Brain Rewiring

A co-worker of mine uses one of the stranger keyboards I’ve seen, a Kinesis Advantage.

Kinesis Advantage Keyboard

He picked it up his after a bout with tendinitis and was sold on it. He was kind enough to let me borrow his spare for about a week so I could try it out. It’s been an interesting week. :)

The Advantage differs from conventional keyboards in a number of ways, the ones I think most relevant are:

I’m not going to lie though, it does take some getting used to. The biggest problem I had was Space vs. Backspace, which are the right-most thumb key, and left-most thumb key respectively. Prior to all of this I heavily favored my left thumb for striking the space bar, and muscle memory is a bitch when it causes you to Backspace when you meant Space.

Other points of frustration were the tilde/back-tick key (located bottom-left instead of top-left), and the left and right bracket/brace keys (located bottom-right). These keys are used a lot in a shell or when coding, which probably made the pain even more pronounced for someone like me.

I managed to force myself to use nothing else for several days, at which point I felt I was doing quite well. I still had the occasional problem here and there, but it seemed like I was well on my way to normalcy. Then I tried using the built-in keyboard on my laptop. Wow. Epic fail. It took a few more days and plenty of patience before I was able to move back and forth (and truth be told it’s still a little awkward).

So was it worth it? Yeah, I think so. I’ve had RSI troubles of my own and a week of typing on this keyboard has felt pretty good. I’ve ordered one of my own to use at work, and I’ll probably grab a second one for home.

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