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Re: DVORAK, reptitive stress

I've never used Dvorak and I was never properly trained to touch type. But after sitting at a computer 40 hours a week for two years, I finally began to look away from the keyboard. And my typing speed just gets faster with time. Bottom line, familiarity is what gives you speed. Well, if you do the same wrong thing over and over, you never get better. Consistent mindful practice and pushing for speed will get you there.

Second, unlike many people, I prefer my laptop keyboard to a full size keyboard. It is a thinkpad which is famous for quality keyboards, but I think the main thing is that it is slightly smaller and is just the right size for my hands. I practice tai chi. From that I learned the importance of structure. When I start to feel strain, I look at what I am doing and change something. And apply the tai chi motto, "relax". tension is what causes damage. If you have problems, pay attention to your wrists, elbows and shoulders, your whole posture really.

There is a stretch I can not live without. I call it the tea cup exercise. Imagine you are holding a hot tea cup on each palm in front of your chest and don't spill them. Drop your hands to your waist. rotate your fingers towards your body as you move your hands behind you. Then continue to spiral them outwards, behind and finally upwards. Let them cross again in front of you, about as high as your chin, your thumbs are outwards at this point. with your arms crossed, raise them above your head and uncross them above and behind your head. Rotate outwards until they return to front(about shoulder height) and drop them to the starting position. Do it a few times then reverse the direction.
Don't force it, your arms will form the proper shape if you let them.
And remember, don't spill!  You will need a mirror at first.
This relieves any tension I have in neck, shoulders and wrists.

Has there been some scientific study that shows that dvorak somehow redistributes the "load" so as to cause less strain? I doubt it, it is the same mechanics, I don't believe that the problem is a pattern of the keystrokes. It is still a keyboard, there are right ways and wrong ways to use one. I think mouses are evil, I am most happy with the pointer stick on my thinkpad (at maximum sensitivity), but I still have to be careful with it. Again, "relax" and "move from the center", i.e. distribute the load.

Michael Z Daryabeygi
Database Applications Developer
Sligo Computer Services Co-op
301.270.9673 x 304

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