Tuesday, September 1, 2020

workspace noodling: laptop in front vs old school keyboard and mouse

 Random self-indulgent first world nerdery: for a long time I've really liked having a second monitor up above my laptop, using the laptop as the keyboard and trackpad and secondary monitor. It seemed like such a no-brainer, I almost had pity on my coworkers who put the laptop on a stand and needed a separate mouse and keyboard. I loved how the trackpad is right there beneath your thumbs, none of that reach over for the mouse, and just how efficient it seemed in general - and also the elegance of having the same arrangement when on the go or at the desk, so never having to retrain my hands...

Well... I've been having second thoughts. Honestly it's mostly because I was tired of warm wrists from overheated laptops, but also I realized I was using the laptop screen less because it was so low, plus I knew I would get a better webcam angle with the laptop riding higher.

Sadly, I don't think anyone makes a good "keyboard with trackpad integrated in front" (honestly, if I could somehow adapt the new iPad Pro magic keyboard/trackpad combo for use on a Mac, that would be ideal...)

So I bought a laptop stand, grabbed an old Apple Apple "magic" keyboard Melissa wasn't using much, and bought a "Magic Trackpad" to place right in front of- recreating the laptop w/ trackpad-at-the-thumbs experience. But, it was uncomfortable, and prone to accidental hits... even after several revisions of lego-constructed wrist rests:

So I guess I'm back to keyboard plus mouse... I still find myself reaching my thumbs down but there are some advantages to the mouse: the cheap bluetooth mouse I got has a scrollwheel, which is a tactile pleasantness I had forgotten, and a distinct button for right clicks, which Mac still supports, albeit grudgingly. Still, it feels so oldschool to need a mousepad (for my white IKEA desktop) -- it's like I'm back in the AOL generation... 

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