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One handed input devices...

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Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
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August 8, 2010 8:53:24 AM

I really couldn't find anywhere that makes sense to ask this so as I'm a known face down here I thought I'd abuse the system a little and ask here.

Last week I took a spill on my bike and broke my Scaphoid in a big way. The doctors are telling me I'm going to be about 3 months in plaster and an operation. Long term it's going to be an injury I'll carry and there's a strong chance it will never truly settle down :??: 

I touch type(d) at reasonable pace and work in IT full time in a job where I need to be able to act in a hurry. Typing one handed my accuracy and speed are seriously reduced and I'm finding myself having to look at the keyboard which is not helping my neck which is already taking a beating from the sling.

Having had a Google I can see there are some amazing HW solutions (at a price!) but I'm interested in any SW or other tips people can give me. I read that with lots of practice some one handed users can get 80 WPM on a qwerty and using standard kit is always a bonus. I'm Win XP at work and whatever I want at home.

I thought about a frog pad but wonder how good it would actually be. At the moment though I'm faster on a phone KB than a real one.



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August 8, 2010 9:57:30 AM

There's always dasher.

man dasher

No keyboard required. It'll probably be hard to get used to but it's an option. [ fixed typo ]

The best feature? It'll cost you $0.00 or 0.00 GBP -- it's free and open source.

I'm not sure if it's xp friendly but it'll run on just about any linux distro.

Hurry up and get better or the FOSS posse will find you :) 
August 8, 2010 10:05:04 AM

Have you thought about Voice Recognition software? It's not going to replace the need to key, but it could cut it down a bit.
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August 8, 2010 11:23:55 AM

You could try a one-handed keyboard :D 

Perhaps you could look for lettering layouts that use the standard key shapes/arrangements (so you can use any normal keyboard) that are better for one-handed usage. QWERTY was never designed to be good for two hands, let alone one.
August 8, 2010 5:09:16 PM

ijack - I'd completely missed that one having only used it many years ago. It might work well for some of the things I have to type. Possibly better for home use as the office is quite noisy.

linux_0 - Just the sort of answer I've come to expect from you. I'll have a play this week and see just what it can do. A lot of the tasks that are less time critical use a limited dictionary so if I train it up it might be quite quick. If nothing else it looks awesome.

Randomiser - Yeah, I've seen them. If I was claiming against somebody for the accident I'd have one on order. The two handed one is one hell of a toy for RSI type issues which might be where it ends up on a few months.

For one handed I'm wondering if a compact KB with pad or track point might work. There was a cut down think-pad one I was looking at awhile back for reasonable money.

Thanks for the ideas - I'll let you know how I get on!

August 9, 2010 2:08:06 PM

Yup, by the time I've managed to button my fly in the morning it's almost time for bed :( 

Not all is bad though, you'd be amazed at what the sympathy vote can get even an ugly mug like me ;) 
August 9, 2010 2:17:59 PM

linux_0 said:
Apparently there's a version of dasher for windoze and speech dasher

http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/dasher/Download.html

Semper Fi :) 



Unfortunately using the UI makes me want to vomit :( 

Might well be good for some of the disabled music projects my house mate works on though :) 


Anybody know if you can get a T9 type predictive text system going?
August 10, 2010 12:28:05 PM

Screw it... I'll just get an intern.. preferably one that will allow me to act out my fantasy of being a senior member of a large IT company. ;-)
August 10, 2010 12:37:14 PM

Make sure she's young and pretty.
August 11, 2010 12:11:39 AM

Ijack said:
Make sure she's young and pretty.


Well that's a given. Actual skill is never to be the first reason you hire somebody :D 
August 11, 2010 12:48:20 PM

I'm sure she would make me very 'HP'..

Anyhow, good new from the docs. Would seem the fracture is nowhere near as bad as they first thought. I'm now in a splint not a cast and can use a couple of fingers on my left hand. I'm a long way of typing war and peace but it don't half make it a lot easier than last week.

I'm just going to go with a compact KB with a very light action as the budget working solution. I'll have to have a play with some of the other ideas on here though. This recent spell has given me motivation to ensure I can help others that find themselves in a similar boat.
!