Eddie Deyo

Software Developer for Systech Retail Systems in Raleigh, NC. I work on point-of-sale systems.

Currently, at work, I am working on a C++ app that runs in the cash register, and at home, I am learning Python and trying to think of something cool to write in it.

I am also a huge fan of the NorthCarolinaStateUniversity Wolfpack, and I'm the best one-armed developer I've ever met. (Of course, I'm also the worst one-armed developer I've ever met.)


My (weirdly strong) FascinationWithKeyboards bids me to ask: What kind of keyboard setup do you prefer? I have been intrigued by the one-hand Dvorak layouts, as well as some of the wacky specialized-hardware solutions. Do you like these or just standard 101-key Qwerty? Inquiring mind wants to know.


What kind of keyboard setup do you prefer?

I just use a 101-key Qwerty. I looked around at some of the one-handed keyboards right after losing my arm, but in the meantime I found that I was typing nearly as fast as before with my regular keyboard (my wife says I type faster with one hand than she does with two). I do use Windows Accessibility's StickyKeys? feature, which allows you to press and release Shift, Alt, or Ctrl and have the system behave as if you are still holding it down until you press another key or click the mouse. It makes Ctrl-click a lot easier. In the end, I decided since I was doing fine with what I have, it would be easier (and cheaper!) to carry on with that than to learn a new keyboard layout. -- EddieDeyo
"Eddie, I'm blue-skying here, but would a piano pedal from an electric keyboard, wired to work with a USB port, make typing easier for you? You could assign the pedals to Ctrl, Alt, and Shift. It would have the benefit of being transportable. I don't have one, nor do I know how to make one, but some MIDI experts might have some insight." ~ SeanOleary

I actually found a company that had foot pedals, which I thought was a great idea. However, they were going out of business and were only willing to sell me the pedals in lots of 10,000! Since that was 9998 more than I needed, I did without. The piano pedal idea is not bad, though --EddieDeyo
Mostly, Alt doesn't need to be held down (Ctrl Alt Delete excepted), whilst both Ctrl and Shift have keys at each side of the keyboard to facilitate one-handed use. Only one finger is needed to hold down Ctrl and Shift together when combining them with Home or End.

True, and it's not that bad when just typing. It's holding down control or shift while clicking with the mouse that presents a problem. And Alt does need to be held down when using menus, although most (modern) keyboards have an Alt key on both sides too. -- EddieDeyo

Are you sure about Alt needing to be held down when using menus? F10 is supposed to be an alternative to Alt when using menus in Windows, and I've never heard of having to hold down F10. Does it often arise that Ctrl or Shift has to be held down when using the mouse?

"That would depend partly on the operating system and the type of mouse: a one -button MacOs needs Ctrl in order to use ContextualMenu?, and some mouseclicks are modified in MacOS when Ctrl or Shift is held down (I'm thinking primarily about WindowShade)." ~SeanOleary
Are you sure about Alt needing to be held down when using menus? F10 is supposed to be an alternative to Alt when using menus in Windows, and I've never heard of having to hold down F10. Does it often arise that Ctrl or Shift has to be held down when using the mouse?

You are correct, you can hit F10 to get to the menus. With two Alt keys, though, it's faster to hold down Alt. As for holding down Shift or Ctrl and click - these normally come up when selecting multiple items in a list. I also have a few games that want you to shift-click or ctrl-click to do different things. I'm not exactly sure what your original point is. Are you claiming that one handed computer operation is just as easy as two-handed operation? -- EddieDeyo

When I use Alt for Windows menus, I find I don't need to keep it held down. To make multiple selections with one hand, hold Ctrl and/or Shift down with one finger (or thumb), then use the arrow keys instead of the mouse. I find the one-handed methods useful when operating someone else's computer (i.e., when showing someone else what to do), or for one old PC which lacks a mouse!. For the games you mentioned, one might need to put the mouse right in front of the keyboard (unless the relevant keying/clicking actions can be changed).

Eddie,

You mention that you're looking for a cool Python program to write. One idea is to take a Wiki and hack it up. I hacked up PikiPiki to add in folder support. It was a good way to get my feet wet with the language. I am now working on a project where we're trying to hack in some Wiki-like features into the editor code that comes with WxPython. -- SteveHowell


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