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Ergonomic Mechanical-Switch Keyboard? 310

Posted by Soulskill
from the rolling-face-across-keyboard-reduces-risk-of-carpal-tunnel dept.
dotancohen writes "As wear and tear on my hands builds up, I find that I need an ergonomic (split) keyboard. It seems the vast majority of available ergonomic models are either crippled with dome-switches or have unusual designs, which place many critical keys under the thumbs (I cannot use my right thumb). The one normal-appearing contender, the Northgate Ergonomic Evolution, seems to be noisier than even the Model M — in fact, it echoes! Programmers and hobbyists geeky enough to be here today: what do you type on?"
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Ergonomic Mechanical-Switch Keyboard?

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  • I don't type on a freakin' iPad touchscreen keypad.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by somersault (912633)

      In the spirit of the above comment, I'd like to point out that I don't type on a typewriter, newspaper, carpet, the wind, or indeed, a pink zebra.

  • Bad technique (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Normal keyboard. Been doing it for 35 years now with no problems. Hate 'ergonomic' keyboards.

    • Re:Bad technique (Score:4, Informative)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Monday October 25, 2010 @09:31PM (#34020290) Journal

      I have to go with this. I have been typing since the 80s and despite having a crippled finger on one hand just by using normal typing techniques and not the "hunched over the keyboard" posture my hands work just fine. If given a choice I prefer the older "clacky" keyboards, and have a fondness for older Compaq and MSFT keyboards. The fat lip at the bottom of the keys make them comfortable to rest your wrists on and the clack lets you know you've hit the key without having to constantly look up.

      If he is gonna go for one of those awful ergonomic keyboards he is gonna find that most of the choices suck, simply because most folks hate them. I frankly couldn't give those things away here at the shop and hated when I got a machine in that had one. Better to just use good posture and take the occasional break when needed IMHO. I've found watching people type on ergonomics they tend to try to "force their speed up" which ends up giving them just as much trouble than if they'd have just used a regular keyboard and took breaks. And I have yet to see anyone that could type half as fast with a split keyboard than they could with a regular keyboard. Give me an old Compaq, IBM, or MSFT standard keyboard any day!

      • by Khyber (864651)

        'The fat lip at the bottom of the keys make them comfortable to rest your wrists on and the clack lets you know you've hit the key without having to constantly look up."

        You can't touch-type? I know if I've not hit a key because the letter simply doesn't appear on the screen.

      • by jeff4747 (256583)

        The fat lip at the bottom of the keys make them comfortable to rest your wrists on and the clack lets you know you've hit the key without having to constantly look up.

        If you can't touch-type, you aren't going to type fast enough to cause problems with your hands.

        I've had to switch to all "ergonomic" keyboards to avoid the searing pain in my wrists and elbows, plus numbness in my middle, ring and pinky fingers (aka classic carpal tunnel). I'm well aware of all of the ergonomic advice and proper posture, bu

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by geekprime (969454)

          Ya, I had the same problem!
          Both hands bad. Exactly as you call it, "classic carpal tunnel". The MD's (all 3 of them). recommended surgery.
          While hemming and hawing about it a friend of mine convinced me to go see his naprapath (ya, I know, one step less legit than chiropractors, but I was desperate to make the pain stop!)
          He gave me (yup, did not even charge me for the visit or anything) a pair of wrist braces and told me to wear them when I slept and when I was typing.

          Dude, I gotta tell ya, 10 years later, n

  • by slifox (605302) * on Monday October 25, 2010 @07:14PM (#34019200)
    I hate to point you elsewhere rather than provide an answer, but the GeekHack forum is a very rich source of information and reviews from people who know what to look for in a keyboard (or any input device), and they've probably reviewed every keyboard out there (and modified them). I don't use ergonomic keyboards, but I am very adamant about mechanical-switch keyboards that have just the right amount of tension and tactile/audible response.

    Check out the forum here:
    http://geekhack.org/forumdisplay.php?f=31 [geekhack.org]

    There are also some interesting vertical keyboards like the SafeType and the Kinesis Freestyle Ascent, but they're kinda expensive and might take a bit of relearning.
    Here's a survey of ergonomic keyboards: http://nsx.underbase.org/db/kbd/keyboard-survey.htm [underbase.org]

    Personally I use a DSI ASK-6600 and a Scorpius M10, and I like them both very much. The DSI keys need a bit more force to push, and it has the large "Enter" key I like from old Keytronix keyboards (as opposed to a large Backspace key and a repositioned backslash character, like the Scorpius and Model M have).

    These two keyboards probably don't appeal to you because they're not curved/natural keyboards. I avoid wrist problems while using a regular (straight) keyboard because I have a custom typing style, wherein my wrists are not angled when they rest on my "home row" (e.g. index fingers rest on V and N instead of F and J). This limits my upper bound of typing a bit (under 100wpm), but fast continuous typing will only get you so far in programming and sysadmin work, whereas wrists that don't hurt are quite nice... I also remap my CapsLock key to be another Ctrl, for easy one-handed reach to Ctrl+F1-F5/etc.

    While you're at it -- upgrade your mouse too! I found all my wrist problems went away when I moved to a Logitech Cordless Trackman (wish it was corded, but whatever). This has a finger-operated trackball and a thumb-operated left-click, which I find MUCH more accurate and comfortable than a thumb-operated trackball (e.g. most trackball mice on the market now). Trackball mice are usually considered to be more accurate than regular mice anyways. One of the big benefits here is the fact that your wrist isn't as twisted as with a regular mouse... if that's your main goal, there are also some expensive ergonomic vertical mice that might be comfortable.
    • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Monday October 25, 2010 @07:23PM (#34019294)

      While you're at it -- upgrade your mouse too! I found all my wrist problems went away when I moved to a Logitech Cordless Trackman

      I can't agree with this part of the post more. I generally find that in my work, I spend a great deal more time thinking and reading other documents rather than just typing - and while I am doing those things, I find that almost all of my interaction with the PC is done via mouse, with the occasional ALT-TAB etc. As a result, I use a Logitech MX Revolution [wikipedia.org] which is very comfortable, accurate and supports my hand nicely.

      Unless you do actually type non-stop, I would say a good mouse is just as important as a good keyboard.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by compro01 (777531)

        I agree. I love that mouse. Shame they stopped making them and the replacement for them just doesn't really match up.

      • by IICV (652597)

        Eventually, I plan on getting one of these [newegg.com] guys, or some other cordless trackball mouse (weirdly there's only two on Newegg, and that one's the cheaper one - I guess there's not much demand for them?).

        When I'm not fighting on Slashdot, I find that I spend a significant amount of time just foraging on the Internet or doing other mouse-only things; there's no reason for me to have my arm out at an unnatural angle when I could just leave it in my lap, and normally I only need a scroll wheel and enough accuracy

    • Interesting. I have the Scorpius M10: favorite keyboard of all time. (I just took it apart and phsically disabled the power button). And the Logitech MX518 (corded) + various AutoHotkey customizations to make the buttons do a multitude of tasks.
    • Almost 14 years ago I cut off my index finger while working at a sawmill. The finger was fused stiff so the knuckle was destroyed but the finger remains mangled, but somewhat usable.

      First, get some exercise a little squishy ball or if at all possible some literal weight lifting for your hands, this can include the "hand-grips" or even a forearm weight.

      Hand grips

      http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=hand+grip [amazon.com]

      Forearm weight

      http://www.amazon.com/GoFit-GF-WFB-Wrist-For [amazon.com]

  • Ergonomic Model M (Score:5, Informative)

    by raving griff (1157645) on Monday October 25, 2010 @07:15PM (#34019206)
    Ergonomic Model Ms exist [clickykeyboards.com], but are incredibly hard to find. You may want to ask around, though. An old workplace of mine had one sitting around in the storage.
    • by sl149q (1537343)

      You can still buy them new from Unicomp: http://pckeyboards.stores.yahoo.net/keyboards.html [yahoo.net]

      They even have models with the Windows key :-)

      I keep meaning to buy some new ones but mine refuse to die.... (purchased in the mid '90s).

  • Keyboard love (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2010 @07:17PM (#34019242)

    Natural Ergonomic keyboard (from Microsoft)
    http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/productdetails.aspx?pid=043

    The best a man can get...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Problem with this is, the newer ones appear to be more cheaply made-- I had one that lasted years just crap out, ordered a new one, and it lasted about two months before the keys started becoming unresponsive. Then I tried an Adesso model, but the feel really sucks.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tanktalus (794810)

      This is exactly what I have. I do have to admit a few issues with it, though.

      1. The zoom "keys" don't work in Linux (yet?). The keyboard uses two USB identifiers, and this confuses Linux somehow. Thus far, not a show stopper as I don't really know what I'd assign to it anyway.
      2. The Calculator button doesn't seem to work in Linux. It's not that the key doesn't work - xev shows that the key is read and interpreted properly, and when I assign it to the kcalc command, the kde menu editor accepts it - it's that
      • by jeff4747 (256583)

        The Calculator button doesn't seem to work in Linux.

        Worked for me out-of-the-box on Ubuntu 10.4. Might be a KDE vs gnome thing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sosume (680416)

      I LOVE that keyboard; I have two spares in my closet for the possibility that my current one breaks down. Never happened, ofcourse.
      Pros: - very good design
      - no wireless, fast response
      - does not break or fail

      Cons: some keys are hard to reach, for instance the '7' key is a bit tough
      - the 'extra' keys are useless, I never used the calc button and the browser and mail buttons are annoying if pressed by accident
      - the 'f' modifier (for the function keys' is useless.

  • by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3@EEEgmail.com minus threevowels> on Monday October 25, 2010 @07:18PM (#34019256)
    I use text to speeches you looters. It is the rest! No worrying about miss-wiping the wrong bird and spit is always 1000 percent immaculate!
  • Cherry Mx (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dakrin9 (891909)
    It's not ergonomic per se, but the Filco Majestouch Tactile Touch Keyboard w/ Cherry MX switches is a great keyboard.

    Elite Keyboards [slashdot.org] is a good place to buy them at.

    You can read more about Mechanical Key switch keyboards here: Mechanical Key siwtch keyboards demystified [hothardware.com]
  • by zill (1690130) on Monday October 25, 2010 @07:21PM (#34019276)

    The one normal-appearing contender, the Northgate Ergonomic Evolution, seems to be noisier than even the Model M — in fact, it echoes!

    Isn't that a good thing?

    IMHO the louder the better. Keyboard noise level is the only metric my boss uses to measure my productivity since he's code illiterate. Thanks to my trusty model M, I have one of the best job in the world - cybering for a living.

    • by Nutria (679911)

      Keyboard noise level is the only metric my boss uses to measure my productivity since he's code illiterate.

      You don't need to be code literate to know whether a program works and was completed on time.

  • by virtualXTC (609488) on Monday October 25, 2010 @07:22PM (#34019280) Homepage
    If you really want an ergonomic keyboard get one with a negative slope, I find this does more to relieve strain than just splitting the keys. Years ago Logitech use to resell one that you could get as various off brands that had flop tabs under the hand rest. These days, the only thing I can find in the microsoft natural [google.com] series of keyboards. I have the wireless one at home, but the mouse is a bit clunky and I've already had to replace it once (one drop on the floor is all it took to render the scroll wheel unusable). I have the wired USB one at work, and just wish they'd make one without a faux leather wrist wrest as it can get a bit grimy.
    • by Eskarel (565631)

      Love that keyboard, don't much like the wireless though, had one previously and I find that the batteries don't last all that long and that the signals aren't sufficiently unique for a large office to have a bunch of them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by arth1 (260657)

      The problem with Microsoft's "ergonomic" keyboards is that they are made for people who have longer pinkies than index fingers. They slope the exact wrong way, forcing you to stretch more than you would with a normal keyboard.

      If you really want an ergonomic keyboard that's shaped for your fingers and not your palm, Maltron make some of the best. They're not cheap, though.

      But really, for most "normal" users, the best thing they can do is get a keyboard without a keypad on the right. Having to move the ar

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      I use a plain old MS comfort curve 2000:
      http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Comfort-Curve-Keyboard-B2L-00002/dp/B0009ZBRS0 [amazon.com]

      Cheap, and negative slop if you want one too iirc, via flop tabs.

      Dvorak too. Neo is supposed to be even better (in german, but can't imagine english is too different):
      http://pebbles.schattenlauf.de/layout/index_us.html [schattenlauf.de]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboard_layout#Neo [wikipedia.org]

  • truly ergonomic (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tsiangkun (746511) on Monday October 25, 2010 @07:23PM (#34019292) Homepage
    It sounds like you are looking for this. Truly Ergonomic Keyboards [trulyergonomic.com]
    • by Tsiangkun (746511)
      Since they are vapor ware, I don't have one at this point. I'm currently using a typematrix and like it a lot. Disclaimer, I spent 8 years on nothing but a laptop, so I have adapted to the shorter travel and feel of a laptop keyboard.
    • by gweihir (88907)

      These use the individual cherry switches also used in the Cherry G80-3000 series. They keep forever and are very god for typing.

      • by Yvan256 (722131)

        There's a reason why the best arcade buttons use Cherry microswitches. They're nearly indestructible!

    • So you know someone who has?

      I kinda doubt it as the thing seems to be unreleased at this point. As such recommending it is rather premature. Until it is on the market, and has been tested saying "This is the thing to use," is misleading. Maybe it is a brilliant design. I'll look at it for sure. However you really don't know that at this point.

  • Microsoft 4000 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gohtar (1829140) on Monday October 25, 2010 @07:23PM (#34019298)
    I like the Microsoft 4000 keyboard. I use it at home and work. I do get a lot of pinky finger cramps from a lot of copying and pasting. My only real gripe with it is that the 1-5 buttons across the top are not fully programmable. You can pick from a list of actions on what you want them to do.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ZipprHead (106133)

      Mod up, this is my favorite keyboard as well.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      As far as I know though, that is a dome-switch and not mechanical-switch keyboard.
      • Mechanical keyboards are not so ergonomic. The pressure required to trigger a key is part of ergonomics, in addition to shape. IN fact a 4000 has different pressure for different keys. It is slight, but it matters.

        Really the original poster needs to ask what they really want: A mechanical keyboard for fun/geek cred, or a keyboard designed for the best ergonomics?

        If ergonomics are key, the MS 4000 is the way to go.

      • by MBCook (132727)

        It is, but they're quite nice. Certainly better than the $5 dome-switch junk most bundled keyboards are.

        I've used MS Natural keyboards for a long time. My 1996 original PS/2 Microsoft Natural is sitting at my office right now, I've used it every day at work for years, and most days at home for years before that. Still works great. I can't imagine how many novels worth of typing I've done on that thing.

        Natural keyboard selection is very difficult. There are very few naturals for Macs, for example. You can

    • Re:Microsoft 4000 (Score:4, Informative)

      by pookemon (909195) on Monday October 25, 2010 @07:37PM (#34019450) Homepage
      I agree with this. I have used one of these for a couple of years on my primary PC at home. I also use a Logitec Wave on one of my other PC's. Both are quite comfortable and I have no problem using them for hours on end (though the Wave does annoy me because of the stupid layout of the Del/Insert/PgUp etc. buttons - but you get used to that). IIRC the 4000 allows the "negative slope" that one other poster has mentioned. Re: the programmable buttons, I'm pretty sure you can change them to run whatever app you want - which is what they are for. With Win 7 though I don't use them (just pin what I want to the task bar. Not sure why the type of switch matters (dome/mechanical). If a keyboard is comfortable to use, then it's comfortable to use.
  • Half Height Ergo? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gutspawn (997376)
    In a similar vein, I'd love to find a keyboard that matches the contours, layout, and tilt of the modern MS natural keyboard, but with laptop style half-height keys. I almost considered building one.
  • "seems to be noisier than even the Model M — in fact, it echoes!"?... yes please! :>

    • by Twinbee (767046)

      I'm sure you can get a PC utility which will play a 120 dB jet-engine-level 'click' if you should so wish :P

      Let's leave things as silent if possible and have the option for it to make a clicking if we *want*.

  • Coding Horror... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FrankSchwab (675585) on Monday October 25, 2010 @07:38PM (#34019464) Journal

    Jeff Atwood had a post on a remarkably similar subject last Friday:
    http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2010/10/the-keyboard-cult.html [codinghorror.com]
    that references the geekhack site.

    • by MBCook (132727)

      That's exactly what I was thinking. I read that post, but the thing that stood out to me was "what about natural keyboards?" I think that was one of the first comments someone posted.

      I've had my original model MS Natural for 14 years. I'd hate to have to try to replace it.

  • by eepok (545733) on Monday October 25, 2010 @07:40PM (#34019478) Homepage

    Before even owning a laptop/netbook, I fell in love with the low-depth, nearly silent click of laptop keyboard keys made for the full size keyboard. However, there's quite a number of people who like this, so it's not entirely easy to find them anymore.

    Counterintuitive? Definitely. You see, once all the millions of keyboard manufacturers noticed the trend, they started making short/shallow keys with the exact same switch as standard keyboards. So, while it looks like a laptop keyboard, they're quite frequently normal crap keyboards whose downward press, if slightly off-angle, produces a scrape within the switch that slows/messes up typing or completely blows a gaming experience.

    I can't buy keyboards online anymore because I just need to test it out myself. "Slime" and "Laptop style" just isn't enough to convince me.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by stewartwb (1606111)
      About a year ago, I switched from the Microsoft Ergonomic 4000 to the Logitech DiNovo Wireless Keyboard for Notebooks, which I believe matches your description of a full-size keyboard with laptop-style keys.

      The typing experience is superb! Although the layout is slightly different from the classic 104 key standard, I found I was able to touch type from day one, including cursor keys, I am also able to type faster and with less fatigue. I often prop up the front edge on a wrist rest to gain a reverse tilt

  • Kinesis Advantage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chaostrophy (925) <ronaldpottol&gmail,com> on Monday October 25, 2010 @07:42PM (#34019494) Homepage Journal

    http://www.kinesis-ergo.com/contoured.htm [kinesis-ergo.com]

    Granted, by default they have stuff done with your right thumb, but I believe the keyboard is fully remapable, so you can fix that. They don't say what kind of switches they use, but they are very clicky, with a nice feel. I have used them for years, and really like them.

    • by Chaostrophy (925)

      Wikipedia says they use Cherry switches

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dlgeek (1065796)
      I love the Kinesis boards, but I wouldn't recommend one for the OP if he can't use his thumb. Yes, you can remap all the keys, but Kinesis boards already are on the short side of keys, and there's really nowhere to map them to. There are only 3 duplicated keys on the entire board: alt, ctrl and shift. Removing the right thumb pad would remove space, enter, one of each ctrl and alt, page up and page down. You could probably get away with mapping right shift to enter, but you'd have no where to put space, ent
  • Amiga 4000 keyboard? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Twinbee (767046) on Monday October 25, 2010 @07:51PM (#34019554) Homepage
    I liked the feel of the Amiga 4000 keyboards back in the day. I wonder what key mechanism that used. I'm pretty sure it was responsive and tactile, but mercifully quiet.
  • The GoldTouch, from KeyOvation (www.keyovation.com). Mine's a Mac, I assume they have non-Mac keyboards. Its design sound exactly what you are looking for.
  • Build one yourself? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gweihir (88907) on Monday October 25, 2010 @07:52PM (#34019562)

    You could get a cherry G80-3000 in one of the 3 characteristics (hard-click, soft-click or linear) in a layout of your choice. It has individual switches of excellent quality.

    Then arrange them on solder-dot epoxy PCB's just the way you like and wire them to the controller in the original matrix. This may take a day or two of work, but it will give you exactly what you need/want, and these cherry switches keep forever. For most keys, you should be able to keep the original key-caps, but standard-sized key-caps are also available for these switches.

    End result may not be too pretty and this is significant effort. On the other side, you would get exactly what you think you need and could even change things later.

  • Best of luck.

    I'm using an MS Natural at the moment. I made the mistake of getting the 4000 or whatever it was called, but it's a serious POS. It died in a month's time, but I disliked it so much I bought a new keyboard instead of exchanging it. Sadly, this is no longer the rich market of the 1990s. It seems like there are only 3 kinds of ergo keyboards in the $20-50 range, and none of them can seem to last more than a year. The next bracket starts around $250 and goes up to $2000. My favourite out of

  • by lkcl (517947) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Monday October 25, 2010 @08:04PM (#34019636) Homepage

    i know this is going to sound strange - you asked one question but get an answer to another, but the root cause of the problem isn't the keyboard, it's the fact that you're hunched over it, tensed up, locking out the blood supply from your arms and screwing up your hands.

    to fix that, you should AT LEAST be doing the overarm stretch: stick hand straight up, bend elbow so that hand goes behind head with elbow still up in air, then take other hand onto elbow, pull and lean geeeently sideways so that entire side stretches

    you should also be doing "horse stance" from tai-ji, which is really quite complex to describe, but imagine that you're sat on a horse: your legs are apart, knees bent, and hands outstretched imagine holding reins _but_, the actual tai-ji "horse stance" has some quite complex and specific positions and purpose. the primary purpose is to stretch tendons on the *underside* of your arms and in fingers (forearms as well) as well as elevating the heart-rate.

    so, you have to push your elbows outwards so that your upper arms are 45 degrees from vertical, but forearms are absolutely horizontal. hands you have to imagine that you are holding two basket-balls, one in each, palms down but slightly elevated a fraction, fingers splayed as far wide as you can go.

    get it right and you should feel loots of tendons stretching under your armpits, at your elbow-forearm _and_ wrists _and_ the thumb and little finger tendons! and that's exactly what you need - to stretch out that which you've utterly cramped out and damaged.

    the horse-stance itself results in quite seriously elevated heart rate: you're bending your knees and staying there, so you should be breathing deeply and fully. stay there for as long as possible, increase until you get to 5 minutes. you will be surprised: horse stance for 5 minutes is one hell of a long time.

    the other one is the yoga position where you sit on the floor, put one leg bent into your crotch and the other straight out, then lean over and grab ankle (or as close as you can get it). with each breath out, go down a little further. DO NOT "shake". if you feel yourself shaking, BACK OFF.

    what i do with this yoga position is, rather than stay going down straight is i roll _sideways_ after a while, so that i get more stretch on the insides of my arms and side, which is exactly where you need the circulation increased, to get bloodflow back to your arms and fingers. repeat on the other side but come up SLOWLY - don't just try to jolt yourself out because you _will_ pull a muscle that way, especially at full stretch.

    all of these exercises are designed to increase the circulation on the _underside_ of your arms (at the top) as it's here which is actually causing the blood flow to decrease, toxins to build up, tension to happen and damage to occur.

    so - yeah. fuck the keyboard - get your health sorted out.

    • by dave562 (969951)

      Along this line of logic, you might also consider getting some baoding balls. They will increase the circulation and improve your health. Like the OP, I was running into health problems in my late 20s due to too much computer use. I started training tai ji, walking, qi gong... eventually worked up to full blown kung fu training. Pay attention to what your body is telling you... move around, get the circulation going, rehabilitate what feels weak. The body is amazing. It can heal just about anything.

    • by klui (457783)

      tl:dr

      While having the proper posture and maintaining good health goes a long way, the keyboard is part if not most of the problem. Put your hands on the home keys on a regular keyboard and note the angle your hands make in relation to your arms. This kink will cause problems down the road. Now imagine using a split keyboard and compare the angles your wrists make while your hands are on the home keys. That kink will have decreased if not disappeared altogether.

      My split keyboard actually separates and I plac

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by lkcl (517947)

        10 years ago i got the people at work to pay for a swivel chair and a split keyboard that was mounted on the arm-rests. it was well fucking cool. despite being a touch-typist for 15 years at that point i still found it took me 2 weeks to get used to typing on a keyboard that was out of sight: i learned quickly that even peripheral vision was getting me to move my hands to the right places. the funniest bit was the space-bar: there were two of them. but, i wasn't _quite_ the touch-typist i thought i was.

  • on a straight model M from unicomp. I havent found the design to be painful, then again i never learned "the correct way" to type with fingers gingerly wadded against the home row keys.
  • I have CVT Avant Stellar keyboards on the two PCs I use most. They're not the "ergonomic" style (I don't think I have whatever problem those solve) but they're supposed to be designed by whoever did the original Omnikey keyboard (which I have on another machine and love), and indeed they have the same wonderful clicky feel and metal back. I like them so much that I bought a spare (even though it was $189) since I didn't want to go through withdrawal when one of these dies, but it's never happened. Once i

  • I have an 1990 model M at work and a 1994 one at home. The 94 is sadly one the the inferior lexmark ones.

  • I have a stack of at least 20 good model m keyboards, not sure I will ever get to use any of my spares. They are built like a abrahms tank so the chances of me breaking one are pretty close to nil.

  • Curls (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday October 25, 2010 @08:35PM (#34019870)

    get a 10 to 20 pound weight (it should feel light but tire you after 20-30 reps) and do forearm curls.
    Don't overbend the wrist.

    Part of your issue may be tendonitis in your forearms (which these exercizes exhaust and release).

    Also upright rowing (a lot of "wrist" issues are really shoulder/back issues) gain with medium weights (feels light- but tires you after 20-30 reps).

  • It's not split, but the mechanical switches in the ABS M1 (USB) have nice rebound. I was happy with it at $70 but have seen it as low as $20 on Newegg. As a bonus, people on the phone can hear it so they know when I'm doing terminal work and they don't keep interrupting. It reminds me very much of the Apple Extended Keyboard II, for those for whom that means something.

    Make sure your hand/arm positions and wrist rest are configured properly first before going looking for exotic keyboards, though. I've ha

  • You could try something completely different, like the orbiTouch [orbitouch.com].

  • Personally, I like the Adjustable keyboard [goldtouch.com]. Ball adjustment locks in place. Standard QWERTY, no thumb keys (no big transition to flat QWERTY). Possibly membrane, but I don't mind even though I've used Model "M"s for decades.

    For me, the big deal is reducing wrist angle. I adjust kbd up as high as possible to make my wrists more vertical, and somewhat apart to keep arm-middle-finger phalanges in line. This kbd goes much higher than most others.

  • The Maltron -- http://www.maltron.com/ [maltron.com]. It's been a lifesaver -- not only a better shape (curved, to match your hands) but a better layout of letters (to avoid "single-finger hurdles" and other problematic movements). See also http://www.red-bean.com/kfogel/maltron.html [red-bean.com].

  • Although it lacks any special sort of strange shape that promotes ergonomic use of a keyboard, this keyboard is mechanical-switch, very large and sturdy, and a pleasure to type on: Customizer 104/105 [yahoo.net].
  • It is your bodies way to say "STOP DOING THAT!!!!!" Take a break, do something else. After all your hands have to last you a lifetime.
  • It's a bit of effort and not quite what you were looking for, but I've found that the absolute best decision I ever made to reduce RSI and other such effects was to switch to the Dvorak layout with an IBM Model M. It's actually pretty easy to learn Dvorak with an M too since it's so easy to rearrange the keycaps. But yea, it's more of an investment (in terms of time), but I would say it's worth looking into.

  • by junglebeast (1497399) on Monday October 25, 2010 @10:26PM (#34020626)

    Real programmers have evolved on to see in dimly lit caverns typing on the QWERTY keyboard. I have to wear special corrective lenses to see in daylight. I get arthritis just thinking about typing less than 220 WPM, and walking upright may cause a herniated disk.

  • I hacked together a glove consisting of 10 leads with an accelerometer attached to each palm. By rotating the angle of the glove, I am able to control the specific characters being typed. It works well, keeps me productive, and gives me a lot more space on my desk. Plus I can fit it into my pocket!

    Yeah, I wish something like this existed. Ergonomic keyboards, for all their supposed benefits, still take up a lot of space and demand repetitive actions on a frequent basis. You can try one, but I don't think th

  • by Khyber (864651)

    Get yourself dual wireless programmable keypads, put them on the arms of your chair, embed a trackball into the arm of the chair.

    Wireless USB connector dongle and go.

  • Piggybacking on this subject, does anyone have a favorite alternative keyboard? Has anyone actually used the FrogPad [frogpad.com], AlphaGrip [alphagrips.com], or the OrbiTouch [keybowl.com]?

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