Thoughts on my GSII

Having a mobile phone is kind of like holding an open beer and not sipping. However, if I wanted to take a sip out of this phone, it would repeatedly place the pull tab over the mouth of the can, the brew would slosh up when the can was not being held, the beer would mysteriously pause after the first tip, then it would run backwards back up into the can and fall forward again. Repeatedly.

The screen on this phone seems always to think some of the lower buttons are getting tapped. This might be due to the case I put on the phone, but I did my best to carve a bunch off. Google voice jumps up most annoyingly as soon as I start to do something.

And battery life is atrocious. I it seems like the actual phone life is closer to 100 minutes judging from how quickly I see the battery tick down from 100% even if I have wifi and mobile data off. Checking email on it is frustrating and it brings to mind how much I have to refine my gmail filters because I do not want to see donation requests on my phone, that seems like a complete waste of my battery, data and attention.

Having a flip-phone was actually more relaxing.

Give childhood back to children: if we want our offspring to have happy, productive and moral lives, we must allow more time for play, not less – Comment – Voices – The Independent

I think many teachers and parents would agree.

“…a common Chinese term used to refer to the products of their schools is gaofen dineng, which essentially means good at tests but bad at everything else.”

via Give childhood back to children: if we want our offspring to have happy, productive and moral lives, we must allow more time for play, not less – Comment – Voices – The Independent.

Standing Workspace, Wrist Ergonomics, Exercise.

Michael and Chris,

Re: CR76, on the topic of standing desks, ergonomics.

I would encourage you guys to use standing workspaces. Built one for work, I converted a book-shelf into one at home for my home office as well. (Pictures on my blog). I find it really helped me with lower-back pain.

There are just three tips to the ergonomics:

  1. the top of the monitors should be at a level about 1 inch above the height of your eyebrows, this encourages a level head posture
  2. the level of your keyboard should be close the level of your elbows, you want a pretty even level between your elbows and wrists, this reduces wear on your carpal ligaments
  3. you might need to put a book under your mouse or trackball to  keep the angle of your wrist more neutral. Pulling your digits back and up and lowering your wrist to move your mouse or trackball is a common RSI pattern that wears on your carpal ligaments.

There are a lot of tricks. Like switching your pointing device (mouse to trackball and back) at every pomodoro break. Eye exercises to reduce eye strain. And as you guys are both in the role of employers, all these are things you can steward in your employees.

Sometimes I need a sit break. I keep a large ball in the office to sit on and I tilt my workstation keyboard shelf up to do that. But I don’t need to do that for very long. I find it more useful to keep the ball around to do backwards upper neck/back stretches that counter “computer slouch.” (Recommended by my chiro.)

While in college, I suffered from a lot of wrist RSI, and wore wrist braces. These were my bad habits:

  • dehydration (soda, not water)
  • lack of exercise
  • repetitive gaming motions (Doom!)

When I stopped living on-campus and started bicycling to school and around town, my RSI cleared up. A major aspect of RSI is getting good oxygenation to your tissues — good circulation. I would also encourage you to bike to work and for shopping as well. We need the exercise, we don’t really like our cars as much as we think we want to.

As programmers and sysadmins, we are in a population faced with major health risks: sedentary life style leads to heart disease, diabetes (like me), gout and chronic stress (which compounds all the above). And the best advice I can provide is to build activity into your day by removing chairs (cars, sitting while programming).

Stay healthy!

Upcoming: New Standing Workstation

I’ve posted about how my previous endeavors to work at a standing workspace, at work, and at home. It has not gone sour on me yet. Presently at
Candelatech I’ve been sitting on an exercise ball with three landscape monitors. It’s a lot of screen realestate! I love not needing to maximize and minimize windows and the ability to glance at my debug window and at log output at the same time. 

I feel like I slouch a lot more when I’m on the exercise ball–I’m eager to bounce up to the standing work space again. And soon I shall. I have built a wooden monitor rack from lumber reclaimed from a few projects around the house. I have hauled the pieces to work on my bike. It looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Expect photos soon.st

Cars Passing Bikes: Do Gutter Bunnies Dress in Wigs?

Interesting news about how drivers act around bicyclists…there seems to be a space about 3 feet away from the curb. Too close to the gutter, and they assume they can pass closer. Also, lack of helmet and having long hair apparently promote further passing distance. Read more at cyclious and streetsblog. Remember — be conspicuous and predictable. Don’t duck between parked cars, cycle in a straight line as if you had a bike lane besides parked cars…otherwise you’re constantly mergine back into a lane of traffic.