If it's not RSI, it has to be the prelude of RSI. I've got pain in my left forearm, two days in a row, starts at 3~4 P.M., and still lasts at 2 A.M. of the 2nd day before I go to sleep. I thought it was like a one-go stuff: your arm hurt, you go to sleep, and tomorrow morning the pain will go away and you'll be fine - it did, yet that pain have made its way back when it was 3~4 P.M., and I couldn't do a single line of code later this afternoon unless I solely rely on my right hand. Even for now I'm writing this blog post only using my right hand, because it's so painful that I just can't use it. This is no fun.

I thought for a bit and quickly decided that it's the Mac notebook I've been using in the past 7 months that have really brought up the issue: I've been using a generic laptop for 3.5 years and I hardly got any pain in forearms. I got the notebook from the company I'm working for as a replacement, because at that time I had to develop an Android app and the one I was using before was pretty darn slow for this (Intellij IDEA eats up mems like crazy). So what's the difference?

It's the function key.

In the MacBook keyboard layout you have the function key in the place where almost every other keyboard will put their left control key. But if it's only the function key I wouldn't have much problem: it's the key combination that Mac uses as a replacement for Home/End on a 13-inch. You have to use Fn+LeftArrow to do Home, and Fn+RightArrow for End.

And I uses Home/End a lot.

So, everyday my programming activity at the office contains a whole lot of pinky-straining that wouldn't happen if I have a keyboard with a proper Home/End key, and those straining eventually blew up my left hand with pain. I decided that was enough.

I have a Cherry that my girlfrend sent me as a gift. A normal mechanical keyboard, the so-called "flat one-piece". This probably will do for now, but won't solve the issue in the long run. I will need a truly ergonomic keyboard for that, and I just can't risk losing my left hand.


  1. I went to Xah's Keyboard Guide for some recommendations and found out that he himself had the issue also with a Mac notebook. So it is an issue for a really long time.
  2. I have been seriously considering learning right-handed Dvorak just in case if my left hand ever worn out. Using only one hand is slow, and you have to rely on sticky keys, which will prevent any kind of RSI from happening. But you don't want to wear out your left hand, do you?

2019.8.14: I bought the ergonomic keyboard called the X-BOWS on Taobao (Aliexpress). It was cheaper and I thought I have bought a Chinese fake one, but the company made the keyboard probably is a Chinese company after knowing the founder's name, it's quite Chinese, and the writing style of the "About Us" page is quite Chinese as well. I have no complaint about the keyboard except for having physical PgUp/PgDn keys instead of Home/End. And because it's quite possibly that X-BOWS is a Chinese company there probably won't be any kind of Linux/macOS driver; that's a shame.


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Last update: 2019.8.14