Input Device Ergonomics Through the Years

The computer is one of the most versatile inventions known to man. Initially conceived as a device for calculation, it has practically taken over the world. People depend on their computers so much that their lives would get crippled if things experience a major shut down. The advancements it has made along with the internet allowed the simplification or streamlining of certain processes. Take banking as an example. One of their services is to offer home loans that people can take advantage of if they want to finance their properties. Before you had to physically be present when your payment is due, but today you can just log on to their website to do that. Thanks to the online component, branch interoperability has also improved drastically.

You, as the user, provide the computer commands using an input device. There is a whole industry dedicated to computer peripherals that fall under that category. Over the decades, there has been a lot of innovation and improvements. People have logged increasing hours of usage. Bad posture and repetitive movements presented the need for good ergonomics in these devices. Here are some of the most used and how they have evolved over the years.

Keyboards

When you look at your keyboard, you will notice how the keys are all laid out. The modern QWERTY standard was created by Christopher Latham Sholes in the 1870s, but actually, the typewriter manufacturer E. Remington and Sons also deserve a mention. The final layout submitted by Sholes did not include the letter R in the first row, and it was the Remington company that placed it there after making their own refinements. Apparently, this move was a sales strategy. They wanted to showcase the ability to type out the phrase “type writer quote” using just one row to potential buyers. You can say that the QWERTY layout was one of the first attempts at making typing friendly to your hands.

The general physical form of the keyboard has stayed the same: It is just a plain rectangular board with alphanumeric keys. That is not to say there weren’t any attempts at breaking the mold. There are some niche products out there if you look hard enough, like those that split in half so both your hands have more freedom of movement. Some preserve the one-piece form and have each half tilted diagonally so you do not have to angle keep your wrist position at an angle when typing.

All in all, many people out there are just fine with having the option to raise the keys. Other than that, the most significant addition in recent times is probably the palm rest. It is a simple addition, but it makes sense for ergonomics because prevents you from tilting your hands upwards, which could put a strain on your wrists.

Mouses

 

The mouse is the primary pointing device of the computer. Its ergonomic characteristics are mostly dependent on your posture. As long as you have your arm tilted up and higher than your elbow, you will have a comfortable experience using it. That said, companies also try to refine their designs further.

There are mice that are shaped so you can rest your palm on it vertically as if you are about to shake someone else’s hand. The wrist is probably the most overworked when dealing with handheld devices, and this is one design where you do not have to make the effort of tilting or rotating it. You can also find mice that have a lot of buttons in them, though this is mainly aimed at the gaming crowd. But it would be cool to use one that has numeric keys on the side because that will save you time moving your hand between mouse to keyboard.

Game Controllers

Some of the early home computers were made by Atari and Commodore, and they were also known as video game companies. That said, their machines back then not only let you code simple programs, they let you play with them too. In the early 80s, the primary control device was the joystick. Its form is iconic — It is just a square base, with a stick right in the middle and just one button. At the time, it was all the gamers needed. You will later come to the realization that the ergonomics of it leaves a lot to be desired. The base is too light, so you have to grab the base to move the stick around, and doing that can lead to cramping your hands.

Things improved as Nintendo came along and introduced the directional pad to the home console market. It was an innovation originally seen in their Game & Watch handhelds. At that time, computers did not really have any prominent equivalent, although its customizable nature did allow you to plug any kind of input peripherals. A standard controller for the PC, or the closest thing to it, would arrive after Microsoft released the Xbox 360. This was their second console ever, and it came with a controller that many people praise for its ergonomics. Its grips were large enough for both large and small hands, and its round shape was easy to hold. The two analog sticks are placed in an offset layout, and this is designed to have both your thumbs rested in a natural position.

When you are using your computer, it is important to be conscious about the ergonomics of the input devices. You do not want to develop chronic pain conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome. The great thing is, the companies manufacturing these peripherals are always looking for ways to improve on their design, so they can make you feel comfortable even during prolonged use.

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Why Good Governance Also Applies to the Family

Ask anyone about good governance, and they would commonly say that it’s related to governments and businesses. It’s how these major structures of society should govern their actions and decisions so that human rights and liberties are protected and upheld. Without it, corruption and incompetence will run rampant, jeopardizing the well-being of everyone in the community. The United Nations best describes good governance as having eight attributes. These include transparency, responsiveness, inclusiveness, and accountability, to name a few.

Though, aren’t these traits also vital in building a supportive and loving family? Families are the core of society, a microcosm of the outside world where other larger institutions draw from. Without this basic unit, neighborhoods, states, and countries wouldn’t exist. Beliefs, habits, and attitudes all develop and grow within the familial structure.

Whether you’re a mortgage broker or high school teacher, the status of your family relationships can affect your work and whatever community you’re a part of. You will carry the intellectual and emotional scars that stem from a problematic household. On the other hand, close family relationships have been found to improve an individual’s satisfaction and decrease the risk of depression. That is why integrating good governance in families can be the key to better and happier lives.

Why family governance?

Family governance provides a system or a tool for families to navigate cropping issues, different interests, and limited resources. The practice brings clarity and accountability to all the members involved because roles, expectations, and goals are defined and discussed. Having articulated values and a mission and vision statement will serve as a guidepost for everyone. For example, if your family has a vision of continuous growth, then every member will know that they should be learning something new every month. Activities like quiz nights, board games, and Ted talks will become a part of the family dynamics.

The family will also be able to avoid disagreements as they answer the following questions:

  • How will important decisions be made? Who will have the final say?
  • What are the appropriate boundaries of each family member?
  • What will be the process of inheriting and passing down wealth?
  • How can family values be encouraged and practices?
  • How will fights and differences in opinion be resolved?

Improving family dynamics and communication

Family on a trip

Instilling the practice of good governance in the family will take time and commitment. Values and goals should be revisited regularly through group huddles and one-on-ones. Like in the business setting, these group meetings are an avenue where feedback and information are shared without judgment. It also provides an avenue where members can share the issues and problems they’re experiencing. Children will feel loved and valued if they know their family members will listen to whatever they have to say while giving advice and mentorship.

Another way to fast track the good governance culture is when parents take the lead and uphold the principles in their relationship as a couple. When the family becomes bigger, couples tend to focus more on their children while sacrificing the original dynamics. That is problematic. When the connection between the couple becomes weak, they become separate individuals instead of a team trying to solve one goal. They will tend to treat the other as an enemy and not someone who is in the boat with them.

An effective family governance practice ensures that issues and conflict don’t break the relationship of the members. It creates an environment where opinions are valued, feelings are acknowledged, and expectations are communicated.

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Budget Reorganization: Giving You a Better Path Financially

Having a form of debt to your name is not all that bad. There are valid reasons why you would need to borrow some money from a financial institute like your bank. For example, not many can afford to purchase a house in cash, so they will have to accept a payment plan that would suit them. Later on, if they want to revisit or make adjustments to their monthly billing, they can request to have that done through mortgage refinancing. This will result in you having to pay less money for the remaining months of your contract. That would be an amount you could put instead of your other scheduled expenses.

Refinancing your mortgage is just one way for you to move things around when it comes to your finances. In fact, you can look at the bigger picture and see if you can do some restructuring with your budget.

Time to Reprioritize

Sometimes, you just get used to your spending habits that you do not notice when you start to bleed cash. This is when you will realize that you may have to rethink the way you are budgeting.

Reorganizing your budget requires you to reprioritize some of your expenses. A common practice would be for you to separate your wants and needs first, and put most of the latter at the top of your list. Your willpower comes in when you need to cut some of your wants. It is a tough decision that you have to make, or else your finances will suffer greatly.

Numbers Do Not Lie

The only way for you to uncover the good and bad with your budgeting is for you to sit down and get down to the details. You need to write down all the things you are spending on and compare it to how much you are earning. It is basic accounting stuff for many, and there are ways to do it efficiently on your computer. A spreadsheet program is great for this task because it allows you to itemize and compute all the entries in one place. Once you have finished crunching your numbers, your records should show the areas or items where you need to make adjustments. These are absolute figures, and this just means that you cannot dispute the data that is in front of you.

Strategize

After getting your numbers, the next thing you have to do is work on some strategies. This is the part where you make the big decisions on where you want to cut your spending, and also how you will handle your cash flow. For the latter, one thing that you can plan out is the scheduling and allocation of cash. You can pay all of your bills next to your payday, or have it spread throughout the month. It is also up to you if you want to increase or decrease the money that you are setting aside for savings. Whatever you do, make sure that it will maintain your financial security.

Adjust Habits

All the changes that you will do for your budget will feel foreign at first. You will have to adjust some of your habits to make a smooth transition. Just because you lowered your savings targets does not mean you have to stay near that amount. It would be a huge boost for your motivation when you are able to set aside more than you are supposed to. And just the same, there can be times when you have to spend a bit more especially on essential expenses like food and medicine. But generally speaking, if you have a plan based on all the calculations you have made, you need to stick close to it to see your forecasts come to fruition.

Restructuring your budget can help you a lot if you want your financial path to always be on the positive end. It will take a lot of work, but there is no way for you to learn where to improve your spending or saving if you do not do this. Everything will be done with careful studying and analysis, and this will ensure that you will have a calculated path to success.

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Why Being Volatile Makes Bitcoin Attractive to Brave Investors

At first glance, a loan program looks complicated. For example, if you reach out to reputable mortgage companies to find out what your options are, you will be presented with several that have varying terms and duration. The computations might intimidate you initially, but once you take the time to understand it, it will all make sense. They also have people who will explain all of that and guide you through the entire application process. It is not made complex for complexity's sake. It is more about taking the financial interests of both the lender and the borrower seriously.

In the financial world, many people also think that the topic of cryptocurrency is a complicated one. They are baffled on how it works. One of its defining characteristics is that its value is on the volatile side. But it is for this reason some find it compelling from an investment standpoint.

A Backgrounder on Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency basically is digital money. It was created so users can have secure and anonymous transactions that can be traced permanently. All currency holders basically make a contribution to the blockchain, which can be seen as a universal ledger.

One way to earn yourself some cryptocurrency is by mining. Bitcoin is the pioneer and the benchmark currency, while all the alternative ones are aptly named as altcoins. Over time, people have seen many of them get launched only to lose traction later on and then eventually abandoned. Some of these were used as scams, capitalizing on the roller-coaster popularity of Bitcoin. At the positive end of the spectrum, there are enduring altcoins that are still holding their ground such as ethereum and litecoin.

Trending Values

In the stock market, the value of a share is said to be volatile if it experiences drastic changes in a period of time. Given that fact, you could say that bitcoin's volatility rate is one of the wildest the world has seen. To provide context, take a look at its history. It was launched in 2009 with almost zero value. It breached the $1,000 mark at the start of 2014, but then it found itself valued at $300 during the first quarter of 2015.

In 2017, bitcoin broke the $1,000 barrier in March. September was a crazy month for this year, as it saw its value fluctuate greatly, going beyond $5,000 at the start of the month only to drop back to below $3,000 after almost two weeks. October saw it steadily climb, culminating in its all-time record high of $19,783.06 that it reached on December 17. Five days later, it went down sharply to the $13,000 mark.

2018 was uneventful and there was a perceived notion that the bitcoin bubble had burst. In the previous year, it made records, but this year's December had it reach a relatively woeful $3,300.

Bitcoin in 2020 continues to prove how volatile it is. February saw it climb back to break the $10,000 mark. Then April came and it went back down to the $5,000 level, but it has since steadily climbed. September saw it playing around the $10,000 to $11,000 mark.

High Risk and High Reward

The basic advice of investors when it comes to shares or currencies is to buy low and sell high. When you put your money into something that is volatile, you are playing with uncertainty. Yes, you can say that taking in great risks will result in great rewards, but one could argue that even Bitcoin is susceptible to closure like the many altcoins that have become inactive. Its unregulated aspect seems to make governments take a cautious approach at recognizing it as a legitimate currency. This has caused its value to tank a few times in its lifetime.

On the other hand, if you came in at the perfect time, you might get some amazing gains in value. If you are planning to invest in it, make sure that you are willing to lose that money. Having this mindset will avoid any disappointment it may bring should things go on a downward spiral.

With the wild fluctuations in value it has experienced over the years, you can say that investing in bitcoin is for the brave. Getting into it requires that you have a lot of time to study its history and all the intricacies that surround it. If you want to dabble into investing in a volatile currency, you better make sure you come fully prepared.

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Go Green: How to Make Your Business More Eco-friendly

Going green doesn’t just benefit the planet. It can also do wonders for your business, particularly in improving your brand image and increasing competitive advantage. There is the benefit of attracting customers who care about the environment and getting more clients in general. Studies suggest that many consumers are willing to spend 20% more on businesses that have sustainable practices.

Here’s how to make your business more eco-friendly:

1. Embrace remote working

You might not realize it, but employees driving/commuting to and from work daily can waste time and money in traffic. Embracing a remote work environment can help you save money. It can also reduce your business’s carbon footprint. Do take note, however, that you don’t need to go fully or entirely remote. A good arrangement could be one day per week.

You should also know that many job seekers today are attracted to remote work or jobs that provide a work-from-home option on certain days of the week. This is because it offers flexibility and greater control over their personal and professional lives. Other benefits of remote work include:

  • Increased efficiency and productivity
  • Reduced business expenses
  • Improved employee satisfaction (and retention)
  • Better disaster preparedness
  • Better access to applicants (can result in a more diverse workplace)

2. Make your office (supplies) environmentally friendly. ;

You don’t necessarily have to buy sustainable products to make your business environmentally friendly. If your business doesn’t have the extra budget, you can focus your expenses on business areas that have the most impact. You can, for instance, invest in business software or efficient technology if that’s what your company needs.

You can also improve your efforts by making some of your office supplies more sustainable. When sealing packages or boxes, for instance, you can go with Kraft paper sealing tape instead of ordinary plastic tapes. The former is more eco-friendly and stronger than the latter. Going digital is also a good idea, as it can eliminate waste in printing.

eco-friendly office

3. Consider alternative energy sources

Depending on your business setup and office’s location, you can make use of renewable energy sources like solar, wind, or geothermal. If possible, you can consider installing solar panels on your roof or getting your energy from a nearby wind turbine. If these options are appropriate for your business, making the switch can help you reap long-term savings. ;

If you need help with financing, it is good to know that there are local and regional energy-efficiency programs that provide loans for businesses wanting to do an eco-friendly update. Some states also offer incentives like rebates for companies that use solar energy.

4. Reduce water usage

Reducing your office’s water consumption is an easy way to save money and conserve an essential environmental resource. There are several ways to lower water usage in your business. These include:

  • Installing low-flow toilets
  • Installing low-flow aerators
  • Fixing leaks and dripping taps
  • Putting up signage (to remind employees to turn off the water when scrubbing hands)
  • Making employees aware that your business is focused on water conservation

5. Recycle electronics

If you’re thinking of replacing electronic equipment like monitors, computers, printers, and tablets, you can consider donating them to charities or schools that need them. You might also be glad to know that some electronic manufacturers have recycling programs that offer credit for trade-ins and donation programs for charities.

When donating, selling, or safely disposing of old devices, be sure to retrieve passwords, photos, contacts, and other sensitive information. After backing up your data and transferring them to your new appliances, be sure to delete everything on your old devices.

These are just a few of the things you can adopt to make your business more eco-friendly. Be sure to explore other opportunities where you can save resources and help the environment in carrying out most of your business practices.

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