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Monday, April 23, 2007


Today I'd like to take some time to say a special thank-you to Logitech for creating the Marble Mouse. Without it I wouldn't be able to be a programmer anymore.

In the summer of 2005 I noticed a pain in my right wrist. I bought a wrist brace to help stabilize my wrist, and it worked great at night, when I had a hard time orienting my wrist in a neutral position while I slept, but it was too bulky to be able to use all the time. As the weeks went on it became quite aparent that what I was doing wasn't working and I needed to try something else.

I talked to a few people at work. Some suggested taking a vacation, others said accupuncture. I was in school at the time and couldn't really afford a break, and I'm not a big fan of needles so I thought I'd try accupuncture as a last resort. A few people suggested getting a trackball. I had tried a trackball before and I found them to be horribly inaccurate so I was a little bit skeptical, but I thought I could get used to it.

I peeked over the cubicle wall, and a friend of mine was using the Logitech Marble Mouse. It seemed a little bit odd but because my problem seemed to stem from clicking I figured it'd be a good one to try. (The Marble Mouse is shaped kinda like a mouse, except there's a ball where the buttons should be and the buttons are on the side. You just roll your hand to click).

I have to say, after an hour of using it I couldn't believe what a difference it made. Not only that, but I was reasonably accurate with it too, unlike the thumb style ones I'd used before.

I'm not posting this hoping for free stuff, I'm posting it as one extremely satisfied customer.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

DVORAK Keyboard Layout

I just read a Slashdot post about the DVORAK keyboard layout. While I'll agree that it probably does improve your typing speed, I don't understand why a programmer would want to use it for that reason.

Unless your job is to crank out tons of code as fast as possible, improving your typing speed won't make you any faster. Most programmers that I know (myself included) aren't I/O bound, they're CPU bound. Just because we can type faster doesn't mean that we'll be able to produce more code, or that the code will be any better.

Not that I have any personal experience with XP, but I think this is probably the same reasoning behind pair programming. And, the common thought that faster typing = more productive programmers is probably why everyone I've talked to balks at pair programming.