How to make a MacBook Air ergonomic?

I’ve been working from my Macbook Air for a while now and finally started feeling some wrist pain. Some research suggested the absolute minimum one should get is an external mouse / trackpad to avoid those awkward hand movements to the built-in trackpad.

Now I could just buy a cheap one, or even one of those silly tiny travel mice. However, I’d thought I’d ask the experts first:

What’s the best mouse or trackpad for a digital nomad?

Some features I would like to have:

  • Smooth scrolling, ideally a trackpad similar to the built-in one
  • If wireless, it should come with an easy-to-use charging method
  • As compact and traveler-friendly as possible

Nomads, what is your opinion on this?

If you use a MacBook Air without a laptop stand, you will probably have chronic neck, back and wrist injury in a few years. This is very serious.

Here’s the problem. See that neck position? It’s always pointed 45deg down. That’s not your neck’s natural position. So what happens is your nerves get compressed in your neck and shoulder. Also the nerves that lead up to your wrist and hand. That (and more) gives you the tingle feeling of RSI/CT.

Most cases of persisting RSI have their basis in the nerves that run from the neck, down through the shoulders, and into the wrists and hands.

It’s easily fixable though but you need to be consistent about it.

The top of your screen should be at eye level. Thus, you should get a stand that raises your laptop. This is the one I use http://www.therooststand.com/

An external mouse and keyboard are also important. I have a Logitech MX Performance mouse and an Apple Wireless Keyboard.

Your arms and hands should be flat on the table and not angled up or down ward. Your elbow should be close to a 90 degree angle, although your arm and hands can extend more into the table.

If you don’t, you get chronic issues. I have them. Although they go away when I’m in an ergonomic position.

I think @Casey_Rosengren from Hacker Paradise has chronic issues too because he didn’t pay attention early on to work ergonomically. Most nomads get it because they’re stubborn. Don’t be! It’s your health.

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Thanks for the very informative post! Makes me want to order the gear right now. I wish the Root Stand were in stock…

However my main question is still about the mouse (I saw you changed the topic title :stuck_out_tongue:) . I heard the Evoluent Vertical Mouse is great for your wrists, but it seems too clunky and heavy for traveling. Can you recommend the Logitech MX Performance?

Yes lots!

It’s pretty much the industry standard mouse for power users. The whole MX series has been going back for 15 years I think. And they’ve always had almost the same shape. They’re perfect with very accurate laser sensors.

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@cpury There are a few products out there that address this but aren’t easily available yet: http://www.therooststand.com/, and another one I’ve forgotten about that may have been cardboard-based.

I find that the desks and chairs in hostels and coffee shops leave a lot to be desired. Quite often it’s really uncomfortable or you’re miles from the table. So I find constant relocation necessary too.

And currently I have fruit cans under my desk to make it less insanely low, but my back still hurts :frowning:

Cheers,
Dan

I plan to get the MX mouse next time I’m home, I’ve heard multiple good things about them. If you want a cheap option I’ve got this one at the moment and it’s fine: http://www.amazon.com/TeckNet-Bluetooth-Wireless-Mouse-BM306/dp/B000Q7V0W4/

The roost looks great (I have a roost 2 ordered and also hoping it arrives while I’m home next) but you can use a book or anything to raise a laptop. I have a tupperware box which I put loads of cables and stuff in and I use that most of the time.

Another thing to mention is the powerball: http://www.amazon.com/NSD-Power-Essential-Gyroscopic-Exerciser/dp/B007GGCLK8/ A few minutes a day with it can make a HUGE difference. Honestly I can’t overstate how much difference it made for me and I’ve seen other people say the same too.

Better than the Apple mouse? Just curious, I’ve never used either extensively.

I found a much cheaper, simpler version of the roost. It’s a wire book stand: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00006B8HT/. $6 on amazon, and holds my 13" macbook air just fine. I use it with an apple wireless keyboard and wireless trackpad.