Here I am at the the letter E and it’s not difficult to choose a topic: ergonomics.
I’m not going to go on about the (not enough) options out there, despite my daily battle with wrist/arm pain. One of my dearest friends in the multiverse, Natania Barron, has already written what I think is the best post on the subject, and since she writes for Wired’s Geekmom, you can trust her thoughts on the matter.
Like Natania, I write for a good part of my day. The other part of the day, I paint on an older Wacom Intuos. I’m always at my desk.
My desk was a hand-me-down from a local friend. It’s an IKEA Galant and as much as I think it’s attractive in my office—and matches my Billy shelf—it wasn’t made for writer-artists. Even after installing IKEA’s Summera keyboard tray, I was miserable. It’s a short tray and doesn’t quite hold everything I need.
But: FREE DESK. So!
For my tablet, I keep a laptop desk nearby. Seriously: just for the tablet. Hey, it’s adjustable! And forty bucks is a lot better for an adjustable art table than the high cost of other, more easel-like, options.
I have a Macbook, but it’s always attached to a ginormous monitor, so it pretends to be a desktop. I also have a G4 tower on the floor I can swap out when the need arises; it’s old, but it has all of my STUFF on it. And there’s the first-generation iPad… which I use with Corel’s Cinco for Painter.
I currently have two Apple keyboards—and I hate them both. Until it died on me a few months ago, I relied on an ancient split Nu-Form keyboard. I miss that thing like whoa, so I finally ordered Adesso’s Tru-Form. I chose it over the Goldtouch because of my fond, comfortable memories of that old split-key.
But neither the Adesso nor the Goldtouch offered a USB for the mouse. I know what you’re thinking: who uses anything but wireless now? Me. Sometimes.
I own a lot of mice. Really: a lot of input devices. Trackpad, trackball, wireless, and wired… and that’s not even counting the four-button mouse and pen that the tablet came with. Yet, the only thing my hand really likes is the low-profile, adorably round, single-button, often-slighted puck mouse.
I have a collection of puck mice from my days working in a computer lab. I love the things so much that, when I ordered my Macbook, my customer note to Apple said: “This Macbook will be used with a puck mouse.” —because I knew, having once worked for Apple myself, that it would give someone over there a laugh. That feature-free little puck hurts my wrist the least. Maybe it’s because I end up using the keyboard shortcuts more with a one-button mouse.
Right now, I’m hoping the new keyboard will help. Plus, I’ve got a little clamp-on mouse shelf for whatever input device I choose to use with it. I also have a selection of gel-filled wrist rests and even microfiber covering my desk chair armrests. Next thing will either be a new desk or at least a better keyboard tray. But ergonomics—man, what a pain in the wrists!