It suddenly occurred to me that I have never blogged about one of my favorite pieces of computer equipment. I love it so much that I forget it's not well-known.
The Omnipedual Dual PC Input Foot Pedal is manufactured and sold by Good Work Systems in Berkeley, California. The easiest way to think of the hardware is as a pair of supplementary mouse buttons you click with your feet. It plugs into a USB port and takes its power through the USB cable, so there are no extra power cords to worry about.
I use my Omnipedal in three main ways:
1) To move PowerPoint slides forward or backward in presenter mode so that I can "talk with my hands" while on camera.
2) To activate my most common, repetitive tasks when editing audio files (I have one pedal set to "mute selection" and the other to "center display on selection end").
3) To scroll my Script-Q teleprompter software faster and slower, forward and backward so I can read scripts on camera at my own variable pace.
The brilliance of the Omnipedal is that it is software-driven and configurable to allow different keyboard or mouse commands based on the application you are in. I have three different configuration profiles to handle the tasks I listed. I just load the one I need while doing that job.
The programming language is not intuitive. I had to work from some examples they provide. But the web page says that the company will program the pedal codes to your specifications and will send you a file. I have called their support line a few times over the years and have always talked to really pleasant and knowledgeable representatives who seem eager to help.
The button switches under the pedals are very quiet… They do not produce any annoying clicks while you are webcasting. The pedal travel is quite short and the pedals are narrow, so I sometimes have trouble knowing that my foot is in the right place. I find that I get the most tactile feedback by taking off my shoes when using the pedals (which is a wonderful excuse for kicking off your uncomfortable footwear at your desk!).
The company doesn't seem to know what a great business tool it has. They have always focused on the gaming market, offering better ways for shooters to frag alien enemies. The Omnipedal is offered on their website as a four-pedal system, which is overkill for business use. But they will be happy to sell you a dual pedal version. It will run you somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 USD.
The website is so out of date that I actually called them to see if they were still in business! They assured me that they are very much in business, and are eager to sell and support Omnipedal Dual configurations. So I am happy to offer my unreserved enthusiasm and recommendation. I have been using my pedal for five years now, and it shows no signs of wear or reduction in button sensitivity. This thing is a great productivity booster.
Oh, one last tip… Their website is so messed up that you can't even find the contact page in order to ask for the Dual instead of the Quad version. Here's the direct link so you don't have to go searching: http://www.gamingmouse.com/contact/