A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....
Yet More About Lefties & A Web Site For New Users April 19th, 2000
Left Handed Feedback
The left-handiness issue is still generating mail and, as always, I am happy to share letters that may be of interest to others.
Jamie Wesson, Computer Resource Specialist, submitted the following comments:
Another group of left-hand mouse users are those of us who are right handed and do computer support all day long. 99% of the computers I sit down to use are set up for right handed use. I still like doing computer stuff when I get home to my iMac, but I have it setup with a trackball on the left-hand side for me, and the iMac mouse on the right-hand side for my wife, or for my own convenience should I have my left hand holding a cup of coffee. Essentially I do this to relieve the constant stress my right hand receives from all-day right-handed mousing. At my previous job where I had only one computer, I had that computer setup for the left-hand use and the right-hand use was at home. That worked out just as well. Windows actually has the advantage in this area by allowing settings for left-handed mouse use, including flip-flopping the pointer if you want to.
Patricia Freeman-Lynde owns a company called Computer-Ease: Individualized Computer Instructions. She notes that many of her customers are retired people who are now learning to use computers for the first time. She asks if I know of any sources for getting a mouse that is made for lefties or for those who choose to mouse from the left side. I found a couple of sites that offer different kinds of mice. Many lefties probably already know about the first one, The Left Hand, because it sells all things for lefties. For those who don't or those who want a source for gifts, this is one you may want to book mark. You can also go directly to the page for left-handed mice. These mice come in three sizes and have both Mac and PC connections and sell for around US $85 (note that this image actually has PC connections). I wrote the company for more information, but they did not respond.
Left Handed Mice
I also found a source for a cordless mouse that is universal. You can find it at the mouse page of Blue Heaven Software and Hardware. This company offers a cordless mouse ( 2 AAA alkaline batteries) that works with PCs and USB-enabled Macs. The cost is around US$37. You can go directly to the page featuring this mouse by clicking here.
A company called Office Innovations sells a track ball from Kensington called the Kensington Turbo Mouse for Macintosh's that sells for around US $141. I presume that this would work on either the right or left side of the keyboard and so could be helpful.
This certainly doesn't offer much in the way of selection, but if readers know of other sources and write me about them, I will include that information next week.
On A Different Subject
Reader Patrick Ferguson responded to my comments in the April 5th column about CloseView. CloseView is an application that offers the Macintosh user the option of greatly enlarging whatever is on their computer screen. It is available free from the Apple Education Site along with two or three other applications. First Patrick pointed out that Apple is very careful to state ** Mention of a particular product does not represent an endorsement, either expressed or implied, by Apple Computer, Inc. ** Apple does not accept any responsibility for these applications nor do they offer any technical assistance for them. I asked Patrick what that meant exactly and he sent the following explanation:
While these Mac optional system applications are generally quite well behaved they sometimes invoke the dreaded "unspecified results glitch" (URG) when used in conjunction with some popular third party applications. The applications are well worth having and Apple did a very good thing in including them for free - but - use them gingerly. They are overlays to other applications, so test them first with files that are not essential to make sure the applications play nice with one another. The same holds true any time you add a new piece of software to your machines repertoire. Test them as you would a new washing machine. First try them on an old document like a dirty T-shirt you can afford to throw away before using them on your fine silk prints. Unlike applications such as Copy/Paste which do their job and get out of the way, when activated Universal Access applications constantly draw on system resources to do their job while the applications they are trying to help just might be vying for the same system resources at the same time.
Fellow Texan Joe Lanier wrote this past week to ask if I knew of an internet source that explains what macOS will work with what mac models. I suggested the following two sites and Joe said they were what he was looking for. If you have similar interests in this information you can check out this site from Stanford University or this one from EveryMac.com.
It has been my observation that when new computer users start getting comfortable with the whole computer phenomenon, they want to branch out. This usually means surfing the web in some manner. It can be a frustrating experience at first because most users end up wasting a lot time trying to find things. In previous columns I have covered overviews of some of the various search engines available and what they specialize in. I have also previously recommended sites that new users might enjoy exploring. All of these columns are linked from the Computing With Bifocals Index if you are interested in checking them out.
I have another to recommend this week that offers an abundance of ways to explore the web without really having to get too far off their home page. The site is called iwon.com. On this site you can choose what kind of information you want to receive every day. This includes news stories, sports scores, weather by your zip code, your horoscope, and various interesting links. You can send electronic greeting cards, checkout careers or real estate, and find out what is on TV in your area. This site also gives away money. Lots of money. I know they are legitimate because one of their last big winners lives in Austin and our paper carried a big story about it. They give away US$10,000 on a daily basis along with million dollar winners on a monthly basis.
One reason I recommend this site to new users (besides the obvious one) is the games they offer. I frequently state that the very best way to learn to use a computer is to play games because you learn as you go and have fun at the same time. The game site offers various gambling games such as Video Poker, Keno, and Bingo all of which give you some kind of award for winning. These awards range from bragging rights to actual cash, depending on the game. Many of the games award you tokens which you can enter in daily, weekly, or monthly drawings for cash. You do not pay anything to participate either to use the site or to play all the various games. There are also board games, card games, word games, trivia games and arcade games. The games are easy to play although if you do not have a fast modem , you may not want to venture into this area because it takes a long time for the games to set up. You register once with iwon.com and select a password, and you do not have to sign in for any future uses as long as you have your cookies enabled. The site simply recognizes you and credits you with your winnings.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to write this week. Your input is greatly appreciated.
If you have any tips, suggestions, or other comments about this, or any other Mac topics, send them to me so that I can share them with other readers.
Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping. To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.
Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color,
covers issues for people who don't care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.
Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.