keyboards/RSI/switching costs (was Looking for a secondhand Datahand Pro II)

James Laver james.laver at
Wed Oct 21 13:05:28 BST 2009

On Wed, Oct 21, 2009 at 12:31 PM, Chris Jack <chris_jack at> wrote:
> Before you switch keyboards, I think there is an important question about how often you are obliged to use a standard qwerty keyboard. I worked all over Europe for a bit using a large number of the European variations on qwerty (y and z switched for instance and punctuation in unusual places). I found the constant switching meant I was slower on all keyboards - but maybe it was worse because the keyboards were kind of the same. Maybe it's not such a problem if you switch between, say, qwerty and colemak.

A friend of mine in Canada tried it for a few weeks at work only ("I
figured there was no chance of losing productivity at work") and used
qwerty at home and seemed to do fine with switching. No subtle
differences, it's a whole different mode of typing.

>It also has the advantage of no numeric keypad - so there's significantly less travel between keyboard and mouse.

That's distinctly not an advantage for those of us who type numeric
IDs into database driven applications.

> I had been seeing an osteopath who pointed out that the natural position for the hand is in "shaking hands" position - so constantly rotating it flat (as for "normal" cheap flat keyboards) - and worse, then yawing it to point forward, places a lot of strain on your hands. He also got me to use a "shaking hands" position mouse. We're kind of switching into public service/health announcement territory here: but if anyone is interested, a good link to buy this sort of stuff is under Products->Accessories. I also use a specialist mouse wrist rest from Fellowes that moves with my wrist.

I'm curious about trackballs. I use one ever since i had a minor
twinge that might have potentially indicated RSI or CTS and I haven't
had a recurrence. They do still require you to twist your arm to use
though (but movement of the hand is distinctly reduced).


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