Guest Column

TypeRacer Championship 2017 launched!

Posted on January 14, 2017. Filed under: Contests, Guest Column, Stats, TypeRacer News, Universes |

Happy New Year

Hi All – Happy belated New Year! On behalf of Typeracer I’d like to introduce our first (but hopefully not last) guest author on this blog. Noah (licahfox) is an old-timer on the site, and truly a top-rate typist. Back in Aug. 2008, the first month that Typeracer supported user accounts, and thus the beginning of all our data, Noah was the #1 typist, with an average of 160 wpm during that month. He also had the highest single score (213 wpm), a huge 50-60wpm higher than his next competitor.

I recall being one of the best racers myself (my 128 wpm average put me in 6th place in this timeframe, and I was the second most winning typist (982 wins) — second only to Bob Bongloaded (bob_bongloaded), who had an impressive 2,000+ wins! Noah was always able to beat me, but at least with his being a professional organist, I was okay with that!

In any case, later in the post we’re going to introduce a new exciting feature. The dedication of Typeracer’s fan base over the years has been inspiring to me, and the fact that we have a chance to collaborate with an old Typeracer fan who’s been playing since the beginning is completely ‘yuge, and we’re happy to be working with Noah to introduce this new feature.  Let’s consider it Noah’s “Christmas present” to the Typeracer community – a engineering marvel for armchair software engineer Noah “Licahfox”, pulled off in all the spare time that he most certainly does not have.

It any case, since this “Christmas Present”, a new Typeracer contest format, is based on the Typeracerdata.com platform, we thought we’d announce Noah’s main TRData website here on our blog at the same time.

What is Typeracer Data?

Typeracerdata.com: It’s an awesome website for Typeracer fans and racers trying to track their progress. It’s also motivating, with statistics like “text bests” (the average of a user’s best race on each text). For me personally, this lets me view every race as an opportunity to beat my record on the individual text–regardless of how hard or easy it is–and effortlessly track my progress. This might help keep Typeracer fresh for some people. The rankings on the site are unofficial, since the database is incomplete by nature, but at least for the fastest typists, the data is largely complete and should be pretty accurate. And, the more the site is used, the more complete the data becomes!

The competition on Typeracer is heating up

One last thing I want to call-out before I turn you over to Noah is that I’m truly impressed with how the competitive environment on Typeracer has blossomed over the past 8 years. Noah had the fastest average in Aug. 2008 but is now #59! We now have racers such as “Typeracer Domination” Award-Winner Izzy (blade5468), Typeracer Hall-of-Fame 2016 nominee Fyda, Romanian typing legend Andrei “Why didn’t anyone nominate me?” Cristescu (kakarotto), upcoming Sean-Wrona-challenger Shazzy (treiderik)  are setting a very high bar, and it’s been a lot of fun racing with you guys in 2016 🙂

Here’s to 2017, and I shall pass you over to Noah. Anyone else interested in guest authoring can email me at david@typeracer.com, or message me on Typeracer. Thanks!

 David Pritts (valikor)

———

Typeracer Championship 2017

By Guest author: Noah (licahfox)

 

Hi Typeracers,

We’ve launched a new competition called TypeRacer Championship 2017! Each month, the Championship Universe will contain a small number of texts, on which top typists will compete to see who can achieve the highest overall score;  We award prizes to those who rise to the top, both for the monthly competitions and also for the overall winners of 2017.

For the current session of January 2017, which runs through the end of the month, TypeRacer will offer prizes as follows:

  • First place: $50
  • Second through fifth place: One free premium account for a chosen username

Many racers have already enrolled in the first Championship round, which began earlier this month. Whether you want to compete for a prize, or simply see how far you can climb up the rankings, we encourage you to participate this month in TypeRacer Championship 2017!

TypeRacer Championship 2017 Official Site

Hope you enjoy it!

Noah (licahfox)

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-6-56-33-pm

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Review of the Corsair K-series Gaming Keyboard

Posted on November 29, 2014. Filed under: Keyboard Reviews |

TypeRacer.com scorecard for user valikor

Corsair K65 RGB Keyboard

This keyboard and the customizable lighting (available on the “RGB” models) are insanely cool and its mechanical switches will certainly give you a speed boost. The RGB models come in 3 sizes: K65 compact version (only available from Best Buy in the US), K70 (full-size keyboard), and the K95 extended keyboard with extra programmable keys (available from Amazon).

Tip: You can save a good deal of money by choosing one of the versions without fancy lights: (1) K70/Cherry MX Red, (2) K70/Cherry MX Blue, or (3) K70/Cherry MX Brown (the differences between Red, Blue, and Brown switches are described at the end of this post).

icon

I’ve been involved in competitive typing for over 8 years (the last 6 years on typeracer.com), and although I’ve seen countless discussions on our blog and forums about the importance of using a quality keyboard, I was still using my laptop keyboard almost exclusively until now. I’m happy that I can finally offer my view on this topic (which is, basically, yes, absolutely you will type faster on a mechanical keyboard!), as well as share a my review of the keyboard I recently purchased: a Corsair K65 RGB LED Mechanical Gaming Speedtyping Keyboardicon (it’s marketed as a “gaming” keyboard, but as far as I’m concerned, this slick machine was made for speed typing)!

I bought this keyboard because it looked so cool at Best Buy that I just had to have it! Each key is backlit by an LED that can display over a million colors (the same lighting technology used for large screens and signs). It’s also completely customizable: if you were so inclined, you could, in theory, even configure your Corsair RGB keyboard to light up with a picture of your face 😯 (the mod I saw actually makes the picture of your face bleed bright red around the key you’ve just pressed :evil:, which gradually starts healing after you release the key 😎)! I just can’t promise that the pixel resolution is going to do enough justice to your good looks ;-). But seriously, there are a lot of extremely cool user-made themes that you can download and set up in like 20 seconds. To appreciate the coolness, check out my video review on YouTube where I do a race at 169 WPM using this awesome piece of hardware!

Fancy lighting aside, this keyboard is quite comfortable to type on. It didn’t take me long to get used to it even though I’d never used a mechanical-switch keyboard before. In fact, I averaged 170 WPM just in my first ten or so races with it, which was the highest score I’d gotten on TypeRacer in months (I’ve been getting a bit rusty until I bought this thing)! The build quality feels and looks superior, and it uses German Cherry MX Red key switches, which, from my perusal of various discussions on the TypeRacer forums, seem to be the gold standard in mechanical keyboard manufacturing. My only complaint is that some fingers on my right hand seem to get tired a bit more quickly than usual, but I may not be using the best posture for my hands. Editor’s note: or maybe David is just not used to typing this fast 😉

Corsair-K65-rating-summary

This product is not perfect though. It’s kind of annoying that it requires two USB ports for full functionality (it needs more power than one USB port can provide), though I didn’t dock any points from my overall rating for this. The main reason I can’t give this keyboard a 5-star review, is the fact that the software for creating your own customized lighting theme is not very user-friendly and the documentation is pretty bad (but hey, have you ever bought a computer product that came with well-written docs?). On the bright side though, lots of awesome lighting themes have already been created and shared by other users, so this is still an incredibly cool keyboard.

My conclusion is that having a really good keyboard like the Corsair K65 improved my typing. This is not an inexpensive keyboard, but I consider it a worthwhile purchase and am giving it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

– David Pritts (valikor)


Editor’s note: With the K70 model, you also have your choice of the Cherry switch type: Red, Brown, or Blue (these “colors” actually denote the level of tactile feedback provided by the switch, not to be confused with the color of the LED backlight). And if you don’t need the 16-million-color LED lighting in your keyboard, you can save some money by getting one of the non-RGB versions of the same keyboard:

  • K70 with Cherry MX Red technology: “Cherry MX Red switches are categorized as linear, non-tactile. This means that their feel remains constant through each up-down key stroke. The result is a feel that most perceive as “smoother” and “faster”, making them especially popular among gaming enthusiasts.”
  • K70 with Cherry MX Blue technology: “The blue switches are considered to be the best switch for typing because they have a “clicky” tactile bump when the activation point is hit. While many people prefer them for gaming, it is not as easy to double tap as other switches since the release point is above the actuation point.”
  • K70 with Cherry MX Brown technology: “The Cherry Brown switches are about halfway between a typing and a gaming switch. Some people prefer them for gaming since it enables you to double tap faster. The browns have a soft, tactile bump about halfway through the key press. The MX Brown switches have a softer click when depressed and require less force to actuate than the blue switches.”

(Descriptions of the about the Cherry MX Red, Blue, and Brown switches were taken from this guide)


Do you have a favorite keyboard that you’d like to review for our community? You can send us a private message using this form to get your review published on our blog.


Or leave us a comment about David’s review:

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TypeRacer turns 5 years old and reaches 1 million users!

Posted on August 8, 2013. Filed under: Guest Column, TypeRacer News |

Today makes exactly 5 years since TypeRacer began accepting signups for user accounts, and coincidentally, we’ve just reached the milestone of 1 million accounts created! I want to thank everyone for signing up and racing over the years: you guys have literally changed my life!

To celebrate our 5 years on the web, for one day only the next week, we’re dropping the price of premium accounts to only 5 dollars! You have two options if you subscribe today: $5 for one year ($12/year thereafter, if you choose to keep the subscription), or $25 for the next 5 years!  (If you have already subscribed and would like to lock in the next 5 years for $25, please email us, and we’ll gladly change your subscription.) Please subscribe and help us celebrate our birthday by racing with your personalized avatar:

Cool avatars

Some of the avatars that are available to premium members

(Update: In response to one of the comments, I’d like to mention that you can always tell Paypal not to renew your subscription automatically. Just log into your Paypal account, go to Profile > My money > My preapproved payments, then click on your TypeRacer subscription, then click “Suspend” or “Cancel.”)

Update 2: Due to the high demand, we’ve decided to keep this offer open for a full week (until Thursday, August 15th). Thanks to everyone who subscribed!

I’d like to also personally thank David Pritts, who signed up (as valikor) as soon as TypeRacer started accepting signups, has completed over 23 thousand races in the last 5 years, and has recently joined me as the second member of the TypeRacer staff!  I asked David to write about his experience on TypeRacer as a 5-year veteran, and about some of the future improvements we have planned. David, thank you, and happy anniversary!

– Alex

Happy Birthday Typeracer:  A personal account of Typeracer’s past, and a look at its future

by David Pritts

Like many others in my generation—when personal computers began to become common—I first started typing in elementary school, with games like “Mario Teaches Typing”, and later using typing tutors like Mavis Beacon. Looking back, even 15-20 years later, I can still remember playing the Mavis Beacon “car game”, where fat, juicy mosquitoes would splatter on my windshield with each typo, at times leading to my horrific death. Luckily, computer games at this time had very bad graphics, so I was spared the bloodshed after each crash.

Does anyone remember this typing game?

Does anyone remember this typing game?

By middle school—probably when I was around 12-years-old—I typed about 80wpm; at the time, I was quite proud of this, because I was just surpassing my father, who had been using computers for years. By high school, I typed maybe 115 wpm, and would occasionally go to one of our school’s computer labs during my free periods and play on the software that was used for typing classes. There was, I think, something refreshing and relaxing about the whole practice; after all, computers, unlike people, are predictable. The keys that you press always correspond to the letters that come up. It doesn’t require a lot of thinking. You just go. By the end of high school, I would say that typing had become one of my hobbies, albeit kind of a boring one. I had learned the Dvorak keyboard by this point, and could type “fluently” on two keyboard layouts (Dvorak and Qwerty), but there were no competitive typing games online, and no communities for typing enthusiasts. I considered launching such a website, actually, but this idea—like a thousand others—disappeared into the hungry abyss that is my mind.

typeracer_beta_logo

Old Typeracer logo (Holiday and Beta edition)

Fortunately, though, I was being a typical American college student one day, procrastinating with my schoolwork, when I stumbled across a new typing site called www.typeracer.com. The site was quite good, as it allowed users to race in real-time against users all over the world. All the data was stored in cookies, though, with no permanent records; there were no user accounts, and there was no way to communicate with other users. At the time, each user could occupy an unlimited number of positions on the leaderboard, so this “fastest typists” list was often dominated by the 2-3 fastest typists of the hour.

The old scoreboard system only worked well for a few people at a time.

The old scoreboard system only worked well for a few people at a time.

Or sometimes, if certain people wanted to boost their egos, they would find a time when nobody faster was logged on, and they would completely dominate the leaderboard. It was nice for some people who wanted an ego-boost.

At the time, I may have been a little overly enthusiastic.

At the time, I may have been a little overly enthusiastic.

The game was a lot of fun, but the site was still in beta, and needed a lot of work, as there were a lot of random bugs.

Typeracer's growing pains

The countdown timer exploded and teleported to the bottom of the screen. These were among Typeracer’s growing pains

Huh? Typeracer still needed a lot of work.

Huh? Two different scores? Typeracer still needed a lot of work.

Dangerous times. This was like the Wild Wild West phase of Typeracer history.

Dangerous times. This was like the Wild Wild West phase of Typeracer history.

Over time, though, Typeracer became more stable, and added more features. The scoreboard became more fair, only displaying each user’s highest score. The biggest day, however, was August 8th, 2008. This is when Typeracer introduced permanent user accounts, officially bringing it into post-beta.

A few old-time users will remember this day.

A few old-time users will remember this day.

Since then, we’ve seen massive expansion. The community has grown extensively, with typists all around the world registering. Many notable users from other typing competitions, including large-scale international competitions, have also made themselves present on Typeracer. Over these past five years, the changes have been enormous. Typeracer has improved stability, introduced score histories for all quotes, optimized the player matching algorithm, introduced global ranking, more skill levels, added an Instant Death accuracy mode, support for 51 languages, added premium accounts, the ability to export your race history, a school edition, the Pitstop, customized avatars, Typeracer scorecards, and much more.

I have lost to this guy countless times, but I did win once! Sorry, Sean, I am posting this screenshot!

I have lost to this guy countless times, but I did win once! Sorry, Sean, I am posting this screenshot!

During this time, I have personally improved my typing speed from around 120wpm to around 140wpm (it is becoming more and more difficult to get faster!) I completed 10,000, and then 20,000 races. I beat the world’s fastest typist one time (he beat me maybe 100-200 times, but somehow I doubt he took any screenshots). I also had the honor of racing against Typeracer legend Chimchimchim as he became the first person ever to complete 100,000 races on Typeracer!

The one and only Chimchimchim, completing his 100,000th race on Typeracer! It was good to be there!

The one and only Chimchimchim, completing his 100,000th race on Typeracer! It was good to be there!

In June 2013, I became Typeracer’s first employee. In just under 5 years, Typeracer grew into a game with 1,000,000 registered accounts (the latest number is 1,029,920)! There was too much work to do and not enough manpower to do it all, so it was time for Typeracer to expand. We have a lot of projects to work on. Typeracer supports 51 languages, but we are still relying on machine translations for most of these languages. Despite countless hours of work developing anti-cheating measures, people still have found ways to cheat on Typeracer. Although we have hundreds of texts, there are thousands of dedicated players who have performed a large number of races, so we’ve already outgrown this selection of texts. Moving forward, we will be working on all of these issues, in addition to continuing to develop new features. Let us know what you want!

Typeracer is going to be vastly improving its support for other languages.

Typeracer is going to be vastly improving its support for other languages.

The most important point, though, is that today is Typeracer’s birthday fifth birthday, marking five years since Typeracer left beta. We want to celebrate by offering a promotion (for today only), dropping the price for premium memberships from $12/year to just $5 for a year. We hope you will consider supporting us! In addition, we want to make today special by adding some new texts, and deleting a number of cheaters who have made Typeracer less fun. Lastly, we want to announce an exciting new project, which is long overdue: starting today, we will be actively working to transform Typeracer International into a more fun and useful venue for typing in 51 languages. We want to get rid of all the texts which have been translated by Google Translate, replacing them with new texts specific to each language. If you speak any other languages, and want to help put together a collection of texts in your language, please contact me at David AT Typeracer DOT com. The Typeracer crew looks forward to working with Typeracer’s one million users in order to make sure that Typeracer remains the best typing website on the internet! Thanks, everybody, for your support over the years, and let’s wish Typeracer a happy fifth birthday!

This balloon arrangement was put together a while back by Serbian Typeracer Zoran Markovic. I'm going to re-use it to celebrate Typeracer's 5th birthday. Happy Birthday Typeracer!

This balloon arrangement was put together a while back by Serbian Typeracer Zoran Markovic. I’m going to re-use it to celebrate Typeracer’s 5th birthday. Happy Birthday Typeracer!

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