FrogPad, RSI and me — OW!!!

Holy God, I’m stupid. I am making this declaration after swallowing more Aleve than I’ve had to for quite some time. The thing is, I decided to be adventurous and borrow a friend’s FrogPad. I knew it wasn’t inherently ergonomic because of its flat shape, but my friend said it helped her with her RSI. What I wasn’t thinking was that my friend is two-handed, and her RSI is mouse related. Therefore, she gets to use her one hand on the keyboard and the other on the mouse, reducing her workload. Totally different situations. A one-handed keyboard for a one-handed person is different from one-handed keyboard designed for two-handed people, no matter what buzzwords the advertisements may use. (Human anthropology, anyone?) Tellingly, one of the slogans is “What would you do with your free hand?” I can appreciate the dual marketing technique in an attempt to mainstream things, but there are certain situations in which someone with a disability might still need a well thought out, more specialized product. This little gimmick wasn’t for me.

My RSI (which is not my sole physical problem, but it’s a big one) affects the only hand I can use. Because of the FrogPad key combinations, I was working this hand to death, even typing very slowly with the keypad propped up. Hell, I was even using shorthand, and still! Never mind that technically “you only need two fingers” — be that as it may, everything I had was aching. Ergo, I was in pain very shortly. I can appreciate the small footprint, but it’s not worth it — I’ll carry my keyboard over my shoulder gladly for as long as I’m able to use it. If by any chance you have RSI in your one functional hand, either stick to voice, find a keyboard that was actually designed for a one-handed person, use Dvorak, or even strap a typing stick to your hand to spare your fingers. Don’t overwork them.

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