Computer Ergonomics

I've made some improvements in my workplace ergonomics recently. It may seem like a small thing, but over the course of 8 hour days at the keyboard, the improvements really do add up.

I've decided to avoid taking my fingers off the home row as much as possible. In particular, the right half of the keyboard is for lightweights. Delete key, insert key, arrow keys-- fuggedaboudit. And that numeric keypad thing? It might have been good for playing daleks, but that's about the only use I can think of. No, the best setup involves keeping your hands near the letter keys at all times.

About key bindings. I have CTRL-0 bound to "next workspace", and CTRL-9 bound to "previous workspace." Next tab (in a tabbed xterm) is the right windows key, and previous tab is the left windows key. I think keeping the next and previous tab keys to one keystroke is important, since I use them a lot. I think vim is the most ergonomic editor. Without going into exhaustive detail, vim = near minimal number of keypresses, and no need to ever move from the home row.

I've been using extremely high mouse sensitivity. There's a little bit of a learning curve, but I just find the slower speeds endlessly aggravating to my wrists.

Of course, the posture to use when typing is to keep your keyboard on your lap. A good keyboard tray can also be helpful. It's important to keep your wrists straight.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to take regular exercise. I've been swimming pretty regularly, and every time I get in the pool, I can hear the cracks and pops of muscles untensing. It's good to stretch out.


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