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!

Naomi Klein: How science is telling us all to revolt

This is a good fresh take on why our planet is about to boil: capitalism. How do you change capitalism? Social resistance: uprising.

So it stands to reason that, “if we’re thinking about the future of the earth, and the future of our coupling to the environment, we have to include resistance as part of that dynamics”. And that, Werner argued, is not a matter of opinion, but “really a geophysics problem”.

Fancy words for: people who are telling us to “be reasonable” are making money ruining the earth.

He isn’t saying that his research drove him to take action to stop a particular policy; he is saying that his research shows that our entire economic paradigm is a threat to ecological stability. And indeed that challenging this economic paradigm – through mass-movement counter-pressure – is humanity’s best shot at avoiding catastrophe.

via Naomi Klein: How science is telling us all to revolt.

2013-09-01 Padilla Bay Oxbow

Padilla Bay Oxbow

Padilla Bay Oxbow

2013-09-01 Padilla Bay Oxbow

This was a  bit of a challenge to cook up. I ended up with four layers in Gimp: a desaturated bw as a hard-light layer, a ND layer over the sky, and a color-enhanced layer to bring the sky color into the foreground ponding. This was surprising done on my lappie, and I would have had an easier time on my workstation. The radical variation in the exposure at the south had blown the exposure out to almost the middle of the original panorama.

DIY Travel Mug Lid

DIY Travel Mug Lid

How did I make this lid?

I lose lids off of travel mugs frequently. The great shame of travel mugs is the cheap caps that just fly off, into traffic, when biking. For a while I had been using lids from other disposable coffee cups. But then I found a lid to an empty peanut butter jar. So, pop quiz: how did I make this bad boy by spending no money on it?

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

Everybody Bike: Winter Cyclists Love Your Ride Celebration Feb 12

Are you a winter cyclist?   EverybodyBIKE would like to say thank you, at their “Love Your Ride” celebration of winter cycling, Sunday Feb 12 at The Old Foundry 1110 Cornwall Ave.
•         4:00 all ages bike ride
•         5:00 Reception and Bike Film Shorts
•         6:00 Fashion Show
•         7:00 Lighted Bike Parade
•         8:00 After-party square dance hosted by Wild Buffalo

How to Report on Civilized Cycling

Marc at Amsterdamize enters a conversation with Matthew, the UK Gaurdian’s Bike Blogger, and I see this great pull quote:

Thus, when you sell bad infrastructure to the public that even ‘avid cyclists’ wouldn’t want to use, you’ve generated a negative sentiment that’s hard to spin your way out of, no matter the millions of pounds you spend on marketing that message. You can’t ‘encourage’ anyone to cycle when you give them a knife to a gun fight. It’s that simple.

However, the adventure goes sour after Matthew writes an unexpected post. Marc calls him on it and demands to know why Matthew is engaging in sloppy journalism.

Seen Bikes at Work on Farms?

I was talking with my CSA farmer about using a bike or a trike to haul boxes of veggies around the farm. While there is quite the spectrum of cargo bikes and trailers, hauling loads over unimproved paths seems challenging for small wheeled trailers. He also has a 26-inch wheeled dock-cart that could be towed with a creative hitch.

Have you seen bikes or trikes in use on farms? Please share what you think are the drawbacks and solutions.