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Just mousin' around with my trackball.

Switching sides is both easy and hard to adapt.

2:34 pm on Sep 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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A few years back I had 3 surgeries on my right wrist (not repetitive strain-related). Although I'm left-handed, I was mousing right-handed up until that point with no problems. After the last surgery, I switched my trackball to the left side to take the strain off of the healing right wrist.

Interestingly, when I'm away from my own computer, I mouse right-handed (at Internet cafes, friends' computers, work, etc.).

Now I have two reasons to switch the home trackball back to the right hand - (1) I can feel my left hand fatiguing pretty quickly when I'm on the computer, and (2) my fiance curses everytime he sits down at my computer because the lefty trackball doesn't work for him *at all*.

So I switched back and I'm having the hardest time getting used to the trackball on the right. Which is weird, because I used to use it on the right at home, plus I mouse on the right all the time away from home.

I'm wondering why I'm having this difficulty switching *at home* and nowhere else. It's very strange and starting to make me a little nutty.

Anyone else have similar mousy experiences or advice on how to get used to it again?

5:41 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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How long has it been since you switched back to the right?

The only analogy that comes to mind for me is when I switched to Opera.

I'd used IE for almost 6 years, then went cold turkey to Opera. The only way I was able to defeat my cravings for IE was to just keep using Opera. Eventually, I defeated IE's calling, and now am 100% Opera with no needs to switch back.

Nutshell: the only way you can produce habits, are by repetition. Stick with the right, and don't look back. Before you know it, you'll be there.

5:55 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Why not a mouse on each side? Due to fatigue, I've been dual-mousing since USB mice hit the shelves. I also switch between different kinds of mice & trackballs on both hands to further relieve repetitive strain. A bonus is I'm ambidextrous with just about any pointing device.
10:50 pm on Sept 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I switched over to the dvorak keyboard layout.

(If you've had wrist/RSI surgery, I recommend you do the same, your fingers do 1/3 the work. It will take 2 to 3 weeks to become as proficient in dvorak is your are in qwerty, in a month you'll be full-speed. Its also *really* easy to learn, since you can start typing real words with your fingers on the home row.)

Its easy, and strangely automatic, to sit down at another computer and start typing qwerty. If I sit down at my computer, I type dvorak. Its like your brain has this little automatic switch inside that expects to work one way or the other.

The only problem is when I switch keyboard layouts. Then I have problems because I'm thinking about what I'm doing. Relaxing lets my mind resume using the correct layout.

5:28 am on Sept 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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And as an added benefit, nobody will ever borrow your terminal if your keyboard is dvorak. :)

But back to the topic: I had a similar experience switching from a Sun keyboard to a PC keyboard. I used a PC keyboard everywhere else with no problems, but at my home workstation I just kept hitting CapsLock when I wanted Control.

I re-arranged my workspace and that seemed to reset the weird environment/muscle memory link that was messing me up.

1:18 am on Sept 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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> the weird environment/muscle memory link

That's what I think has happened ... visual cues, environmental stimuli - that weird link ... rearranging just might work! I think I'll give it a try tomorrow.

8:14 am on Sept 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'm in Belgium, and though a native English speaker, decided last time I got a keyboard to go azerty instead of qwerty. Last machine was second-hand azerty, I didn't want to have to go learning about how to find and in querty, and no one else here is an English speaker, so if they'd need the computer, they'd need azerty. Then last time in the States I got myself a laptop which was, of course, qwerty.

I usually find that just closing my eyes and consciously thinking for half a second about what I'm doing brings about the switch and I'm back to pretty quick typing in the new environment.

8:57 am on Sept 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I feel similarly, as since we moved out of germany when I was a kid, we always had some german keyboards around, now 10-15 years old, but still the best built I've encountered since! Since the school I went to was US, in a UK ex colony, keyboard layouts were all over the place. Since, combiend with often typing without lights, or even a screen, i.e. when my wierd code screwed up the graphics card, I learned how to do certain tasks (including writing a machine code program to reset the video card settings) completely blind, on any of the layouts, which differ mostly on the special characters.

Recently I finally got a wireless keyboard with a US layout for my own machine, but due to some screw ups it gets from the wireless signals I sometimes switch back to my old german keyboard. So riht now I'm typign on a german keyboard but us settigns in windows, and I basically hit all the keys just fine. With a little practice you'll find you can switch quickly and effortlessly between setups and layouts.

In fact I encourage you to change around your home environment regularly, so you don't get too used to one setup. It'll be the tactile equivalent of bilinguality!

BTW, any typos NOT the Z-Y switch are originally mine.



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