After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going. This is the fifth letter I wrote.
9/27/01 – Programming at Dell
Dear Sooner Plant,
I have been trying to get along with only 2 computers. Annette asked me earlier if I use one hand on each keyboard, or do I use both hands on both keyboards, or do I use one keyboard for both computers, or ….something like that, I don’t remember which. Anyway, here is what I have done:
When I’m just typing away totally absorbed in what I am doing, I can type about 105 words a minute according to Mavis Beacon. So I tried using one hand on each keyboard, and found that I had to set up a new set of home row keys, (places to put my fingers on the keyboard). I thought I could manage 50 words a minute on each computer, and that would still be pretty good.
Unfortunately, when I measured my speed I was only getting about 30 words a minute per computer, and I didn’t think that was very productive. — I finally realized that I had to keep stopping and using the mouse to point and click at different things, and each time I did that, I had to re-position my fingers back in the middle of the keyboard, and I took my eyes off of what I was typing, and it was a total distraction. —
Anyway, what I finally figured out was that I could drop both mouses (mice) down through the little hole in the back of the desk and put them on the floor. Then I could slip off my loafers and put one mouse under each foot. After trying that for a while I realized that I needed to cut holes in my socks so that my big toe could stick out so I could click the mouse efficiently.
I had to swap my left foot mouse functions so that the right button functioned like the left button, because my big toe on by left foot kept clicking the right button, and that was wrong. — That was easy to fix. then, I realized that my foot would keep sliding off my mouse, especially when I used by big toe to scratch the calf on my other leg. I would have to completely stop typing and look down on the ground and position my foot back on the mouse.
So I figured out the obvious solution!!! Take off my sock and cut a small hole in the sole, feed the mouse through the hole in the toe, then put my sock back on!!!! Then my mouse would stay on my foot whenever I had an itch. The only problem is when my manager comes by and asks me to step into his cubicle, I have to take my socks off and put my loafers on sockless.
Anyway. It seems to be working fine except for that and I am almost up to 50 words a minute on each computer. Now I can use one hand on each keyboard, and one mouse for each foot. I suppose I look like a little kid throwing a tantrum while I’m working, since I’m shaking both my hands and feet and whipping my head back and forth to look at both monitors. It must be catching on, because whenever coworkers come by my cubicle their heads automatically start moving back and forth just like mine as I stare at both monitors at the same time.
In the morning I have a meeting with the CIO (Chief Information Officer) of Dell. His name is Randy Mott. He used to be the CIO of Wal-Mart. I’m not sure what the meeting is about, maybe he wants me to show him how I do the mouse-in-the-sock thing. Just in case, I’ll bring a pair of scissors. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Anyway, I’m about done for the day. I’ll send you another update soon.
Please let me know how things are going up there. I enjoy hearing from you guys just as well.