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White Paper World 21: May 4, 2023

  • Quick tip: Help for sore hands
  • Tools of the trade: Vertical mice
  • Fresh content: Responsible AI
  • Rest in peace, Dad

Quick tip: Help for sore hands

This month, I had my fourth finger operated on to fuse the small joint, worn out by 50 years of typing and 40 years of clicking mice.

Let’s face it: Humans didn’t evolve to use keyboards and mice all day.

Decades of using those devices can take a toll on our hands and arms.

So if you’re having pains in your fingers or wrists, pay attention. Your body is trying to tell you something.

And here are three tips and an inexpensive piece of equipment to try…

Tip #1: For a sore trigger finger, switch mouse hands 

An index finger that won’t straighten is called a trigger finger.

If your trigger finger is getting sore or achy, try moving your mouse to the other hand.

Then adjust the buttons in your settings.

I usually switch my mouse hand every two years or so, and it helps a lot.

vitamin B pills and bottle

Tip #2: For a sore wrist, try B vitamins

A sore wrist can signal the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome.

The standard treatment is surgery on your wrist(s). But that doesn’t always work.

If you don’t change something to lessen the irritation (hint: your mouse), carpal tunnel often comes back after surgery.

Here’s something to try before surgery: B vitamins.

I knew a designer on the brink of getting surgery on both her wrists who started taking B vitamins. Within a month, her wrists felt better… and she canceled the surgery.

Listen, I’m not saying surgery is bad.

I love how my operations take away my finger pain.

But recovering takes weeks. And the older you get, the longer it takes.

So if there’s an alternative you can try first, why not consider it?

hand yoga

Tip #3: For achy hands, do “hand yoga” 

If your hands feel cramped or achy, just shaking them some can help.

Or try a few minutes of “hand yoga.”

Hand yoga moves your hands in ways that add flexibility and strength.

As always with yoga, if some particular move hurts, ease off.

Just do what you can. And your hands will thank you for it.


Tools of the trade: Vertical mice

After years of aching fingers, I discovered a mouse that stands up.

This design is called a “vertical mouse.” And the weird design seems to let us use our arms and hands at a more natural angle.

These USB devices can be wired or wireless, for PCs or Macs.

Four years ago, I bought my first vertical mouse. Since then I’ve tried two other brands. All three brought immediate relief to my fingers.

Perixx left-handed vertical mouse
Eighteen months ago, I bought my latest model, a Perixx left-handed vertical mouse.

It cost all of $20, and I loved it immediately.

The streamlined design feels good in my hand, and I’ve used it every day ever since.

Hint: Perixx makes designs for each hand. Make sure to pick the one you need.

Today there are lots more models of vertical mice than in years past.

I wonder: Is that because more people are complaining about sore hands?


hand holding glowing ball marked AI

Fresh content: Responsible AI

I believe every organization should develop policies for using AI and post them on their website with their privacy policy.

Getting some wise wording to use as a starting point isn’t difficult.

You can find great ideas in the template created and generously made available by the Marketing AI Institute.

But these can be weighty principles to ponder, even for a one-person shop like That White Paper Guy.

I had to think hard about how I use AI and how I should tell my clients and my audience about it.

—Should I use AI to generate outlines or first drafts of white papers without telling my clients?

—Should I crank out blog posts with ChatGPT to increase the frequency without telling my subscribers?

No. I decided to never send out anything generated by AI without doing extensive revising to make it my best human effort.

So please, consider creating your own guidelines for using AI.

Start with your marketing team.

And if you spark a company-wide discussion among executives and employees from all different teams, that’s a good thing.

You can see my policies for responsible use of AI here, along with the list of tasks I’m now doing and the AI products I’m using.

And if I ever look like I’m breaking any of those, please call me on it.


Helen and James Graham in early 2023

Helen and James Graham in early 2023

Rest in peace, Dad

This newsletter is shorter and later than usual for two reasons.

First, I had my hand surgery in early April.

And then, my 96-year-old father went into a steep decline and died on April 17.

My dad, James Leslie Graham, was a member of the Great Generation who lived through the Depression in the 1930s, World War II in the 1940s, the post-war boom of the 1950s, and the race to the moon in the 1960s.

Then in the early 1970s, he became a single dad with three boys when my mom, Catharine, died of leukemia.

Four years later, he met Helen née McIntosh. The two went on to enjoy a wonderful 48-year marriage.

I was lucky to be visiting when it became obvious he was in his final days.

Among Dad’s last words, he called his beloved over and whispered, “Thank you for a wonderful life, Helen.”

I’ll miss you, Dad.


That’s all for this issue.

This newsletter will be back in two weeks with more on the latest research, tips, and hacks for doing long-form content in the age of AI.

You can see all the previous issues of this newsletter here:

And to see every future issue, make sure to subscribe here:

Gordon Graham
That White Paper Guy

About Gordon Graham

Worked on 320+ white papers for clients from Silicon Valley to Switzerland, on everything from choosing enterprise software to designing virtual worlds for kids, for clients from tiny startups to 3M, Google, and Verizon. Wrote White Papers for Dummies which earned 60+ 5-star ratings on Amazon. Won 16 awards from the Society for Technical Communication. Named AWAI 2019 Copywriter of the Year.

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