|Neither the ABA nor ABA entities endorse non-ABA products or services. This review should not be construed as an endorsement.|
For most lawyers, computers are now part of our day-to-day practice. Although computers used to be the arena of legal assistants and staff, twenty-first century law practice requires attorneys to spend hours every day sitting in front of their computers. The good news is that the software programs we utilize on our computers often save us time and money. The bad news is that with the time and cost-savings come related ergonomic issues caused by all of that screen time.
That’s why it’s so important to ensure that your workspace is comfortable and that you’re using tools that help to reduce strain on your back, shoulders, neck, and hands, a point I raised a few months ago, when reviewing a laptop stand for this ezine. I stressed the importance of ergonomic workspaces and how laptop stands help ease strain on your back and neck. This month, I’ll be reviewing another tool in my arsenal that helps to reduce pain and discomfort: Wacom Pen Tablets.
I’ve used these tablets in place of my mouse for a while now. About five years ago I began to experience wrist pain when using my laptop, whether I was interfacing through the laptop’s track pad or a mouse. Both the trackpad and the mouse required me to hold my hands at odd angles, thus placing undue strain on my wrists. After researching my options, I discovered the Wacom line of pen tablets and have never looked back.
Although intended for graphic designers, Wacom Pen Tablets are ideal for anyone who spends a lot of time in front of a computer.
The tablet is simple to use. The four corners of the tablet correspond to the four corners of your computer screen. Using the pen, which you hold just as you would annoy other writing device, you navigate your screen by holding it just above the tablet and moving the pen to your desired location. When you do this, your cursor arrow moves on your screen. Then, depending on the settings you’ve assigned to the tablet and pen, you “click” on the desired icon or link by pressing a button on the side of the pen or touching the pen to the surface of the tablet. You can also program the pen to allow you to press one side of the button to pull up the “right click” menu, among other options.
Of course, the tablet can be used for more than just screen navigation, if you’re so inclined. You can also use the Bamboo tablet and pen to sign or annotate documents or even create sketches.
Setup is easy. You simply download the included software to your Mac or PC and then connect the tablet to your laptop via the USB port using the detachable cord. Then follow the instructions to program your tablet and the pen so that it functions in a way that makes the most sense for your needs.
Another great feature of this tablet is its mobility. You can easily take it with you wherever you go. The pen is stored by sliding it into the blue loop at the top of the tablet when you’re not using it, and the tablet itself is quite thin and light and is thus easily transportable, taking up very little room in your laptop bag.
Last but not least, the fact that Wacom constantly improves upon their tablets is simply an added bonus. With every iteration they make minor tweaks that improve both the functionality and interface. So not only is it an intuitive, well-designed product right now, but you can also expect it will only improve with future versions.
So what are you waiting for? Ditch your mouse and invest in a Wacom Pen Tablet today! It costs just $69.98 at Amazon.