Typing Injury FAQ (1/6): Recent Changes [monthly posting]

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Dan Wallach

May 17, 1995, 3:00:00 AM5/17/95
Archive-name: typing-injury-faq/changes
Version: $Revision: 2.19 $ $Date: 1995/05/17 05:39:50 $
URL: http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~dwallach/tifaq/changes.html


The Typing Injury FAQ (frequently asked questions) is a multipart document
targetted at computer users suffering at the hands of their equipment. You'll
find pointers to resources all across the net, general information on injuries,
and detailed information on numerous adaptive products. The full documents are
posted on a number of newsgroups such as sci.med.occupational as well as
available via FTP and WWW servers across the globe.

This document cites recent changes to the Typing Injury FAQ as well as other
online information. Due to its (hopefully) shorter length, this document gets a
much wider audience of mailing lists and such.

This document may be cited as:

* Wallach, Dan S. (1995) "Typing Injury FAQ: Recent Changes" Usenet
news.answers. Available via anonymous ftp from rtfm.mit.edu in
pub/usenet/news.answers/typing-injury-faq/changes. 2 pages.

World-Wide-Web users will find this available as hypertext:

* http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~dwallach/tifaq/changes.html
* (Dan Wallach's page) http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~dwallach/

To find all the information below, and much much more, you can use:

E-Mail - you can access an ftp server via e-mail by sending a message to any of
the following servers with `help' on a line by itself in the body. You will
receive instructions.
o ftp...@decwrl.dec.com
o ftp...@src.doc.ic.ac.uk
o ftp...@cs.uow.edu.au
o ftp...@grasp.insa-lyon.fr

Anonymous FTP
The typing injury archive is available from a number of mirrors.
o (the original site) ftp://ftp.csua.berkeley.edu/pub/typing-injury
o ftp://ftp.demon.co.uk/pub/mirrors/csua/typing-injury
o (currently six months out of date)

World Wide Web - make sure you're using the current address!


Changes to the Typing Injury FAQ and ftp.csua.berkeley.edu archive, this month

[New] files in the typing-injury archive

RSI resources in Great Britain (recently updated)
Cumulative Trauma Disorders: Are They Preventable? Yes, No, Maybe - a
paper by Joy Linn
Some observations about professional pianists
treatment info, exercises, and more (useful for many folks)
lots of information on the GlidePoint trackpad pointing device
how to avoid hurting your voice with overuse (as you might do with a
speech recognition system)
some useful xmodmap calls when using a Kinesis Sun adapter box
should you buy the version with a bigger dictionary?
some background info on how the Feldenkrais method can ease stress
comparison of Microsoft Natural and Taiwanese generic split keyboards

It's all available at ftp://ftp.csua.berkeley.edu/pub/typing-injury

[New] information in the Keyboard FAQ

* Malcolm Crawford has some keymapping recommendations for NeXTstep users
with Kinesis keyboards
* The The Ergo Max Keyboard has apparently been cancelled. Too bad!
* The Maltron keyboard is now manufactured in the U.S. for the much lower
price of $295 (was $795). Also, I have a newer picture.
* KeyBreak - a hardware device which watches your keyboard usage and
recommends breaks
* The TypeLighter Low-Impact Typing System - a hardware device which tells
you if you're typing too hard
* FlexPro price break! - originally $399 list, it's now $199 list and on
sale for $99

Other new information

I'll be gone for the summer!
I'll be a summer intern at the Microsoft Corporation. Please continue to
send your e-mail to dwal...@cs.princeton.edu, but I can't guarantee I'll
respond in a timely manner. In particular, I'll probably only have time to
update timely information like keyboard prices. I won't have the time to
do my usual culling through mailing lists looking for stuff to save. So,
if you compose a particular brilliant message on a mailing list that you
think should be archived for all eternity, send it to me specially.

The FAQ will be posted monthly, but it's probably not going to change a
whole lot. This current batch of changes is about it for a while. Enjoy!

As always, I'm looking for volunteers to help out. Do you want to save the
world? Send me mail!
New WWW: TechTime articles on RSI Injuries
New WWW: Some human factors and ergonomics research by Alan Hedge
New WWW: A Patient's Guide to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
CTDNews, a monthly print newsletter, now has a WWW page
Dan Wallach Princeton University, Computer Science Department
dwal...@cs.princeton.edu http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~dwallach/ PGP Ready

Dan Wallach

May 17, 1995, 3:00:00 AM5/17/95
Archive-name: typing-injury-faq/general
Version: $Revision: 5.21 $ $Date: 1995/05/17 05:39:50 $
URL: http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~dwallach/tifaq/general.html


This FAQ may be cited as:

* Wallach, Dan S. (1995) "Typing Injury FAQ: General Information" Usenet

news.answers. Available via anonymous ftp from rtfm.mit.edu in

pub/usenet/news.answers/typing-injury-faq/general. 20 pages.

World-Wide-Web users will find this available as hypertext:

* http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~dwallach/tifaq/general.html

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions about Typing Injuries

The Typing Injury FAQ - sources of information for people with typing injuries,
repetitive stress injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.

Copyright © 1992-1995 Dan Wallach <dwal...@CS.Princeton.EDU>

[Current distribution: sci.med.occupational, sci.med, comp.human-factors,
{news,sci,comp}.answers, and e-mail to c+he...@iubvm.ucs.indiana.edu,
sore...@vm.ucsf.edu, and cst...@vtvm1.cc.vt.edu]

Table of Contents:

1. Publications, mailing lists, newsgroups, WWW pointers, etc.
2. The ftp.csua.berkeley.edu archive
3. General info on injuries
4. Typing posture, ergonomics, prevention, treatment
5. FAQ's About Computer Ergonomics and Workstation Injuries
6. Requests for more info
7. References


Publications, mailing lists, newsgroups, WWW pointers, etc.

(thanks to Rik Ahlberg <r...@world.std.com> for parts of this info)

1. Publications

CTDNews is a monthly newsletter that covers cumulative trauma disorder.
It's a bit pricey ($146/year) but fairly concise. They'll send you your
first issue free, so you can look it over.

PO Box 239
Haverford, PA 10941
215-896-4902, or 800-554-4CTD to order
http://wanda.pond.com/mall/ctdnews/rsi [- NEW!]

2. FTP & Gopher & WWW sites

The home of the Boston RSI Archive


Boston RSI changed its name to RSI-East, and the new archives are at
sjuvm.stjohns.edu (detailed below) The RSI Network Newsletter is a
bi-monthly online newsletter produced by Caroline Rose
<cr...@applelink.apple.com> and distributed online by Craig O'Donnell


Extensive anonymous ftp archive, including the typing injury FAQ
(frequently asked questions), alternative input device information
(descriptions, reviews, and GIF images), and some software.
Maintained by Dan Wallach <dwal...@CS.Princeton.EDU>.


(more info below...)

A gopher site containing the Electronic Rehabilitation Resource
Center. Lots of disability information, including a searchable
database of national disability resources and access to other gopher
sites with geographically local disability information.

Also home to RSI-East, its message archive, and an archive of the RSI
Network Newsletter.


An ftp site containing the archives of RSI-UK.

Also, Demon now mirrors the typing-injury archive:

A World-Wide-Web page with some good pictures of how to hold your
hands, MPEG videos of various exercises, and more.


Other WWW sites:
Some human factors and ergonomics research by Alan Hedge [- NEW!]
TechTime articles on RSI Injuries [- NEW!]
A Patient's Guide to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome [- NEW!]
Medical Matrix - A Guide to Internet Medical Resources
ErgoWeb - lots of information for designers of ergonomic tools
Oversensitivity to Electricity
Disability Resources from Evan Kemp Associates
Intergraph Workstation Furniture
Safe Computing's Internet Store - buy ergonomic products online
The Martial Arts FAQ

The Ergonomic Sciences Corp, Mountain View, CA.

The (USA's) Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Repetitive Stress Injury Help Page (CMU)

Some other WWW indices to the typing-injury archive

The FAQ for a2x (a program to interface an external keyboard or
speech synthesizer to an X window system) and the FAQ for
DragonDictate (a speech recognition system) are both available here.
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/a2x-voice/ (this should include
information on the new a3x software which works with Windows NT
instead of Unix and X)

Another RSI page in the works

Magnetic Devices from Total Health Mktg., Nikken Independent

3. Listserv Mailing Lists

Sorehand is a San Francisco-based listserv mailing list for people with
RSIs. Subscribe by sending mail with any subject to:
with the message body reading:
subscribe sorehand Your Name

C+Health (Computers & Health) is a listserv mailing list which deals with
the technologies causing injuries to folks who use them. Subscribe by
sending mail with any subject to:
with the message body reading:
subscribe c+health Your Name

RSI-East is the east coast's answer to sorehand, where users discuss their
experiences and offer support, referral, and treatment information to one
another. Subscriptions are available to anyone with an interest in RSIs,
but with the caveat that the list is intended as a regional resource for
networking. Subscribe by sending mail with any subject to:
with the message body reading:
subscribe rsi-east Your Name

RSI-UK is Great Britain's RSI mailing list, open to anyone. Subscribe by
sending mail with any subject to:
with the message body reading:
subscribe rsi-uk Your Name

4. Usenet Newsgroups

A Usenet newsgroup which deals in occupational medicine. Lots of
practitioners read it!

Mostly software design, but occasional discussion of accessibility
issues for people with RSIs.

Support for those with arthritis. New as of 11/93.

Usenet feed of the ada-law listserv. Covers issues relating to the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Usenet feed of the disabled student services listserv. Particularly
of interest to computer science students dealing with RSIs or folks
pondering a return to school and/or retraining after a disabling RSI.

5. Real-time chatting

If you've got an account on America On-Line, you might want to check out
the RSI Support Group, which meets every Wednesday night in the Equal
Access Cafe. This realtime chat starts at 9:15pm eastern time. Check the
current AOL schedule for the most current information.

6. Books / Literature

A large amount has been written in the popular press and the medical
literature, and more comprehensive bibliographies (rsi.biblio and
rsi.biblio2) are available in the typing-injury archive.

Here are some books you might want to check out:
o Emil Pascarelli and Deborah Quilter, Repetitive Strain Injury, a
Computer User's Guide, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 0-471-59533-0.
+ The Pascarelli book is often cited in various on-line
conversations. If you buy only one book, this is probably the
one to get.

o Don Sellers, Zap! How Your Computer Can Hurt You-And What You Can Do
About It, Peachpit Press, Inc., 1994. ISBN# 1-55609-021-0.

(Don Sellers has e-mail, too: <dsel...@netcom.com>)

o Stephanie Brown, Preventing Computer Injury: The Hand Book, Ergonome
Press, 1993, ISBN 1-884388-01-9.

o David Zemach-Bersin et al., Relaxercise, Harper Press, 1990, ISBN

o Bonnie Prudden, Pain Erasure - The Bonnie Prudden Way. M. Evans &
Co., Inc., 1980; ISBN 0-87131-328-6 (hardcover). Ballantine Books,
Inc.; 1982 (softcover).

o Martin Sussman et al., Total Health at the Computer. Station Hill
Press, 1993.

o Don Aslett, Make Your House Do The Housework, Digest Books, 1986.
ISBN 0-89-879227-4. 201 pages.
o Sharon Butler, Conquering Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (& other RSIs),
Advanced Press (no ISBN, but phone 800-909-9795, pay $18.95 +
shipping). Author's e-mail: SButl...@aol.com [- NEW!]
o A free packet of information is also available from the U.S.
Government. You might want to ask for:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Selected References (March 1989)

NIOSH Publications Dissemination
4676 Columbia Parkway
Cincinnati, Ohio 45226


The ftp.csua.berkeley.edu archive

Check out the ever-increasing typing injury archive! Just use anonymous ftp or

* ftp://ftp.csua.berkeley.edu/pub/typing-injury
* http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~dwallach/tifaq/archive.html

Informative files:

changes since last month's edition
information about typing injuries
keyboards1 and keyboards2
products to replace your keyboard
software to watch your keyboard usage
details about various desks, chairs, etc.
some simple ways to make things like mopping and tooth brushing less
about Adverse Mechanical Tension
e-mail from Dr. Peter Bower about this stuff
a bibliography for more AMT info
a note about ANSI/ISO, EC, and MIL-STD "standards"
how to correctly use armrests
info about the Assoc for Rep. Motion Syndromes
three simple exercises for your middle back
learning to listen to your body
replace your car seat with something more comfortable
PageMaker4 document about your wrists
PostScript converted version of above...
info on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
a discussion of what carpal tunnel syndrome is and isn't
very detailed information about CTS
new treatments that don't involve surgery
excerpt from Rosemarie Atencio's book
abstract of a paper discussing steroid (cortisone) treatments for CTS
one person's story of CTS diagnosis, treatment, and recovery
JAMA article on CTS surgery
some general tips for recovering from the surgery
TidBITS article on CTS
info about the CTDNews publication
interesting facts and references to more
cumulative-disorders [- NEW!]

Cumulative Trauma Disorders: Are They Preventable? Yes, No, Maybe - a
paper by Joy Linn

large list of keyboards, more relevant for users with motion disabilities
large list of mailing lists for a various disabilities
double-crush syndrome, CTS, and more
dragon-vocab-size [- NEW!]

should you buy the version with a bigger dictionary?

a detailed comparison of both voice systems
lots of into about Dvorak keyboarding
exercise in the workplace
info on some newer mice
feldenkrais-info [- NEW!]

some background info on how the Feldenkrais method can ease stress

how to hack a footswitch into your computer
where to buy a footswitch
hints about controling glare from your screen
glidepoint [- NEW!]

lots of information on the GlidePoint trackpad pointing device

RSI vs. playing guitar
info about Handeze gloves
advice on picking a health-care provider in the USA
one person's story of an injury
why some get injured and some don't
statistics about what gets injured
a huge list of pointers to Internet resources
Dan's (increasingly ancient and outdated) opinions on the keyboard
all about picking a good tray
kinesis-sun-mappings [- NEW!]

some useful xmodmap calls when using a Kinesis Sun adapter box

using martial arts to combat RSI's
microsoft-vs-generic-split [- NEW!]

comparison of Microsoft Natural and Taiwanese generic split keyboards

keyboard shortcuts and tricks
basic information on how the human nervous system works
info about British judge saying RSI isn't real
Worker-oriented solutions to office safety
All about pain
piano-posture [- NEW!]

Some observations about professional pianists

advice if pointing devices are your problem
explanations of different types of physical therapy
a short list of dealers and consultants
lots of advice about how to climb without hurting yourself
Article in The Independent (London, UK)
bibliography of RSI-related publications
another bibliography
stats on RSI happening to dentists
long detailed information about RSI
Dr. Leo Rozmaryn of the US Food and Drug Administration's seminar on RSI's
an attempt to start a U.S. advocacy group
basic article from FDA Consumer
archive of the RSI Network newsletter (currently, containing issues 1
through 19)
study showing RSI isn't just psychological
it's better to type slower
reviews a Mac program to reduce keystrokes
info on Tendonitis
info about thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS)
more info about thoracic outlet syndrome
thoracic-info3 [- NEW!]

treatment info, exercises, and more (useful for many folks)

RSI resources in Great Britain [- NEW!] (recently updated)
why anti-vibration gloves aren't necessarily helpful
possible links between vitamins and RSI's
a brief comparison of recognition systems
voice-problems [- NEW!]

how to avoid hurting your voice with overuse (as you might do with a
speech recognition system)

detailed information about the appropriateness of a voice dictation system
to programming tasks
all about using a voice recognition system as a programmer
dealing with insurance and lawyers
picking your supports and splints

Various product literature and reviews:

press release on the Apple Adjustable Keyboard
extensive info about Apple's Adjustable Keybd
MacWeek review on the Bat
comfort-factors, comfort-features, comfort-letter, and comfort-survey
marketing info on the Comfort Keyboard
one user's personal opinions
another user's opinions
detailed opinions of the DataHand
follow-up to above
another review of the DataHand
description of the DataHand's appearance
info about DragonDictate 2.0
details about the IN3 Voice Commander
one user's personal opinions
another user's personal opinions
a collection of opinions on the Kinesis
a comparison of two similar keyboard alternatives
info about the Kurzweil voice recognizer
maltron-flyer and maltron-letter
marketing info on various Maltron products
one user's personal opinions
one user's personal opinions of the Microsoft Natural Keyboard
marketing info on the Vertical
marketing info on IBM VoiceType
how to get more info from Australia's govt
how to arrange your computer/chair/desk

Programs (in the software subdirectory):

UNIX/X Software:

(Note: a2x.tar and rk.tar are both from ftp://ftp.x.org/contrib/ so they may
have a more current version than ftp.csua.berkeley.edu.)

a more sophisticated X keyboard/mouse spoofing program. Supports
a hacked version of a2x that can take input directly from PC keyboards via
the serial port and an adapter.
Dragon voice macros to accompany a2x use
a program for one-handed usage of normal keyboards
generates fake X keyboard events from the serial port - use a PC keyboard
on anything!
yet another idle watcher
the reactive keyboard - predicts what you'll type next - saves typing
like kt, generates fake X key events, but from a raw PC keyboard via the
serial port
patches for X11R5 to allow the spacebar to be both a spacebar and a
control key
MS Windows break-reminder program
tells you when to take a break
turns your QWERTY keyboard into Dvorak
keeps track of how long you've been typing
X-Windows program which pops up and tells you to take a break.
OpenWindows activity monitor / rest reminder

PC/DOS Software:

a serial port keyboard spoofer for MS Windows
simple TSR program - remind you to take breaks

Pictures (in the gifs subdirectory):

(Note: you can see inlined images of these keyboards in the keyboards FAQ

picture of good sitting posture (the caringforwrists document is better
for this)
half-qwerty.gif (new name, same file as old 1handpic.gif)
keymappings for the Half-QWERTY
beautiful grey-scale picture
chord-mappings for the accukey
the Apple Adjustable Keyboard
the InfoGrip Bat
the Health Care Comfort Keyboard
picture of the keyboard
key layout schematic
Grahl split-back ergonomic chair
Grahl normal-back ergonomic chair
the ergoLogic 7.1 keyboard (same as flexpro)
ergomaster1.gif and ergomaster2.gif
the Genovation ErgoMaster keyboard
the Maxi Switch ErgoMax keyboard
the Key Tronic FlexPro keyboard (same as ergologic)
the Fountain Hills keyboard
a generic keyboard, made in Taiwan
hand size chart for Handeze gloves
properly scaled Postscript of handeze.gif
the Kinesis Ergonomic Keyboard
the Lexmark Select-Ease keyboard
maltron1.gif, maltron2.gif, maltron3.gif, and maltron4.gif
several pictures of Maltron products
the Marquardt MiniErgo
the Microsoft Natural Keyboard
... and a prototype that didn't make it
ErgonomiXX MyKey
Somers EK1 Ergonomic Keyboard
schematic picture of the keyboard
The Tony! Ergonomic Keysystem
Twiddler, "front" view
Twiddler, "side" view
the Vertical keyboard
the Iocomm `Wave' keyboard

Many files are compressed (have a .Z ending). If you can't uncompress a file
locally, ftp.csua.berkeley.edu will do it. Just ask for the file, without the
.Z extension.

General info on injuries

First, and foremost of importance: if you experience pain at all, then you
absolutely need to go see a doctor. As soon as you possibly can. The difference
of a day or two can mean the difference between a short recovery and a long,
drawn-out ordeal. GO SEE A DOCTOR. Now, your garden-variety doctor may not
necessarily be familiar with this sort of injury. Generally, any hospital with
an occupational therapy clinic will offer specialists in these kinds of

The remainder of this information is paraphrased, without permission, from a
wonderful report by New Zealand's Department of Labour (Occupational Safety and
Health Service): "Occupational Overuse Syndrome. Treatment and Rehabilitation:
A Practitioner's Guide".

First, a glossary (or, fancy names for how you shouldn't have your hands):
(note: you're likely to hear these terms from doctors and keyboard vendors :)

Repetitive Strain Injury - a general term for many kinds of injuries
Occupational Overuse Syndrome - synonym for RSI
Cumulative Trauma Disorder - another synonym for RSI
Work-Related Upper Limb Disorders - yet another synonym for RSI
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (see below)
Marked bending at a joint.
Turning the palm down.
Wrist extension
Bending the wrist up.
Turning the palm up.
Wrist flexion
Bending the wrist down.
Pinch grip
The grip used for a pencil.
Ulnar deviation
Bending the wrist towards the little finger.
Power grip
The grip used for a hammer.
Radial Deviation
Bending the wrist toward the thumb.
Moving away from the body.
Opening the fingers out wide.

Now then, problems come in two main types: Local conditions and diffuse
conditions. Local problems are what you'd expect: specific muscles, tendons,
tendon sheaths, nerves, etc. being inflamed or otherwise hurt. Diffuse
conditions, often mistaken for local problems, can involve muscle discomfort,
pain, burning and/or tingling; with identifiable areas of tenderness in
muscles, although they're not necessarily "the problem."

Why does Occupational Overuse Syndrome occur? Here's the theory.

Normally, your muscles and tendons get blood through capillaries which pass
among the muscle fibers. When you tense a muscle, you restrict the blood flow.
By the time you're exerting 50% of your full power, you're completely
restricting your blood flow.

Without fresh blood, your muscles use stored energy until they run out, then
they switch to anaerobic (without oxygen) metabolism, which generates nasty
by-products like lactic acid, which cause pain.

Once one muscle hurts, all its neighbors tense up, perhaps to relieve the load.
This makes sense for your normal sort of injury, but it only makes things worse
with repetitive motion. More tension means less blood flow, and the cycle

Another by-product of the lack of blood flow is tingling and numbness from your
nerves. They need blood too.

Anyway, when you're typing too much, you're never really giving a change for
the blood to get back where it belongs, because your muscles never relax enough
to let the blood through. Stress, poor posture, and poor ergonomics, only make
things worse.

Specific injuries you may have heard of

(note: most injuries come in two flavors: acute and chronic. Acute injuries are
severely painful and noticable. Chronic conditions have less pronounced
symptoms but are every bit as real.)

an inflamation of the tendon sheath. Chronic tenosynovitis occurs when the
repetitive activity is mild or intermittent: not enough to cause acute
inflamation, but enough to exceed the tendon sheath's ability to lubricate
the tendon. As a result, the tendon sheath thickens, gets inflamed, and
you've got your problem.
an inflammation of a tendon. Repeated tensing of a tendon can cause
inflamation. Eventually, the fibers of the tendon start separating, and
can even break, leaving behind debris which induces more friction, more
swelling, and more pain. "Sub-acute" tendonitis is more common, which
entails a dull ache over the wrist and forearm, some tenderness, and it
gets worse with repetitive activity.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
the nerves that run through your wrist into your fingers get trapped by
the inflamed muscles around them. Symptoms include feeling "pins and
needles", tingling, numbness, and even loss of sensation. CTS is often
confused for a diffuse condition.
Adverse Mechanical Tension
also known as 'neural tension', this is where the nerves running down to
your arm have become contracted and possibly compressed as a result of
muscle spasms in the shoulders and elsewhere. AMT can often misdiagnosed
as or associated with one of the other OOS disorders. It is largely
reversible and can be treated with physiotherapy (brachial plexus
stretches and trigger point therapy).
for just about every part of your body, there's a fancy name for a way to
injure it. By now, you should be getting an idea of how OOS conditions
occur and why. Just be careful: many inexperienced doctors misdiagnose
problems as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, when in reality, you may have a
completely different problem. Always get a second opinion before somebody
does something drastic to you (like surgery).


Typing posture, ergonomics, prevention, treatment

The most important element of both prevention and recovery is to reduce tension
in the muscles and tendons. This requires learning how to relax. If you're
under a load of stress, this is doubly important. Tune out the world and breath
deep and regular. Relaxing should become a guiding principle in your work:
every three minutes take a three second break. EVERY THREE MINUTES, TAKE A
THREE SECOND BREAK. Really, do it every three minutes. It's also helpful to
work in comfortable surroundings, calm down, and relax.

If you can't sleep, you really need to focus on this. Rest, sleep, and
relaxation are really a big deal.

There are all kinds of other treatments, of course. Drugs can reduce
inflamation and pain. Custom-molded splints can forcefully prevent bad posture.
Surgery can fix some problems. Exercise can help strengthen your muscles.
Regular stretching can help prevent injury. Good posture and a good ergonomic
workspace promote reduced tension. Ice or hot-cold contrast baths also reduce
swelling. Only your doctor can say what's best for you.

Posture - some basic guidelines

[I so liked the way this was written in the New Zealand book that I'm lifting
it almost verbatim from Appendix 10.]

* Let your shoulders relax.
* Let your elbows swing free.
* Keep your wrists straight.
* Pull your chin in to look down - don't flop your head forward.
* Keep the hollow in the base of your spine.
* Try leaning back in the chair.
* Don't slouch or slump forward.
* Alter your posture from time to time.
* Every 20 minutes, get up and bend your spine backward.

Set the seat height, first. Your feet should be flat on the floor. There should
be no undue pressure on the underside of your thighs near the knees, and your
thighs should not slope too much.

Now, draw yourself up to your desk and see that its height is comfortable to
work at. If you are short, this may be impossible. The beest remedy is to raise
the seat height and prevent your legs from dangling by using a footrest.

Now, adjust the backrest height so that your buttocks fit into the space
between the backrest and the seat pan. The backrest should support you in the
hollow of your back, so adjust its tilt to give firm support in this area.

If you operate a keyboard, you will be able to spend more time leaning back, so
experiment with a chair with a taller backrest, if available.

[Now, I diverge a little from the text]

A good chair makes a big difference. If you don't like your chair, go find a
better one. You really want adjustments for height, back angle, back height,
and maybe even seat tilt. Most arm rests seem to get in the way, although some
more expensive chairs have height adjustable arm rests which you can also
rotate out of the way. You should find a good store and play with all these
chairs - pick one that's right for you. In the San Francisco Bay Area, I highly
recommend "Just Chairs." The name says it all.

Keyboard drawers, wrist pads, and keyboard replacements:

There is a fair amount of controvery on how to get this right. For some people,
wrist pads seem to work wonders. However, with good posture, you shouldn't be
resting your wrists on anything - you would prefer your keyboard to be "right
there". If you drop your arms at your side and then lift your hands up at the
elbow, you want your keyboard under your hands when your elbows are at about 90
degrees. Of course, you want to avoid pronation, wrist extension, and ulnar
deviation at all costs. Wrist pads may or may not help at this. You should get
somebody else to come and look at how you work: how you sit, how you type, and
how you relax. It's often easier for somebody else to notice your hunched
shoulders or deviated hands.

Some argue that the normal, flat keyboard is antiquated and poorly designed. A
number of replacements are available, on the market, today. Check out the
accompanying typing-injury-faq/keyboards for much detail.

Lately, a number of people have been having luck with gloves. You may want to
try some light gloves, possibly with the fingers removed if they're too warm.
Many seem to like the Handeze Gloves, available for around $20 from
Patternworks, P.O. Box 1690, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 (800/438-5464). See the
typing-injury archive "handeze.info" for details.

Another place you may be able to get stuff: a company called Enrichments has a
catalog of ergonomic products you may find interesting. Their phone number is
800/323-5547. Or, you might want to contact AliMed at 800/225-2610 and ask for
their Ergonomics catalog.

Here are some sources for fancy keyboard drawers:

Ergotron, Eagan, MN, 800/888-8458. A wide tray that mounts under a desk and is
adjustable, has a wrist rest, and is wide enough to accomodate a mouse pad.

Ergo Systems, East Hartford, CT, 203/282-9767. They make keyboard trays and a
retractrable mouse pad, too.

Rubbermaid makes a simple $20 plastic keyboard tray that works well. I found
mine at CompUSA, so check your local computer store.

FAQ's About Computer Ergonomics and Workstation Injuries

Copyright © 1992-1995 Jonathan Bailin, Ph.D. <bai...@mizar.usc.edu>

Question Categories

General Info, Monitor, & Desktop Accessories......................1-6
Wrists, Body Posture, & Chair Features............................7-13
Active Breaks, Microbreaks, & Excercises.........................14-15
Varieties of Computer Injuries.....................................16
Kinesiology for RSI................................................17
Emergence of RSI...................................................18
Lifestyle Changes and Reducing RSI Risk............................19

1. Q. What is "ergonomics"?

A. Ergonomics is the science of adjusting your work environment to fit
your body and make it most comfortable.

2. Q. What is the best room lighting to help reduce eye strain?

A. A mixture of fluorescent and incandescent light is usually most
pleasing. The most important aspect of lighting is to reduce glare and
bright reflections from your screen, nearby glass, or shiny surfaces.
Since light conditions change during the day this may require several
adjustments while working. If you smoke while keyboarding, be sure to
clean your screen frequently as water vapor and smoke make a potent film
forming process.

3. Q. What is the best position for the monitor at my workstation?

A. Many make the common mistake of putting the monitor, the keyboard, or
both off to one side on a desk. If you perform more than a few minutes of
keyboarding a day, the keyboard and monitor should be placed directly in
front of your normal sitting position. The screen should be 18-30 inches
from your eyes or about an arm's length.

4. Q. Is there an optimum height for my monitor?

A. Yes. The top of the monitor should be at eye level because the eyes are
at their most comfortable position straight ahead but slightly downward.
This is why reading lenses in bifocal glasses are placed just below the
horizontal plane.

On the topic of eye correction, make sure your eyes are 20/20 and hat if
you do need correction your optometrist should know about the amount of
your monitor use and its distance from your eyes. A correction just for
monitor use may be necessary. Be sure to look away from your screen at
least every 30 minutes and focus on something over 20 feet away.

5. Q. Is there an optimum screen brightness and color scheme to help prevent
eye strain?

A. Black characters against a light gray background are often easiest on
he eyes for long periods. Contrast and brightness should be adjusted to
create the brightest screen without blurring.

6. Q. What other accessories and placement are important?

A. Frequently used items should be within arms reach from your keyboarding
position. A document holder should be at the same height and distance as
he screen so that your eyes don't need to change focus frequently.
Frequent telephone use should utilize a headset to avoid bending the neck
while keyboarding. Remember that many RSI's begin with nerve insult in the
neck and shoulders.

7. Q. What is the most healthy posture for my wrists while typing?

A. The best position is neutral. In other words, the knuckles, wrist, and
op of the forearm should form a straight line.

8. Q. Can a wrist pad sitting in front of the keyboard be used during

A. The neutral position described in #7 can not be achieved while in
contact with most commercial wrist pads. For this reason keyboarding is
best performed from a "floating" wrist position. Contact wristpads for
rest periods only. Frequent rest becomes necessary with floating wrists
because it tends to emphasize shoulder muscle contraction. Don't forget to
use the lightest possible finger pressure during keying.

9. Q. What is the best elbow and shoulder position while keyboarding?

A. The elbows should form a 90 degree angle while *hanging* at your sides
from the shoulders. Rarely do chairs with armrests allow this position. It
is *very* important that the shoulders remain relaxed in a lowered
position during keyboarding (see #6).

10. Q. What is the best seat height for keyboarding?

A. It is most important that seat height should allow the upper body
postures described in #7, #8, and #9. This upper body posture is most
responsible for reducing risk of injury. Once this is accomplished, the
feet should be flat on the floor.

If the resulting seat height prevents the feet from resting flat on he
floor, a foot rest is necessary. This should allow the lower legs to be
vertical and thighs horizontal.

11. Q. What should I look for in the backrest of a chair?

A. Expensive motors and adjustable sections are not necessary if the
backrest has firm support for the inward curve of the lower spine (lumbar)
and outward curve of the upper spine (thoracic). Wether you need upper
body support to help keep your torso and head vertical is a matter of

12. Q. What other characteristics of a chair are important?

A. The seat of the chair should be large enough to accommodate frequent
changes in position and firm enough to allow your weight to be supported
hrough the buttocks not the thighs. If others will use your chair, easy
height adjustment is a must.

13. Q. How often should I change positions and take breaks during keyboarding?

A. You should change your sitting position at least every 15 minutes.
Active breaks should be taken at least every 30 minutes especially for
those who perform more than 2 or 3 hours of keyboarding a day. Microbreaks
should occur more often.

14. Q. What is an "active break" and a "microbreak"?

A. An active break occurs when you stop keyboarding to do other things
like ake phone calls, file papers, or get up to get a drink of water. An
active break should also include specific exercises. These exercises
should also be done during keyboarding microbreaks which occur while
seated at your workstation.

15. Q. What are some of the best exercises for keyboarding microbreaks while

A. The "Shoulder Blade Squeeze" is performed by raising your forearms and
pointing your hands to the ceiling. Push your arms back, squeezing you
shoulder blades together. Hold for at least 5 seconds and repeat 3 times.

"Eye Palming" is performed by placing your elbows on your desk, cup your
hands, close your eyes, and place your eyelids gently down onto your
palms. Hold this position for 1 minute while breathing deeply and slowly.
Then uncover your eyes slowly.

The "Arm & Shoulder Shake" is performed by dropping your hands to your
sides then shake your relaxed hands, arms, and shoulders gently for at
least 5 seconds and repeat 3 times.

"Spanning" is performed by placing you arms straight in front of you and
spreading your fingers as far as possible for at least 5 seconds and
repeat 5 times. This exercise was made famous by pianists. With the arms
extended in front of you spanning can be combined with a "Forearm Stretch"
by turning the hands so that their backs touch then turning them so that
the palms face the ceiling.

These are only a few key exercises. Many more are useful for preventing
repetitive strain. Try to find the best series for your areas of ension
and particular relaxation needs. Frequent breaks yield better long erm

16. Q. I've heard many names for keyboard injuries. What do they all mean?

A. Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a description of an injury associated
any repetitive activity such as hammering, piano playing, truck driving,
computer use, or even shaking hands. Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS),
Cumulative Trauma Disorder (CTD), and Work Related Upper Limb Disorders
(WRULD), are all equivalent expressions to RSI.

Tendonitis and tenosynovitis are characterized by inflammation of tendo ns
or their surrounding sheaths, respectively. Both of these RSI disorders
usually begin as mildly aggravating and, given bad habits, may quickly
progress to be severely debilitating. These common RSI injuries also add
to he difficulty of proper diagnosis and deserve greater recognition.
These endon inflammations usually occur before full blown Carpal Tunnel

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a specific, severe, and debilitating form
of RSI which describes a squeezing of the median nerve as it runs to hand.
The nerve is squeezed by swollen tendons surrounding it as they cross
hrough a tunnel made by ligaments at the inside of the wrist.

The National Center for Health Statistics estimates at least 1.89 milli on
people have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Many experts feel that CTS is also
associated with nerve compression symptoms in the chest or shoulders.
**All RSI symptoms should receive immediate medical attention from
physicians experienced in RSI.**

17. Q. Advice by Health Care Practitioners often includes a collection of
erms from a kinesiology course. Which ones do I need to know to help
identify my own workstation ergonomic problems?

A. Standing with the arms at your sides, palms facing forward, "flexion"
is folding of any joint of the body so that the angle between the parts
decreases in the forward direction, except at the knee and toes. Returning
he joint to its straight position requires "extension".

A joint which continues its extension past its straight posture is in
"hyperextension". This occurs in the hand and wrist when you pull the
fingers back.

Standing with your arms at your sides, palms facing forward, "pronation"
is the turning of your hand so that you thumb points toward your leg.
"Suppination" is the opposite movement.

18. Q. Why does it seem like RSI from keyboarding has become such a big
problem recently?

A. One reason why RSI is becoming more prevalent is because computers are
now allowing us to do more office tasks which formerly allowed us to
change activity. For example, a typewriter at one time required using a
return carriage, "white out" for mistakes, breaks for paper installation,
and getting up to file papers in a cabinet.

Computer word-processing now eliminates these "microbreaks". In short,
computers have greatly simplified office activity, an advance that has at
least one important disadvantage. The danger is found in the possibility
for long duration, continuous, and relatively motion free, precise,
muscular activity called "static exertion". Humans were not well
"designed" for this.

19. Q. What lifestyle changes can I make to reduce the chances of RSI?

A. Two main themes permeate ergonomic study of RSI prevention; posture and
relaxation. Appropriate postures are necessary to keep the strain of
performing work in a near stationary position (static exertion) to a
minimum. But even the best postures can fall prey to overload when with
bad habits.

Relaxation is critical to the body's resilience, its ability to recover
from keyboarding. Office workload dynamics can have a great influence on
the risk of RSI. Try to promote office policies which emphasize steady
work load schedules and avoid, or at least distribute, crises deadlines.

Stretching and strengthening active muscles promotes relaxation.
Relaxation is as important for prevention of RSI symptoms as it is for
general well-being. Take a new, more active role in promoting your general
fitness both at and away from work. If you don't exercise regularly and
your over 40, get clearance from a physician to add walking, bicycling, or
swimming to your weekly schedule on three separate days.

Cut down on stimulants like coffee, sweets, or nicotine and spread healthy
snacks and water intake throughout the day. Keep water at your desk as it
makes for a smart microbreak. The first symptom of dehydration is fatigue,
not thirst!

Fruit and vegatable snacks prevent mid-morning and mid-afternoon blood
sugar drops. These dips can effect alertness, mood, productivity, and
decision making. A diet emphasizing complex carbohydrates, reliable
sleeping patterns, and time for yourself can do wonders for 9 to 5
productivity, not to mention your own well-being. All habits and practices
hat promote relaxation are necessary to stop the threat of RSI. Good Luck.

During doctoral research in Exercise Physiology/Biomechanics at the University
of Southern California, Jonathan completed groundbreaking electromyographic
(EMG) research on repetitive strain injuries to the forearm. He currently
moderates seminars, writes and speaks on ergonomic topics, consults for Los
Angeles firms, and continues further research at USC. Dr. Bailin can be reached
at 310/390-8309 or bai...@mizar.usc.edu.

Requests for more info

Clearly, the above information is incomplete. The typing-injury archive is
incomplete. There's always more information out there. If you'd like to submit
something, please send me mail, and I'll gladly throw it in.

If you'd like to maintain a list of products or vendors, that would be
wonderful! I'd love somebody to make a comprehensive list of mice. I'd love
somebody to make a list of doctors. I'd love somebody to edit the above
sections, looking for places where I've obviously goofed.


Much of the information here is derived from a wonderful guide produced in New
Zealand by their Occupational Safety & Health Service, a service of their
Department of Labour. Special thanks to the authors: Wigley, Turner, Blake,
Darby, McInnes, and Harding.

Semi-bibliographic reference:

* Occupational Overuse Syndrome
Treatment and Rehabilitation:
A Practitioner's Guide

Published by the Occupational Safety and Health Service
Department of Labour
Wellington, New Zealand.

First Edition: June 1992
ISBN 0-477-3499-3

Price: $9.95 (New Zealand $'s, of course)

Thanks to Richard Donkin <rich...@cix.compulink.co.uk> for reviewing this

Dan Wallach

May 17, 1995, 3:00:00 AM5/17/95
Archive-name: typing-injury-faq/keyboards/part1
Version: $Revision: 7.25 $ $Date: 1995/05/17 05:39:50 $
URL: http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~dwallach/tifaq/keyboards.html


This FAQ may be cited as:

* Wallach, Dan S. (1995) "Typing Injury FAQ: Keyboard Alternatives" Usenet

news.answers. Available via anonymous ftp from rtfm.mit.edu in

pub/usenet/news.answers/typing-injury-faq/keyboards/ 31 pages.

World-Wide-Web users will find this available as hypertext:

* http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~dwallach/tifaq/keyboards.html


Answers To Frequently Asked Questions about Keyboard Alternatives (Part 1/2)

Copyright © 1992-1995 Dan Wallach <dwal...@cs.princeton.edu>

The opinions in here are my own, unless otherwise mentioned, and do not
represent the opinions of any organization or vendor.

[Current distribution: sci.med.occupational, sci.med, comp.human-factors,
{news,sci,comp}.answers, and e-mail to c+he...@iubvm.ucs.indiana.edu,
sore...@vm.ucsf.edu, and cst...@vtvm1.cc.vt.edu]

Information in this FAQ has been pieced together from phone conversations,
e-mail, and product literature. While I hope it's useful, the information in
here is neither comprehensive nor error free. If you find something wrong or
missing, please mail me, and I'll update my list. Thanks.

All phone numbers, unless otherwise mentioned, are USA phone numbers. All
monetary figures, unless otherwise mentioned, are USA dollars.

Products covered in this FAQ:

* Using a PC's keyboard on your workstation / compatibility issues
("normal" keyboards - by normal, I really mean non-chording)
o Apple Computer, Inc.
o Comfort Keyboard System
o DataHand
o ergoLogic
o Ergo Max
o FlexPro (Key Tronic)
o Fountain Hills Systems
o Generic Split Keyboard (from Taiwan)
o Genovation ErgoMaster
o Kinesis Ergonomic Keyboard
o Lexmark
o Maltron
o Microsoft Natural Keyboard
o MiniErgo (Marquardt Switches)
o The MyKey
o Somers EK1 Ergonomic Keyboard
o The Tony! Ergonomic KeySystem
o The Vertical
o The Wave
* ("chording" systems / speech recognizers / other products)
o AccuKey
o Aria Listener (Prometheus)
o The Bat (Infogrip)
o Braille 'n Speak (Blaize)
o DataEgg (InHand Development)
o DragonDictate (Dragon Systems)
o IBM VoiceType Speech Recognition Family (formerly Personal Dictation
o IN3 Voice Command / IN3 PRO
o KeyBreak [- NEW!]
o Kurzweil VOICE
o Listen for Windows (Verbex)
o Microwriter
o The Minimal Motion Computer Access System
o Octima
o OfficeTalk for WordPerfect (Kolvox)
o Power Secretary
o Rover for Windows (Digital Soup)
o Telaccount Speech Recognizer for Windows
o Twiddler
o The TypeLighter Low-Impact Typing System [- NEW!]

GIF pictures of many of these products are available via anonymous ftp from
ftp://ftp.csua.berkeley.edu/pub/typing-injury I highly recommend getting the
pictures. They tell much more than I can fit into this file. Or, if you're
reading this page with a WWW browser such as Mosaic or Netscape, just scroll

If you can't do ftp or WWW, send me mail, and I'll uuencode and mail them to
you (they're pretty big...)

Using a PC's keyboard on your workstation / compatibility issues

What kind of computer are you using? Macintosh, X terminal, NeXT, SGI, IBM
RS/6000, HP, Sun, serial port hacks, and other stuff.

Kinesis Corp. now has an adapter to make a PC keyboard connect to a
Macintosh. They'll happily sell you the adapter without one of their
keyboards. The price is around $100. Call 800-4-KINESIS.

A similar product is made by the Silicon Valley Bus Company, which
supports PC mice and keyboards. It's called the KeyStone and costs $99
plus $6 shipping.

o Silicon Valley Bus Company
475 Brown Rd.
San Juan Bautista, CA 95045

Phone: 408-623-2300 or maybe 800-775-0555
FAX: 408-623-4440

X terminals
A number of X terminals (NCD, Tektronix, to name a few) use PC-compatible
keyboards. If you have an X terminal, you may be all set. Try it out with
a normal PC keyboard before you go through the trouble of buying an
alternative keyboard. Also, some X terminals add extra buttons - you may
need to keep your original keyboard around for the once-in-a-blue-moon
that you have to hit the Setup key.

Often, X termainals will use a small DIN-8 connector rather than the
larger old-style PC keyboard connector. Have no fear! Many newer PC's also
have this new smaller connector, so you can usually find adapters at good
computer stores. I've also seen this adapter in a number of mail-order
cable catalogs.

NeXT no longer makes workstations, but the last batch of NeXTstations were
made with the Apple Desktop Bus. If you really need to be using NeXT
hardware, make sure it's the latest stuff, and you can use Mac keyboards
(or PC keyboards through an adapter).

Of course, you can also run the NeXTstep operating system on a PC or HP
workstation, which are easier to adapt.

[NEW!] Malcolm Crawford <m.cra...@dcs.shef.ac.uk> recommends Kinesis
users remap their keyboard such that:
o Backspace = Backspace
o Delete = Command
o Caps Lock = Control
o Insert = Option
o And, in software, make Caps Lock settable with Command-Shift

Silicon Graphics
Silicon Graphics's newer machines (Indigo^2, Indy, and beyond) use
standard PS/2-compatible keyboards and mice. I don't believe this also
applies to the Power Series machines. It's not possible to upgrade an
older SGI to use PC keyboards, except by upgrading the entire machine.
Contact your SGI sales rep for more details.

For older machines, see if you can upgrade to Irix5 or later. The current
X server supports the XTEST extension, which allows a2x to function
properly. See "spoofing", below.

IBM RS/6000
IBM RS/6000 keyboards are actually similar to normal PC keyboards.
Unfortunately, you can't just plug one in. You need two things: a cable
converter to go from the large PC keyboard connector to the smaller PS/2
style DIN-6, and a new device driver for AIX. Believe it or not, IBM wrote
this device driver, I used it, and it works. However, they don't want me
to redistribute it. I've been told Judy Hume (512) 823-6337 is a potential
contact. If you learn anything new, please send me e-mail.

Several people have reported problems contacting IBM on this issue. Be
sure to bug your sales rep into doing the research. Again, let me know if
you learn anything new.

HP workstations
If you are using an HP workstation, you can buy a converter box that
converts the HP-HIL serial to PS2. The converter is made by Modular
Industrial Computers 615-499-0700.

Newer HP workstations use PC-compatible keyboards and PS/2 mice! I don't
know exactly when they changed over, but this is certainly good news.

Sun workstations
The only real solution is a hardware box sold by Kinesis (phone
800-4-KINESIS), for about $150 ($100 if you buy a Kinesis keyboard). The
adapter is compatible with all Sparc workstations. Plug it in and away you
go. The downside is the lack of Sun-specific keys. If you often use the
L-keys or other obscure keys, you're going to have to learn how to remap
your keys with xmodmap. For some info on this, check out
kinesis-sun-mappings in the typing injury archive.

Spoofing a keyboard over the serial port
If you've got a proprietary computer which uses its own keyboard (Sun, HP,
DEC, etc.) then you're going to have a hard time finding a vendor to sell
you a compatible keyboard. If your workstation runs the X window system,
you're in luck. You can buy a cheap used PC, hook your expensive keyboard
up to it, and run a serial cable to your workstation. Then, run a program
on the workstation to read the serial port and generate fake X keyboard

A number of programs can facilitate this for you. kt and a2x support ASCII
input. a2x-RawPC and serkey support raw PC scancode input. Also, the new
version of kt (kt18) additionally supports raw PC scancodes.

For more info about a2x, check out this URL:

a2x is a sophisticated program, capable of controlling the mouse, and even
moving among widgets on the screen. It requires a server extension (XTEST,
DEC-XTRAP, or XTestExtension1). To find out if your server can do this,
run 'xdpyinfo' and see if any of these strings appear in the extensions
list. If your server doesn't have this, you may want to investigate
compiling X11R5, patchlevel 18 or later, or bugging your vendor. X11R6
works fine, too.

kt is a simpler program, which should work with unextended X servers.
Another program called xsendevent also exists, but I haven't seen it.

a2x will work better, when it works, but it requires an extended server.
kt doesn't work with every application, but it's more likely to work on
older servers. Don't you love compromises?

a2x-RawPC, serkey, and kt18 can take input from a device such as the
Genovation Serial Box which converts a PC keyboard into a normal RS232
serial device, but otherwise passes through the raw PC scancodes. This
approach has several advantages: a Serial Box is only $150, whereas the
cheapest used PC you may ever find is over $300. A Serial Box could easily
fit in your pocket, while PC's tend to be much bigger. Most important,
however, is the ability to use all the keys of your PC keyboard with your
workstation, like the function keys. Unfortunately, Genovation no longer
manufactures this box. kt includes a DOS program which can make your PC
simulate one of these boxes, but that seems like overkill.

a2x, a2x-RawPC, serkey and kt are all available via anonymous ftp from

Other stuff
Some vendors here (notably: Health Care Keyboard Co. and AccuCorp) support
some odd keyboard types, and may be responsive to your queries regarding
supporting your own weird computer. If you can get sufficient documention
about how your keyboard works (either from the vendor, or with a storage
oscilloscope), you may be in luck. Contact the companies for more details.


"Normal" keyboards - things that look like "standard" QWERTY keyboards

GIF pictures of many of these keyboards can be found via anonymous FTP

Apple Adjustable Keyboard
Apple Computer, Inc.
Sales offices all over the place.

$119 (some dealers have it for less)

Apple's keyboard has one section for each hand, and the sections rotate
backward on a hinge. The sections do not tilt upward. The keys are
arranged in a normal QWERTY fashion.

The main foldable keyboard resembles a normal Apple Keyboard. A separate
keypad contains all the extended key functions.

The keyboard also comes with matching wrist rests, which are not directly
attachable to the keyboard.

Many peripheral keys, such as function keys, are "chicklet" keys, rather
than full size, normal keyboard keys.

(See the files apple-press and apple-tidbits on the ftp.csua.berkeley.edu
archive for more details)
Comfort Keyboard System
Health Care Keyboard Company
414-536-2160 (sales)
414-536-2169 (technical info)
12040-G W. Feerick St.
Wauwatosa, WI 53222
Price (Suggested Retail)
$795 for Mac, PC, and IDEA version.
$815 for Sun version.
$895 for HP-IL.

Additional personality modules are around $150 each. Prices can
drop $100 if you get the "preferred price", usually by purchasing
through your company.

A footpedal is available for $74 (not offered for the Mac).
PC, Mac, HP-IL, Sun, and IDEA. IBM 122-key in beta.

A carrying case is also available.

The idea is that one keyboard works with everything. You purchase
"compatibility modules", a new cord, and possibly new keycaps, and then
you can move your one keyboard around among different machines.

It's a three-piece folding keyboard. The layout resembles the standard
101-key keyboard, except sliced into three sections. Each section is on a
"custom telescoping universal mount." Each section independently adjusts
to an infinite number of positions allowing each individual to type in a
natural posture. You can rearrange the three sections, too (have the
keypad in the middle if you want). Each section is otherwise normal-shaped
(i.e.: you put all three sections flat, and you have what looks like a
normal 101-key keyboard).

Other features: full remapping and macros, programmable delay and repeat
times. Coming soon: bounce keys and sticky keys. Also coming soon:
non-volatile RAM (NVRAM) to store macros (currently, the PC downloads them
at boot time).

Anyone with an old Comfort (serial number < 5000) can upgrade to a newer
version of the keyboard. Call technical assistance (414-536-2169) for more
details. The upgrade will generally cost $189, depending on the state of
the original keyboard.

The Comfort is a "class 2 medical device", which may make it easier to get
prescribed by a doctor.
Industrial Innovations, Inc.
10789 North 90th Street
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260-6727 USA
$2000/unit (1 unit == 2 pods). Lease options available.
Now. (Expect it to take about a month)
PC and Mac

Each hand has its own "pod". Each of the four main fingers has five
switches each: forward, back, left, right, and down. The thumbs have a
number of switches. Despite appearances, the key layout resembles QWERTY,
and is reported to be no big deal to adapt to. The idea is that your hands
never have to move to use the keyboard. A finger-mouse is also built-in.

If you ask, they'll send you a 15 minute video tape and lots of other

(a picture of the key layout is also available)

(see also: datahand-review, written by Cliff Lasser <c...@THINK.COM>, on
the ftp.csua.berkeley.edu archive)
ergoLogic Model 7.1
ErgoLogic Enterprises, Inc.
47000 Warm Springs Blvd, Unit 430
Fremont, CA 94539-7467
$399 (but, you can find it cheaper, see the FlexPro Keyboard for
March, 1994

(See "FlexPro Keyboard")

ErgoLogic has licensed their keyboard to Key Tronic, which is how you're
more likely to see one of their keyboards. Both keyboards are manufactured
in the same facility, and are exactly the same, except for the label in
the upper left corner.
Ergo Max
Maxi Switch, Inc.
$99 + $19.95 for a separate 40-key keypad
apparently not

Each half of the main keyboard can be independently raised/angled. An
optional keypad, and an integrated wrist-rest / thumb trackball is

An intrepid net-reporter claims he called Maxi Switch and they said they
decided not to manufacture this keyboard. Too bad.
FlexPro Keyboard
Key Tronic
Possible contact
Denise Razzeto, 509-927-5299
List price is $199, but KeyTronic is currently selling it for $99
+ shipping. [- NEW!]

(See "ergoLogic Model 7.1")

Sold by many clone vendors and PC shops

Keytronic apparently showed a prototype keyboard at Comdex. It's another
split-design. One thumb-wheel controls the tilt of both the left and
right-hand sides of the main alphanumeric section. The arrow keys and
keypad resemble a normal 101-key PC keyboard.

Keytronic makes standard PC keyboards, also, so this product will probably
be sold through their standard distribution channels.

Keytronic is working together with ErgoLogic Enterprises on this, so it's
the same keyboard.

Soft-touch (lighter key activation force) keys are available for an extra
$20 or so. Ask for the "ProTouch" option, or maybe it's called a "Custom
Key Feel Kit". Let me know if you learn the correct name for this.
Generic Split Keyboard (from Taiwan)
Apparently, this keyboard is manufactured by Nan Tan Computer in Taipei,
Taiwan. I've found this keyboard at a variety of US computer stores, under
a variety of names. It's also carried by Dalco, a major US mail-order

The most prominent name I've seen pasted on this keyboard is "the Clevo
KB7000 keyboard by Norton Technologies (Patent Pending)". Pretty
impressive, but it's still the same generic keyboard.

Dalco Electronics
$76.80 (Dalco item #48425, volume discounts available)

Also seen at Fry's Electronics, Palo Alto, CA, for $50.

Also seen on-line in Safe Computing's Internet Store for $59.37.

The main feature of this keyboard is its price; it's the cheapest split
keyboard on the market. The keyswitches are fairly light and clicky. The
split angle is fixed, and the keyboard is flat. It's only a moderate
improvement over an ordinary keyboard, but the price is right.
Fountain Hills FH-101
Fountain Hills Systems
15022 North 75th St.
Scottsdale, AZ 85260-2476
$349 with quantity discounts available

The Fountain Hills keyboard is set at a 20 degree fixed angle for each
hand. The keyboard is still flat (i.e.: not higher in the middle) and has
no adjustments.

Genovation, Inc.
800-822-4333 or 714-833-3355
17741 Mitchell, North
Irvine, CA 92714
$495 (main keyboard)
$79 (external keypad with serial-port connector)
$95 (external keypad with parallel-port connector)
Summer 1995

The ErgoMaster comes in two pieces which attach to a track you install on
the edge of your desk. Once installed, you can separately adjust the
angles and positions of each side. A timed beeper reminds you to make
periodic adjustments to the keyboard (more importantly, you can use the
beeper to remind you to take rest breaks).

In addition to the usual PC key layout, ErgoMaster has Enter and Backspace
keys on the bottom of the keyboard which you can hit with your thumbs.

The ErgoMaster can be reprogrammed through PC software which downloads new
keymappings to your keyboard.

The optional external keypad connects to either the serial or parallel
port of your computer and relies on special driver software to function
properly. This means the keypad will not function on an X terminal, and
probably won't work with many PC games. A "T-connector" is available with
the parallel-port keypad, so you can share your parallel port with another

Note: This is the same Genovation which formerly produced the Serial Box,
which was useful for interfacing a PC keyboard to non-PC workstations with
proprietary keyboard interfaces. If you still want one, they'll make them
custom in quantities of 100 or more.
Kinesis Ergonomic Keyboard
Kinesis Corporation
800-4-KINESIS (800-454-6374) or 206-402-8100
22232 17th Avenue SE
Bothell, WA 98021-7425
$390. Volume discounts available. This includes adhesive wrist
pads and a TypingTutor program. Foot pedals and other accessories
are extra.

Also seen on-line in Safe Computing's Internet Store for $331.50.
PC. Mac and Sun Sparc through emulation boxes.

The layout has a large blank space in the middle, even though the keyboard
is about the size of a normal PC keyboard - slightly smaller. Each hand
has its own set of keys, laid out to minimize finger travel. Thumb buttons
handle many major functions (enter, backspace, etc.).

The keyboard supports remapping, macros, and adjustable repeat rate.

Foot pedals are also available, and can be mapped to any key on the
keyboard (shift, control, whatever).

The keypad is "embedded" in the right hand, and a toggle button (or foot
pedal) changes between normal and keypad mode for your right hand.

Software is newly available that lets you split the Kinesis into multiple
personalities so you can have more than one set of macros and remappings
available. This software runs on your PC and downloads the data to the
keyboard. For more info, contact the company.

Kinesis has adapters boxes which can be used to connect the Kinesis (or
other PC keyboards) to a Mac or Sun. Again, for more info, contact the
Lexmark Model M13 (Select-Ease)
Lexmark Corporation (a spinoff of IBM)
$179 ($199 with separate numeric keypad)

This keyboard is split and angled, with a ball-type hinge at the top of
the split. You can put it into positions identical to the Ergologic and
similar to common Comfort positions (but it doesn't tent when the parts
are separated).

It's not programmable. Aside from the split/angle (which is extremely
versatile and stable), its only other difference from regular keyboards is
that the left part of the space bar can be a backspace key.

The company has a free 30 day trial offer. If interested, please e-mail
Chris Stelmack <chri...@interaccess.com>. Under subject, type "Keyboard".
Further ordering instructions will be sent to you.
P.C.D. Maltron Limited
(+44) 081 398 3265 (United Kingdom)
15 Orchard Lane
East Molesey
Surrey KT8 OBN

U.S. Manufacturer & Distributor [- NEW!]
TelePrint Systems, Inc.
#4 Henson PL., Suite #5
Champaign, IL 61820

U.S. Sales Agent
Jim Barrett
Applied Learning Corp.
1376 Glen Hardie Road
Wayne, PA 19087
Phone: 215-688-6866

Canadian Liason
Robert Vellinga
Human Systems, Inc.
310 Main Street East, Suite 205
Milton, Ontario, L9T 1P4

Phone: 416-875-0220
Fax: 416-878-1683

Contact PCD Maltron for European sales
$295 + shipping in the USA [- NEW!]

Maltron has a number of accessories, including carrying cases, switch
boxes to use both your normal keyboard and the Maltron, an
articulated arm that clamps on to your table, and training courses to
help you learn to type on your Maltron.

You can also rent a keyboard for 10 pounds/week + taxes. U.S. price:
$60/month, and then $40 off purchase if you want it. 30 day money
back guarantee.
separate models for PC, Mac, and Amstrad 1512/1640.

Maltron has four main products - a two-handed keyboard, two one-handed
keyboards, and a keyboard designed for handicapped people to control with
a mouth-stick.

The layout allocates more buttons to the thumbs, and is curved to bring
keys closer to the fingers. A separate keypad is in the middle.

(see also, "maltron-review" on the ftp.csua.berkeley.edu archive)

Microsoft Natural Keyboard
Microsoft Corporation
800-426-9400 (Microsoft Customer Service)
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052-6399
$99.95, and often discounted

For the price, this is an excellent keyboard. The MS keyboard is a great
deal. It's still a QWERTY layout, but it has a built-in wrist-rest and
separates the hands by splitting the keyboard at a fixed angle.

The keyboard comes with Microsoft IntelliType software, which adds some
useful featuers to Windows, but some people report it causes their systems
to crash.

The keyboard includes three new keys which don't really add any
functionality whatsoever. Don't let these keys influence your purchasing

(a picture of a prototype Microsoft keyboard is also available)

Marquardt Switches Inc.
2711 Route 20 East
Cazenovia, NY 13035
$179 for MiniErgo, $125 for external numeric keypad.

The MiniErgo is a split keyboard system with no numeric keypad (keypad
available separately in August). The two halves are fixed at about a 30
degree angle, to approximate the angle of your arms when you hands are in
QWERTY home position. The slant is approximately same as standard 101-key
keyboard, but the middle is raised. They've moved the cursor controls into
the gap between the two halves. A Fn key is used to access an embedded
keypad and PgUp, PgDn, Home, and End.
The MyKey
ErgonomiXX, Inc.
none at present (the old one is no longer valid)
525-K East Market Street
Box 295
Leesburg, VA 22071
now (may also be in some CompUSA stores, stock # 289-554)

The MyKey has the full 101 keys of a normal PC keyboard plus an integrated
trackball pointing device and integrated wrist rests. The main
alpha-numeric keys are split at a fixed angle, with the normal PC layout.
The function keys appear in a circle on the left, with the arrow keys
inside them.
Somers EK1 Ergonomic Keyboard
Somers Engineering
RSo...@aol.com (Richard Somers)
3424 Vicker Way
Palmdale, CA 93551
$348 + shipping
PC and Mac (at the same time! see below)
"in limited quantities"

A trackball module is also available ($100), which can clip on the side or
replace the cursor keypad.

The keyboard is broken down into three modules which can be re- arranged.
(the keypad could be put on the left, for example). The alphanumeric keys
are vertical rather than the usual diagonal arrangement.

The keyboard is based on the Datadesk Switchboard - Somers just developed
a new keyboard module for it. Thus, they take advantage of the
Switchboard's PC and Mac compatibility. You can't plug it into both at the
same time, but you need only use the right cable, and tweak some DIP
switches to change the keyboard's personality.
The Tony! Ergonomic KeySystem
The Tony! Corporation
Tony Hodges
2332 Thompson Court
Mountain View, CA 94043 USA

The Tony! should allow separate positioning of every key, to allow the
keyboard to be personally customized. A thumb-operated mouse will also be

As far as I can tell, Tony Hodges has disappeared, and apparently won't
ever have a keyboard for sale.
The Vertical
Jeffrey Spencer or Stephen Albert
P.O. Box 2636
La Jolla, CA 92038 USA
no info available, probably PC's

The Vertical Keyboard is split in two halves, each pointing straight up.
The user can adjust the width of the device, but not the tilt of each
section. Side-view mirrors are installed to allow users to see their
fingers on the keys.
The Wave
Iocomm International Technology
12700 Yukon Avenue
Hawthorne, California 90250 USA
$99.95 + $15 for a set of cables

Iocomm also manufactures "ordinary" 101-key keyboard (PC/AT) and 84-key
keyboard (PC/XT), so make sure you get the right one.

The one-piece keyboard has a built-in wrist-rest. It looks *exactly* like
a normal 101-key PC keyboard, with two inches of built-in wrist rest. The
key switch feel is reported to be greatly improved.

This document continues in the next file.

Dan Wallach

May 17, 1995, 3:00:00 AM5/17/95
Archive-name: typing-injury-faq/software
Version: 2.4, 24th September 1994
URL: http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~dwallach/tifaq/software.html


This FAQ may be cited as:

* Donkin, Richard. (1995) "Typing Injury FAQ: Software Monitoring Tools"

Usenet news.answers. Available via anonymous ftp from rtfm.mit.edu in

pub/usenet/news.answers/typing-injury-faq/software. 12 pages.

World-Wide-Web users will find this available as hypertext:

* http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~dwallach/tifaq/software.html

[This FAQ is maintained by Richard Donkin <rich...@cix.compulink.co.uk>. I
post it, along with the other FAQ stuff. If you have questions, you want to
send mail to Richard, not me. - dwallach]

Software Tools to help with RSI

This file describes tools, primarily software, to help prevent or manage RSI.
This version now includes information on diverse tools such as calendar
programs and even digital watches, which tends to contradict the title
somewhat. It also includes information on software for pain-free use of mice
and keyboards - it draws the line at hardware, which is the subject of the
Keyboard Alternatives FAQ.

Some of the information in this FAQ is now quite out of date, so please send in
an update if you use one of these tools.

I am especially interested in getting reviews of these products from people who
have evaluated them or are using them. The major difficulty with all these
products is that when you are under pressure you tend to cancel out of the
break reminder almost automatically - any suggestions on how to avoid this
would be appreciated.

In this FAQ, CIX refers to the UK conferencing system, not the US Commercial
Internet Exchange.

Richard Donkin <rich...@cix.compulink.co.uk>


* Amara Graps <agr...@netcom.com> for information on Coffee Break
* Charles Hsieh <cha...@speedy.cs.wisc.edu> for information on Mac tools
* Jean Wilson <JE...@CLEMSON.EDU> for information on Plug-In for Windows

Changes in this version:

* Added information on Coffee Break, Plug-In for Windows
* Newly available as WWW hypertext


Typing management tools

Typing management tools aim to help you manage your keyboard use, by warning
you to take a break every so often. The better ones also include advice on
exercises, posture and workstation setup. A few use sound hardware to alert you
to a break, but the majority use beeps or screen messages.

Often, RSI appears only after many years of typing, and the pain has a delayed
action in the short term too: frequently you can be typing all day with little
problem and the pain gets worse in the evening. These tools act as an early
warning system: by listening to their warnings and taking breaks with
exercises, you don't have to wait for your body to give you a more serious and
painful warning - that is, getting RSI.

Activity Monitoring Program (commercial software)
Available from:
Anthony Steven
Office Automation Systems
7 Clarks Terrace
Phone & FAX:
+44 (904) 423622

This product is specifically aimed at helping employers meet the
requirements of EC directive 90/270, so it is of most interest to European
users. It does not provide animations of exercises, instead providing them
in the manual - the rationale for this is that the EC directive requires
breaks to be taken away from the computer, so sitting at your keyboard
doing exercises is not allowed. In any case, it is better for you to
stretch your legs as well as arms, and rest your eyes by leaving the
computer, so this seems sensible. The program feels less intrusive than
some others as a result, it simply pops up a small window asking you to
take a break.

Unlike most other programs, you can set a hierarchy of some work then
micropause, longer work then short pause, and still longer work then a
long pause. This hierarchy is closer to medical recommendations than just
taking a break every N minutes.

Also, this program is only activated by keyboard or mouse activity, unlike
some other programs that pop up at a given time even if you are not at
your PC.

The program does not let you exit it or change the settings without a
password (though this protection is configurable) - ideal for companies
that want to discourage people from bypassing the program.

The latest version has some improvements: a TSR is supplied so that typing
in a DOS window will not affect the accuracy of the break times; the
program beeps three times before a break to let you stop typing before it
grabs control from the current window; and the minimised icon shows you
when the next break is due, changing periodically to cycle through all the
break times.

At Your Service (commercial software)
Available from
Bright Star
Mac (System 6.0.4), Windows

Provides calendar, keyboard watch, email watch, and system information.
Warns when to take a break (configurable). Has a few recommendations on
posture, and exercises. Sound-oriented, will probably work best with sound
card (PC) or with microphone (Mac). Should be possible to record your own
messages to warn of break.

Coffee Break (shareware)
Available via anonymous ftp
+ ftp://sumex.stanford.edu
+ (mirror of Stanford) ftp://ftp.hawaii.edu
+ (author's site) ftp://thomas_mac.wustl.edu
$5 registration fee

"This locks you out of your program for X minutes every Y minutes. The X
and Y are set by you. You can always see how many minutes you have to go
till your break by looking at the digital countdown clock in the corner of
your screen. You can also set a warning message to be displayed Z minutes
before the break starts, to give yourself an added reminder. The program
seems very stable, it's never crashed my computer (and I have a loaded
system- always > 4 programs running in memory in addition to the 20 or so
CDEVs and INITs), and it even lets serial file transfers run in the
background while it's locked you out (if you were transferring a large
file over the modem, say). I think the author, Thomas Reed, has done an
excellent job, and I urge you to send in your shareware fee, if you are
using this program." - Amara Graps

Some people like to be completely locked out of their computer when
the break occurs, other people would hate this. Still, since Coffee
Break is shareware you can see how you feel about it in practice
before you pay for it.

Computer Health Break (commercial software)
Available from
Escape Ergonomics, Inc
1111 W. El Camino Real
Suite 109
Mailstop 403
Sunnyvale, CA
$79.95; quantity discounts, site licenses.

Aimed at preventing RSI, this program warns you to take breaks after a
configurable interval, based on clock time, or after a set number of
keystrokes - whichever is earlier. It gives you 3 exercises to do each
time, randomly selected from a set of 70. Exercises are apparently tuned
to the type of work you do - data entry, word processing, information
processing. Exercises are illustrated and include quite a lot of text on
how to do the exercise and on what exactly the exercise does.

CHB includes hypertext information on RSI that you can use to learn more
about RSI and how to prevent it. Other information on non-RSI topics can
be plugged into this hypertext viewer. A full glossary of medical terms
and jargon is included.

CHB can be run in a DOS box under Windows, but does not then warn you when
to take a break; it does not therefore appear useful when used with
The keystroke-counting approach looks good: it seems better to
measure the activity that is causing you problems than to measure
clock time or even typing time. The marketing stuff is very good and
includes some summaries of research papers, as well as lots of
arguments you can use to get your company to pay up for RSI
management tools.

DOS Stretch (commercial software)
Available from
John Fricker Software
PO Box 1289
Ashland, OR 97520
DOS (Hercules, EGA, VGA)
Demo (VGA only, single exercise)
CompuServe: Health and Fitness Forum, Issues At Work section, file

This break reminder program includes exercises but no ergonomic
information. It includes 11 exercises, taking about four minutes. They are
animated using a cartoon figure. The demo includes a hand exercise that
seems useful; the full program includes a reminder TSR.

Exercise Break [formerly StressFree] (shareware)
Available from
Hopkins Technology (distributors)
421 Hazel Lane
Hopkins, MN 55343-7116
7041...@compuserve.com (Ignacio Valdes, the developer)
Demos (working program but reduced functions)
Windows Advanced Forum, New Uploads section, or Health and
Fitness Forum, Issues At Work section. (Windows and Mac versions
in latter)
Anonymous FTP
ftp://ftp.cica.indiana.edu (and mirroring sites)
rsi conference
Windows (3.0/3.1), Mac System 6.0.5 or higher, DOS version soon
$29.95 if supported via CompuServe or Internet, otherwise $39.95.
Site license for 3 or more copies is $20.00 each.

Aimed at preventing RSI, this program warns you to take breaks after a
configurable interval (or at fixed times). Displays descriptions and
pictures of exercises - pictures are animated and program paces you to
help you do exercises at the correct rate. Quite a few exercises, can
configure which ones are included to a large extent. One useful feature is
that when it is running minimised it shows the time to the next break,
helping you plan your work to the next break rather than it coming as an

The new release, 3.0, is renamed Exercise Break, supports Mac and Windows
and should include a DOS version. I have been trying out a beta version
and it has some useful features, including Typewatch (no relation to the
freeware program ...), which graphs your typing rate over time, with
optional warnings to slow down and export facilities for spreadsheet
analysis. It also includes a full ergonomic checklist online to help set
up your workstation, and a picture of correct posture and workstation

An unusual feature is the ability to include your own exercises in the
program, providing you have access to a Windows SDK, without programming.

This is the only tool I know of with a redistributable demo that is
not just a slide show, so if you do get the demo, post it on your
local bulletin boards, FTP servers or BITNET servers! Includes the
ability to step backward in the exercise sequence, which is good for
repeating the most helpful exercises. Hopefully a number of add-on
exercise modules will become available now that it is possible to add

EyerCise (commercial software)
Available from
RAN Enterprises
One Woodland Park Dr.
Haverhill, MA 01830, US
800-451-4487 or 508-521-4487
Windows (3.0/3.1), OS/2 PM (1.3/2.0) [Not DOS]
$69.95 including shipping and handling, quantity discounts for
resellers. Free demo ($5 outside US).

Aimed at preventing RSI and eye strain, this program warns you to take
breaks after a configurable interval (or at fixed times). Optionally
displays descriptions and pictures of exercises - pictures are animated
and program beeps you to help you do exercises at the correct rate.
Includes 19 stretches and 4 visual training exercises, can configure which
are included and how many repetitions you do - breaks last from 3 to 7
minutes. Also includes online help on workplace ergonomics.

Quote from their literature
EyerCise is a Windows program that breaks up your day with periodic
sets of stretches and visual training exercises. The stretches work
all parts of your body, relieving tension and helping to prevent
Repetitive Strain Injury. The visual training exercises will improve
your peripheral vision and help to relieve eye strain. Together these
help you to become more relaxed and productive.

"The package includes the book Computers & Visual Stress by Edward C.
Godnig, O.D. and John S. Hacunda, which describes the ergonomic setup
for a computer workstation and provides procedures and exercises to
promote healthy and efficient computer use.

I have a copy of this, and it works as advertised: I would say it is
better for RSI prevention than RSI management, because it does not
allow breaks at periods less than 30 minutes. Also, it interrupts you
based on clock time rather than typing time, which is not so helpful
unless you use the keyboard all day. Worked OK on Windows 3.0 though
it did occasionally crash with a UAE - not sure why. Also refused to
work with the space bar on one PC, and has one window without window
controls. Very useable though, and does not require any sound

Lifeguard (commercial software)
Available from
Visionary Software
P.O. Box 69447
Portland, OR 97201
Mac, DOS (Windows version underway)

Aimed at preventing RSI. Warns you to take a break with dialog box and
sound. Includes a list of exercises to do during breaks, and information
on configuring your workstation in an ergonomic manner. Price: $59;
quantity discounts and site licenses. The DOS product is bought in from
another company, apparently; not sure how equivalent this is to the Mac

The Mac version got a good review in Desktop Publisher Magazine (Feb
1991). Good marketing stuff with useful 2-page summaries of RSI problems
and solutions, with references.

PC-FIT User-Saver (commercial software, free slideshow demo)
Available from
Burggasse 88/16
A-1070 Wien
+43 222/526 02880
+43 222/526 02889
Demo (slideshow) available
CompuServe: Health and Fitness Forum, Issues At Work section, file
DOS 3.1 or higher, Windows (3.0/3.1), Macintosh System 7.0.1 or

This program warns you to take breaks, provides exercises for the muscles
and for the eyes, and includes information on ergonomics. Exercises are
animations based on photos of a model (mime artist?), which together with
cartoons elsewhere lend a light-weight feeling to this package, as far as
I can tell from the demo. Orientated to EC 90/270.

Plug-In for Windows (shareware), version 2.11
Available from
Plannet Crafters, Inc.
$20, three week free trial

This is a Program Manager extension with lots of features, including the
ability to display a message box with a message of your own composition,
at a configurable time interval. (Presumably based on time elapsed rather
than time spent timing).

Typewatch (freeware), version 3.11 (September 1993)
Available from
Anonymous ftp
sco and rsi conferences
UNIX (tested on SCO, SunOS, Mach; character and X Window mode)

This is a shell script that runs in the background and warns you to stop
typing, based on how long you have been continuously typing. It does not
provide exercises, but it does check that you really do take a break, and
tells you when you can start typing again.

Typewatch now tells you how many minutes you have been typing today, each
time it warns you, which is useful so you know how much you *really* type.
It also logs information to a file that you can analyse or simply print
out. The warning message appears on your screen (in character mode), in a
pop-up window (for X Windows), or as a Zephyr message (for those with
Athena stuff). Tim Freeman <t...@cs.cmu.edu> has put in a lot of bug fixes,
extra features and support for X, Zephyr and Mach.

Various calendar / batch queue programs
Available from
Various sources

Any calendar/reminder program that warns you of an upcoming appointment
can be turned into an ad hoc RSI management tool. Alternatively, use any
batch queue submission program that lets you submit a program to run at a
specific time to display a message to the screen.

Using Windows as an example: create a Calendar file, and include this
filename in your WIN.INI's 'load=' line so you get it on every startup of
Windows. Suppose you want to have breaks every 30 minutes, starting from 9
am. Press F7 (Special Time...) to enter an appointment, enter 9:30, hit
Enter, and type some text in saying what the break is for. Then press F5
to set an alarm on this entry, and repeat for the next appointment. By
using Windows Recorder, you can record the keystrokes that set up breaks
throughout a day in a .REC file. Put this file on your 'run=' line, as
above, and you will then, with a single keypress, be able to set up your
daily appointments with RSI exercises.

The above method should be adaptable to most calendar programs. An example
using batch jobs would be to submit a simple job that runs at 9:30 am and
warns you to take a break; this will depend a lot on your operating

On Windows 3.x, you can use Barclock 2.2 or above - this gives you a clock
in the current window title bar, and also lets you type in a message to be
popped up every hour (or even more frequently if you set multiple alarms).
Not intended for this purpose but simple and effective, Barclock is
available on many BBSs as BARCLK22.ZIP.

While these approaches are not ideal, they are a good way of forcing
yourself to take a break if you can't get hold of a suitable RSI
management tool. If you are into programming you might want to write a
version of Typewatch (see above) for your operating system, using batch
jobs or whatever fits best.

Digital watches with count-down timers
Available from
Various sources, e.g. Casio BP-100.

Many digital watches have timers that count down from a settable number of
minutes; they usually reset easily to that number, either manually or

While these are a very basic tool, they are very useful if you are
writing, reading, driving, or doing anything away from a computer which
can still cause or aggravate RSI. The great advantage is that they remind
you to break from whatever you are doing.

My own experience was that cutting down a lot on my typing led to my
writing a lot more, and still reading as much as ever, which actually
aggravated the RSI in my right arm though the left arm improved.
Getting a count-down timer watch has been very useful on some
occasions where I write a lot in a day.

I have tried an old fashioned hour-glass type egg timer, but these
are not much good because they do not give an audible warning of the
end of the time period!


Keyboard and mouse control tools

Keyboard control tools enable you to change your keyboard mapping so you can
type with one hand, or with a different two-handed layout. One-handed typing
tools may help, but be VERY careful about how you use them - if you keep the
same overall typing workload you are doubling your hand use for the hand that
you use for typing, and may therefore simply cause your remaining "good"
hand/arm to deteriorate rapidly. There is probably a large number of people who
have worsened their RSI in this way and regret it.

Mouse control tools change the way your mouse works to avoid or modify
operations that are painful - mouse dragging is a common problem.

hsh (public domain)
Available via anonymous ftp
UNIX (don't know which ones)

Allows one-handed typing and other general keyboard remappings. Only works
through tty's (so you can use it with a terminal or an xterm, but not most
X programs).

Dvorak keyboard tools (various)
Available tools
X window system software, via anonymous ftp
Microsoft systems
Standard in Microsoft Windows, Windows for Workgroups and
Windows NT Available as a free add-on for MS-DOS

To quote the Microsoft documentation
Dvorak keyboard layouts are based on designs created by August
Dvorak, a professor at the University of Washington during the 1930s
and 1940s. Dr. Dvorak studied the way people type standard English,
and determined the most common letter combinations. He then designed
new keyboard layouts to speed up typing and reduce fatigue. These
layouts, now called Dvorak or simplified keyboards, were initially
developed for two-handed typists. Following World War II, Dvorak
layouts were developed for typists who use the right or left hand

It is doubtful that switching to Dvorak will have a major impact on RSI,
but it may be helpful in preventing RSI. If you do switch, your typing
rate will go down a lot initially, which will help!

Microsoft Windows products support Dvorak as a standard keyboard layout -
look in the International setup in the Control panel.

MS-DOS supports this via the MS-DOS Supplemental Disk, available from
Microsoft, which includes standard and one-handed Dvorak layouts. These
layouts are available for Windows in Application Note GA0650, available
from Microsoft or from various online services as GA0650.ZIP.

In the US, training and keycap stickers for the Dvorak layout are
available from:
4516 NE 54th St.
Seattle, WA 98105-2933
Phone: 206-324-7219 (voice and fax)

If you are also looking at alternative keyboards, you might also like to
look at the Maltron layout, which is claimed to be more efficient than
Dvorak. See the alternative keyboard FAQ for supplier details.

AccessDOS, Access Pack for Windows (free commercial software)
Available from
Microsoft, CompuServe, Genie, Microsoft Online, Microsoft Download
Service, BBSs
DOS, Windows

AccessDOS has a range of keyboard and mouse control features that may be
useful, such as sticky shift keys to avoid stretching to hold down shift
at same time as other keys, and using the keyboard for mouse functions. It
also allows serial- line interfacing of alternative keyboards and other
devices. AccessDOS is available from Microsoft on the MS-DOS Supplemental

Access Pack for Windows has roughly the same features but in a Windows
environment. The mouse functions of Access Pack for Windows are useful for
people who find using the mouse painful. You can use the numeric keypad,
with Num Lock off, to do operations like drag and drop without holding
down a mouse button or a key on the keyboard. You can also do double click
from the keyboard by pressing a single key just once. You can use cursor
control keys for all mouse movements, though this is rather slow, as you
might expect. The mouse functions probably work best if you can use some
kind of ergonomic mouse or trackball and just avoid double click and drag
operations as described. You can work entirely without a mouse - if you
want to use a real mouse as well as Access Pack functions, it must be
Microsoft Mouse compatible.

PowerClicks, Mouse2 (shareware)
Available via anonymous ftp
o ftp://sumex.stanford.edu/info-mac/cfg/power-clicks-102.hqx
o ftp://sumex.stanford.edu/info-mac/cfg/mouse-2.hqx (Mouse2)
PowerClicks is $3

"PowerClicks is a cdev that can replace mouse click and mouse
click-holding with self-defined keyboard combinations. For example, I use
my right hand to move the mouse around, and use my left hand to press F1
for mouse click, and F2 for mouse click- holding." - Charles Hsieh

Mouse2 makes the mouse move twice as fast, so that your hand doesn't have
to move as far.

Dan Wallach

May 17, 1995, 3:00:00 AM5/17/95
Archive-name: typing-injury-faq/furniture
Version: @(#)computer_furniture 1.5 94/12/09 09:34:34
URL: http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~dwallach/tifaq/furniture.html


This FAQ may be cited as:

* Baker, Carl P. (1995) "Typing Injury FAQ: Furniture Information" Usenet

news.answers. Available via anonymous ftp from rtfm.mit.edu in

pub/usenet/news.answers/typing-injury-faq/furniture. 12 pages.

World-Wide-Web users will find this available as hypertext:

* http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~dwallach/tifaq/furniture.html

[Would you like to maintain this FAQ? The original author is looking for
somebody else to do the job. Send mail to <cp_b...@pnl.gov> for details.
Meanwhile, send update info to <dwal...@cs.princeton.edu>.]

Rumors and calls for information

As I've currently got my needs for a comfortable workstation reasonably well
met, I'm no longer actively seeking furniture information for myself directly
from vendors. Thus, most further updates will be supplied by you, our readers.
You may note some furnitures listed with no known suppliers. If you can get
manufacturer or supplier information, I'd be glad to add it to the FAQ.

We've also had some interest in furniture for the disabled (or whatever the
current PC term is for people other than us TABs [Temporarily Able Bodied]). If
anyone is aware of furniture designed for non-TABs or has had any luck using or
modifying any commercially available furniture or knows about any companies who
manufacture equipment for non-TABs that could be persuaded to develop
something, please let me know.

Another request from someone interested in the specifics of specifying office
furniture: ...where I can locate reports or articles (preferably on-line) which
offer specific recommendations, guidelines, or formulas (the nuts and bolts)
for identifying ergonomically sound office furniture - and I don't just mean
furniture where just computing or typing tasks are performed.

For example, are you aware of anybody that has spelled out somewhere the
procedure for computing this? Perhaps there are programs that people have
designed to make such determinations based on an individual's measurements
being feed in?

We've also seen the Anthrocart furniture and Herman-Miller Equa chairs
recommended. Anyone having contact information available for either of these
vendors is encouraged to let us know.

Also from the rumor mill... ComputerVision has been listed in this FAQ in the
past as a source for computer furniture. However, they have not been in the
furniture business since about 1992. They are strictly a CAD/CAM software house
at this time. They are NOT in the process of selling their furniture. The
company is, to the best of our knowledge, healthy and prosperous and NOT on the
verge of bankruptcy. We apoligize if we have inadvertently started any rumours
to the contrary.


Most of the information presented here is quotes from the net, personal
experience, rumors, and other semi-reliable sources. The following have been
mentioned as possible references for anyone seeking actual accurate

* Drury, C.G., and Coury, B.G. (1982). A Methodology for Chair Evaluation.
Applied Ergonomics, 13, 195-202.
* Grandjean, "Fitting the task to the Man"
* Grandjean, "Ergonomics in Computerized Offices"


Furniture Information

OK, what we have here is a list of all the manufacturers of computer type
office furniture that I know of. The style of furniture and any known
dimensions are listed together with the addresses of the manufacturer (if
known) and any known suppliers. Also, I'll make a rough stab at what it would
cost to equip me with appropriate tableage for each manufacturer.

DISCLAIMER: I have no interest, financial or otherwise an any supplier listed
in this FAQ. I have not (at this point) done business with any of these
suppliers and have no information about their trustworthiness, reliability, or
ability to deliver the products they claim to sell.

For this purpose, you should know what equipment I'm using. I've got a sun
Sparcstation (Pizza box) with a 19 inch monitor (HUGE, 90 lbs), and external
(shoebox) hard disk, tape drive, and CD units. In my former office, all of this
equipment was set on a 30 inch by 60 inch by 30 inch high table. I was using
the table "sideways,~ meaning that I sat at the head of the table with the
keyboard in front of me, the monitor and pizza box behind the keyboard, and way
down at the other end of the table, were have the shoebox units.

I've since been updated to a "computer workstation" constructed of "modular
furniture." Basically, I've got a 30 inch deep corner unit with 36 inch and 48
inch "wing" tables. All of this stuff is 30 inches high, but there is a
keyboard tray under the corner unit. I sit facing into the corner of the room
with the monitor on the table. The pizza box and the rest of the computer are
on the floor under the table. Overall, this is reasonably satisfactory.
However, it's not perfect. The tables are equipped with privacy panels that are
set in about 6 inches from the far edge of the tables. This prevents the use of
that space by the little roll-around file pedestals that I've been given. Also,
the holes through the table tops are on the far side of the privacy panel. This
makes it inconvenient to route the keyboard cable from a pizza box on the table
or behind the privacy panel out to the front of the system. Some pass-through
holes in the top of the privacy panel would fix this. Also, the keyboard tray
is only 24 inches wide. This is OK for me, as my trackball sits nicely on the
tray next to the keyboard. However, if I were using a mouse, it would be
completely unacceptable. I've had to order wider replacement trays for the five
machines in my computer lab. The drawer slides in the pedestals are very smooth
and work nicely. The slide for the keyboard tray requires that you lift the
tray a little before it will roll in and out. I can't decide if this is a bug
or a feature. I'm not sure who builds this stuff - there's a tag that says
"JAX" on the inside of the privacy panel.

First, some comments on "good" computer furniture. Generally, it is accepted
that keyboard heights should be in the range of 26.5 to 29 inches. This means
that whatever you have, it's too high. Many computer tables have some sort of
shelf, stand, or table which raises the monitor. I think that this is a real
mistake, as you end up hunched forward with your neck tilted back in order to
see the screen. This is particularly painful if you wear bifocals (I'm told).
Virtually all modern monitors offer some kind of tilt and swivel, so for the
furniture to provide this functionality is usually redundant and silly.

Many computers (such as mine) require a vast amount of table depth - I'm using
about 44 inches. One solution to this problem to to design a "corner" type
workstation which is designed to be placed facing into a corner with the users
back to the room. This is a convenient way to create the required depth, and
work tables can be placed on either side of the corner unit for a great deal of
usable work area. However, you can't see anyone come into your office (your
back is to the door), and I would expect that there would be a possibility of
severe glare problems (it's hard to move the screen around to get rid of

A further comment comes to this section from Chris Grant
... the most important aspect of computer furniture, besides having enough
room for the monitor, is probably the thing that holds up the keyboard and
mouse. Therefore it may be overkill to spend thousands on adjustable
two-part tables if a $100 keyboard tray can be installed. And anybody in
systems furniture has the chance to do another somewhat important item -
lower the worksurface that the monitor sits on.


The furniture, sources, and my comments

Anthro Technology Furniture
10450 SW Manhasset Drive
Tulatin, OR 97062
800-325-3841 or 503-691-2556

[Review by Shawn Herzinger <sh...@panix.com>]

I would recommend Anthro. Their stuff is quite expensive but very well
built and designed IMHO. They were a spinoff company from Tektronix. They
offer a glossy color catalog with desks, shelves and accessories in a
variety of sizes and configurations. They stress ergonomics and offer
adjustable keyboard shelves and monitor arms.

I'm not affiliated, just a satisfied customer.

Holliston, MA. Phone: 800-251-2225.

Makes a nice sounding chair described below by Francis Favorini
It's called the Executive Ergotech and lists for US $695-795
depending on whether you get the high back and/or articulating arms.
I got both. It has every adjustment you could want:

1. Pneumatic seat height (5" range)
2. Forward seat tilt - chair can be allowed to tilt both forward
and backward or just backward.
3. Tilt lock - chair can be locked at any tilt angle or float
4. Tilt tension - controls recline tension, when tilt not locked.
5. Backrest angle (relative to seat)
6. Backrest height
7. Lumbar support - self-inflating air cushion which can be
8. Armrest width - how far apart armrests are. (5-6" range)
9. Armrest height - 4 positions.
10. Armrest swivel - 3 positions (straight, angled io/out), also can
rotate freely if desired.
11. Articulating armrests (optional) - "This is an exclusive
Backsaver feature." -they say. Works well. Basically you can
release the armrests so that they support your arms as you move
them throughout the area of an approximately 9" radius circle
(parallel to the plane of the seat). By locking part of the
mechanism you can change this to 4" radius. I use this for

Other Notes:
+ Armrests are padded and sculptured.
+ Seat is nicely sculptured, with waterfall front edge.
+ Base is plastic with 5 casters.
+ Other parts are plastic or metal. I give construction an A-.
+ Comes in four colors: Navy, Black, Grey, Burgundy.
+ Fabric appears to be a synthetic with coarse weave. Looks
+ Controls are well-labeled.
+ Regular seatback is 24"; high is 30".
+ Educational discount is available. (about 20%)

They have a nice color glossy catalog with some other stuff in it.
There are some good pictures of the chair, if someone wants to scan
them. The description is a little skimpy, though. When I ordered the
chair, they said 4 weeks for delivery. 5 weeks later when I called to
find out where it was, they told me it was on back order, and I
wouldn't get it for 3 more weeks. It then arrived more or less on

Bretford Mobile workstations
These are basically a set of tubular frames carts on casters. Most of
these place the monitor on a shelf above the keyboard surface. The only
one that doesn't is basically a desk on wheels except that it is only 24
inches deep. It is, however 26.5 inches high. Prices run from $223 to

Known supplier: Husk office furniture and supplies
327 W Clark
PO Box 886
Pasco, WA 99301

Communicore CAD system
This is a "corner" type workstation - designed to be placed facing into a
corner with the users back to the room. All units are 26.5 inches high and
the extension tables are 30 inches deep. The workstation extension tables
have an under-table storage shelf. Basically, you have the corner unit,
the "plain" extension table, and the "tilting" extension table (useful for
working from prints or other large paper). Additionally, there is
something called a "workstation" which is neither shown in the picture
that I have, nor described in the text. Prices run from $225 for a 36w x
30d x 26.5h "workstation" (also available in 60w for $304) to $345 for the
66w x 52d x 26.5h corner workstation. A basic setup (corner workstation,
layout table and extension) would run about $900. The flaws with this are
in the area of accessories - no drawer space, and no over work-surface
shelf space (for manuals, not monitors).

None known supplier at this time.

This is a line of "ergonomic" workstations and "dense pack" racks for
network installations. Basically, you buy a frame which can be fitted with
legs, legs with casters, or attached to the wall. The top of this frame is
about 70-78 inches above the floor; near the top is an adjustable shelf.
To the bottom of the shelf is attached a "truck" which holds the monitor,
allowing for the monitor to slide from side to side, tilt, or swivel. A
"swing-arm" version of the monitor truck is available as well; this allows
the monitor to be repositioned more freely. The frame can be fitted with a
work surface (to which a keyboard holder can be attached) or with a
digitizer support frame. Keyboard trays are also available to fit directly
to the monitor suspension truck. No undertable storage is provided,
although there is a CPU caddy which attaches to the side of the unit. Side
tables, pencil boxes, and print holders are also available.

Frame prices run from $160 (for a wall mount unit) to $300 for a
freestanding unit. Shelves run $250; monitor suspension from $200 to $425,
and legs from $78 to $800. Keyboard trays can run as high as $300, and CPU
holders from $100 to $250.

Known supplier: Ergotron
3450 Yankee Drive, Ste. 100
Eagan, MN 55121

Hon computer furniture (66000 series)
This is essentially a set of tables which match one another. Under table
storage is limited to a center pencil drawer or a center keyboard drawer,
either of which can be mounted to the task desk (which has no keyboard
shelf). Cable management is provided. The keyboard shelf is a cutout/
dropdown; it's not clear if it is adjustable. My guess is not.

The following table types are available
o Table with center keyboard shelf (30 deep by 36 or 48 wide)
o Table with right or left keyboard shelf (30 deep by 60 wide)
o Task desk (30 by 60)
o Printer Stand (36w x 30d x 26.5h) with paper feed slot.
o Return (42w x 20d x 26.5h) freestanding.

Cost is from $300 for the Typing Return to $500 for the table with
keyboard shelf.

Known supplier: Husk office furniture and supplies
327 W Clark
PO Box 886
Pasco, WA 99301

Image Setter Workstation
This is a pretty complete modular workstation. It includes tables with and
without keyboard cutouts, tilting tables, tilting light tables, corner
units, keyboard trays, CPU racks, mobile files, drawers, and overhead
storage. They also have connector parts that allow two tables to be
connected together in a corner to form a corner workstation.

Known supplier: Foster Manufacturing Company
414 North 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19108-1001

There are two lines of furniture from Mayline/Hamilton:

The Creativity Corner line is similar to the Communicore cad system. The
table height for this system is not listed in my catalog. There is a
corner unit with under table storage and a "reference desk" with under
table storage. The adjustable table seems to be adjustable for height, and
it looks as if the reference desk top can be tilted. The adjustable table
has no under table storage. There are drawer (pencil and storage) and
shelf (hutch) accessories for the reference table and a corner shelf (for
the monitor - yuck) for the corner unit. Costs run from $256 for a 36w x
30d reference desk to $512 for the tilt top adjustable table. Hutches are
about $200, corner shelf $118, two drawer unit $215, keyboard/pencil
drawer $91. A basic setup (Adjustable table, reference table, and corner
unit) would run $1150; with pencil drawer, storage drawer and hutch it
would run $1650.

The CADCorner units from Mayline Hamilton are similar to the creativity
corner units. All units are 29 inches high (too high!!), but they come in
both 30 inch and 36 inch depths. No under table shelf space is provided,
but a two drawer storage unit can be got for $336. Rather than a full
hutch, a bookshelf is available (8h x 12d). A 20 inch wide keyboard drawer
is available (where am I to put my mouse?), as is a two drawer storage
unit. Prices range from $400 for a basic 36w x 30d x 29h desk to $760 for
the 36d corner unit. A setup with the 36d corner unit, a 36w desk, a 60w
desk, a bookshelf, a two drawer storage unit and a keyboard drawer runs
about $2200.

No known supplier at this time.

Tiffany Office Furniture
This is a line of stands and carts; there is a basic workstation cart
(mobile bi-level table) for about $450 and a more elaborate but smaller
cart (less available workspace for $400. The smaller cart has space under
it for a printer. The stands consist of towers on pedestals with casters;
The monitor sits on a stand atop the tower, the keyboard on a tray clamped
to the tower and the cpu unit on a bracket at the base.

Tiffany also makes a line of terminal stands; these are simply small
tables on pedestals with casters. Prices range from $200 for a simple
table to $320 for a very adjustable table. Larger units are available too.

The smaller cart may work for what I need if the keyboard tray will adjust
out from the table far enough; the keyboard tray is a little too narrow
for my keyboard and mouse together (stupid optical mice! The only thing
worse is a mechanical mouse; think I'll get a trackball). There is no
workspace on this thing, but I could put it right next to a table.
Known supplier: Husk office furniture and supplies
327 W Clark
PO Box 886
Pasco, WA 99301

Ultra View, Ultra View Plus, and Ergo Pro workstations
In overall appearance, these units are similar to many "particle board
covered with vinyl veneer" type computer workstations. However, these have
the computer monitor on a recessed tilted shelf, so the monitor is angled
up toward the operator. Unfortunately, they'll only handle monitors as
large as 14"h 24"w 21"d.

Known suppliers:
One Misco Plaza
Holmdel, NJ 07733

Global Computer Supplies
2318 East Del Amo Blvd.
Dept 51
Compton, CA 90220
800-8GLOBAL (800-845-6225)

VariTask Workcenter
This is a fully adjustable two surface workstation. The keyboard surface
is 24d x 48w or 30d x 48w; the monitor surface is 18d x 48w. The two
surfaces can be tilted and elevated independently; adjustment range is
27.5 to 42.5h for the monitor table and 26h to 41h for the keyboard
surface. Price runs from $2915 to $4052, depending on which of the lift
and tilt operations are manual vs. electrical and depending on table size.

No known supplier at this time.

WorkManager System
This is a line of tables, corner units, dividers and accessories which can
be configured in a number of different ways - corner units, clustered
workstations, lab workstations, etc. They have a clean, futuristic look to
them that I like; others may not. No undertable storage is provided except
on the printer stand; roll-under type storage units and undertable
brackets for CPU's are available. No table heights are given in my
descriptions. There are corner units with keyboard shelves (where am I
supposed to put my mouse?), tables 34, 48, and 60 inches wide, a tilt top
table, printer stand, and laser printer stand with supplies storage.
Prices run about $300 to $350 per desk or corner unit; printer stand is
$200, underdesk file cabinet is $200.
Known supplier: MISCO
One Misco Plaza
Holmdel, NJ 07733


Suppliers and their products

Husk office furniture and supplies
327 W Clark
PO Box 886
Pasco, WA 99301

Carries the Bretford, Hon and Tiffany lines of furniture

3450 Yankee Drive, Ste. 100
Eagan, MN 55121

Ergotron is a direct marketer of their own rack style computer furniture.

One Misco Plaza
Holmdel, NJ 07733
Phone 800-876-4726
FAX 908-264-5955

MISCO carries a wide variety of computer supplies as well as printer
stands, mobile workstations, secure workstations, ergonomic workstations,
chairs, modular workstations and the Work Manager system from
MicroComputer Accessories. Among the chairs the MISCO has are a nice
looking adjustable "posture chair." I always called this type of chair a
"back chair." It has no back, and supports the user at the knee and
buttocks in a "tilted forward" position.

Global Computer Supplies
2318 East Del Amo Blvd.
Dept 51
Compton, CA 90220
800-8GLOBAL (800-845-6225)

Global is another supplier of just about any computer related supply you
can think of. They have the same "posture chair" that MISCO carries, as
well as a full line of "regular" chairs and computer furniture. The
computer furniture includes the Work Manager, Ultra View and similar
Comfort-Ease units, SnapEase PC Workcenter, PC Perma Cart, and a host of
other computer stands, racks and furniture. They also have some furniture
which somewhat resembles traditional office furniture, including the
"Classic View" desk, which has a glass work surface with the computer
monitor located underneath and tilted up at an angle. Global also has a
separate catalog of "Business Furniture." This includes such items as
button tufted wing back leather chairs and couches for your waiting area;
executive tilt/swivel chairs; wood desks, bookshelves and other furniture;
file cabinets (including fire resistant); carts; mail room organizers and
so on.

Forminco International
4115 Sherbrooke St. W, Ste. 101
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
H3Z 1K9
Possible Alternate Address
9610A, Ignace
Brossard, Bquebec, Canada
J4Y 2R3
Possible Alternate Phone
800-663-6764 or 514-444-9488

Forminco makes computer furniture that many people have mentioned to me.
Unfortunately, I've not seen any of the furniture or even a catalog, so
I'm unable to comment on its appearance or potential usefulness.

Another more information supplied by da...@watcom.on.ca (David McKee):
They are a Canadian company based in Quebec....

I ended up buying their simplest work station at $199 (Canadian). As
you probably know, this is peanuts in the computer accessory world. I
have been very happy with the price/value of this product.

It has a built in power bar, a place to coil up electrical cords, two
adjustable pad areas and a keyboard rest that has two points of
adjustment. I had it shipped directly to me, so I had to assemble it
myself. I was impressed with the solid quality of the materials.

They have a range of desks that go up to a quite large corner set.
They also have cabinet accessories, a chair, and a mousepad platform.

Foster Manufacturing Company
414 North 13th Street
Philedelphia, PA 19108-1001

Foster concentrates on the Engineering Market, with files for engineering
drawings and medical records, layout light tables, drafting chairs, and
paper cutters. They also carry the Image Setter modular workstation.


I don't know if WorkRite makes furniture or not. However they do make
another interesting item that many of us should have. In my experience,
most of the modular furniture makes no provision for having a mouse in
addition to the keyboard. WorkRite makes replacement keyboard trays that
are much wider than the usual 24 inches or so, allowing the mouse to sit
on the same tray as the keyboard. Novel idea! ;-)

Mamadou Diallo

May 18, 1995, 3:00:00 AM5/18/95

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