Monday, February 28, 2005

Handheld hurt

"Doris Mosblech's boss at Embarcadero Systems bought her a BlackBerry last month so she could instantly read and reply 24/7 to all the e-mails funneling in from the Alameda company's 2,500 employees.

The 53-year-old network manager, who already works 14-hour days, now has even less leisure time to garden and scrapbook. But the biggest pain isn't receiving the round-the-clock disruptions -- it's replying to them.

Mosblech torques her wrists and curls her fingers to clutch the 4.69-inch handheld device while scrunching her thumbs to type 50 to 100 e-mails a day on the keyboard's popcorn kernel-size buttons.

``My fingers get crampy, my hands hurt, and I have problems grasping things,'' the San Mateo woman said. Sometimes ``it will hurt all the way up to my neck.''
Repetitive stress injuries -- a common curse of desktop and laptop computer users -- are now afflicting people who type on handheld devices. As the sizes and prices of handheld typing devices continue to shrink, doctors and therapists caution that consumers need to treat their on-the-go text messaging work as a physical workout."

Blackberry - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

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