Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Look, Joe, no hands

I want to thank my good friend Joe. That’s because I am typing this faster. And hopefully
my typing will get faster.  And less tiring. 
                Because of Joe,  I am now able to use my p.c the same way I use my Vmax speech device. 
That is, I am able to use it without using my hands. 
                This involves three components, which were installed last week after a long process
that began last Fall with an evaluation by an occupational therapist. One component is a tracking
device called a HeadMouse Extreme,  which follows a shiny dot that I have on my glasses.  The second
component is an onscreen keyboard that includes a word prediction feature (which gets better as
it adds words that I use). Then there’s something called the dragger which clicks the key or icon
or whatever I hold the mouse on.  It is all pretty amazing. 
                I should say that this is still very much a work in progress. Although this works better than
my Vmax, in terms of consistency, it is a challenge to use.  Having to always move my head so that
the mouse doesn’t click (I can slow down the clicking, but I don’t think I would like it any slower – I’m
too impatient) and having to frequently adjust my head in order to reorient the mouse are
among the challenges.  But I do see that my typing is speeding up, and I’m hoping I will get to the
point where using my head will be less tiring than using my hand (and really much of my body).
                Unfortunately, I am not able to thank Joe.  I found out that he left me the money to get
this set-up after he died unexpectedly in December, about six months after his husband died. Joe was a
mentor to me, showing me how to be my true self, both as a Quaker and then as a gay man.  I posted a
few years ago about how powerful attending Joe and David’s wedding was.  I now call my computer
                (PLEASE NOTE that I will be doing some traveling and catching up this month and may or may
not post. I plan to resume my regular schedule of posting at least twice every two weeks in August.)