Ergonomic keyboards

I have spent a large chunk of my life typing on a keyboard, but I did not start having tingling and pain in my hands until I also began using a smartphone. In other words, repetitive stress was not bad enough until my posture worsened as well. Or it was only a matter of time… so I started looking into ergonomic keyboards.

In any case, I switched to the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard but that only helped for a while. My right hand was especially a problem because of the mouse use. I even tried switching the mouse to my left hand, but that was a disaster. During this time I also tried getting massages and chiropractic help, but that would only ease the symptoms for a while.

Next I tried some other keyboards like Typematrix 2030 and Kinesis Freestyle. In the meantime I also switched to a Mac Book Pro, and the trackpad was definitely better than a mouse. However, every change would only help for a while and the symptoms would return.

The only keyboard that finally had a lasting impact was Kinesis Advantage. The main reasons for that were:

  • unique positioning of keys
  • ability to place the keyboard in my lap when sitting
  • space in the middle for my trackpad (with some velcro)
  • they use it in Man in Black!

Now finally my right hand could be in a more natural position, and I did not need to move either arm too much while typing, clicking, or dragging.

Other things I did were exercises, stretches, walking, and the standup desk. Even with the standup desk I found it important to switch to sitting occasionally because when I would get tired I would end up slouching anyway.

Sphinx Search 0.7 for MediaWiki Released

After over a year of on-and-off tweaks and updates, I have finally released version 0.7 of SphinxSearch Extension for MediaWiki. There are several new options, support for latest version of sphinx, initial support for MW search API, and the extension now follows the usual MW conventions for localizations, autoload, etc.

Download PECL Extensions for Windows

UPDATE: I removed my previous content from here because someone copy-pasted it into StackOverflow. Google “thought” I stole it from there and “accused” me of hosting scrapped content… StackOverflow removed the offending content as soon as I reported it, but I did not want to risk Google comparing my site to some cached version they may have, and it was all outdated anyway.

The current state of affairs for downloading PECL extensions for Windows is still suprisingly bad. The only way I found (other than building your own) was to browse this list. Some of the extensions there will have zip files with compiled dll extensions. The substring “ts” in the name means “thread safe” and you can figure out “nts” on your own 🙂

SphinxSearch Extension for MediaWiki

While helping maintain the New World Encyclopedia, I tried to install the LuceneSearch extension to replace the default MySQL-full-text-based search used by MediaWiki. Since our server did not come with any pre-requisites necessary for compiling and running Java applications, I spent quite some time on it, and still did not get it to work.

All of sudden (hint, hint,) a message came to the mediawiki developers list about a new search extension that uses Sphinx search engine. Installing Sphinx was a breeze! The extension was an initial “request-for-comments” version, so I started working with the author to spruce it up. You can see the results at NWE,, and SourceForge.