I'm quite susceptible to RSI but it seems that, unlike others, my weak fingers are actually my thumbs instead of the pinkies, and this keyboard puts heavy emphasis to press modifier keys (enter, backspace - EDIT: ctrl, alt, etc were included in the list by accident) with the thumb. Within a couple of days I felt sore and could barely move my fingers. I then used the remapping software to move all modifiers to their usual places (as much as possible) and the situation did really improve.
However, I frequently switch between the desk and a laptop and always had to waste a couple of minutes to adjust to the different layout. The TEK _is_ slightly more comfortable but not enough to justify its high price for me, that's why I ended up returning it.
Additionally, the return process is long and tedious since they have a tendency to ignore the first few requests and they seem to respond only if put under pressure. I managed to ship back mine last week, after a monthlong attempt at gaining their attention.
I tried many keyboards during these years and in the end I think that switching to a mechanical keyboard (Unicomp EnduraPro) and from QWERTY to Colemak did 90% of the job for me. After that the law of diminishing returns kicks in.
Anyway, having to hit the enter and backspace keys with the thumb is what I found problematic, that's why I remapped them to alternative places with their online tool.
CapsLock+hjkl -> the arrows
CapsLock+Spacebar -> Return
CapsLock+ui -> PgUp and PgDn
CapsLock+yo -> Backspace and Delete
> CapsLock+hjkl -> the arrows
The amount of remapping options beats anything else I've tried on any operating system. I'm stuck on OS X for now because of this program.
keycode 66 = Mode_switch
keysym h = h H Left
keysym j = j J Down
keysym k = k K Up
keysym l = l L Right
keysym space = space space Return
keysym y = y Y BackSpace
keysym u = u U Next
keysym i = i I Prior
keysym o = o O Delete
I just remove the numpad keys, and then tape my ergo trackball down to it. Works like a charm and allows me to keep my wrists in neutral position at all times.
I've definitely struggled off and on with RSI over the years and this book has been really helpful in keeping me limber:
The other thing that's helped me is going to the gym and doing light wrist curls (and reverse wrist curls) at least once a week.
Microsoft has two good keyboard without numpad:
My plan is to invest some time into learning VIM keys and migrate to Arc.
Octodon (http://octodon.mobi/ ) claims that their repositionable joysticks for phones' backs are even better for the text input than ergonomic keyboards.
Anyway, the effect was great! I was so slow for the first few weeks that I cursed at the long identifiers I had introduced in my C programs. :-) But even after some years, I never had any serious RSI since, and I am back to the speed of typing as before.
The funny thing is, I never stopped typing Querty. I use a normal Querty laptop at home and a Dvorak Kinesis at work. Keyboards+layouts are so different that I absolutely cannot type Dvorak on a laptop nor Querty on a Kinesis. They are different enough so I very rarely mistype the wrong layout. I switch without thinking, because they are so different. And maybe the constant switching keeps my hands busy in different ways, contributing to not having any problems with RSI since.
Maybe you just like blues? I love my browns on the Filco and Leopold...
I had a friend let me borrow a https://www.kinesis-ergo.com/shop/advantage-pro-for-pc-mac/ and it took a while to adapt to it but it ended up helping. I didn't want to keep it indefinitely so while I thought about buying one for myself I wanted to try something different. I did some research online and ended up buying a Truly Ergonomic 229. I liked the keyboard layout for the most part, especially the most used keys being on the central line, but there were a couple annoyances (top-left escape/tilde/1 order I never got used to and always typoed). The major problem to me was what seemed like a bonus at first: it's too compact. While it's easy to pack away in a laptop bag, it was impossible for me to get an ergonomic arm position. My forearms were always angled inwards with my hands and wrists angled out. This ended up exacerbating my right arm problem and I had to stop using it. Unfortunately I really wanted it to work and had kept at it past the refund period so it's just sitting in a drawer now waiting for me to throw it up on ebay.
If the http://www.keyboard.io/ models were available I would have tried one of them next but I ended up going with a Microsoft Sculpt http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CYX26BC/ since the price was right after blowing the money on the TEK and I couldn't justify shelling out for the Kinesis now. I am still using the Sculpt and would definitely recommend it. I would also recommend the Kinesis if you're willing to spend the extra dough and don't mind (or appreciate) the archaic looks.
Truly Ergonomic was my first choice. I adapted to it easily enough, but pretty soon I started feeling pain in the backs of my hands---the same pain I feel after using a non-ergonomic keyboard for too long. I'm not sure what the problem was, but I do recall feeling that the TE was too "square" so that my wrists had to bend the same way they would for a regular keyboard.
The refund took a long time, and I had to follow up a couple times to finally get it.
After that I switched to a Kinesis Advantage, and the adjustment was a bit harder but still not too bad. I'm very happy with it and still using it now.
which is a series of very simple exercises.
I have found more relief in daily stretches outlined in the above book then the keyboards I use: kinesis advantage, placed on my lap, at work (8 hours a day) and Truly Ergonomic at home on weekends
Overall it took a week to feel comfortable with each and another week after that to be back up to my previous typing / mousing abilities (the week where both were new was particularly amusing - I could barely highlight text at first). Now I can switch between standard keyboards and right or left handed mousing / trackball / trackpads with ease.
At my last job I developed tendonitis in my wrist after some particularly grueling work weeks using the Apple wireless keyboard and trackpad. I think the trackpad is what really did it - the flexed position it encourages your wrist to be in really couldn't be ergonomically worse.
 - https://www.kinesis-ergo.com/shop/freestyle2-blue-mac/
 - http://www.amazon.com/Kensington-Orbit-Trackball-Mouse-Scrol...
It is however a thumb-ball, not a palm-ball like like Kensington, and the trick to efficient usage is to set the sensitity to maximum. Really, try it.
Logitech never understood the greatness of the device and they have slowly phased them out. They only sell the wireless version now. I bought a couple of the wired model on sale once and I am now down to my last two. The switches wear out, unfortunately.
I agree on the horribleness of Apple mousing devices. I still haven't made the jump to a trackball but need to. Anybody have any recommendations?
It seems that the ergonomics is a bit touch and go by person. Its difficult for me to get these keyboards so I want to make a safer choice. Anyone has a thought if I should try for a more ergonomic keyboard for comfort or getting a mechanical one should be first priority.
Oh! I see. In that case I hope the quality is higher than the Tactile Pro 2.
That also puts all the usually distant keys much closer.
These days I alternate between Macbook internal keyboard, Topre Realforce 88 and Kinesis Freestyle. I have grown used to OS X touch gestures, so I have external magic trackad.
With freestyle, I can keep the pad between two halves within easy reach. For Topre, I'm thinking of bying one for each side, but I'm leaning on getting this instead:
This has mechanical keys (which I prefer now thanks to Topre, though not its variable force for weaker and stronger fingers) and Freestyle's split. Its maker is relatively unknown, but I've taken risks like this before ;)
OP doesn't say what kind of speed he is getting on these alternate keyboards with alternate layouts but I have to believe it is nowhere near justifying the hobbling you'll get when using a regular keyboard.
That switching away from QWERTY will give you a massive speed boost is a myth. Although the world's fastest typists do not use QWERTY, the main benefit of alternate keyboard layouts is not speed, it's comfort (and, well, ergonomics).
The question is polarizing - you can find testimonials of people who tried Dvorak/Colemak/Workman/etc. and either liked or hated it (so be careful to not fall prey to confirmation bias). I don't mind the "hobbling" as I very rarely use others' computers.
It's not for everyone. But you can remap (and set a key to go back and forth) easily on most computers these days. I find myself mostly on my own devices too. Some people (myself included) can also switch back to QWERTY and be functional. It feels so wrong, though, that I avoid it whenever possible. Never felt hobbled after that first few weeks learning, which were terrible. That's where a natural curiosity for learning new things really helps.
Anyway, cured me. Cost $0, took little time and I didn't have to change anything I was doing.
Sounds a little hard to believe. We need a few hundred people on HN to try it to get some anecdotal evidence.
It is 100% fact that emotional states can impact blood flow. For example, your face getting red when you become embarrassed. Another example, having an upset stomach or even diarrhea or vomiting when you are nervous since your body is in a fight-or-flight mode and turns off blood flow to non-essentials such as your digestive system.
It isn't a big leap that it could be doing this as well in response to repressed rage and fear. I've seen it in my own personal life as well as the lives of many others... an ailment followed by extensive research and figuring out physical cures for the ailment followed by the symptom imperative causing the pain to move to another area, rinse, repeat.
It is important to note though that physically treating the physical symptoms like that 1) serves to validate them and 2) through the symptom imperative causes the pain to move elsewhere. The true treatment is to realize the psychogenic nature of the pain and identify and acknowledge the mental issues at the root of the problem.
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I use the Workman layout, and I like the layout... BUT THE CHATTER!!!
At first I had to get used to the layout, then supposedly wait for the keys to "break in", then clean the switches.
It's not so bad... just annoying enough to barely not buy another keyboard. It was only last week that I ordered http://atreus.technomancy.us
If that one has chatter too, I don't know what I'll do. Go back to rubber dome maybe. Despite all the bad things people say about them, my old kb never missed a single press.
I think that's something from StarTrek that has not caught up.
Most "ergonomic computer posture" pictures (such as this one) show that apparently your elbows should be suspended in mid-air.
Personally, I found this to be terrible advice. Instead, I make sure to have at least two feet of desk space in front of the monitor, on which I rest my arms. This also makes palm rests unnecessary.
I think this approach shares many benefits with that in the article you posted.
That's it! Its that simple! It doesn't matter if its an ergo keyboard or not. What matters is that you change your keyboard and get your muscles moving in different directions.
Been doing this for 20+ years, after suffering RSI horrendously in the late 80's, and I'll never look back. Whenever I start to feel uncomfortable/pain while typing I just change keyboards to something else. Solution!
I used a dvorak layout for about 2+1/2 months, and while my speed was on par with normal qwerty, I just found going back and forth to be a nightmare. I had my work USB keyboard (for when my laptop was docked), the laptop keyboard itself, my desktop at home, my laptop at home, my ipad at home.. Not to mention server KVM keyboards and other co-workers' keyboards. Yuck.
I generally really struggle without a lot of the more unused function keys too, like the menu key, which I use ALL THE TIME so I don't have to resort to the mouse. When you make a typo, try moving the cursor into an incorrectly spelled word, then using <menu>, then finally the arrow keys and enter to make a correction in $word_processor next time, I guarantee you'll never look back. It very quickly becomes <back arrow x3-5><menu><down><enter><end> and you're back to typing in under a second.
Keyboards that remove this particular key, and replace it with function are a plague, especially in the mechanical keyboard world.. It's such a shame.
On the flip side, if you only ever interact with your own single keyboard (ie, your job is writing articles/novels/other full-bodied text) then I'd absolutely support a more personal solution such as this.
Me? I'll be sticking to my CODE keyboard and its delicious cherry clears.
Most of the times I need to type on somebody else's computer, they've got a non-split keyboard, so no problem there. And if they do have a split keyboard, I can just look at the keys. I can also do that if I need to use Remote Desktop and it pops up with QWERTY (as sometimes happens).
I've certainly found this to work for me, though of course if we were all the same you'd be doing this already and I wouldn't have had to mention it. I suspect it's part of the reason why my QWERTY speed is still OK, on non-split keyboard at least. Most people who see me type on a QWERTY keyboard are very surprised to find out that it's not what I'm used to.
Programming too - I do all work from my home PC. But I think this can also be expanded to using an editor other than vi, using a shell other than bash, or customizing either to the point that you can't use it at their defaults.
After years of tweaking and customization, I dread the thought of being forced to get anything done without my current workflow setup. And I think that's OK.
i tried NEO and DVORAK but somehow the english layout worked best.i still need to type umlauts (äöü) and ß, so i made a custom layout.
you can find it on github: https://github.com/bmaeser/coDE (osx only, sorry)
1. I get a high number of missed or repeated keys, even after the keyboard is broken in
2. The customer service is atrocious, as in "absolutely no response - not even an auto-responder - atrocious"
Given that keyboards and their consistent performance are integral to our job, I'd recommend going with another product.
That was 4 years ago, and I haven't had wrist pain since.
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It's a fun (very) entry level hardware project, with a good product at the end.
How many people thought the Better Business Bureau was an actual (that is, governmental) bureau until I asked this question?
How many people were unaware that the BBB sold good ratings until I asked this question?
I was NOT aware that the BBB sells good ratings.