Wednesday, May 16, 2007

One Step Forward, One Step Back

Do you know what curb cuts are?

They are those ramps that get you from sidewalk to street and back. The Americans with Disabilities Act established the requirement for the benefit of wheelchair users, but they're helpful to lots of people – those pulling wheeled luggage and briefcases, or pushing grocery carts and strollers.

My new work laptop has me thinking about accessibility, and how it aids parents. I already wrote about how you need to have a non-shift-key password when you're a mom, because you only have one hand to type when you're holding a baby. Well, you only have one hand to manage the rest of PC operations too, so those accessibility features matter.

For instance, the computer has only one exterior latch, a distinct improvement. The old machine had two latches, meant for two hands simultaneously (although you could prop one latch open long enough with a finger to unhook the other one if you were careful).

On the downside, there's a new button right in between the Control and Alt keys. In order to ctrl-alt-del with one hand, I now need to cover three keys with my thumb at once, while reaching for the Delete key with my forefinger. So annoying! Maybe I'm going to have to teach the little dude to help me out.

If anyone knows what that new key does, let me know.


Anonymous said...

one hand computer use....oh the fun it is...

- Jon
- Daddy Detective

Bon said...

on my pc, the function key is the one splitting up control & alt. on my honey's mac, it's different again.

i handed computer use is an art. and just when i was getting good at, O started being unable to resist the urge to flail at the keyboard, so i've leapt from one hand to four, two of which are pretty random and dangerous.

(and on curb cuts...i never realized until i spent some time in a wheelchair while pregnant and on bedrest what buggers curbs really are. Dave, who is a pretty strong man, had a very hard time hefting me over those in the chair...which was partly my maternal daintiness, true...but mostly the curbs)

Lara said...

when i visited my friend heidi, i was holding her 5-week-old daughter makayla a lot while using my laptop. it was my first experience trying to multitask like that. boy was my typing slow! :-P

Lady M said...

Daddy D - I knew that someone would pick up on that . . .

Bon - curbs are tough! I used a wheeled briefcase for a long time, and I knew where every single curb cut was.

Lara - Practice, practice. ;)

ewe are here said...

I'm getting pretty good at one-handed typing on my laptop at this end. I just wish it came with a 'toddler shield' to protect it from my toddler who desperately wants to play with my keyboard and look at pictures whenever i have it open.