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Confessions of a Left-Handed Technology User

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the sinister-implications dept.

Microsoft 267

harrymcc writes "Over at TIME.com, I wrote about my trials and tribulations as a left-handed person who uses technology products. An awful lot of them have clearly been designed with the right-handed majority in mind, even when they claimed they weren't. But the good news is that modern smartphones and tablets are very lefty-friendly compared to the devices that preceded them."

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slashdot? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41148947)

where is the stuff that matters here?

I'm a Mac. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41148983)

I'm no longer ashamed to state that I am a Mac user. I know that bigots will view me differenty now that I've come out of the closet. I may lose my girlfriend and my family may disown me, but I will no longer deny my identity.

I AM A MAC!

Re:I'm a Mac. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149099)

Remember that time you went to Chinatown to find some good prices and you thought you find a sexy one with nice tits only to get her home and realize it was a trick and she actually a samsung with android parts under her skirt...

First World Problem Here (-1, Troll)

heptapod (243146) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149007)

It's okay, left handed people don't have souls. Just like gingers.

Also you're complaining about chirality in technology? Really? How is this news for nerds? This place has become an even bigger gay gang bang since Taco picked up his toys and went home. OMG Ponies had more gravitas than the shit posted on Slashdot of late.

Re:First World Problem Here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149085)

Alright Jimmy, can I call you Jimmy? Great. OK then Jimmy, here's what you have to do.

Go into your kitchen, and set your oven to exactly 450 degrees, turn on all of the back burners of your stove and go to your garage. You will find a shovel, you may or may not recognize it, thats ok. Take the shovel and head over to your neighbors yard. Dig a hole to the specifications of 3 feet wide, 6 feet long, and 2 feet deep. Now search your pockets, you will find a single match and a needle. Prick your finger and place a single drop on the head of the match, stick the match into the ground head up. Now the preparations are complete for the summoning. You will kneel at the west side of the hole, at the foot of the hole, draw a circle. You will then place your pricked hand in the circle, look down at the ground, and chant .

I shall you tell with plain declaration
Where, how, and what is my generation
Omogeni is my Father
And Magnesia is my Mother
And Azot truly is my Sister
And Kibrick forsooth is my Brother
The Serpent of Arabia is my name
The which is leader of all this game

Then he will rise from your portal, do NOT make a single sound, nor should you move even your head to look at him, lest you be consumed. After some time, He will begin to question you, only then may you move only your head to slightly nod yes or no. If he is satisfied with your answers, all will be made known to thee.

Re:First World Problem Here (5, Funny)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149103)

You should really lock your PC when you walk away. Someone just trolled you and made you look like a complete jackass.

Re:First World Problem Here (1)

Magic5Ball (188725) | more than 2 years ago | (#41150193)

Parent post wasn't showing. I'm disappointed that you didn't mean the /Time/ author.

Re:First World Problem Here (4, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149161)

I'm left handed, but I've never had an issue using mice or trackpads right handed. After a little test right now it seems I also use my right hand more often when using a tablet or smartphone - probably because of the mouse thing.

Random facts that perhaps nobody cares about: I play baseball, golf and hockey with a right handed orientation, but racket games like tennis and badminton left handed. I am more comfortable brushing my teeth and shaving with my left hand, but have recently been occasionally practice with my right just for fun. When I was a kid, I broke my left wrist and so was forced to learn to write, eat etc, with my right hand for a while. It's fun to practice being ambidextrous.

Re:First World Problem Here (5, Interesting)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149583)

I will acknowledge your obscure facts and respond with my own. I'm a righty, but I deal cards left handed because I was taught by my mother, who is a lefty. You might say that makes sense, except she deals like a righty, and when I learned I properly mirror-imaged her teaching like I did with everything else she showed me. I guess we just both share a family proclivity for dealing cards backwards.

I also learned to mouse lefty when I started suffering carpal tunnel effects. I have gotten some very weird reactions from people trying to use my desk, including an absurd number of "oh! I didn't know you were left handed!" comments from people who have no reason to know or care what my primary hand is, but suddenly seemed to think it was a big deal. I've had a couple of other visitors actually move the mouse over to the right side of the keyboard, despite the fact they were standing and only needed to use the mouse for a few seconds (easily could have just used the mouse where it was) and one person who went so far as to comment as he moved it "you've got the mouse on the wrong side" like I didn't know where I'd left it.

Re:First World Problem Here (1)

C0R1D4N (970153) | more than 2 years ago | (#41150351)

It is called being cross dominant.

Re:First World Problem Here (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149967)

Oh yeah, I also play guitar right handed. I actually think this probably gives a benefit to dexterity on the fingerboard, which requires more spacial coordination than simply choosing which string to pluck. So I'm not sure why left handers even want to play using the opposite orientation - especially given that this means you can't just pick up any old guitar at someone's house and play.

Re:First World Problem Here (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 2 years ago | (#41150215)

I agree with you there. I don't play guitar, but when I started playing Rock Band it only took me a couple of minutes to realize that it made sense to use my left thumb to hit the strum button since there's no precision at all needed there, and to use my right hand for the more complicated multi-key fingering on the neck.

Re:First World Problem Here (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149637)

I don't know why you were considered a troll. It is actually informative.

The last 4 Presidents were left handed - Bush the elder, Clinton, Bush the younger, and Obama. How's that working out for everyone?

Microsoft logo needs an update (2)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149041)

The Microsoft logo [fsdn.com] used for this story is outdated [slashdot.org] .

Insightful (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149109)

I feel that this is an insightful and relevant comment to the story.

I've seen some crap stories on Slashdot, but this one is the crappiest of all time.

Yes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149077)

Yes, but the more important question is whether the article writer is related to Phil McCracken [facebook.com] .

Silly (5, Interesting)

andy16666 (1592393) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149091)

As a life long lefty, I can honestly say I've never felt the need to complain because a piece of technology isn't designed for me. I don't find any technology gadget I own to be designed in such a way so as to impede my usage of it.

I do know lefties who complain constantly about the injustice afforded them, but to be honest I've never been able to empathize with them.

Re:Silly (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149133)

Same for me. Though I'm pretty proficient with right hand also so maybe it's worse for some. Then again, maybe I'm proficient with right hand because I never really let the handedness of a product prevent me from using it?

Re:Silly (1)

rjune (123157) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149209)

I agree. I'm left-handed and have always used a right-handed mouse or trackball. I can't even use a left handed mouse or scissors comfortably anymore. In some ways using a mouse right-handed helps me work faster. I can click on a pull down menu using the mouse, then press a key with my left hand. (At least until Office went to the ribbon interface)

Re:Silly (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149483)

I'm left-handed and have always used a right-handed mouse or trackball.

This. As a lefty, I can not for the life of me understand how righties mouse and fap at the same time.

Re:Silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149567)

they don't, or they use a mouse on their left

Re:Silly (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41150263)

All porn on shortcuts.

Re:Silly (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149575)

I don't understand the complaints about using a mouse either. Us right handed people are the ones who suffer. Since you want to use the mouse with your off hand, making it much easier to use the phone or take notes with a pen and paper while also using the mouse to do whatever on the computer.

Left handed people thus get a huge choice in mouse designs while still being able to use the mouse in the hand it should be. While us right handers get a crappy choice.

Sure for most things lefties get the short end of the stick, so complaining about the thing they get the best of as well is ridiculous.

Re:Silly (1)

Gort65 (1464371) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149751)

Conversely, I'm right-handed, yet use my left hand to use the mouse. This came about several years ago due to the layout of my then computer desk (don't ask why I couldn't alter it), so I just got used to using my left for the mouse. I can use the mouse with my right hand, but actually prefer to use my left, particularly as I can use my right to write down things, etc. I do get asked a lot if I'm left-handed and then I have to give them this boring story I've just typed above.

Re:Silly (2)

neminem (561346) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149225)

Do you count scissors or pens as technology? Cause, as a left-handed person, those are annoying. But I've never had a problem with a phone, laptop, keyboard or printer. I've always used a mouse right-handed, though - I write left-handed, but I'd feel weird putting a mouse in that hand.

Re:Silly (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149419)

I notice my lefthandedness everytime I don't use the number pad. In fact, I never enter numbers with the number pad, because I am so used to the number keys on top of the keyboard, which I reach with my left hand.

Re:Silly (1)

andy16666 (1592393) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149643)

Funny you mention that. I use the number row a lot, but I still find the number pad with my right hand to be faster for dedicated numeric entry. I just don't use it much because as a programmer I don't do a lot of manual numeric data entry.

Re:Silly (1)

neminem (561346) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149727)

I use the number row a bit... for playing Nethack. Never use it for entering numbers. I don't think it's cause I'm left-handed, though, it's just kind of out of the way, and I rarely, if ever, have to enter large numbers of numbers at once.

Re:Silly (1)

andy16666 (1592393) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149597)

I've gotten really used to scissors. Good scissors don't require any modification to use left handed; they just work. For cheap ones, all you have to do is apply a little transverse force and they work just as well left handed.

I'm not sure how a pen could be left handed.

Re:Silly (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149599)

Pens? Pens are symmetrical. How would that pose a problem?

Re:Silly (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149693)

Unless the ink dries quickly, lefties tend to smear it with the heel of their hand as they move across the page.

Re:Silly (2)

Antipater (2053064) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149903)

This. Also, fancy fountain pens draw lines of different thickness depending on their angle - a thicker line when moving up and down, a thinner one when moving sideways. The angle of pen to paper for a lefty is 90 degrees different from a righty; that means that anything that would be a thick line when written by a righty is a thin line for a lefty and vice versa. It's not an issue for normal stuff, but if you ever look at calligraphy written by a lefty it just looks - odd. Backwards.

Re:Silly (1)

andy16666 (1592393) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149713)

Maybe it's a reference to fountain pens? Now that I think of it, I remember writing nibs on fountain pens working better for right handed people. I always had to hold them at a different angle to use them, but you get used to it pretty quickly.

Re:Silly (1)

kumanopuusan (698669) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149843)

The pen itself is symmetrical, but the orthographic system is not. For one thing, with your hand to the left of a pen while writing in English, you drag your hand through fresh ink.

Re:Silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149319)

As a life long lefty, I can honestly say I've never felt the need to complain because a piece of technology isn't designed for me. I don't find any technology gadget I own to be designed in such a way so as to impede my usage of it.

I do know lefties who complain constantly about the injustice afforded them, but to be honest I've never been able to empathize with them.

Seems like some Nintendo DS games I own were designed for people to use the stylus with their right hand. It's a bit awkward for lefties. That said, the fact that this is the only example I can come up with among all the other gadgets I've owned over the years pretty well demonstrates how much of a non-issue this is overall.

Re:Silly (3, Funny)

John Napkintosh (140126) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149343)

You should suggest that they get together and open a store filled with products which cater to the left-handed people to address this persecution. Some sort of emporium of left-handedness. A leftorium, if you will.

Re:Silly - Not So! (1)

0xG (712423) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149379)

Even though I am right-handed, I mouse with my left.
(Makes me more productive)...
I find myself agreeing with the author, because I search in vain for a proper left-mouse.

Boo Logiech!!

Re:Silly (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149525)

Yeah, I found the whole article pretty bogus. He talks about the left-handed bias in the QWERTY keyboard and switched from a right-handed mouse to a left-handed mouse, killing the benefit. I'm a lefty-favoring-ambidextrous person that mouses with my right because it is a decided advantage. I can mouse and type quite well.

Also, his caption about Jobs being ambidextrous and wearing his watch as a righty was proof that he wasn't? That's stupid. I've adjusted to using "handed" equipment with the intended hand and he already explained why a watch was right handed. If Jobs has the same ambidextrous bend that I have, you use the equipment for the hand it was designed.

Just way too many complaints about technology unnecessarily.

Re:Silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149613)

Also agree. My mother-in-law is a leftie (as am I) and she complains *constantly* about how unkind the world is to us. But about the only tech that gave me trouble were scissors - and the so-called "left-handed" scissors were more trouble than their right-handed counterparts. I adapted pretty quickly. The rest of the world? Not a problem.

Re:Silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149835)

I'm right handed and due to an injury I use my left hand for my mouse since it will cause less repetitive strain (tendonitis) on my dominant hand which I'd prefer to work well in my life and not my work. The only major complaint I have is that copy&paste and alt+tab are far easier as a right handed person (you don't have to take your hand off the mouse) but I think it's pretty much nullified when you consider how useful the numpad is.

Some people think it's crazy when they try and use my mouse but you get used to it very quickly. Different layouts for different objectives. I have my work pc with the startmenu on the bottom and my home pc with it on the top. I find they both have advantages, especially the startmenu on the top when viewing a 40" tv.

Re:Silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149981)

I'm also a life long lefty but as a kid in the 60's my parents never tried to force me to grow up as a righty.

I learned to be ambidexterious with hand tools (screw drivers, hammers, drills, etc).

With computers, I can use a mouse left or right handed which really messes with peoples minds when they see me.

Re:Silly (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#41150049)

If it was really as bad as this guy seems to think then leftys would become rightys.
It is not like being gay, it is like not being particularly proficient at a language.

Re:Silly (1)

Enry (630) | more than 2 years ago | (#41150137)

Mice got me for a while. Figured it out, still going just fine 20 years later.

Re:Silly (1)

zerobeat (628744) | more than 2 years ago | (#41150251)

Im a lefty too and I don't usually have problems in this right handed world - I deal. But then, I am fairly ambidextrous. You may be too.

I have never met a left hander who really had a lot of problems in this right handed world, but I have met many right handers who simply can not use a "left handed" piece of equipment either by using their left hand or by "flipping in their minds" how to use it. I have heard/seen of TV some left handers are also equally unable to do this, perhaps because they are extremely left handed.

I think the thing that is most annoying is when a right hander can not understand why you may be a little slower doing something with a right handed tool. It took me a long time to master using right handed scissors when I was a child. You have to use them with your right hand otherwise you can't see where you are cutting - I wonder how many right handers are aware of that? I no longer have any problem but I was "slower" than my school friends and yes I do remember my teachers and class mates interpreting that negatively - like I was some kind of 'retard'. ATMs are another device that comes to mind. I now get my card in my right hand when I approach, but this is not natural for me. If most right-handers encountered an ATM with the slots on the left, they would not be able to cope well at all (until they learn). Imagine the excuses they would use (like I have used) when they flub it. "Stupid design, who dreamt this up?". Most right handers simply do not understand how the world is designed for them.

On a side note, I once overheard a conversation where a guy was showing off an elaborate computer mouse to a co-worker. When asked by my co-worker if all these features would make it very hard for a left hander to use, this guy just snarked "who cares... who is left handed anyway?". This isn't exactly "handism" but I was pretty pissed off to overhear that. I wonder if that guy ever wonders why I never responded to his 'friend' requests on facebook and linkedin. Its not just because I barely know him.

What's the big deal? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149121)

I'm left-handed and I seriously don't see all of the life-challenges that are moaned about in this article and others, whether they concern technology or not. I'm pretty convinced that life as a left-hander is no harder than it would be if I were right-handed.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Pontiac (135778) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149491)

I'm in the same camp.. I can't stand left handed mice. Back in the 80s my dad got me a leftie mouse when I was getting into CAD. I tried it but I couldn't stand it. I was much happier with the right mouse because I was better at typing with my left so I could easily mouse and type at the same time.
When I was doing desktop support I sometime run across the lefties with the mouse buttons reversed too. Those folks will really slow you down.

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149773)

The big deal is that they get to write another troll pointing out Microsoft was never left-hand friendly, but Steve Jobs was awesome.

sigh, slashdot!

Lefty here, and I can't stand left handed mice (1)

reubenavery (1047008) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149143)

Maybe I'm just so used to right handed mice. I have always had the same issue with left handed scissors as well. :-/

Righty here, and I can't stand right handed mice (1)

MasaMuneCyrus (779918) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149265)

I prefer ambidextrous mice. It probably has something to do with my mouse style--an extreme version of the fingertip grip [razerzone.com] --and I find that *-handed mice tend to want to rotate while I'm using them. I think that *-handed mice are really only good for people with the palm-grip style.

Re:Righty here, and I can't stand right handed mic (1)

elfprince13 (1521333) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149805)

Frakking clawgrippers, make it impossible to find a proper non-wireless palm-grip mouse these days.

Re:Lefty here, and I can't stand left handed mice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149315)

I agree. As a lefty, I have always used ambidextrous mice with my left hand, without swapping buttons. It just feels more natural to me.

Re:Lefty here, and I can't stand left handed mice (1)

Marillion (33728) | more than 2 years ago | (#41150105)

My mouse left-handed with unswapped buttons. Although I'm not strongly left-handed. My sister, however, is militantly left-handed and she swaps the buttons. Drives me nuts.

Re:Lefty here, and I can't stand left handed mice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149415)

You mean he's holding it wrong?

--

Why did this answer by Jobs cause so much anger, but is now being accepted by almost everyone for a problem as deep as the antenna placement?

I'm a lefty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149153)

I'm a lefty and adapt to tech like I adapt to everything else. Mouse is used on the right hand. I did develop one of my apps to have a "Left Handed Mode" called Poggler.

My dad who was also a lefty used the mouse with his left hand.

Re:I'm a lefty (4, Interesting)

John Napkintosh (140126) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149413)

As a lefty, I always thought it was a good thing that the mouse is on the right. Mousing isn't something that requires incredible accuracy, and the accuracy it does require is easily learned in a rather small amount of time, so long as my hand was compatible with the ergonomics of the mouse, I was in good shape. And it freed up my left hand for combination keystrokes and shortcuts and one-handed typing, which definitely requires more deliberate movements and precision than right-handed mousing does for a lefty.

CD Jewel cases (4, Interesting)

ehud42 (314607) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149249)

Other than smudging the ink from those awful erasable pens, I never payed much attention to products working or not working for us lefties, until CD's came along. Actually, it wasn't until I watched my right handed friend struggle to open a CD case. Somehow he was awkwardly trying to pry the front open with his right hand, which between the case swinging open against the natural movement of the right arm, and somehow gripping the edges of the lid with his left hand as he held the back, was quite entertaining.

For me it was natural to hold the back with my right hand (hinge side on my middle fingers, other side on my thumb) and then grab the front with my left hand (fingers/thumb along top and bottom). The case just opened beautifully.

It is the only tech device I can think of that worked better for us lefties from day one.

Re:CD Jewel cases (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149663)

We know. That's why we got rid of them and mainly use envelopes now.

Righties.

Re:CD Jewel cases (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149689)

I'm a right-handed guy, and I hadn't even considered doing anything other than what you, as a lefty, suggested.

Re:CD Jewel cases (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 2 years ago | (#41150245)

me too. books have to be opened this way too if you need to hold them in your hands for some reason.
all of this is valid if you insist to look at the front cover the right way while you open them. otherwise you can simply turn the cd case around, and do the mirror movements; and you can simply do a perfectly symmetrical movement with books.

Re:CD Jewel cases (2)

Kozz (7764) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149721)

For me it was natural to hold the back with my right hand (hinge side on my middle fingers, other side on my thumb) and then grab the front with my left hand (fingers/thumb along top and bottom). The case just opened beautifully.

Aside from the fact that CD jewel cases aren't very well designed... I'm right-handed and open CDs exactly the same way you do. My "handedness" never occurred to me while using them.

Does your right-handed friend also open the cover of books across his body with his right hand?

Re:CD Jewel cases (1)

ehud42 (314607) | more than 2 years ago | (#41150169)

Does your right-handed friend also open the cover of books across his body with his right hand?

Actually - he probably does. I observe that people hold books with their left hand and then lift the cover/turn pages with their right. It works because the book cover isn't clipped to the body/pages to limit accidental opening.

I'm not 100% left handed, and have a lot of right handed tendencies (all sports are rh) - I dexterously open books, but sinistrously open CD cases.

Re:CD Jewel cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149789)

For me it was natural to hold the back with my right hand (hinge side on my middle fingers, other side on my thumb) and then grab the front with my left hand (fingers/thumb along top and bottom). The case just opened beautifully.

That's what everyone does. Except your friend. Who is plainly retarded.

Re:CD Jewel cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149865)

I'm a righty and that's how I open CD cases. I just assumed everyone opened them that way. Also, I praise your efficient use of words in describing your method--I was able to comprehend it immediately.

Re:CD Jewel cases (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 2 years ago | (#41150123)

Curious. I'm a righty and use the exact same motion as you describe to open a CD case. It's been a few decades since I learned, but I can't recall ever considering it unnatural to do the holding with my right and the moving with my left. It's such a simple action and doesn't require much precision, so the left is perfectly suitable as far as I'm concerned. Or I struggled in the beginning and I've just forgotten over the intervening years.

Some technology is Left-handed (1)

Kuukai (865890) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149281)

Take the gamepad, for instance. You do all the movement control that requires dexterity with your left hand, and use the right to simply bash buttons. For a couple of the very-hard fighting game maneuvers, I find myself crossing my right hand over.

Re:Some technology is Left-handed (1)

CanEHdian (1098955) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149907)

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

The Famicom was also the first home system to put the directional control on the left. While many arcade systems had the directional control joystick on the left of the buttons, most home systems of the era used joysticks designed for right-handed operation. The division has continued to this day, with computer joysticks typically being designed for use in the right hand with gamepads and arcade joysticks favoring the left hand.

If Atari had come up with a Gamepad for their 5200 system, who knows, perhaps the standard would have been stick on the right, buttons on the left.

switch hands (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149283)

It's not that difficult to switch hands, infact it may be better for you in the long run. Many of the users where I work have switch the mouse from right to left because it's more ergonomic.

I trained myself to mouse with the left hand... (1)

ks9208661 (1862000) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149305)

... to stop my pesky colleagues from using my computer. Worked surprisingly very well.

Too many invalid examples in TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149323)

The author write about things that aren't even an inconvenience as being too right hand centric such as the control panel on copiers being to the right side of their paper trays. [I'm not familiar with that style as ours here and every one I have happened to use has the control panel on the left side or centered.]
Another set of examples involves the port and button layout on the sides of laptops.
Either you're going to do it by feel which is not a fine precision action or you're going to look at the laptop (possibly rotating it) so this isn't a right or left hand friendly thing but more about how natural it feels by repetition.

The authors valid concerns are keyboards and mice.
Keyboards are mostly right hand centric when it comes to the keypad.
Most keyboards with extra buttons are across the top and not very friendly to begin with.
Some keyboards have buttons to the left for additional features. This isn't even an attempt to be right or left hand centric but friendly for travel distance of your hand as your hand is positioned to the left side of the keyboard to type.

The mouse is still extremely unfriendly as they are designed largely for right handed people and try to give them a more natural feel.
This has changed only very slowly and is actually kind of appalling.

Re:Too many invalid examples in TFA (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149879)

The most invalid example is that of the PDA/tablet, where writing with your left hand drags on the touch-sensitive surface.

That isn't a problem with a data tablet - it's a problem with the English language. If you use a tablet in Arabic, Japanese, or many other languages, lefties have the advantage, and right-handed people are at a disadvantage.

TIME (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149359)

"Over at TIME.com, I wrote ..." I stopped reading at that point.

You all have it backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149389)

Why the heck do people use their good hand on the mouse? I use my left hand on the mouse and use my good hand to operate the much more complex keyboard.

Twice the wear time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149475)

I'm mainly lefty, but mixed dominance is how it plays out. I switch mouse hands about every 6 months to even up the wear on my joints and tendons. Sometimes I switch the buttons around, sometimes I don't; I reckon that helps contribute to mental flexibility.

Re:Twice the wear time (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149825)

Sometimes I switch the buttons around, sometimes I don't;

Why do lefties switch the mouse buttons?

They're referred to as "left mouse button" and "right mouse button" - not as "index finger" and "middle finger".

Re:Twice the wear time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41150277)

I tend to think of it more abstractly. For me, standard right-hand configuration is left button (index) = main click, right button (middle) = context-sensitive click. It's easier for me to mirror-image that idea for left hand use, so that index = main click, and middle = context sensitive. I know for sure that I click more quickly with my index, but it doesn't matter that much most of the time. So, my ideal modes are, in order (#1 and #2 are roughly equal actually): (1) using right hand, standard mouse config; (2) using left hand, mirror-image right-hand config; (3) using left hand, standard right-hand config (easily transferable from left to right with no config change. I do this sometimes when I pass the mouse from one side to another because of real estate issues on my desk); (4) using right hand, reversed standard config = weird but doable.
I find this flexibility really useful when I'm using my main computer and building/working on a laptop on the same desk. I'll set up the laptop mouse for left-hand use and put it to my left, and the main computer's mouse for right-hand use and use a mouse in each hand and glance back and forth as needed. Or vice versa as needed...

Going a bit too far (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149495)

One of the photo captions: "Steve Jobs claimed to be ambidextrous, but as this 1981 photo shows, he wore his watch on his left hand -- a tattletale sign of right-handedness"

Really?! On which hand is an ambidextrous person supposed to wear a watch?

Re:Going a bit too far (2)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 2 years ago | (#41150151)

The other other hand, I suppose.

Some problems (1)

juanjux (125739) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149681)

I only have problems with two products I own:

1. Samsung Galaxy S3. The screen is so big that it is wider than my thumb. That means that I've some difficulties using the back button. Since that is the button I use more, its uncomfortable. Right handed people with small hands would have the same problem with the "menu" button. Also, lot of program with scroll bars are on the left side. Very few offer an option to change the size of the scrollbar; the buttons can usually be reprogrammed after rooting (I still have to look how to do it on the S3.)

2. My Sony Vaio laptop. I use right-handed buttons on the mouse but with the left hand (left side). My Vaio has the fan air exit on the left side, so if I'm using an external mouse my hand is constantly receiving a not so nice (specially in summer) how air stream.

Other than that, I've never feel "impeded" by technology.

Cars (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149699)

So, will lefties demand to drive british cars in the USA? Right now they are forced to operate the gear lever with their non-dominant right hand.

Re:Cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149925)

No. We don't care.

Re:Cars (1)

Fritz T. Coyote (1087965) | more than 2 years ago | (#41150239)

The gear lever is pretty much a 'dumb hand' job, for the few of us left-handed Americans still using manual transmissions.

The more critical part - the clutch pedal, is operated by the left foot, and this is a place where finesse and fine control pays off.

What I have observed is that lefties are more adaptable due to being constantly forced to use their 'dumb hand' for things designed for the right-handed majority.

And some righties are terminally right-handed, and do stupid things like leaning half out of the car so they can operate the drive-up ATM with their right hand, tossing coins at toll baskets with their right hand and missing, and, of course, complaining about QWERTY keyboards.

"Right" Side of the Road (2)

CanEHdian (1098955) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149709)

This is exactly how I am explaining to everyone what the 'ideal' (so it won't be confusing) side of the road is to drive on:

Assumptions:
1. There are two side-by-side seats in front, with a center console for instrumentation.
2. One sits on the opposite side of the side of the road one drives on (e.g. drive on the right, sit on the left).
3. Drivers prefer to use their dominant hand for tasks that require the most precise motor control.

Argument:
Since the console, which holds the gear shift, climate control, GPS, stereo, etc. is in the centre, it depends on what the dominant hand is for the majority of the population. If that happens to be the right hand, the console should be to the right of the driver, hence the driver is sitting in the left seat. With assumption 2 that follows the car should drive on the right-hand side of the road.

Lefties can rejoyce themselves in thinking what it would be like for a right-handed person to learn to drive with a standard stick-shift over in the UK.

Re:"Right" Side of the Road (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149921)

3. Drivers prefer to use their dominant hand for tasks that require the most precise motor control.

That task is turning the steering wheel, surely - leaving, in the UK at least, the less dexterous (see what I did there?) hand to do the much simpler task of pushing a stick into a slot.

Lefties can rejoyce themselves

Not in public!

Re:"Right" Side of the Road (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149985)

For me the thought that in the UK the right side to drive on is not the right side, is by itself more than enough of an argument.

Re:"Right" Side of the Road (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41150159)

No in the UK we hold the stearing wheel in the dominant hand and do everything else with the left (the stearing wheel is the only thing you need to use with your hands in an emergency not the climate control, GPS etc) . Most buttons that need touching when a car is moving are not small and also climate control, GPS, stereo, etc should be used by the passengar if a car is in motion.

Also why assume everyone is right handed, most people use the side they were tought to use as most things we do are learned. I use am neither right or left handed naturally but wright righthanded, type with both, put a watch on my right hand and hold a phone, IPAD etc with my left. I am sure that if you looked at left handed teachers classes there would be more heft handed students than with a right handed teacher (espically for early years)

Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149759)

It's quite a joy having to remap every key for pretty much every video game ever. Of course there are some laughs here and there, for example when righties whine about poor control schemes...

In the end I find it makes me better than the average player as I adapt, and can adapt quicker than the average person, but it also raises the bar for what I will put up with.

The worst part is mouse and keyboards though. There are no good lefty mice, so it's ambi or go home. Keyboards are also very touchy. Home keys for movement being pl'; those keys need to work and not have ghosting issues and key layout comes into play also.

Re:Games (1)

Fritz T. Coyote (1087965) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149991)

Agree...
Even more fun - mapping things to a ambidextrous left-side trackball. Especially software that assumes everyone has a mouse-wheel so there is no need to make the zoom in/out or whatever function re-mappable.

My biggest recent rant was at Skyrim. It shipped with no way to remap controls to the number pad, apparently it never occurred to them that people would want to use all of their keyboard.

(Happily a modder posted a fix for that little oversight.)

It's always someone's fault. (1)

Unknown1337 (2697703) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149813)

If you want something to complain about you'll find it. Maybe it's not the left-handed thing getting in the way, but rather your assumption that the world is out to get you for it. Buttons are generally on both sides of devices or centred which makes them equally easy or difficult for left/right handed people. As for marker smudges, you can't blame technology for that one, that's the fault of writing in a left-to-right language. Top to bottom and right to left languages would not cause any issue for lefties.

"You're holding it wrong" (2)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149815)

Most recent example of a hand bias that hit major headlines. While I doubt Apple made this mistake by using only right-handed testers and it likely had more to do with minimal testing in poor signal areas, this problem manifested more frequently with the way a lefty held their phone.

Left handed relatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41149909)

Back in the days when it was normal to have only 1 family computer, I forced my left handed mother and sister to use the mouse on the right side. Both still do to this day and thank me for it. Some times you just need to adapt to the world around you.

Being a lefty can be expensive (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149933)

I think the worst thing about it is buying sport equipment. All three of us brothers are lefties, and growing up, we played a lot of sports. A nice set of left handed golf clubs, for example, are almost twice as much for the right handed version if they are even available.

On an unrelated note, in my first engineering course in college my professor said for all the left-handed people to raise their hands, which ended up being more than 50% of the class. Aside from my own home, that's the only time I've ever been in the majority with my dominant hand.

Left-handedness has some advantages too (0)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149941)

For me, the ability to play FPSes using the arrow keys dwarves all other inconveniences.

up up down down left right left right (1)

compwizrd (166184) | more than 2 years ago | (#41149959)

I'm ambidextrous. I can screw things up equally with both hands.

Actually, I'm left handed, but I've never had any issue with right-handed devices.. scissors work just fine for me, etc.

Re:up up down down left right left right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41150283)

Screwing things up with both hands is actually "ambisinister".

As a fellow lefthander... (1)

phobos512 (766371) | more than 2 years ago | (#41150121)

...I'm ashamed to be associated with this article/author in any way. I've been a lefty since day one per my parents - there was never any doubt. Was it easy growing up learning to write, use tech, etc.? Yeah, actually, it was. A child's brain is highly plastic. Additionally, my kindegarten and first grade teacher (same woman) was lefthanded so I had that advantage as compared to all the other unfortunates in my class hehe. And now that I'm an adult I do just fine. Yeah, I mouse with my right. And by some miracle I can actually use standard scissors - the horror! I don't think I've ever known anyone who couldn't. I do have a dexterity advantage in operating a motorcycle though as the transmission controls are fully on the left side. :D

Left hand, right hand (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41150219)

What about us poor folks who can't make up their minds? I write, bowl, golf and eat right handed. I throw a baseball, football, darts, shoot baskets with my left. I wish the numeric keypad was on the other side of the keyboard. And it really is time to switch the (numeric)keys to match those on a phone.

Actually, computers favor lefties. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41150231)

As a leftie, I absolutely disagree with the author's reasoning. I think that most computers favor lefties, for one simple reason. In most standard computer configurations, you use peripheral devices with your right hand, leaving your left hand for the interface that requires the most dexterity. I'm talking specifically about the keyboard.

I mouse right-handed. I used to mouse left-handed until I got tired of having to move my left hand from the keyboard to the mouse all the time. The switch took me about a week to get used to.

Sure, when I'm typing, I use both hands. But when I'm doing repetitive tasks that involve both keyboard and mouse (e.g. hit this button, type some text, hit this button again, type some more text...) I just keep my left hand on the keyboard and my right hand on the mouse. As mentioned in the article, the QWERTY layout favors lefties anyway. A leftie typing with just his left hand is in general going to be faster than a rightie typing with just his right.

Numeric keypads? Same thing. I learned to use the keypad with my right hand, and it's never been a problem. That still leaves my left hand on the keyboard for switching back and forth between typing numbers and text.

As for power buttons and disc-eject buttons, this is leftie-centric for a different reason. If you position your computer tower to your right so that you can reach it more easily with your right hand, you have to reach across the tower to hit a button on the other side. But if your computer tower is on your left so that you can reach it more easily with your left hand, you reach for the near side of the tower. You don't have to reach as far.

I agree with his complaint about laptop optical drives being on the right hand side, but it has nothing to do with handedness. I just think the drives should be on the opposite site as the mouse so that the mouse doesn't get in the way. Since he mouses left-handed, this probably never occurred to him because he's never had the disc tray hit the mouse when ejecting. Putting a disc in the drive is a two-handed job on the laptop anyway. One hand to pull out the tray and one to insert the disc. (I know, you can do it one-handed, but you can do it two-handed more quickly)

About his only legitimate complaint is the position of control panels on printers. But I use them so seldom that I'm fine with just standing a step to the right. Besides, how often do you need to access the paper trays at the same time as using the control panel anyway?

Get over it. (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 2 years ago | (#41150325)

Learn to be ambidextrous. It will serve you well no matter which is your dominant hand and it is helpful protection against strokes and such.

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