Occupational hazards

My wrists are continuing to get worse. I am writing this using Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred, but it is quite a struggle with the software.  I'm not sure whether I need a faster computer, or my enunciation is just terrible.  I certainly won't be  able to use it for typesetting or programming anytime soon. I'm not quite sure what to do now.  Wow I didn't actually have to correct that last sentence.  Or that one.  Sometimes I just get lucky, I suppose.


  1. Scott said,

    March 16, 2008 @ 4:27 am

    I have considered voice recognition use but the syntax of programming would seem to make it more difficult. Have you tried ergonomic keyboard, if so which ones? High cost to invest in trying some of them.

  2. washburn said,

    March 19, 2008 @ 12:48 pm

    @Scott: Yes, certainly programming using voice recognition software is more difficult than prose. However, apparently several researchers I know have worked out a set of macros that make it practical for them. For that sort of thing I would definitely look into NatLink and Vocola as they do not require you to buy the insanely expensive version of Dragon Naturally Speaking.

    At the moment, I would say the thing that has helped me the most in this most recent incident was to get a desk that was at the correct height. The desks that came with my office were far too tall, even with my chair adjusted, for the recommended typing posture.

    Another big thing that does help is to use a program like workrave or xwrits to make sure you take breaks frequently enough.

    I was going to spring for a Kinesis contoured Advantage keyboard, but our system administrator was able to dig up a Logitech ergonomic keyboard (the back says “Cordless Desktop Pro”) that seems to be working out okay. I may still look into a Kinesis for my personal use, but I figure I should try to get my student loans paid off first. I had the opportunity in the past to briefly try out an older model Kinesis Advantage keyboard, but I was also trying to learn the Dvorak layout at the same time, and had to give up fairly quickly because I just wasn’t effective enough to get the writing/programming done that I needed to at the time.

    Wrist braces help some people. I’m not sure I have enough concrete data to know whether when I use them it necessarily helps me.

    I spent some time playing with Dasher, and the idea is conceptually quite sound (take advantage of the redundant bits in communication) but in the short time I played with it I did not become adept enough for it to be practical for me.

    Handwriting recognition is another option if that is less bothersome for your hands and wrists than typing.

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