Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs!
No, I am not going on a binge. :D
Like 'the quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog', it is a pangram, which uses all the letters of the alphabet. These sentences were used to practice correct keystrokes when typing.
When I learnt typing way back when the world was young, it was a skill taught in typing schools; fast and accurate typists were still prized. One was taught to type using all fingers and both thumbs.
asdfgf space ;lkjhj was the first thing you learned, and the teachers would watch hawk-eyed to make sure your fingering was correct. This was torture for me, as I had already taught myself a six-finger shuffle method of typing, and I was reasonably fast with it too. But I was made to unlearn it, and the right fingering was drummed into me by unending hours of practice at the typing school.
It didn't stick, though.
I used to have long nails on my right hand, as I played veena those days and needed the nails for plucking the strings. (My guru used to quote Marilyn Monroe, saying plectra were like falsies, needed by those whom the nature didn't endow sufficiently. Needless to say, I wouldn't be caught dead playing with plectra after that remark!) And, my left index and middle fingers used to be so heavily calloused, that it used to be uncomfortable hitting the keys with them. I needed my own patented six-finger shuffle. And I had trouble using my pinkies. After a couple of months, I gave up on the lessons as a waste of time. I had learned all I needed, anyway.
Nowadays, nobody is actually taught fingering methods or punctuation in typing, I think. Children peck away at keyboards, and everybody evolves their own hunt and peck techniques. I don't know if any youngsters of nowadays can type without an occasional peek at the keyboard, though. (If there are touch-typing wizards out there in the young world, my apologies for maligning you. :D)
But people seem to ignore simple punctuation rules, such as a space after a comma, two spaces after a period, etc. These are not just conventional niceties, though. They give visual aid, help make a document look neater and make reading easier.
I am not even going go into the texting argot. I just accept that language evolves, and mores change. If it saves time, energy and a few rupees to type gr8, and other such hybrid words and people do so, well, it is a free world. I'll do it my way, and they can do it theirs. :)
It doesn't stop me from wondering, though. Why develop lazy habits? If you don't bother with the shift key in casual writing, you might forget it when you are writing something serious. And how many people bother to check their spelling, grammar and punctuation before hitting the send button? Emails and Instant Messages may have shrunk the world, but they have also made bad writing practices acceptable.
The one nice thing about the computer keyboards is that you don't have to pound them. The old typewriters were like Model T Fords compared to the Ferraris of the latest keyboards . :D
That reminds me of Oscar Wilde, who said "The typewriting machine, when played with expression, is no more annoying than the piano played by a sister or a near relation." :)