Summer 91 - Editor's Note
My editorial in Issue 6 ended with this riddle: "I entered this entire editorial without pressing a
single key on the keyboard or clicking the mouse button. I was as quiet as a mouse (the furry kind).
How did I do this? And furthermore, why?" Well, first I had an on-screen keyboard (a desk
accessory) that interprets a click on one of its keys as a press of that key. This DA has an option that
lets you set a delay after which the mere presence of the cursor over that key will be interpreted as a
keypress. I also had a trackball set up on the floor and used my foot to move the cursor around. So
with this I was able to type without using my hands.
As for why I wasn't using my hands--besides as a way of getting a snappy ending to the editorial--
I'm one of many people who suffer from RSI, repetitive strain injury. In my case, this means
tendinitis in my forearms, but it can also mean carpal tunnel syndrome and a host of other similar
problems. Since my recent return to Apple ®, I've learned that there are many software and hardware
products for the Macintosh® that can help RSI sufferers and others with limited hand movement.
I'm now using a trackball with my nondominant (less-suffering) hand and with a foot switch--a
pedal I step on to click. I'm also using a desk accessory that alerts me when I've been typing for a
half hour without at least a five-minute break (I chose delicate Tibetan-style flute music as my
auditory cue, but there are of course less sublime options). There are many similar products that I
haven't yet explored. With diligent stretching and breaks from typing--and freedom from using the
mouse--I'm able to type as much as I need to in order to do my job. Many others are less fortunate.
That's the good news. The bad news is that many of these products don't work with other,
mainstream software: the on-screen keyboard isn't compatible with a certain macro program I'd also
benefit from using, or with the word processor I use most of the time. This is a very real example of
the effect of programming things in nonstandard ways--for example, using GetKeys to find out what
characters have been typed rather than getting this information out of the event record, or calling
the ADB Manager when you're not writing a special driver and so really should be using higher-level
routines. (You know who you are.)
Incompatibilities notwithstanding, these products are terrific, and thanks go to all the Macintosh
developers who have created them. You've made a big difference in some people's lives--probably
including your own, since I've learned that the motivation for many of you has been that you've had
a repetitive strain injury yourselves. For those of you who haven't yet had the problem, you'd be wise
to takes steps toward prevention. Don't ignore it; if you slave over the keyboard for long hours, it
will probably not ignore you.
While we're on the subject of doing the right thing, I might add that develop 's paper is now recycled
enough to pass California's stringent requirements for the use of the familiar recycle logo (which we
now proudly bear on our back cover). Formerly we used paper that was 50 percent de-inked (waste
paper from printing plants, with the chemical inks removed); now our paper is also 10 percent post-
consumer waste (not de-inked). Recycled paper keeps getting better looking and more practical to
use; we're happy to be able to do our part toward saving the forests. Please do yours, and recycle
your issues of develop if you don't want to hold on to them--preferably by passing them on to a
friend! As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions. Keep those cards and letters coming . . .
CAROLINE ROSE has been writing computer documentation ever since "timesharing" meant mainframes, not condos. After
a seven-year digression into programming, she returned to writing and joined Apple to document the inner workings of a
beguiling new computer named Macintosh. The result was a three-volume tome that was affectionately nicknamed "The
Vault of Horror." In what proved to be another digression, she left Apple to launch NeXT's documentation effort (starting,
interestingly enough, with writing the WriteNowTM For Macintosh manual). She's thrilled to be back at Apple with all its
charms. Caroline is an avid reader, swimmer, dancer, and hiker, and is passionate about her cat and all things Italian.
Seeing Michael Crawford in Phantom of the Opera was a recent high that she's not sure how she'll top (but she'll try). *
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