Geek stats: a half million keystrokes at home (personal analytics)

Today I passed the half-million keystroke mark on my home computer. I started using a keystroke counter back on March 9, when I became interested in personal analytics. I have a keystroke counter on my work computer also, but this half-million keystroke milestone represents just my typing at home and just on my laptop. I don’t have a keystroke counter on my iPad, where I do a fair amount of my writing when away from my computer.

Still, a half-million keystrokes in just under 3 months is about 2 million keystrokes a year on my home computer.

Keycount 1.png

If you eliminate the spacebar, my most used key is the E key, which makes sense. I’m a little surprised my typing speed is so low, but then I remember that this counts ever single keystroke no matter what I am doing.

When I checked after the first month or so that I was using the logger, I discovered that I used the backspace key about 7% of the time. This has improved somewhat to a mere 2.7% of the time.

Keycount 4.png

Here is a “heatmap” of my keystrokes on my home computer (the redder the key, the more used it is). I’ve eliminated the spacebar from the results.

Keycount 2.png

Finally, if anyone is curious what a “typical” month looks like, here is a chart for the month of May. Keep in mind that I haven’t been doing much fiction-writing lately, and that is reflected in the relatively low numbers:

Keycount 3.png

I use a different keystroke logger at work because I use a Windows machine. The one at work does not tell me which keys I press; it keeps a cumulative total. It does, however, give me minute by minute data so that I can produce a diurnal plot of when I tend to be typing.

And since I imagine I’ll get asked the question, the keystroke counter I use on the Mac is the only one I could find in the App Store: TypingStats and it has worked out fine for me since I started using it.

About Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.