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Ask Slashdot: Keyboard Layout To Reduce Right Pinky/Ring Finger Usage? 165 165

Tooke writes "I've developed focal hand dystonia from playing clarinet. It affects my right pinky (and my ring finger, but to a lesser extent). My pinky isn't totally unusable when typing; however, it isn't nearly as agile as it used to be. When I must press a key with it, I tend to keep the whole finger rigid and move my entire hand instead. I also use my ring finger to press the P and semicolon keys (on QWERTY) which is a bit awkward but better than using the pinky. Thus my question: are there any keyboard layouts that are optimized to reduce right pinky/ring finger usage? I switched to Programmer Dvorak a few years ago, but Dvorak seems to make me use my right hand significantly more than my left. I'm considering mirroring the letter keys so my left hand would be used more. I also came across the Workman layout which looks interesting. I might try using that after switching the numbers and symbols around to be more like Programmer Dvorak. Has anyone been in a similar situation? What else could I do to make typing more comfortable? I've got a long career ahead of me as a programmer (I'm currently a high school senior) and I'd like to take care of my hands as much as possible."
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Ask Slashdot: Keyboard Layout To Reduce Right Pinky/Ring Finger Usage?

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  • by Art Challenor (2621733) on Friday February 15, 2013 @06:43PM (#42917005)
    Who knew that learning to reed in school could be harmful.
  • by EmagGeek (574360) <> on Friday February 15, 2013 @07:21PM (#42917385) Journal

    You have a disability that affects your ability to work.

    Go on Disability.

    Sue the Clarinet maker and anyone who ever encouraged you to play Clarinet for the difference between your SSDI checks and whatever you would have made as a programmer, including any and all attorney fees and court costs.

    Maybe even go for treble damages (har har) since whomever is responsible for forcing you to play clarinet either knew or should have known that there was a significant risk of a permanent disabling injury, and was therefore grossly negligent in placing your entire lifetime career in unreasonable jeopardy.

    Then, you won't need to worry about keyboard layouts.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 15, 2013 @07:27PM (#42917459)

    I lost the use of my left pinky in a childhood accident. After I graduated and starting programming professionally I found that the lifeless finger really interfered with my typing. So I quit programming and became a gangster. After a few years I got involved in the lucrative black market whale meat trade, necessitating a move to Japan. Fifteen years on I was, despite my lily-white ass, trusted by the locals and initiated as a full yakuza. The next day I called the boss a cunt and he required me to cut off my left pinky to atone.

    Finally rid of the useless digit I moved back to the States and resumed my career as a programmer. Don't be wasting your time with non-standard keyboards.

There must be more to life than having everything. -- Maurice Sendak