Monday, October 6, 2008

Input Peripherals

My coworkers comment (OK, complain) every time they try to use my computer at the office. My online gamer friends are often interested in my gaming keyboard rig. So here's the poop:



Office Rig
Left-to-right:
Contour Designs ShuttlePro
Used primarily for web browsing (combine with SmoothWheel for scrolling bliss), video and audio editing.

PC Concepts i-MMT

No longer produced, this ancient PS/2 (Running an old Belkin USB-PS/2 adapter) keyboard has one of the best layouts of reasonably-normal QWERTY keyboard I've seen. Nice wide separation of left and right hands. Raised BACK end. Inverted-T arrows, and a full numpad and function keys.

Gel Wrist Pad
Most manual input devices allow your wrist to bend too much, so I use a lot of these crescent gel wrist rests. I believe the one on this keyboard is from Belkin. I have some others from off-brand manufacturers.

Microsoft Natural Wireless Mouse 6000
Excellent for "work." Decent mass-market mouse for reduced wrist pronation. Not as aggressive as the Evolent mouse, but readily available.

On the video riser: VXI USB headset. This is used for MacSpeech speech-to-text input. Best way to save wear-and-tear on the fingers is to just type less.




Gaming Rig
Left-to-right:
Belkin Nostromo n52te
This is my third Nostromo. The n52te is well worth the extra money in my opinion because the buttons require much less force. Unfortunately, it's not as programmable as the SpeedPad n52, but I took the tradeoff of comfort over programmability.

Kinesis Advantage keyboard

Nearly perfect layout. I'd prefer the center gap to be a bit wider (I'm a pretty wide guy) and the keys to angle in slightly, but otherwise just a terrific keyboard. Although it's basically a QWERTY layout, friends and co-workers find it intimidating and generally refuse to even try it.

Gel Wrist Pads
Again, I think the extra height reduces wrist deflection and the fabric-covered gel is very comfortable.

Microsoft Intellipoint Optical Mouse
The classic. I find this the best mouse for my gaming style. It's not too tall; it's light; and it has 5 properly placed programmable buttons. My problem with the Razer mice is that they generally put buttons #4 and #5 on the same side of the mouse. I prefer to have them on opposite sides so I can use my ring finger.

Yes, that's a Kim Possible mouse pad... And No: I don't know where you can get one.


Things to Look For in a Keyboard
Slant. Most "ergonomic" keyboards actually slant the wrong way! If you are concerned about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Tendinitis from keyboard entry, then you want your wrists as flat as possible. Any deflection is going to cause the tendons to rub and cause injury.

"Vertical" angle: When you move your fingers forward or backwards off of the home row, do they line up with the keys? That's the big advantage of a "split" keyboard layout: the keys for each hand can be rotated to be more comfortable.



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