Friday, 25 January 2008

Fight off RSI with Workrave and Ergonomic Keyboards

While I was typing up that last post, Workrave popped up and reminded me to take a 5 minute rest break. Workrave is an excellent little program for Linux and Windows designed to assist in the recovery and prevention of RSI that sits in the tray monitoring the keyboard and mouse usage reminding you to take a break every now and again. I won't cover it in much detail because fsckin w/ linux just did an excellent article on it here.
Grab workrave from if it's not in your distro's package repository.

I don't suffer from RSI yet, but after some talk on the Canberra Linux Users Group mailing list last year I decided that I should take some simple steps to minimise the chances of me getting RSI, so I purchased the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 - what's $80 compared to still being able to type in a decade or so? In addition to the usual split angled keys featured on most ergonomic keyboards, it also features an inverted slope - the front of the keyboard is higher than the back of the keyboard so your wrists just sit on it at a natural angle with almost no strain. I've removed the useless and utterly annoying F-lock key from it because I kept hitting it instead of F12 when I went to pull down the YaKuake Terminal Emulator.

These two steps alone should go a long way to ensuring that I won't have to end my future career early due to RSI or related injuries. I suppose I could look into things like ergonomic chairs and so forth and perhaps someday I will, but this should be a cheap and effective start.

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