Computer Setup and Ergonomics Braindump

Please Note: This Page Is In Progress

This means, among other things, that:

  • Some of the content is not fleshed out, so you should not read more into things than exactly what is there.
  • Some sections might have things marked as “TODOs” (e.g., questions or things that must be done). These TODOs should not be taken to be representative of truth in any respect, and indicate areas that need more research and thought. If you have particular knowledge in things related to these, you can help! (Please see: contribution guidelines).
  • There probably will not be any section that pulls everything together in an easily understandable way.

This does not mean that:

  • I am not firmly convinced of the veracity of all the content currently published. If I am not sure of something, I don’t push it to the website. (This doesn’t mean that I won’t ever change my positions if I come to learn that I am in error, but that I strive, as much as possible, to only push content to the website if I am absolutely certain that it is true).
  • This page cannot be helpful to you in its present form. If you are aware of the limitations of the current state, you may find this page helpful long before I officially publish it.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

Is not CTS

RSI is not exactly the same Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), which is much more specific. Links:

Disagree with some of the above people on wrist braces

“Doctors prescribe wrist braces in the belief that the bending of the wrist is the cause of all the problems, aggravating the carpal tunnel. For some initial sufferers, braces help. But, for chronic sufferers we believe that you must train yourself to work in the neutral position and that any crutch will actually contribute to the conditions that have caused your problems, namely loss of muscle vitality and stamina.”

By what mechanism do wrist braces cause loss of muscle vitality and stamina? I agree 100% that wrist bending is not 100% of the problem (pace uninformed doctors thinking this). But wearing a brace means you physiologically cannot/it is hard to make very harmful wrist movements. It’s not like wearing it inherently zaps muscles.

Would you rather wear a brace that disallows bad movements without any necessary training, or try to magically teach yourself to not make harmful movements? Maybe I’m missing something?

Highly reviewed wrist brace on Amazon with lots more reviews than others

  • This brace
  • Dunno if that makes it best or if it is just momentum

Dual mice

Logitech now makes a thumb trackball with tilt

  • But it’s expensive and only offers a limited amount of tilt
  • You could use a Logitech M570 and jerry-rig your own tilt solution to get near vertical for that neutral “handshake position.”

Want to run mice on both sides

Split load across hands to avoid stress, especially during long computer sessions.

Since Vim mode laid out for right hand mouse use (in terms of cut/copy/paste/del/a/i), the left mouse should be used for non-vim things. (Like scrolling on pages or whatever).

Not a whole lot of left thumb trackballs

Thumb trackballs vs finger-operated trackballs

Finger-operated trackballs can be operated by basically keeping the wrist and fingers (which both have smaller muscle groups) relaxed, and moving the whole arm. Probably leads to better ergonomics in the long term?

On the other hand, most finger-operated trackballs are designed poorly and lead to people bending their wrists upwards (bad!). Thumb trackballs (at least the Logitech M570) already have a slight outward tilt to reduce wrist pronation (which is good).

If you make custom mounting for finger-operated trackballs, they are probably best. I guess?

Bluetooth

Bluetooth to avoid wires and setup time and 2.4GHz dongles that require USB-A ports and cut out due to interference with USB 3.0 devices.

The Kensington Expert mouse is a finger-operated trackball that can do Bluetooth.

  • But can you pair two of them at the same time?
  • The scroll ring is gritty. So sayeth the internet.

Scrolling

Best setup?

18” tray for keyboard/stenotype. Attach 2 Kensington expert trackballs to the edges, about halfway above and halfway below the tray (natural resting arm level, about same as keyboard). Should “frame” legs.

Won’t be entirely vertical (ball would fall out/not necessarily that much more ergonomic), but highly tilted to keep pronation in a non-stressful range.

Keyboard

Kinesis

Good start. In production/can buy, which is good since learning PCB stuff/soldering/breadboards etc. is not something that all of us want to do. I’m a software guy, sorry.

The concave keywells make it easier to reach more keys, and reduces overall travel distance.

But problems. It lacks things!

Also has some other keys that would be really unergonomic if you used them

Number row pinky keys, for example, cause definite radial deviation. I don’t use them in my keyboard layout because of this.

All of the small thumb keys cause problems (either ulnar deviation, or too much hand tension due to a lot of thumb extension, or both).

Not terrible per se since you can always not use the unergonomic keys, but wasted money and takes up more space, weighs more, etc.

Might be possible to make pinky keys usable if you increased the height a lot? Not enough pinky stagger?

Dactyl keyboard

Could allow for split hands and tenting. But looks like thumb keys are slightly less optimally positioned: would have more problems adding that third ergonomic thumb key than with the Kinesis. Probably?

Requires technical know-how; a big time investment for those of us who don’t already know such things from occupational knowledge.



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