Anyware Limited (NZ)
- Availability: Direct (Secure online ordering available on website)
- Compatibility: Windows 3.x, Windows 95/98/NT
- Price: US$9.00 (Evaluation version has most functionality and can be used as long as you like.
PastTense is a software tool that can help you to reduce the build up of stress both in general and in specific parts of your body. It can help you to target problems associated with occupational overuse syndrome (OOS), aka repetitive strain injury (RSI), before they occur or (probably for most people reading this) before they get worse.
With PastTense a number of different configuration options can be defined, each of which contains one or more timers to remind you to have a rest. Timers can be set to remind you of anything from taking a short walk around the office every hour to stretching your wrists every 30 seconds - you define the reminder message.
A number of default configurations are supplied with PasteTense and these can be customised to suit your individual needs. You can define up to 10 configurations, each with up to 10 timers. Any one of these configurations can be selected and used at any time.
PastTense does not force you to have a rest by locking up your PC. It may not always be convenient to have a rest 'right now' and the main job of PastTense is to give you reminders based on the rest frequencies that you define.
You are responsible!
It is important to acknowledge that it is your work and rest habits that determine how much tension builds up in your body. To be truly effective, PastTense needs your full commitment to resolving your problems.
213 Milson Line, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Ph +64 6 3585661
Single user licenses cost NZ$20 (approx US$9).
A break reminder program to help prevent OOS/RSI and to assist in the healing process if these or similar conditions already exist.
Small program interface that discretely runs in the background monitoring your computer use, which uses timers (to your settings) that remind you to take a break.
- Compatability: Windows
Jonathan has written this freeware program to remind him to take micro-pauses and rest breaks. Try it out and he says to feel free to pass it on if you think it has any value.
Here's the new and improved version. This version is much smaller and includes a number of fixes as outlined in the ReadMe file.
- Compatibility: Mac
- Estimated Price: $25, trialware
MacBreakZ! is a personal ergonomic assistant which monitors your keyboard and mouse activity and helps you structure your computer use in a healthy manner, which prevents computer-related injuries from developing.
The main applications for MacBreakZ! are:
- to prevent repetitive strain injuries (RSI) and promote healthy and pain-free computing
- to aid the recovery from repetitive strain injuries
MacBreakZ! achieves this by:
- monitoring user activity and suggesting appropriate times for rest and recovery breaks
- providing a range of stretching exercises designed to relieve muscular tension and improve static posture
- providing ergonomic information on how to use your computer in a healthy manner
- Compatibility: UNIX (tested on SCO, SunOS, Mach; character and X Window mode)
- Available from
This is a shell script that runs in the background and warns you to stop typing, based on how long you have been continuously typing. It does not provide exercises, but it does check that you really do take a break, and tells you when you can start typing again.
Typewatch now tells you how many minutes you have been typing today, each time it warns you, which is useful so you know how much you *really* type. It also logs information to a file that you can analyse or simply print out. The warning message appears on your screen (in character mode), in a pop-up window (for X Windows), or as a Zephyr message (for those with Athena stuff). Tim Freeman has put in a lot of bug fixes, extra features and support for X, Zephyr and Mach.
If you have updated Typewatch to fix bugs or port it to another version of UNIX, please mail your changed version to
, and I will make sure your changes are incorporated into the next release.
226 Jeter St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
- Compatibility: Windows 95/98/NT
- Available: Direct, free 45-day trial ($40 registration)
RSIGuard was designed by a software engineer experiencing RSI symptoms. Not finding what he wanted in other RSI-related software, he decided to write what he personally needed.
BreakTimer is the most useful break timer available because it models your body's stress and has a much better idea of when you need to take a break.
DataLogger is a complete activity logger that lets you and your health professional monitor how you are using the computer. Stress from typing and mousing are separately stored, as well as typing speed. Hours of work per day as well as how much break time you take is recorded. Using 'RSIGuard Reports', this data can be viewed in graphs over the course of months to watch trends, or verify reductions in work intensity.
AutoClick is a tool designed to avoid one of the most trauma-causing computer actions -clicking a mouse. AutoClick clicks the mouse for you whenever you stop moving the cursor.
ForgetMeNots is a behavior modifier based on the Feldenkrais method that keeps you aware of your body. ForgetMeNots shows you tips at times of day you specify. It reminds you to be aware of how you're using your body and the computer. Tips are dynamically selected based on how you're working and from a list of tips you select. You can also add your own reminders to the list.
BackPack for Windows
Estimated Price: $60 (Leave a message at the web site if interested).
BackPack for Windows was developed by a team of physical therapists who were concerned about the large amount of referals which arrive for treatment suffering from computer usage related injuries.
The uniqueness of the program lies in that series of exercises are presented to the computer user as animated pictures, thus exercising every period of time different parts of the body which increases blood flow, avoids injuries and users feel better.
The program also instructs on ergonomic issues and anatomy by which one can better understand the problems and suggested solutions.
The demo program includes only one series of exercises and the full program includes 16 different series of exercises. We plan to add more exercises in different series and prepare versions typists, managers, etc. The series of exercises were designed by professionals and in each session, several parts of the body are taken care of.
P.O. Box 6332, Moraga, CA. 94570
(510) 376 3522, Fax: (510) 376 3594
- Compatibility: Windows 3.x, Windows NT
- Estimated Price: $19.95, quantity discounts on multi-license packs. Corporate site licenses and training are available.
(Paraphrased from TGS materials) Relax-A-Bit provides a quick pick-me-up by breaking up stationary body postures. Through a progression of tensing and relaxing major muscle groups, circulation is increased and muscles and other tissues are stimulated. Its exercises have been developed by a Physical Therapist with many years experience dealing with problems resulting from stationary body postures and repetitive motion activities.
Relax-A-Bit notifies you, at periodic intervals during the day, that you set, that it is time for an exercise break. If you are on the phone, you can pause the session until you are ready. Once you acknowledge the notification, Relax-A-Bit displays a window in which each exercise is pictured along with a countdown timer for the exercise and textual help clues for the exercise. If you use all five exercise groups, you will perform twenty-eight different exercises in just a little over five minutes.
You can control the interval between break reminders (based on keystrokes or mouse clicks), the exercises displayed, and the delay between exercises.
This program warns you to take a break with a flashing X window. Many options control how intrusive the warning is. For instance, it can pop up a new window every 30 seconds, beep a lot, prevent you from iconifying the window, always place itself at the top of the window stack, or even lock the screen (typing a password is necessary to continue). You can program it to escalate is behavior over time, so it becomes harder to ignore.
The graphics are brightly colored, cartoonish pictures of a hand and wrist. Breaks are scheduled via a timer, but it does keep track of whether you've been typing or not.