Like many people who work with computers for the majority of their days, I have and do suffer from various repetitive strain injuries. A lot of this can be traced back to my music-playing days, as I’ve had bouts of rather nasty wrist and arm pain from twacking a bass guitar for days on end, but much of the present pain is undoubtedly from too many hours spent pecking away at the computer.

(The musician’s remedy for RSI / carpal in the wrists, by the way, is cod liver oil, which has been proven to help. I used to take it in capsule form as I personally do not enjoy slurping back spoonfuls of oil made from another organism’s organs. That’s just rude.)

I replaced one of the bearers of pain last year when I splurged and bought a 6×8 Wacom tablet. Once you’ve gotten used to a tablet for your pointing needs, you’ll never go back to a mouse. The ergonomic benefits of a tablet make the higher cost worth every penny.

keyboardToday I replaced my standard Apple Pro keyboard with a Microsoft-made ergonomic keyboard. Normally I try to avoid Microsoft products, more for the pain in the ass they evoke than any religious reasons. I haven’t had great luck with Microsoft.

Their Natural keyboards, however, are some of the highest rated keyboards in the business, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try one out. Thank you, 10-day no-questions-asked return policy.

The problem is I’m not really a true touch typist. I cheat a bit a lot and use the wrong fingers for certain keys, and have done so for years. That said, I type at around 65 wpm on average, so my imperfect technique seems to work for me.

Using this keyboard, however, forces me to actually type “properly”. The agony of not instinctively knowing where a key is located is humbling. For the first time in a long time, I’m not able to just use the computer.

I need to think about what I’m doing again, and that’s painful. Anyone know a good touch typing freeware (or cheap) program?

Now, please excuse me while I flail away at this darn split keyboard here… <thwack> <thwack>

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