for starters), but if you want an efficient typing scheme then that's your gold standard, not QWERTY.

    The problem is that as a comment above says, QWERTY is "good enough". We've all learned to tolerate it. It's a bit like Harrison Bergeron - if everyone has heavy weights hung on their backs, no-one's going to be dancing around any time soon, but no-one can dance so you don't notice.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chordic keyboard

    Dan is probably remembering the "Microwriter" (not "MicroWriter", this was before InterCaps).

  16. Colin Sharples

    re: Chordic keyboard

    Yeah, those things were cool. A friend of mine at York Uni was doing a project with those around 1991. He rigged up a chordic keyboard (don't remember what make) on top of a mouse, so you could do everything with just one hand. It was mainly intended as an accessibility device.

    He devised a test which involved having to click on various things interspersed with some text input. The rest of us in the class were roped in to be test subjects. After 20 minutes or so of practice to learn the chording (just numbers), we did the test. I was significantly faster using his device compared to using normal qwerty plus mouse.

  17. foxyshadis

    ffs, any keyboard's as good as another, within reason

    Does it matter if querty doesn't allow me to crank out 300 wpm if my personal maximum is 60 wpm and 99% of the time I'm doing pretty much anything other than copying/dictation, usually typing 10-30 wpm? Big deal. Even on a roll most people spend more time thinking and correcting mistakes than typing.

    Translating qwerty to portable devices made for one or two thumbs or a stylus is silly - more common letters should be close to the edges in easy reach, but at least it doesn't result in cognitive dissonance, which reduces typing ability much more.

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