Scott Hanselman

Digging the new Vertical Mouse - Helping my Carpal Tunnel

November 4, '04 Comments [12] Posted in Musings
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I picked up a new mouse today and I'm digging it.  It's called the "VerticalMouse" and I'm wondering why I didn't think of it myself.  Before today I used a Microsoft Optical Wireless, a Microsoft Optical (Thumb) Trackball and a Wacom 4x6 tablet, all at the same time.  I have them all attached to a four point USB hub, and I'd switch from one to the other as I started to hurt.  However, this mouse is comfortable enough that I'll probably start using it all the time. 

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Thursday, November 04, 2004 9:19:08 PM UTC
Wow! For $75 it better be awesome!
Thursday, November 04, 2004 9:44:38 PM UTC
I have been using this one for awhile (however mine isn't optical) and I love it.

http://www.sforh.com/pointing/renaissance-mouse.html
JZ
Thursday, November 04, 2004 9:50:16 PM UTC
How about the SafeType ergonomic keyboard? (http://www.safetype.com)
q;-)

(I couldn't type on those things...)
Thursday, November 04, 2004 10:19:56 PM UTC
It's actually $50 all over the net...
Scott Hanselman
Thursday, November 04, 2004 11:16:12 PM UTC
Interesting, I wonder if they have a left-handed version (didn't see one on their site).
Thursday, November 04, 2004 11:45:44 PM UTC
Scott, just a friendly hint. if you ever play competetive shooters over the net - never use wireless mouse!! optical cord mouse is the only weapon which will keep you alive. vertical mouse looks interesting, i will defenitely check it out.
Max S.
Friday, November 05, 2004 12:23:36 AM UTC
Cancel last one... they have no left hand version yet! Scott, are you still using your right hand for mouse?! i'm righty myself, but "jumping" right hand from mouse to keyboard is huge loss of productivity. it takes just about a week of un-comfort getting used to moving mouse with left hand but the speed you gain with controlling mouse AND keyboard in parallel is awesome. think of it - left hand is secondary, so its never will be as good on many-button keyboard as right hand is. but with just 2 bottons + movement device its perfect role for secondary hand. i made that switch 15 years ago and never regretted that habbit.
Max S.
Friday, November 05, 2004 4:55:47 AM UTC
I've had the Evoluent Vertical mouse for a couple of months now and I really like it but unfortunately there's a problem with the cursor moving when you click the mouse. So, when you click the cursor jumps to another location. I wouldn't be doing any online stock trading with this mouse.

I emailed Evoluent's tech support a couple of times but haven't heard back from them yet -- I think it's been over a month now. I'm not the only one having this problem as a reviewer for the mouse on Amazon.com mentions the same problem. Like the reviewer on Amazon I'm hoping the next driver update will solve the problem.

There's also some issues with scrolling in a quite a few programs plus when I click my "forward" or "back" buttons the mouse simply inserts an ace of diamonds or an ace of spades character.

Since I'm also using a trackpad (left-hand) I can get away with the wonky mouse behaviors.

BTW, if you're looking for a keyboard check out Kinesis contoured keyboards (my occupational therapist recommended them to me). After my RSI injuries I switched to a Kinesis Advantage and pretty well have had my RSI under control since -- although I'm more disciplined now with breaks and stretching exercises too. It took me about a week or so to get used to the Kinesis but once I did I way amazed at how easy on the hands it was. With my hands in the contoured keyboard "cups" I barely have to reach for any keys and it's like night and day compared to a regular keyboard. It's also surprising how my accuracy has improved with the Kinesis as well.

With the Kineis you can remap all keys and program macros directly into the keyboard, and you can even hook-up foot switches to the keyboard.

I've had my Kinesis keyboard for a couple of years and CANNOT go back to a regular keyboard. Plus, as an added bonus, no one will ever use your computer because the Kinesis freaks people out -- you just have to get used to it. Most places that sell the Kinesis keyboard usually offer thirty to sixty days to see if you like it, so there's really no risk. It's a bit expensive but what's your livelihood worth?

Right now I'm using a Cirque trackpad for my left hand and the Evoluent for my right. Between the two I can spread the work-load on my hands. I'm planning on getting a couple of foot switches to take more load off my hands.

I purchased all of my gear at ergocanada.com. Check out their site as they have practically every ergonomic available for purchase. It will give you an idea of what else is out there.

Good luck with your hands (sorry if I sound like a Kinesis commercial).
Mark Z
Friday, November 05, 2004 8:19:42 PM UTC


I saw your comment on Chris's blog about Dragon's speech. Are you using it to lessen your keyboard use and alleviate the Carpal Tunnel problem?
I think you're pushing yourself too far in being uber geek.
3 monitors at home and work. Computer speech at home and work. Heavy programming. Active blogging. Usergroups. Seminars..etc.
How many hours do you spend daily using a computer? I think you need to take it a bit easy in the computer world :)

Abdu
Abdu
Sunday, November 07, 2004 5:46:24 PM UTC
Max S - I disagree with your premise that the "2 buttons" of a mouse make it simpler than a keyboard, and thus, more suited for your secondary hand. You are completely disregarding the "other" function of a mouse, namely, moving a pointer around a screen with VERY precise movements. What takes more fine-tuned muscle controls - pressing familiar keys on a keyboard, or selecting the few pixels on the edge of a window to resize it? Heck, pressing keys is so simple, there are even foot pedals for that sort of thing (some musical organs have many pedals). I can't imagine resizing a window with a foot controlled device. I contend that the mouse requires much more advanced control, and therefore belongs with your dominant hand.
However, I like the idea of getting used to left-handed mousing, so that I am mouse-ambidexrous. That way you can alternate which hand you use throughout the day, to relieve some of the mouse stress. I think I'll hook up 2 mice to my computer and try to get used to that.
Monday, November 08, 2004 5:29:47 PM UTC
This Amazon reviewer highlights some questions I have:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0002W04NO/qid=1092840219/sr=8-13/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i13_xgl23/104-4332462-0222359?v=glance&s=electronics&n=507846

For one, it looks like instead of resting your hand on the mouse, you have to either elevate it or slide it on the pad as you move it. Also, switching from keyboard to mouse and vice versa looks like it would be awkward.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004 10:10:37 AM UTC
Give Evoluent a hand for making the mouse you've been missing.

When you think about it, it's kind of strange we've been using the same type of computer mouse for the past 20 years. Other than trackballs and other navigation devices, the only significant change to the basic mouse has been the addition of the scroll wheel. But now there's a new twist to the old mouse. See this great innovation, tonight on "Tech Live."

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, or at least more comfortable. Our PCs and workspaces have improved over time, what with better ergonomics. We at "Tech Live" are all about making your life easier and more comfortable. That's why we're pleased to show off the Evoluent VerticalMouse.

Nice to meet you

Using the VerticalMouse is like shaking hands with a very comfortable piece of plastic. Your thumb rests on a ledge, and your four fingers wrap around the right side. There are four buttons (three for your fingers and one for your thumb), which you can program for repetitive tasks. It also has a scroll wheel.

Feels good

Use the VerticalMouse for five minutes and you'll wonder why no one had thought to invent it earlier. Kudos to the good people at Evoluent for giving it a shot. It takes a little getting used to, but that's no big deal.

More importantly, your arm will feel better. That's because it's more natural holding your arm in the position of a handshake than laying it flat on a table. Stretch out your arm and then move your hand vertically and horizontally. Which feels better? That's why this mouse is so great.

Left out

There's one small problem: If you're left-handed, you'll need to either learn to mouse with your right hand or call the company and demand it manufacture a left-handed version. Evoluent only makes mouses that fit right-handers, but the company says it hopes to make a left-handed model in 2003.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.