by Juliet Kemp

Having just moved my mouse to the left of the keyboard in order to put my notebook on the right*, I am now hyper-aware of how much I use the mouse and that this is less comfortable than using the keyboard. So, a few questions, if anyone can help:

  1. I love my MacBook keyboard/trackpad - use the mouse without having to move your hand! Adesso make a contoured keyboard with trackpad but I'm not sure if this will play nicely with Linux. Any experiences, or other recommendations?
  2. I'm trying to increase the amount that I use keyboard shortcuts. The two GUI programs I use most often are Firefox and Thunderbird (actually these are pretty much the only GUI programs I use; everything else is terminal-based and I have a Gnome shortcut to launch a terminal window). I have the "frequently used shortcuts" tip pages for both of these; any other good resources?
  3. In particular, I can't find any way of searching my bookmarks, or in particular accessing the quick bookmark bar, in Firefox from the keyboard. I've tried the Vim Firefox extension before but it didn't work well for me. Any suggestions here?
Other ergonomic-type thoughts welcome. I do have correct desk/monitor/keyboard height etc setup already, based on recommendations from my osteopath; I use Workrave to prompt break-taking; and I try to remember not to slouch...

* It was pointed out to me that constantly reaching across the keyboard to make notes was a bit daft. I have been sat at this desk for nearly 3 years and this has never previously occurred to me.


2008-02-01 05:37:18
Mark Pilgrim to the rescue.

2008-02-01 06:28:32
One of the greatest dumpster-diving find I ever had was an IBM Model M keyboard *WITH* embedded pencil eraser mouse. While keyboard shortcuts are great, todays Web2.71828 applications are rarely keyboard-aware. Nothing is more efficient for quick mousing than a pecil eraser mouse right between the G, H, and B keys. You don't have to move your hands, and your left hand is set up and ready to click, so dragging is much easier than using a trackpad. I strongly reccomend trying one out. Surely you have a friend with a Thinkpad laptop lying around...
You can still buy it - with the old-school clicky keys- right here:
2008-02-02 08:43:38
Another idea is to switch your mouse from right to left every week or so. First you have to try hard, but you will balance your "mouse-arm" ;)
2008-02-02 20:52:20
Out of curiosity, why do you use a notebook at all when you have a computer handy?
2008-02-04 08:14:17
There's a new Firefox extension called "Mouseless Browsing" It seems to work pretty good. Simple functionality and it doesn't have to be in your way if you don't want it to be.

I hated the vimperator as well.

Juliet Kemp
2008-02-05 08:34:53
Trevor & Casey - thanks, both of those are very useful! The Model M keyboard looks interesting but it's not split-key, which I prefer for desktop keyboards.

DanielP - I've done that in the past, but at the moment I'm trying to keep the mouse on the left to leave room for paper & pen on the right.

Salil - there's just some things that I prefer to do with pen & paper - in particular, taking very quick or temporary notes.

Ronadl Pottol
2008-02-05 16:22:17
Kinesis keyboard with an alps trackpad stuck in the middle.

I've used the keyboards, and really like them.

For someone who has done this:

2008-03-15 21:32:31
It would be helpful to have more information on your discomfort to be able to address in specifics. Also, osteopaths are very knowledgable but are not necessarily experts on the interactions between the human body, furniture, copmuters, monitors and work processes. Have you spoken an expert office ergonomist?
2008-04-10 08:16:10
How about some exercises? See link to a Comfortable Computing white paper, page 11 has the exercises. Simple but effective.

Ergonomische en kantoorinrichting
2008-07-24 12:18:52
Thanks for sharing!
Ergonomie & Kantoorinrichting
2008-07-24 12:20:42
Check out the new vibrating mouse on: