Health update: December 2010

back Health ogre personal spine

I’m still getting the odd comment on my post in April about my back & why I was retiring from Ogre - thanks again to everyone for the best wishes. I haven’t posted any updates since then, both because I don’t want to ‘count my chickens’ too early, because I’ve been busy, and because I don’t want to be too self-indulgent; but it’s been 6 months now, and I figure some people might like to know my status, because it really has changed a lot.

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Laptop ergonomics really do suck

Laptops are great, of course, whether you’re travelling or just enjoying the flexibility of having a PC wherever you want in the house at any one time, instead of closeted in a fixed location. But if there’s one dimension in which they suck (barring upgradability - but then modern laptops are pretty nippy these days), it’s ergonomics. Laptops are excluded from the design standards that regular PCs have to adhere to, simply because it’s hard for them to comply within the form factor we expect.

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No, I'm not going to GDC this year

back GDC Health Travel

Since I keep getting asked this question by friends, existing business partners and prospects, I figured I’d just confirm it here - I won’t be attending GDC this year. It’s a shame, because I’d love to meet up with all the people I know who are going, but the primary reason is the 5,000 miles between here and there. Given the issues I’ve had with my back over the last few months (the worst episode of which emerged just after I made it back from California last time), I decided to have a break from long-haul travel to allow it time to recover.

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HAG Capisco, 2 weeks on

back Capisco chair HAG Health

I’ve had the HAG Capisco for a little over two weeks now, which is not really long enough to give a definitive verdict, but it is just about long enough to give some initial impressions of it. Let’s get something out of the way right off the bat - this is not an instantly comfortable chair. It’s most definitely not the kind of chair you can buy, plonk yourself into and be immediately at ease - far from it.

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Part high-chair, part bronco simulator

My new chair arrived today, packed into a surprisingly small box thanks to the marvels of German engineering (or something). A deft bit of allen key action later, and it was ready to go. Initial impressions are that it’s going to take some getting used to. The gas lift does indeed go high enough to use with a standing height desk, and it’s very solidly built and very stable, which is good when you’re perched that high.

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Standing isn't the (only) answer

back Health personal

Despite my initial positive reaction to working standing up, since I made that post my back has gone steadily downhill again, starting with a dodgy weekend that I hoped was a blip, but grumbled on for pretty much all last week, before taking a rapid decline this week. This morning I’ve been in the kind of pain I haven’t had since late last year. So, coupled with the hack, colour me extraordinarily pissed off this week.

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Tempting fate

back Health

I think I’m going to think twice about blogging about positive progress on my back problems, because whenever I do it, I seem to have a small relapse the day after! I’m not a superstitious person, but it does seem to be a bit of a coincidence. Or, maybe it’s just that when things are starting to feel really good, I go a bit overboard and push it too much.

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War on chairs (and on the causes of chairs)

It’s been a whole week since I discarded my office chair and switched to a stand-up desk so, I’m guessing some of you are wondering how it’s gone. Well, let’s start with the difficulties. Standing up for 8+ hours a day is tough on the feet, or at least on feet that have gotten used to taking it easy for most of the day - even with the odd break I’ve found my feet are extremely painful by the evening (those who work in retail are no doubt rolling their eyes by now and calling me a wuss).

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Refactoring the office, part 2

So, following on from my thoughts last week, I spent a little time today rearranging my main work area to accommodate working standing up. I’m just aiming for a temporary solution for the moment, so I can experiment with it and evaluate whether it’s going to help. Luckily, I have a ton of sturdy boxes left over from various technical purchases, so after trying out various combinations I came up with this:

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Refactoring the home office

back ergonomics Health office

I’ve been thinking for a while that I needed to get a new chair for my home office - the one I have now is 15 years old and doesn’t even have a lumbar support (so I supplement it with cushions). However, good chairs are expensive, and I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted - I had a more modern chair when I used to work in an office, and that still didn’t stop me getting back problems, and most recently I’ve had thorasic-region problems which aren’t directly addressed by a lumbar support anyway.

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