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.
I’m 37, and I’ve been a (professional) developer for 16 years. You would have thought that in that time, I’d have figured out an effective work style which delivered the desired outcomes (code cut, products shipped etc) without causing detrimental knock-on effects - but, sadly, you’d be wrong. I think the style in which I practiced my craft for the first 15 years of my career was much the same as every other enthusiastic developer: you put a ton of hours in.
For 18 months I’ve been told by a succession of doctors and physios that I didn’t have anything structurally wrong with my spine and that my bouts of back pain were simply ‘standard non-specific back pain’ - ie muscle problems that I should just take NSAIDs for and exercise more. I’d been a bit skeptical because the problems were occasionally quite extreme and seemed to be always centred on one particular location (the joint just at the bottom of my ribcage), but after getting many opinions and one set of x-rays I went along with it.
So, I’ve been a little quieter than usual since the new year, and that’s because I’ve been in a rather reflective mood as I plan out how I’m going to spend my time in 2010. That’s right - planning! Talk about the final frontier 😉 Basically, as you may have gleaned from my previous post, I’ve been looking to make some significant changes to the way I do things in 2010.
The last 12 months have been a big adjustment for me. Just over a year ago, I almost lived at the keyboard of my PC - work, hobbies (mostly Ogre & general coding, but some PC gaming too). It was not unusual for me to spend 12 hours in a day sitting in front of a computer, coding away. I had a bit of RSI (addressed with low-profile keyboards and less mouse use), and some back pain on occasion, but I carried on because I loved what I did, and with always a huge list of things to do (and that I wanted to do!
I’ve had some kind of flu for the last couple of days - I don’t know if it’s regular flu or swine flu, but what I do know is that it’s been pretty weak and at no point has going to the doctor remotely entered my mind (although, I’m the kind of person who has to feel really sick for a number of days before considering going to the doctor, unlike some people who seem to go whenever they have a sniffle).
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.
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.
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.
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 ogre3d.org hack, colour me extraordinarily pissed off this week.