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Knuckle pains and keyboard ergonomics
Thread poster: Dallas Cao
Dallas Cao
China
Local time: 01:34
English to Chinese
+ ...
Dec 31, 2007

Recently I feel pain in my finger joints and it is obviously caused by excessive typing. It really bothers me. I wonder if anyone has the same problem. I am also wondering how much a good keyboard can help avoid knuckle injury. Which laptops do you guys think have the best keyboard?

I am using a slow Pentium III Compaq laptop and drooling for a Lenovo X60, considering its light weight and reputable keyboard.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-01-01 02:34]


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:34
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Knuckle Pain Dec 31, 2007

Hi,

Yes, I had it this summer and it was terrible as I had a lot of work. The doctor prescribed some medicines including vitamins+calcium. And it really cured me.

I've been working a lot and without any difficulty since then. And no, I'm not advising you to try self-medication. It's always better to visit a good doctor.

I also bought Dragon but I have not used it for a single job as I don't have the time or patience to train it. But that may be of some help.

Wish you a speedy recovery and good health in 2008.

Regards,

Ritu


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Dallas Cao
China
Local time: 01:34
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks you Ritu Dec 31, 2007

Ritu Bhanot wrote:

Hi,

Yes, I had it this summer and it was terrible as I had a lot of work. The doctor prescribed some medicines including vitamins+calcium. And it really cured me.

I've been working a lot and without any difficulty since then. And no, I'm not advising you to try self-medication. It's always better to visit a good doctor.

I also bought Dragon but I have not used it for a single job as I don't have the time or patience to train it. But that may be of some help.

Wish you a speedy recovery and good health in 2008.

Regards,

Ritu


I didn't talk much here and it's the second time you first answered my posts. It's nice to see you again. A blissful new year to you too!

What is a "Dragon" by the way?


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:34
Dutch to English
+ ...
Speech recognition program Dec 31, 2007

Dallas Cao wrote:

What is a "Dragon" by the way?


Hi,

Dragon is Dragon Naturally Speaking (DNS) - a speech recognition program (i.e. you dictate and the program does the typing, leaving you with very little manual typing to do).

I likewise have joint problems and DNS has made a signficant difference in this regard and to my overall productivity.

There is a speech recognition forum you can search on Proz for useful information.

All the best
Debs

[Edited at 2007-12-31 14:26]


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:34
English to Dutch
+ ...
Do not use a laptop! Dec 31, 2007

I don't understand why people use laptops for everyday work in the workplace. ALL laptops are inferior to normal size desktops in ergonomics.
Buy a decent keyboard!

As an added method of preventy RSI, you can use a RSI-prevention program, such as WorkPace (but there are many others). This will shut off your keyboard and mouse every xx minutes for a short period of time, and offer some exercises on-screen to relax and train your muscles. It's all customizable, so it won't irritate you by cutting in too often, and will still prevent you from sensessly typing (and mousing!) along.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:34
Dutch to English
+ ...
No real need to dump the laptop Dec 31, 2007

Jan Willem van Dormolen wrote:

I don't understand why people use laptops for everyday work in the workplace. ALL laptops are inferior to normal size desktops in ergonomics.
Buy a decent keyboard!



Jan is right about extended use of a laptop keyboard.

However, there's no need to dump the laptop, which has a host of other advantages, simply invest in what is known as a "docking station" (among other things). See this link for some examples:
http://images.google.co.uk/images?hl=en&q=docking%20station%20%20laptop&gbv=2

When you are not on the move, you can connect a standard, ergonomic- friendly keyboard and other peripherals (mouse, etc) - these docking stations normally also help to cool your laptop. They effectively turn your laptop into a desktop when you're not out and about.

Debs

[Edited at 2007-12-31 15:04]


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Dallas Cao
China
Local time: 01:34
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
not alone Dec 31, 2007

One nice thing about Internet is that you will always find that you are never alone. RSI prevention program! That's good to know. Thank you Jan. But I am not going to buy that WorkPace anyway. It sounds annoying when it stops you when you in the middle of something, for example, writing forum posts.

"Dragon" is not for me either. It's tiring and a little strange to speak to the computer.

I sometimes work in my office and sometimes at home. I need to stick to one computer and therefore it is my laptop.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:34
Dutch to English
+ ...
Then .... Dec 31, 2007

Dallas Cao wrote:

I sometimes work in my office and sometimes at home. I need to stick to one computer and therefore it is my laptop.


Investment in a docking station sounds like your best bet - have the best of both worlds.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:34
English to French
+ ...
Extra keyboard + Dragon Dec 31, 2007

If you use a laptop, get yourself a keyboard, pronto. Then, also get Dragon. Dragon will help a lot - training it takes only about twenty hours, so if you use it a few hours a day every day, within a week, it will be a good, obedient pet and assist you in your work. If some, like Ritu, don't have the patience to learn it and train it, it is most often because you have to correct every occurrence of speech misunderstood by Dragon, and this is kinda annoying at first - but after the first week, the number of misunderstandings drops dramatically precisely because you religiously corrected all of them. As long as you keep focused on correcting Dragon right from the start, you will have a very smart and efficient Dragon soon.

I am investigating something that some people would find a little excentric. I am thinking of getting a pen tablet with handwriting recognition. The use of this is that when you hold a pen and write by hand, your joints are in a most natural configuration. A pen tablet is also a very precise mouse - that is what I am having the most trouble with, because even though Dragon lets you get completely rid of the keyboard, you still have to use the mouse, and my mouse (right) hand is always the first one to have symptoms.

If you get these pains, one thing you can do is massage the spots that hurt (try to reach into the joint and stretch them) and do some stretching exercises. I find that stretching your wrists a few times each hour in a way that will open up your carpal tunnels really helps to actually avoid pain. Jan Willem is right: any program geared toward joint health that will sit right on your desktop and come nag you once in a while is good - the point is to keep doing exercise, and such prgrams are great at it, because they stay where the problem comes from, your computer.

All the best!


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Dallas Cao
China
Local time: 01:34
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
workrave Dec 31, 2007

Workpace is around $50. What's the point of buying it if you can get the opensource freeware of the same function---workrave?

http://www.workrave.org/welcome/index.php

Writing tablet sounds a good idea, especially for me as I mainly translate into Chinese and Chinese writes in "pictures."

I will consider buying a writing tablet and a decent keyboard.

Any suggestions for a good keyboard? Does anyone use CHERRY keyboards?


[Edited at 2007-12-31 16:43]


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:34
English to Dutch
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Anti-RSI programs Dec 31, 2007

As I said, WorkPace is just one of many programs with similar function.
BTW, it doesn't stop you in full track, it first warns you that it's about time to take a break, but you can click that away. Then it warns again, now you have the option of doing 'just five minutes more', and only THEN does it definitively shut you out.
There are more niffy functions too.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:34
Dutch to English
+ ...
Personal choice Dec 31, 2007

I have tested a number of keyboards over the years and am personally happiest with the cordless curved keyboard from Microsoft. It's quite pricey though. If memory serves me correctly, it was about EUR 120-140 this time last year in Portugal.

It's also quite noisy, compared to some others I've tried but the shape and all the additional functions make up for that in my opinion. I seem to get less pain when using this keyboard anyhow.

Finding a keyboard is a very personal thing and you're best trying out a few.

Perhaps there are online reviews for keyboards - try looking, it will probably give you a better idea than a few people adding comments here.

Best of luck with finding something that suits you
Debs


[Edited at 2007-12-31 18:26]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:34
English to French
+ ...
Expensive solution, but you may find it useful Dec 31, 2007

The thing that causes problems to your joints when you type is the pressing of the keys. With a Bluetooth laser virtual keyboard, this can be entirely avoided. It costs around $150, but if you are looking into expensive choices because your health is a concern you take very seriously (I know I do), you might as well take a look at this. Also, the nice thing about this is that it is very portable and it doesn't make a sound since there are no physical keys.

http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/input/8193/

While you are at this site, you might as well check out the other input devices - some of them are excellent for problems encountered while translating. I am considering buying the DX1 input system. Take a look and you'll see why. I already have the roll-up keyboard - not very ergonomic but great for taking a keyboard with you if you're on the go. You may also want to look into the Frogpad, which also seems to be a nice keyboard alternative. While you're at it, you can also buy some goofy gifts for your loved ones.


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Dallas Cao
China
Local time: 01:34
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jan Jan 1, 2008

Jan Willem van Dormolen wrote:

As I said, WorkPace is just one of many programs with similar function.
BTW, it doesn't stop you in full track, it first warns you that it's about time to take a break, but you can click that away. Then it warns again, now you have the option of doing 'just five minutes more', and only THEN does it definitively shut you out.
There are more niffy functions too.


I downloaded the workrave and fall in love with this little program. Thank you for informing me about the anti-rsi things.

Also the Bluetooth Virtual keyboard! It is a cool tool but honestly I really doubt how practical it can be.


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Drozjp  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 02:34
English to Japanese
Need to see a doctor, I guess Jan 2, 2008

Howdy,
I've wanted to ask you a couple of questions. Does pain meds or heating-pad-like thingy (or even ice pad) help reduce your pain? Are your finger joints swelling? Is your pain chronic or does it get worse only when you're typing? Oh, I almost forgot to ask, "have you seen an orthopedist?"
The reason why I'm telling you this is because I have a bad experience not to see an appropriate doc. right away, which my (upper back) pain got worse and ended up having surgery years ago.

We all should and need to use ergonomic equipments and do some exercises but knowing what your real problem before start using or doing something new is more important.

Excessive keyboard use must be your cause of pain as you suspect but why don't you leave making diagnosis to a professional?

BTW, I'm using Kinesis's Contoured keyboard with a foot switch.
http://www.kinesis-ergo.com/
Price is ridiculous but it's been my holy grail so far


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