Sunday, May 5, 2013

Me and the Wacom

Back after an intense two weeks getting three manuscripts through final edit and on their way to being published.


Carpal tunnel syndrome was doing me in. I've switched from one kind of mouse to another and used a big Kensington trackball for years, but even that was getting to me after six and eight hours of editing. (I use an ergo keyboard, which helps the typing part).

Years ago I used a Wacom (and that's Wah-com, not Way-com) tablet. 1994 and I remember having to type in the code because I was doing animation on a Unix-driven system. I wondered if I'd imagined that, but no, here's the Linnux code for the ArtPad.

I now use a Wacom Bamboo Create, as my primary pointing device. There was a heck of a learning curve, I discovered I have a tapping my fingers on the  tablet surface when I'm thinking, which made the tablet respond in creative ways. (Mostly it thinks I want the screen bigger.)

The new tablet functions like a tablet computer or a SmartPhone with tap, touch,  and double and triple finger combos. There are also mouse keys on one side -- in 2001 the Wacom came with a separate mouse, it's all integrated now and that is cool.

I don't use either a tablet computer or a Smart phone, but figuring out the tap-touch-drag stuff is quite intuitive. What I've got is a touch screen-like-function attached to the big desktop monitor and that's kicky.

Two things you'll want to know at this juncture: I mouse left-handed. I draw and paint left-handed and write right-handed.


Sometimes I just do whatever I was going to do with whatever hand I picked up the pen with.

The Wacom default is left-handed mousing (as if you're using a laptop touchpad) with right-handed drawing.

My brain goes wonky figuring out what I'm doing with what hand. I find myself drawing and mousing left-handed just to keep the left side and right side of my brain from screaming at me. And oh yes, the pen also has left/right mouse poor brain does somersaults.

And occasionally I flip the Wacom to left-handed orientation--but don't change the orientation of the buttons and such -- and use the whole thing backwards.

If you've tried writing with your non-dominant hand, you may have discovered that you try to write from the opposite side of the page and backward. I'm pleased to report that the Wacom is perfectly happy with me writing backward; it appears forward on the monitor.

And now I am back to editing, because even with three manuscripts almost off my desk, there are others waiting for my attention.

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