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A handy solution to a disarming problem

The puns may get me some w(r)istful looks, but after Simone took a 9-year old kamikaze pilot to the pedal bike, we’re in dire need of some light-hearted humour to lift our spirits…

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That ‘sprained’ wrist turned out to be broken. In two places, in fact, the radius and the tricky scaphoid. So that cast will stay on for six weeks minimum, and hopefully no more than that.

Of course, typing is a real pain with this whole situation, even though she’s lucky that it’s her left hand and not her right (mouse) hand. We immediately scoured the net for some easy solutions for one-handed typing, but most relied on dodgy software or text-prediction with half-assed dictionaries.

Luckily, Max Baker, back in 2008, had the same idea and scrounged up a super-useful AutoHotKey script for one-handed typing by a forum user known as ‘mbirth’. I have found AutoHotKey to be one of the most generally useful pieces of utility-software on the planet anyway, and it did not disappoint on this account either.

The script causes keys on the keyboard to be mirrored onto the same position on the other hand (if you’re a standard blind-typist).

Max needed something for the left hand (a nice solution if you don’t want to let go of your mouse), but of course Simone needed a right-handed solution. The script is well-written though, so it was as easy as flipping the original and mirrored key definitions around. I then figured a one-size-fits-all solution would include both left and right hand and would just flip the whole keyboard.

I like Max’ suggestion of flipping the key caps, but it’s less practical on a laptop, so a few dollars spent at a news agent and a Sharpie-scribbling session later, we managed to get around the problem of remembering key positions as well.

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Problem. Solved.

(whole solution for download here, if you need it – get AutoHotKey from their own site)

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Jaap van der Velde

I live and breathe software, love games and spent many a vacation touring Europe on my motorcycle. Currently diving, riding, hopefully flying and gaining perspective around Oz.

2 thoughts on “A handy solution to a disarming problem”

  1. Awesome, I hope this will help Simone. You can tell her that my need for the one-handed keyboard was from breaking my right elbow on my bicycle (I’m right handed too). Turns out you can’t drive (a RHD) stick-shift car without your right arm either. Doing CAD work becomes tricky too, although I found I could use an old logitech trackman (thumb track ball) with my broken arm.

    Good luck!
    -m

    1. Ouch, hopefully you recovered well from that. Simone is doing ok with her wrist I suppose. The solution is a great help and I was happy to hear she’d found your solution and saved me some coding (I’m a software engineer). I actually suggested using AutoHotKey myself and she was surprised to see you used the exact same solution. I may try and get my hands on a USB foot-pedal board for modifier keys, since Ctrl-Alt-combos get rather annoying with a single hand.

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