Text replacement tool aka autotext aka text expansion tool for Microsoft Windows

The Hotstrings Newsletter

Here you can find Newsletter dedicated to all productivity issues which I find everyday. Every Friday, the latest issue is sent to all subscribers.

Each message is dedicated to single subject.

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Whether we like it or not, keyboard and mouse are still used when we work with computers. But do we really know how much we use them? For example, how many characters do you type each day using a keyboard? How much time do you spend with the hour hand on the mouse and moving around your desk? Of course, you can ask me if it matters. Yes, good question. But the two questions are related. If you don't spend a lot of time typing and "mousing", then there's no reason to optimize it, to change it. If, on the other hand, you spend a lot of time on these activities, day after day, then... it matters. The question remains: do you know?

I realized how important it is when, after a knee injury, I went to see a physiotherapist for the first time in my life. He asked me to do very simple activities: stand still and straight, but relaxed, as I'd stand in the queue at the cinema. Sit down as I usually do at work, as much as possible on a normal chair available in the examination room. To lie down as I do before searching for a dream. "You are clearly right-handed and right-footed. You work a lot with a mouse. Your mouse is too far to the right. It has rotated your upper body over the years. And now, combined with your recent knee injury, it is causing you pain in your lower back. Am I right? I hadn't yet explained to him what was wrong, why I had come to his room to seek advice.

After years, the repetitive habits of our daily work take their toll on our bodies. This is why it is important to look at how we use our bodies to interact with computers. 

Do you want to pay attention? But wait, what can you do? Measurement is necessary every time you want to improve, learn, manage. As Peter Diamandis said: If you can't measure it, you can't improve it. In the case of working habits related to mousing and typing, you can measure almost effortlessly to get at least a general overview: number of keys pressed at first, maybe also a keyboard "heat map" showing which keys are pressed most often. In the case of the mouse, how far you have moved it each day, how many clicks you have made, etc. By easy, I mean there are software applications that can measure this. It's usually not so easy when you think about a change in other cases where measuring requires extra time and work. When you know where you're at, you can think about making a change. Would you like to type less? Or maybe you'd like to get rid of the mouse?

If you are above a certain level of typing skill, such as touch typing, you use both palms and about 9 or even 10 fingers. This creates a kind of balance between the muscles in both hands, both sides of your body, and is therefore good. The mouse is and always will be asymmetrical. It is just a matter of your conscious approach to reducing this effect. There are many ways to do this. Starting with reducing the distance between the keyboard and the mouse, e.g. by using 60% keyboards (60% of the keys, without the number pad), changing the form factor of your mouse from flat to so-called "vertical", to name but a few.

Can you call your computer "personal"? Does it fit your habits, your body, your way of working? Why not? In the next article, I'm going to focus on this aspect of personalization, the ability to create our own personalized environment.

Thank you for your attention.