Alternatives?

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Alternatives?

Postby phill » 14 Jun 2005, 06:43

Well, now that Fingerworks is bust, what alternatives are out there?

I'm looking to replace my standard keyboard and mouse for something that will cut down on my RSI. Right now it's going up my arms and into my shoulders.
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Postby aegis » 14 Jun 2005, 07:25

I went through a number of Keyboards before settling on the Touchstream I found a Happy Hacking keyboard and Kensington pro trackball the next best solution. The HH keyboard is compact and allows limited chording and the trackball reduced the constant reaching associated with a normal mouse.

If you want zero force how about one of the surface projected keyboards?

No gestures though :cry:

links:

http://www.virtual-laser-keyboard.com/
http://www.pfu.fujitsu.com/en/hhkeyboard/
http://www.kensington.com/html/1121.html
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DataHand?

Postby phill » 14 Jun 2005, 18:11

Does anyone have any experience with the DataHand.com keyboard?
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Goldtouch

Postby gregvr » 14 Jun 2005, 19:27

I'm using a Microsoft natural wireless, which I don't totally recommend. My biggest problem is that the very large numpad really makes me have to reach for the mouse.

I'm very much considering the Goldtouch keyboard. Price isn't too high, comes in black, etc, etc...

The only reason I want the smartcard version is that it is a bit newer than the others, and has a redesigned righthand side (they used to dead space to add copies of the navigation keys that are generally only on the left hand side).

Anyone ever used one of these?
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Re: DataHand?

Postby phill » 15 Jun 2005, 04:03

phill wrote:Does anyone have any experience with the DataHand.com keyboard?


After reading a bit more, looks like it has problems with the Mac. Namely, the Option key is missing.
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DataHand

Postby phill » 17 Jun 2005, 19:35

I've been looking at it again. It's so big and clunky looking. I don' think I'll be happy with it. If it was sleek and stylish then I could probably get into it. But it reminds me of two bricks where my keyboard should be.

Why did Fingerworks have to go out of business... arg... two more weeks and I would have had one.
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Which keyboard?

Postby barbara » 18 Jun 2005, 03:23

For me, I'm going to try the Typematrix EZ-Reach 2030 http://www.typematrix.com/ezr2030/ in DVORAK.

I have shoulder problems from 'reaching' when using a normal size keyboard. The EZ-Reach is compact unlike other ergonomic boards, and having just learned to touchtype in DVORAK, I cannot go back to QUERTY so it limits my choices somewhat. It should work well with my iGesture.

Has anyone else tried the EZ-Reach 2030 :?:
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Postby jono » 18 Jun 2005, 04:07

Yes, I tried it a while back after my LP was stolen, as a replacement... It's *very* nice if you touch-type dvorak -- however, my big complaints were on key placement. It's compact, but many keys were pushed around and stuff on the edge/corner for the sake of compactness. But it's not a damned laptop -- they could design a flat matrix keyboard with a larger footprint... and then I'd have been sold.

They keys have a very shallow depth to them -- if I remember correctly, they were still a little stiff -- but this probably works itself out after some use.

Design issues and personal vendettas/necessities aside, it's a great piece of hardware and I recommend it to everyone who thinkgs the layout is acceptable.
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Re: Which keyboard?

Postby phill » 21 Jun 2005, 19:44

barbara wrote:For me, I'm going to try the Typematrix EZ-Reach 2030 http://www.typematrix.com/ezr2030/ in DVORAK.


This looks like a great solution for a keyboard. It's small, slim, decent price, and comes in Dvorak.

The only problems I see is that it does not look too Mac friendly. No command key (uses Start), needs USB adaptor, and I'm not sure if the volumn, eject, mute, and other keys will work on the Mac.

I guess I can try it out and see, and if I don't like it there is always eBay.
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Re: Which keyboard?

Postby staygood » 21 Jun 2005, 21:30

phill wrote:I guess I can try it out and see, and if I don't like it there is always eBay.


I have a couple on order, which should arrive this week (2030 this week, 2020 next week). They're for work, but I'll try them out on my PowerBook to see if I'll spring for one at home. I'm concerned about the meta-key placement too.

As far as I'm concerned, I don't consider any keyboard to be deserving of the ergonomic label unless it gets rid of the staggered keys (holdover from manual typewriters).
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Postby barbara » 21 Jun 2005, 23:18

My DVORAK EZ-Reach 2030 should arrive anyday (dependant on International shipping) - I'll also post my 'review' after trying it ......
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Postby Peter70 » 22 Jun 2005, 00:54

The typematrix keyboards are really nice and of a very high quality. I bought one but couldn't get used to it because I needed to be able to work on my laptop too and the keyboard layout was quite different. But, if it could be my main keyboard I'd be very happy. And, compared with TS, the learning curve is minute.

for macs, the keys can be remapped with shareware. As they are, the windows start key is too small to be used comfortable for frequent key commands.

Hope you like it!
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I went ahead and bought the TypeMatrix 2030

Postby phill » 22 Jun 2005, 02:37

So I just went ahead and bought one today. I should see it in a few days, if not sooner. I guess I'll see when it gets here.

Thanks for the suggestions. So far this one looks to be the best that I've seen so far.

Oh, and the support so far has been top notch. They answered all my questions right away.
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Type Matrix

Postby phill » 01 Jul 2005, 03:12

I received my new EZ-Reach keyboard today.

Wow what a difference it is to type on. I'm learning Dvorak at the same time and its very slow going right now.

One thing I forgot about was my mouse. It cant plug into my keyboard any more, so I had to get an extension for it to work.

Typing time: about 5 minutes.

I'm actually picking this up fairly quickly...
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Postby ken gray » 01 Jul 2005, 13:24

yeah, it took me several weeks to get up to speed but then i didn't use any typing tudors like i did for qwerty....
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Typematrix EZ-Reach 2030

Postby barbara » 04 Jul 2005, 12:20

My EZ-Reach 2030 arrived this morning. After a only a couple of hours I am already used to the key layout.

My opinion: I love it :) The keys have a really nice tactile feel, I like the grid layout of keys, and because of its compactness, I have been able to bring my iGesture into a much better reach zone.

I would recommend this keyboard to anyone looking for an ergonomic alternative.
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EZ-Reach

Postby phill » 05 Jul 2005, 06:30

It's been a few days for me now, and I have all the keys down but I'm still very slow.

I'm also finding out that the missing Mac keys are a pain to deal with. Simple things like adjusting the volume and ejecting CD's is not so simple any more.

The one thing that really bugs me is the placement of the command key. I wish it was where the third shift key is. That would make more sense to me. Also the cut, copy, and paste keys don't work either.

I'll give it another two weeks...
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TypeMatrix

Postby phill » 14 Jul 2005, 01:00

Nope, can't deal with it. I'm sending it back for refund.

Basically, I can't handle not having the Mac keys on the keyboard. Volume, Eject, and even the Command keys are very important.

I'm using the Kensington slim keyboard (temporary) right now and it's a very nice keyboard. Even has keys for iTunes. It's pretty small, not as small as the EZ-Reach, but small enough. It's not a split keyboard and that's causing some wrist problems, but it's better then my old Macally icekey that wore out.

I guess 10 hours a day for six months is a lot of mileage on a keyboard. I sure hope to find a good solution soon. I might just have to bite the bullet and spend $500+ on a TouchStream from eBay.
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Re: Goldtouch

Postby moof » 14 Jul 2005, 17:42

gregvr wrote:I'm using a Microsoft natural wireless, which I don't totally recommend. My biggest problem is that the very large numpad really makes me have to reach for the mouse.

I'm very much considering the Goldtouch keyboard. Price isn't too high, comes in black, etc, etc...

Anyone ever used one of these?


Yes, this was my previous keyboard before the TouchStream - I have one of the white ones though. Not a bad keyboard, but I ended up removing a bunch of the keys which I don't use since they kept getting in the way. Also, I had to remap Option, Command, Control, etc. since they were in the *wrong* place for me being a Mac user. But, fortunately, this is easy to do on Tiger and above - in fact, it's built in.

Main gripe is that you have to press the keys down pretty far to type - ie s compared to a PowerBook keyboard...
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Postby moof » 14 Jul 2005, 17:46

Peter70 wrote:for macs, the keys can be remapped with shareware. As they are, the windows start key is too small to be used comfortable for frequent key commands.


With Tiger (10.4) and above, you can remap all of the modifier keys using the Keyboard system preference pane - it's built in..
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Postby Katzedecimal » 15 Jul 2005, 23:21

I missed the Fingerworks boat - found out about the Touchstreams just in time for Fingerworks to close up shop :cry: However, in the process of searching for Touchstreams, I was pointed in the direction of the Kinesis contoured keyboards and I now own one. I like this keyboard a lot. Its low impact keying and the keys are set in wells that cup the fingers. My hands rest lightly on the body of the keyboard and my fingers curl naturally into the wells. Typing feels like I'm "tickling" the keys. Its Dvorak switchable and remappable and I bought a foot switch for mine for the imbedded numpad because I do a lot of number crunching at work.

Replacing my mouse was another need, as mousing really hurts the tendons in my hands, pinkies and upper arm. Deprived of Fingerworks' gesturing technology, I settled on a Cirque SmartCat touchpad and this has helped a lot, especially with the upper arm tendon pain. Its moderately priced, about the neighborhood of a high-end mouse. Actually I paid more for the trackball (that I later ditched because it was making my problems worse :roll: )

I'm saddened to have missed the Fingerworks boat, but I feel lucky to be able to be served by these other technologies. My heart really goes out to people who cannot tolerate even low-impact keying - they've now been left out in the cold. But if your RSI can tolerate some impact, maybe give the Kinesis contoured keyboards a look-see. They do address the issue of the overworked pinky by moving the peripheral keys to the thumbs, like the Touchstreams did, and they're in about the same price neighborhood as the Touchstreams. The major complaint about them comes from programmers, in that the function keys are all little chiclet keys that are difficult to hit at speed.

Hope this helps a bit.
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The TypeMatrix 2030 is great!

Postby Shawn_Milo » 22 Sep 2005, 20:05

I'm almost two weeks into using the 2030, and it's great. Of course, there are no gestures, but it also costs hundreds less than the TouchStream.

The #1 feature is the straight rows of keys -- not staggered. The TouchStream is the same way, but now you get tactile feedback with it. For the first time in over 14 years of typing I'm touch-typing numbers!

Because of the way the keys are situated, once you get used to the straight rows (about a half-day or so), your hands kind of stay in one place while your fingers kind of swing straight forward and back while typing. It's a natural, comfortable feeling. There is virtually no reaching involved. It's also smaller in surface area than the TouchStream, so I think that reduce finger movement also.

There is an Enter key and Backspace key in the center of the keyboard, between the keys which belong to each hand. It was within the same half-day or so that I got used to using them, and I still reach toward the center on a regular keyboard (when I'm using my iBook unplugged). I think it feels more natural than groping out with the pinky finger.

Of course I got the Dvorak model. ;o)

I've been using it on the Mac and Windows, and you don't need drivers for either one. The main annoyance is, for Mac use, the command key is the "start" key, which is not next to the space bar -- it's a couple of keys further to the left. I'd like to see that become programmable in the future, the way it is in the Happy Hacking keyboard. But other than that, and in spite of it, I think it's the best keyboard out there today.

Here's the site:
http://www.typematrix.com/ezr2030

By the way, it looks better and feels more solid than it looks from the picture. It's pretty darn nice.

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Re: The TypeMatrix 2030 is great!

Postby nomaded » 22 Sep 2005, 20:14

Shawn_Milo wrote:I'm almost two weeks into using the 2030, and it's great. Of course, there are no gestures, but it also costs hundreds less than the TouchStream.


I've looked at that keyboard mostly as a good Dvorak keyboard, not as a replacement for my TouchStream.

It's kinda annoying how few Dvorak-in-the-keyboard keyboards are out there. Most suggest having the OS do the layout translation. This doesn't always work out right, especially in Windows.

I think my only hesitation with any of the TypeMatrix keyboards is that they are PS/2 and need a PS/2->USB adapter to work on USB-only systems. Do you have any issues with the PS/2->USB adapter, Shawn?
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TouchStream Mini - February 26, 2002 - Sold
TouchStream Stealth - March 18, 2002 - Windows 7 Ultimate (home)
TouchStream MacNTouch (white) - July 23, 2003 - Retired
TouchStream LP - March 31, 2004 - In storage
TouchStream MacNTouch (silver) - December 1, 2004 - In storage
Stenovations Digitouch (dvorak) - 2007 - Windows 7 Ultimate (work)
Stenovations Digitouch (dvorak) - 2007 - In storage
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Postby Shawn_Milo » 23 Sep 2005, 21:29

No, no issues with the PS/2 to USB adapter on Windows or Mac. The only difference is with the Shuffle key in Windows XP. The Shuffle key is basically like holding down Alt+Tab. Press it once to switch to the last app. Hold it down to scroll through the apps. The only issue is that, with the USB adapter the scrolling happens very quickly -- too fast to stop on the app you want. I contacted TypeMatrix and they told me that it only happens with the adapter. I tried it by connecting it via PS/2 and it worked normally, confirming their response. It's not an issue for me, since I'm used to hitting Alt-Tab anyway.

Note -- the PS/2 to USB adapter comes free with the keyboard from TypeMatrix. It also has an extra PS/2 input so you can connect a PS/2 keyboard and mouse into one USB port.

I'm also using my Cue Cat PS/2 to USB adapter with it, and it works fine, so you don't need any special kind. As long as you have a PS/2 to USB keyboard adapter. Be wary -- the extra cheap adapters are only for mice, and keyboards don't work. But, like I said, TypeMatrix gives you a free one which does the job admirably.
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