It’s rarer now, but once in a while I still come across a journalist or blogger agonizingly hunting-and-pecking a story to completion — in a world where a low WPM means starvation (or at least, a diet of Ramen noodles).

It makes me smile, because I used to be like that. I’m much faster now, thanks to an abundance of repetition. But I’m still no maestro — so I’ve employed a secret weapon to help fashion me into a typing cyborg: The free Typist Mac app. Although I suppose it isn’t much of a secret since I’ve blabbed this to practically the entire Internet.

Typist is no Mavis Beacon; there’s no fancy interface, imaginative typing games or virtual instructor; in fact, the interface is painfully plain. No, Typist simply gets down to the gritty business of teaching you to touch-type through muscle memory, with just enough feedback to give you the tools you need to improve. And though the interface is basic, Typist includes enough exercises — speed drills, long- and short-form courses and even Dvorak keyboard practice — to keep up with you as your skills improve. And it’s free — so there’s really nothing holding you back from burning up your keyboard.

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