More about the Recliner Commando

I have been puzzled by the pain people are willing to endure in order to use their computers. Over the years I have developed my “technique” which allows me to stay on the net for hours at a time without any cramps or stiffness.

The secret is a reclining chair, fully reclined, and a keyboard with a Trackpoint instead of a keyboard/mouse combination. The recliner puts your body in as stress-free a position as possible while still having your head and hands positioned to use a computer. Adequately padded and properly positioned armrests are also important.

The screen is put at least 6 feet from my face, which allows me to avoid using my bifocals to see the screen, and minimizes eyestrain due to constant accommodation

I originally paid about $145 for a special IBM keyboard with built in Trackpoint, which connects to my main computer using 2 PS/2 plugs. IBM has since sold this technology. {Unicomp now sells these products, see June 8th entry}. Toshiba Laptops for many years used this kind of keyboard exclusively but since about 2003 Toshiba has switched to a touchpad arrangement, which I don’t like.

I am a touch typist, and only the Trackpoint allows me to type and use “mousing” techniques while leaving my hands as close as possible to their home positions. When I am compelled to use a standard mouse, my right shoulder begins to hurt and my right index finger goes numb after about 10 minutes.

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This entry was posted in Computers and Internet, DIY, ergonomics, Health and wellness. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to More about the Recliner Commando

  1. I have modified my approach slightly over the years. I now use a laptop for most of my computing work. I still work while fully reclining. The laptop rests on a plastic lap desk I bought for $2.50. The lap desk has 2 vertical pockets that double as legs, which are about 9 inches high. The lap desk fits exactly between the arm rests of my recliner. The back rest of my recliner gives entirely adequate support to my head, neck, shoulders & upper arms. My elbows rest on the armrest, and my wrists/palms rest on the laptop’s keyboard. My current laptop is a Lenovo Thinkpad with a built in Trackpoint, very similar to my old special IBM keyboard (which I still use on one of my desktops).
    My laptop’s screen is now 30 inches from my face. I wear bifocals, and at first had trouble because my eye doctor designed the close up lenses to focus best at 20 inches – much too close for optimal computer use. The 20 inch distance is just the usual & customary way of designing lenses, there is no real necessity for that particular distance. On my last refraction in 2009 I had a detailed talk with her & now my close up lenses focus best at 30 inches from my face, exactly the right distance for my current laptop. It is also an ideal distance to see details on the dashboards of my vehicles. I am nearsighted & can read quite well at 20 inches from my face with no corrective lenses at all, this is just a nice side effect of myopia combined with presbyopia.
    I once tried lineless bifocals and found them impossible to use for my computer work, or much of anything else. They proved to be an utter waste of my money.
    There has been much written about computer ergonomics, most of it I consider useless, misleading or outright harmful. The desired outcome of good computer ergonomics is to be able to use a computer for hours at a time with any muscle strain, sore joints, pressure points, eye strain, paresthesias, or other uncomfortable sensations. I believe I have achieved this with my current setup. I have many times dozed off while using the computer late at night & awakened hours later, feeling well rested. Occasionally I even type some gibberish on my laptop in my sleep.

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