Using A Computer

As a software developer, when Parkinson's came knocking on my door it caused significant problems because I could no longer use a computer mouse to click on anything.

After searching the Internet I found to my horror that there were specialist computer mice available - with a price tag which was greater than buying a replacement PC!

So I figured that there had to be another solution which wasn't going to cost several limbs to acquire. Rather than explain all here, you might want to read the article which I wrote:

codeproject.com/Tips/568114...

For less than $30 you can buy hardware and software which will make controlling a mouse cursor very easy, and whilst it is a little more inconvenient to use than a mouse you can point and click your way around a screen no problem.

Your local computer store will most likely have several different gamepad's on display. You need one which connects to a PC using a USB port (which your PC should have - if you haven't got a spare USB port then make sure to buy a USB hub to provide more ports). The only recommendation I can offer with respect to which gamepad to buy is 'THE CHEAPER THE BETTER'. You really do NOT need an expensive gamepad, and avoid any high-pressure sales guy trying to convince you that you should spend lots of money - for features that you will never need.

Some examples of gamepad's are shown on the following web page:

speedlink.com/?p=2&cat=413

Note that these are only examples - there are a huge number of different gamepad's made by any number of manufacturers - your local computer store might not have the speedlink variety shown here, but would have something similar which would do just as well.

You should expect to spend some time configuring the JoyToKey utility to match the gamepad - although gamepad's all share a fairly common physical design, the electronics can map different buttons which send messages to the PC, and you will have to figure out the mapping plus what speed to allocate to buttons/joysticks. Some trial and error is required, but believe me it's well worth the effort to regain control of that damned mouse cursor!

Note: You don't have to throw your mouse (or trackball) away - these devices work quite happily if plugged in together, and you can switch between without having to reconfigure anything. As advised in the article, I use my trackball to whizz around the screen, then switch to the gamepad when I'm close to where I want to click.

9 Replies

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  • hi

    a very helpful article 4m you

    i admire you for finding a way aroudn yoru problem - which i do not have a si hav ePSP (no tremor)

    lol JIll

    :_)

  • very useful article, I too have a similar problem, I get multiple characters from the left side of the keyboard and/or multiple mouse clicks, then spend ages correcting or back pedaling having gone off somewhere else

  • You might want to try speech to text software, which would need a microphone. Windows 7 comes with this built-in. I tried it and found that it did a remarkably good job of translating my voice to text - not perfect, but less error prone than straight typing. For now I continue to use a keyboard, but if I were story-writing then I'd have to seriously consider speech-to-text software.

    There are software applications which reportedly give good results:

    nuance.com/dragon/index.htm

    I have NOT tried this so I cannot comment, however if you search the Internet the customer feedback seems positive.

  • Thank you for this.. My work are always asking if they can help me. I dont need help like this just now but i will highlite for the future.

  • Hi KMXSoft

    I only started using the internet fairly recently and did not have a mouse on my old Pc. When I tried to use a mouse, it jumped all over the place, before I was successfully able to click it. I then purchased a laptop, which has a touchpad. I have no difficulty using that, as it is not aware of my tremour. It may not be as fast as a mouse but neither am I.

    Since my Pd got a lot worse, I have found that typing is very frustrating. I tend to touch two keys simultaneously, or else I don't press a key hard enough and it does not print, or I press it too hard and it goes off like a machine gun and I have 300 ////// or nnnnnnnn. I have to laugh, because if I don't my laptop will not last very long.

    John

  • You might want to consider a touchpad for your regular PC:

    computershopper.com/mice/re...

    I have NOT tried this so I cannot comment, but it looks good. Your local computer store would probably have such a device on sale.

  • I don't have a probleem with my mouse as my tremor is in my left hand but do have a problem with the keyboard as I end up getting a lot of errors from my left hand. Usually when I type something I end up doing a lot of corrections so takes much longer to write an email. Sometimes I just let it go after letting people know why the errors. Most of them are ok with that and have gottn used to what I send.

  • will the gamepad work on a mac? i am presently using the cheapest wacom tablet and pen, i find pointing the pen much easier than a mouse or ball

  • The JoyToKey software will not work as it is Windows dependent. However if you search the Internet you may find something of interest. I just found the following web page which appears to offer links to Mac programs which map the gamepad:

    alternativeto.net/tag/gamep...

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