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My Input Devices

December 22nd, 2007

Quality input devices can save valuable computer time and reduce the likelihood of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (hand and wrist pain). Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is no joke. Once you develop a problem it can make computer work very difficult and painful. I had to see a hand surgeon for a stress related injury caused by powering in thousands of screws on a fence. The hand injury made using a mouse very painful. Fortunately, the doctor was able to fix me up with some Cortisone shots. Now I pay close attention to the ergonomics of input devices, and screw guns too.

My computers are set up with a keyboard, a mouse, a tablet, and a NuLOOQ. This may seem excessive, but it saves me time every day and protects my health.

I’ve come to rely on the NulOOQ Design Controller as an essential part of Photoshop. My left hand comfortably controls zooming, scrolling, and seven other functions from the controller. I have set this USB device to control specific functions for different applications. It’s set up for Navigation, Selection, and History functions in Photoshop. I have custom settings for other applications, like Browsers, Word Processors, E-mail, etc.
Side Note: Mozilla Firefox has an add-on called Mouse Gestures which gives you functions at the flick of a mouse.

I’m a big fan of Wacom tablets for retouching, but I still like a mouse when I’m writing text and code. It’s hard to type with a stylist in my hand, so I have to keep putting it down and picking it up. I like the Logitech G5, MX518, and G9 corded laser mice( in that order). I don’t like the cordless models because they aren’t as responsive or well balanced due to the weight of the batteries. They also need to be put on the charger base periodically, and if you forget, you have no mouse at all. The high end Logitech mice have a weight tuning system and super slick Polytetrafluoroethylene feet.

The super slick mouse feet don’t do you much good without a precision mouse pad. The surface I like is called Archetype Surface 1030 by Func Industries(a George Clinton company). A similar surface is used by several manufacturers of gaming mouse pads including Razer. The right combination of mouse and pad will zoom across a 30 inch display and stop on a pixel.

Wacom Intuos 3 tablets are a must for retouching. Photoshop Diva Katrin Eisman says, ”You can’t paint with soap on a rope!”, and she’s right. We have all been trained from an early age to use utensils like pencils and brushes. A mouse is a completely unnatural drawing device. Just try to write your name with a mouse and you’ll get something that looks like a doctor’s prescription. I have tablets in four different sizes, but the 6”X11” is my favorite even though it’s the smallest one. The 6×11 aspect ratio is the same as a widescreen display and the distance from one side of the tablet to the other is manageable. Wacom also has the Cintiq line of interactive pen displays. I’ve tried them out but haven’t felt compelled to buy one because the upright positioning is tough to get use to. They have a new model, the Cintiq 12WX that solves the positioning problem and looks just right.

For those of us who forget Photoshop keyboard shortcuts or just want to learn some new ones, there is the Logickeyboard. They are available with keyboard shortcuts on the keys for a number of different applications. I use the Adobe Photoshop Multimedia USB keyboard.

When it comes to computers: “Sh*! IN equals Sh*! OUT”, so make sure your input devices are the best you can get. Ultimately you save time, money, and most importantly your health.

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  1. gilberto
    December 28th, 2007 at 22:46 | #1

    George Clinton is the man! I am very surprised to see his name here, but what do I know?

  2. Michael Stewart
    January 2nd, 2008 at 17:10 | #2

    I try to work in an obscure reference when I canjavascript:void(0)
    Publish Your Comment!

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