Writing and Avoiding Repetitive Stress/Strain Injuries

What do you do to avoid repetitive stress/strain injuries?

I have had bilateral ulnar nerve trouble since 2011. I used to bike. I think that can explain trouble in both arms and hands. I can’t any more, but I am writing up game notes. I think that can explain trouble in my right arm and hand, but not in my left arm and hand.

Here’s some of what has and hasn’t worked for me:

  • I have tried dictation software. Apple’s Enhanced Dictation can’t understand my accent, and doesn’t have reasonable options for accents. Nuance’s Dragon for Mac can understand my accent, but it will go haywire. It doesn’t allow users to combine keyboard, mouse, and voice control, to check sources in one document before entering data in another, to type in names and technical terms Dragon can’t understand, to correct errors Dragon can make, to correct formatting, etc. Since Dragon screws up any voice correction, and doesn’t follow user-defined preferences for formatting, this is a mess.

  • I have had some success with Sticky Keys. It helps with most things, but fails with fn + f# combinations, keyboard + screen keyboard combinations, and the gorram keyboard + mouse combinations.

  • I have had some success with a vertical mouse, software to program the mouse, and software to help with scrolling.

  • I have had some success with mini keyboards, propped up on the left side.

  • I don’t know what to do with the standard ergonomic advice. It assumes we can type without looking at the keyboard, while looking at a screen much higher than the keyboard. It also assumes we can find desks and chairs in our sizes. I’m average height, so too small. I got a low-end adjustable table, but haven’t had much luck with chairs. If they have back support it’s too far back.

  • Printing and working on paper wastes paper, and requires typing the work up afterwards anyway.

So what has and hasn’t worked for you?

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I’ve been so beaten down in my quest for ergo solutions that I didn’t even give up on KDE until last week. KDE has been unable to properly manage keyboard input for three years now. Turns out that it’s just a KDE thing, not a Linux thing. It also turns out that XFCE has matured to the point that it implements the main bits of KDE I like without being a visually glib, semifunctional piece of trash.

Apart from that, I got a big Logitech (even after vowing to never buy demon L ever again) mouse that allows 3 fingers to rest on top without hovering and moves with my hand without having to grip it. It doesn’t help the wrist twist but it does eliminate the need to have my fingers under tension all the time. This helps a lot.

I got a mechanical keyboard from Nixeus that has no 10 key. that keeps my right arm from having to rotate away. I’ve been a touch typist on the old-school IBM pattern for… 30 years. Fuck I’m old. You’ll have to pry my inverted tee and home-end-pgup/dn island from my cold dead arthritic fingers.

Beyond that, an adjustable height desk and semi-ergo chair.

I’m using a 40 inch 4k TV for a monitor, but the resolution is a bit too high to see the pixels well enough at standard distance when I’m doing graphics work. I’ll probably switch to a 48 inch when I get the spare cash (i.e. not for a while).

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