Cogito ergonomics


As you probably know, I am a web designer and developer. Since it is how I make my living, I am at my computer a hell of a lot more than most people. And much of that time is used furiously clicking and pointing with my mouse. When my right arm was out of commission last year, I learned to use my mouse with my left hand, and this was useful even after I got better to distribute the repetitive stress between my two hands. But still, I would notice after a long day that I would have aches from all the clicking and moving of the mouse. In addition, there were a number of things that were nicer about my laptop’s trackpad when I used it, such as scrolling and gestures. The problem was, I almost always keep my laptop closed and use an external keyboard, monitor and mouse.

That was, until recently, when I bought one of Apple’s new input devices, something named (ridiculously) Magic Trackpad:


After only a short while with it, I have to admit I love it. And with all the gestures available for it, I am doing a lot less hard clicking, and my hand sits in a much more neutral position. The large surface is great, and I find I can do anything with it as well or better than my mouse, including pointing and clicking (with one finger), scrolling and scaling (with two fingers), moving windows and selecting text (with three), and switching windows (four), among other things. And at the end of a long period, my hand feels fine compared with the same period with a mouse. And because it doesn’t move like a mouse does, I don’t have to keep readjusting my arm and hand to find it. And design geek that I am, it doesn’t hurt that is matches the look of my laptop and keyboard.