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Category Archives: keyboard

What makes a good keyboard

Like new cars and smartphones, new keyboards are also initially alluring enough to elicit everyone’s oohs and ahs. But as their novelty fades, it’s easy to start taking them for granted. Is typing on them slower than before? Is the gaming experience they deliver no longer up to par? Whether for leisure or business purposes, good keyboards really make a difference. Next time you’re shopping for one, take these four factors into consideration as well.

Connectivity

If the internet and computer mouse possess wireless capabilities, why should your keyboard be any different? This is debatable, depending on what exactly you use the keyboard for. Keyboards are normally plug-and-play devices that don’t require additional software installation (excluding certain gaming models); wired models draw power from the USB,eliminating the use of batteries altogether. Gamers tend to prefer wired over wireless because they won’t have to deal with lag and interference issues.

Looking to declutter? Wireless is the way to go. With wireless keyboards, data is transmitted to your PC via one of two primary means: either through an RF connection to a USB receiver or via Bluetooth. They might have their pros and cons, but they significantly reduce the number of cables on your desk while allowing you more flexibility to work — lie down on the couch and type from across the room. Also, most wireless keyboards connect 1to the PC via a 2.4-GHz wireless dongle that are also used for cordless phones and Wi-Fi internet. Providing connectivity to multiple devices at once.

Type of Key Switches

This aspect of keyboard design is widely mentioned in reviews, yet many people overlook the importance of the type of switches used for individual keys. Although the intricate mechanisms that hide beneath the keys might not excite you, the difference you feel from each type will. The three main types of key switches include silicone dome, scissor switches, and mechanical switches. For example, keyboards that come with a new desktop PC generally use silicone-dome switches, whereby two dimpled layers of silicone membrane form a grid of rubber bubbles that acts as the switch for each key. This type also requires you to press the key right to the bottom in order for a letter to be typed, gradually diminishing its springiness and responsiveness over time.

Why have the newer laptops and ultrabooks ditched silicone domes for scissor switches instead? Scissor switches add a mechanical stabilizer that provides uniformity. Moreover, under each keycap is a plunger that allows for shorter key travel. This causes scissor-switch keyboards to have a shallow typing feel with enhanced durability when compared with silicone dome switches.

What keyboard enthusiasts can’t get enough of are the mechanical switch keyboards. Their intricacy lies in the spring-loaded sliding keypost beneath each key. Several variations are available, and each provides slightly different sensations or sounds. Mechanical switches generally provide enhanced tactile feedback, having more of the “clickety-clack” sound. Thanks to the sturdy switch mechanisms and durable springs, they last longer and are also easily repairable. Furthermore, each keystroke registers shorter travel, making them ideal for touch typists.

Ergonomics

In order to keep carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injury at bay, keyboards are designed to allow your hands to remain in a neutral position while typing. Not only do ergonomic keyboards provide greater comfort, they also reduce joint and tendon stress, sparing you from relentless inflammation as well as pricey surgical procedures. Ergonomic features range from simple padded wrist-rests to elaborate curved and sloped keyboards.

Standard vs. Gaming Usage

Keyboard usage isn’t limited only to typing. That’s why gaming keyboards are designed for competitive usage, which allows for maximum specialization and control. Some are even customized to fit specific styles of game play, considering exact standards of durability as well as responsiveness. Others may also incorporate pulsing backlight and vibrant color schemes that cater to the gamer aesthetic. Certain premium models utilize high-grade mechanical key switches, sculpted keycaps, and numerous customizable features such as programmable macro commands and tweakable backlight intensity. Gaming keyboards are also equipped with the anti-ghosting feature that allows multiple keystrokes to be registered simultaneously — something regular keyboards can’t do. Other goodies range from pass-through USB ports to audio connections on the keyboard. This simplifies the process of connecting peripherals to a desktop PC.

It won’t hurt to take some time to see if your current keyboard is delivering. Do not settle for anything but the best. If you need any help or have questions regarding the intricacies of finding the right keyboard, don’t hesitate to mail us or drop us a line. We’re more than happy to help.

Are you sitting at your desk properly?

Are you sitting at your desk properly?

What is the correct posture for sitting at your desk?

sitting at your desk at a computer for long periods of time can take a toll on your body. By not sitting with the correct posture, it is easy to end up with back pain, neck pain, knee pains, and a tingling of the hands and fingers. Here are some tips on maintaining good ergonomics and staying comfortable at your desk during the day. Note: A 2006 study indicated that rather than an up-right position a more relaxed one at 135 degrees is suggested to relieve lower back pain.

We see too many workplace injuries that could be avoided. And prevention is better than cure. Here is a check-list that you can carry out at your workstation, to make sure you’re comfortable, safe and productive while sitting at your desk in your office.

 

 

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Sit up tall. Push your hips as far back as they can go in the chair. Adjust the seat height so that your feet are flat on the floor and your knees equal to, or slightly lower than, your hips. Adjust the back of the chair to a 100°-110° reclined angle. Make sure that your upper and lower back are supported. If necessary, use inflatable cushions or small pillows. When your chair has an active back mechanism use it to make frequent position changes. Adjust the armrests so that your shoulders are relaxed, and remove them completely if you find that they are in your way.

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Sit close to your keyboard. Position it so that it is directly in front of your body. Make sure that the keys are centered with your body.

  • Push your hips as far back as they can go in the chair.
  • Adjust the seat height so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees equal to, or slightly lower than, your hips.
  • Adjust the back of the chair to a 100°-110° reclined angle. Make sure your upper and lower back are supported. Use inflatable cushions or small pillows if necessary. If you have an active back mechanism on your chair, use it to make frequent position changes.
  • Adjust the armrests (if fitted) so that your shoulders are relaxed. If your armrests are in the way, remove them.

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Adjust the keyboard height.
Make sure your shoulders are relaxed, your elbows are in a slightly open position, and your wrists and hands are straight.

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Adjust the tilt of your keyboard based on your sitting position. Use the keyboard tray mechanism, or keyboard feet, to adjust the tilt. If you sit in a forward or upright position, try tilting your keyboard away from you, but if you are slightly reclined, then a slight forward tilt will help to maintain a straight wrist position.

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Use wrist rests. They will help maintain neutral postures and pad hard surfaces. The wrist rest should only be used to rest the palms of the hands between keystrokes and not while typing. Place the mouse or trackball as close as possible to the keyboard.

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Position your monitor properly. Adjust the monitor and any source or reference documents so that your neck is in a neutral, relaxed position. Center the monitor directly in front of you, above your keyboard. Position the top of the monitor approximately 2-3” above your seated eye level. If you wear bifocals, lower the monitor to a comfortable reading level.

  • Sit at least an arm’s length away from the screen and adjust the distance for your vision. Reduce any glare by carefully positioning the screen, which you should be looking almost straight at, but partially looking down. Adjust any curtains or blinds as needed. Adjust the vertical screen angle and screen controls to minimize glare from overhead lights.

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Position the source documents directly in front of you, and use an in-line copy stand. If there is insufficient space for that, place the documents on a document holder positioned adjacent to the monitor. Place your telephone within easy reach. Use headsets or a speaker phone to eliminate cradling the handset.

Incorrect positioning of the screen and source documents can result in awkward postures. Adjust the screen and source documents so that your neck is in a neutral, relaxed position.

  • Centre the screen directly in front of you, above your keyboard.
  • Position the top of the screen approximately 2-3” above seated eye level. (If you wear bifocals, lower the screen to a comfortable reading level.)
  • Sit at least an arm’s length away from the screenand then adjust the distance for your vision.
  • Reduce glare by careful positioning of the screen.Position source documents directly in front of you, between the screen and the keyboard, using an in-line copy stand. If there is insufficient space, place source documents on a document holder positioned adjacent to the screen.
    • Place screen at right angles to windows
    • Adjust curtains or blinds as needed
    • Adjust the vertical screen angle and screen controls to minimize glare from overhead lights
    • Other techniques to reduce glare include use of optical glass glare filters, light filters, or secondary task lights
  • Place your telephone within easy reach. Telephone stands or arms can help.
  • Use headsets and speaker phone to eliminate cradling the handset.

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An articulating keyboard tray can provide optimal positioning of input devices. However, it should accommodate the mouse, enable leg clearance, and have an adjustable height and tilt mechanism. The tray should not push you too far away from other work materials, such as your telephone

  • If you do not have a fully adjustable keyboard tray, you may need to adjust your workstation height and the height of your chair, or use a seat cushion to get in a comfortable position. Remember to use a footrest if your feet dangle.

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Once you have correctly set up your computer workstation use good work habits. No matter how perfect the environment, prolonged, static postures will inhibit blood circulation and take a toll on your body.

Take small breaks during your workday to release some of that muscle tension. Studies have shown that constant sitting is very damaging to your health. Try walking around for a couple minutes, standing and doing stretches—anything to break up a full day of sitting on your bottom is good for you!

  • Take short 1-2 minute stretch breaks every 20-30 minutes. After each hour of work, take a break or change tasks for at least 5-10 minutes. Always try to get away from your computer during lunch breaks.
  • Avoid eye fatigue by resting and refocusing your eyes periodically. Look away from the monitor and focus on something in the distance. Rest your eyes by covering them with your palms for 10-15 seconds. Use correct posture when working. Keep moving as much as possible.
  • Rest your eyes by covering them with your palms for 10-15 seconds.
  • Use correct posture when working. Keep moving as much as possible.

*Information supplied by UCLA Ergonomics

670px-Sit-at-a-Computer-Step-10-Version-2Exercise your hand by pushing on top of your fingers, and using backward resistance movements. Do a minimum of fifteen reps for each hand at least six times every day. This simple exercise will prevent you from developing carpal tunnel finger problems in the future. Even if you don’t have any problems right now, you may prevent pain later in life by doing a few good exercises.