A Helping Hand for Shaky Mice

Almost everybody uses a computer daily, even those with involuntary muscle movements. The inability to effectively use a mouse as a result of a lack of muscle control bothered one programmer enough to create a solution. SteadyMouse is a Windows-only piece of software that makes it easier for people with Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis to navigate their computers using a mouse. Software solutions like this are always nice to see to make computers more accessible.

I was unable to find a Mac equivalent (although the built-in accessibility tools may cover this issue), nor a Linux version. If you find similar software please share in the comments.

SteadyMouse is assistive software, designed from the ground up to be your fierce ally against Essential Tremor and the variants that often accompany Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis.

By detecting and removing shaking motion before it reaches your cursor, and by blocking accidental clicks, the entire mouse experience goes from a chaotic battle to an enjoyable reality.

Check it out.

Compute a Little More Green

I tend to use computers daily and I like the environment, so I like to be as green as possible while on the ol’ computer machine. PC World has five tips for greener computing.

There’s also global shutdown day.

5. FIND A NEW HOME FOR YOUR OLD TECH
So you’re getting ready to upgrade to a new computer, but you’ve discovered that you have no room in the closet for the old one because it’s already filled with a decade’s worth of obsolete technology. What to do? One solution is to recycle your old gadgets by bringing them somewhere where they’ll be disposed of properly. You can find a list of services in your area by checking out Earth 911’s Web site, which tells you where to dispose of everything from batteries to toner cartridges to the 386 you’ve had knocking around since the first George Bush was in office.

Linux Prevents E-Waste

Linux, that open source and free operating system (Windows replacement),continues to impress people interested in green computing. Linux is the most environmentally friendly operating system and CNN is reporting on a study that using Linux reduces e-waste.

Linux runs really well on “outdated” computers. Don’t go buy a new computer, reuse your old one!

A UK government study in late 2004 reported that there were substantial green benefits to running a Linux open source operating system (OS) on computers instead of the ubiquitous Windows OS, owned by Microsoft. The main problem with Windows users was that they had to change their computer twice as many times as Linux users, on average, thereby effectively creating twice as much computer-generated e-waste.

OLPC For You and Me

olpcThe One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project aims to bridge the digital divide by providing relatively inexpensive computers to kids in the developing world. The cost of the machine has unfortunately increased from their proposed $100 USD to almost double that, in oprder to ensure that they can still get these laptops out to the kids they are selling them as pairs.

You buy an OLPC laptop for yourself, but in doing so you also buy one to be donated to a child somewhere in the majority world.

The mission of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is to empower the children of developing countries to learn by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child. In order to accomplish our goal, we need people who believe in what we’re doing and want to help make education for the world’s children a priority, not a privilege. Between November 12 and November 26, OLPC is offering a Give One Get One program in the United States and Canada. During this time, you can donate the revolutionary XO laptop to a child in a developing nation, and also receive one for the child in your life in recognition of your contribution.

Previously on Things Are Good: Cheap Laptop

IBM Turns Electronic Trash Into Solar Cache

IBM has started a new program that recycles old computer chips and converts them into solar panels. They are taking computer chips (which are usually chopped to bits) and ‘erasing’ the chip pattern then putting them as wafers in solar panels. This will surely make solar power cheaper in the future!

The 3 million scrapped wafers each year could be used to create solar panels to power 6,000 houses, IBM said.

“It’s a simple process but it really returns benefits on so many different levels,” Jagielski said. “Not only do we reduce our overall use of silicon, but then to be able to create a raw material for the solar panel industry is kind of a good story all the way around.”

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