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Best I/O computer equipment

Nearly 10 years ago, I was starting to get shooting pains through my right wrist when typing at the keyboard. This would happen once or twice a week. Soon it spread to both wrists, and increased in frequency. Finally, it became an everyday experience. The pain was brief in duration, but intense--and I would have to quit typing. Carpal tunnel syndrome starting to rear it's ugly head. I started to panic--I'm a computer science teacher--perhaps time to go back to teaching mathematics full time--not something I really wanted to do.

I started to research this on the Internet. It became obvious that the first and easiest thing to try was to get a split keys keyboard, with the two main sections of keys angled like this ///\\\.

Years ago, I spent over $100 on a keyboard called the "Darwin Smartboard". Though I use a different brand of keyboard today, the wrist pains ceased almost immediately, and never returned. As I use multiple computers at home and at work, I began the search for an inexpensive alternative. The obvious choice was one of the Microsoft ergonomic keyboards. However, as I became more involved with Linux, and I've watched Microsoft's behavior over the years, I have developed a strong aversion for purchasing anything Microsoft.

I ended up purchasing the Belkin ErgoBoard. Be carefull, Belkin sells two keyboards: "ErgoBoard" and "ErgoBoard Pro". The "ErgoBoard Pro" is crap. The "ErgoBoard" is wonderful. I own four of these, and they're great. Cost is $23.00 to $30.00 each.

I haven't much to say here except Logitech. Find the model that best suits your hands and needs. I'm not much of a gamer, so I haven't experimented with any of the gaming mice out there.

OK, at age 57, I'm not seeing quite as well as I used to--I have early onset of cataracts in both eyes (surgery next Summer). I need a big clear monitor. One day, in a computer store, I was comparing 22 inch widescreen LCD monitors. The one with the best display will probably surprise you: A Gateway FPD2275W. It was head and shoulders above the Samsungs and Viewsonics. At $330 it's no steal, but its clarity is breathtaking. I soon will have two of these, as I just ordered a second one.

I've been recording some instructional screen-videos this Summer using gtk-recordmydesktop. For this I bought a Plantronics Audio 350 headset. At $21.99, it's not a high-end set, but the microphone has given me suprisingly good quality audio. I plan to purchase another.

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I own no stock and have no financial involvement with any of the mentioned companies/products, other than as a consumer.

gaming - an outsiders view

I have a friend who is quite a good gamer, he has a logitech gaming mouse/ keypad. I forget the model type/number.

Best things about it, lightweight, 2 replaceable batteries and a desktop charger so one is always able to use. And on top of all of this the mouse is a lazer optical with a resolution of about 5 megapixel, yes excessive for a mouse but when placed on the glass mouse pad he has it's quite a sweet setup Smile. cost him £30ish from what I remember him saying ($60ish) but comparing it to a synaptics mouse is a very large difference, and I am tempted to get one next time I build a pc and move from my laptop.

I think basically a wireless optical/infra-red mouse makes usability a lot easier.

He also has a keypad which is an ergonomic small keyboard with the most often keys that are used for most games and most games allow you to remap anyway, but having about 20 keys close to hand. Not useful for typing his coursework, but for gaming I must admit from experience it feels a lot better. I believe this cost him £15ish ($30) so worth looking around.

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