Should the universities know better and Cherry keyboards!

Question: I have to agree that student computer conditions are awful – however from experience conditions do not change much when you start work offices! Speaking to various friends from around the country it strikes me that conditions are very dependent upon the University you are at though (as a student or as staff!) On a separate note…. Has anyone tried the Cherry Ergo Keyboard? I have had a trial assessment through PACT and didn’t notice the difference until I returned to a normal keyboard! Can anyone recommend a supplier for the keyboard (and similar ergonomic computer related equipment). I also tried the new Logitech Trackman FX, which was fantastic. However I became concerned that it encouraged me to use the mouse more and may cause more problems in the longer term! General typing seems to be problematic as well. Is voice recognition software really worth trialing?

Answer 1: Can anyone who has voice software and is really happy with it let us know what the version is? I’m keen to get something, just for writing basically (letters, documents etc), and all the prices vary so greatly. Not sure if it’s worth spending heaps on what is essentially going to be for home use. Did check out the FAQ, but would love some personal experience stuff from bulletin members.

Answer 2: As a few of us have written to this list previously, many of us are surviving because of voice recognition software such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking 3.X (whether the Preferred, Mobile or Professional versions) and IBM Executive version. Most users who really need mouse control and accuracy have used Dragon products for quite a while. Many others prefer the IBM version. I’m quite willing to talk to you regarding the Dragon products as I have always found them extremely useful.

Answer 3: What is this keyboard like? Is it a short one or a shaped one? I am looking for an alternative to the standard but none of our ‘Authorised’ suppliers sell anything other than standard long keyboard with number pad. BTW: I’m interested to see how many members of this list are university based? Is this because we have more of these problems or just because we have easy access to e-mail/INET?

Answer 4: The ergoplus keyboard is a keyboard that can be split at various angles and heights! It has a separate numeric pad making the keyboard shorter. A picture can be found at This site also lists other potentially helpful products! Strangely the keyboard is not detailed on Cheery’s own web site. On the other matter I reckon many are university based because of the ease of access to the internet etc. However it could also be that university staff are also more aware of the problem ! Hope this helps.

Answer 5: When I was looking for a keyboard before Christmas, I spoke to either the RSI association or the computability centre (or both) and I was recommended to go for either the Cherry keyboard or the Siemens Nixdorf ergonomic keyboard. I asked if there was any reason why I should go for one or the other (prices are similar) and was told that the Nixdorf keyboard has a softer touch. This means it doesn’t click in the way some keyboards do which, for me, was important. I’m using it now and it is good. It has an adjustable split and angle from the desktop and it’s small so I can use my WACOM mouse pad beside it. I’ve not tried the Cherry but this is my experience. Hope it helps.

Answer 6: About 20% of list subscriptions come from addresses.

Answer 7: I don’t know about the number of people in universities, but there do seem to be rather a lot in the York area! Maybe they could form a local support group, even if it is just drowning their sorrows in the pub.

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