The ergonomics of working from a home office

I’ve now been working from home for about 18 months.  On the whole I’m pretty impressed by the flexibility of this arrangement and I think I would hate to change back to a office.  However, I’ve still not got a proper working environment setup. Many times I find my self uncomfortable and unable to concentrate properly.

My office was created from the spare bedroom that was previously used as my computer room.  Not much changed really apart from a fax/printer was added, and a second Mac (in addition to Linux box and laptop). However, I’ve gone from spending a few hours in there to a significantly longer time.  My desk is an old oak one I’ve had for a long time. Whereas it’s a beautiful piece of furniture, it’s not the nicest of desks to spend time at.  The two drawer units are fairly close together and so limit how far apart you can place your legs. More importantly they limit the type of chair you can use.  Currently I just use an old fashioned ‘dining table’ chair.  It makes me sit upright, and slouch less.  It is also fairly uncomfortable and so it makes me get up and move about a lot.  Which is surely a good thing. Using a proper ‘desk type’ chair does not sit(!) well with my desk. The one I have will onlt fit under the desk at a certain angle (it has 5 wheels, and so needs to be rotated to allow 2 to fit between the drawer units). However, that seat does allow me to sit crosslegged which is fairly comfy for a while.

The desk’s size allows me to place 2 x 24″ widescreen monitors, AND my laptop on a stand.  Which is a fair amount of screen real estate. However, I find myself being more productive when I take the laptop and go sit outside or at the kitchen table.  Why is this?  Is the change of scenery beneficial to improving my concentration (e.g. less distractions), or is it my position at the desk which is mroe comfortable.

As I’m fairly close to moving house (well 75% sure) I’m considering what to do for my new office.  This will be in the garden and not an ex-bedroom, and I have a (20%) larger blank space to consider. For a desk I’m considering simply using a long worktop with nothing underneath. That way I can move about to my hearts content with whatever chair I want.  Even something as simple as the old ‘door on two stands” type desk. Although perhaps a long kitchen worktop set at desk height using some large brackets would be more aesthetically pleasing.  It might be even nice to get some of those expensive monitor mount arms to free up desk space!  The oak desk can then move into the house to be admired, and I can be more comfortable.

All I want for Christmas is Google Sync for Firefox3

Firefox is the best browser, and with my propensity to spend as much time on Macs as on Linux boxes, I really need Google Browser Sync for Firefox. Except for some bizarro reason Google are not going to update this plugin to work with FF3. Why on earth is this so? FF3 is faster and really there’s no need not to upgrade it (after all early adopter is my middle name (well, names)). I’ve been running various release candidates on my Linux box, and I could not complain about its status. However, Google can hardly have not noticed that today is Firefox download day (daft idea it’s gotta be said, especially its US centric 10am Pacific standard start. Although afor a 24 hour period I guess Oz and Europe can download tomorrow and still be in the record count). Anyway I digress. Google, pull your finger out, stop bothering with that search engine and Adwords malarkey, and do what you’re supposed to do. Make my life easier. Upgrade Google Browser Sync for FF3

Good on ya Dave Davis

I never thought that I’d applaud a Tory, but Dave Davis’s recent resigning speech made me want to stand and applaud.  If I lived in his constituency I’d most definetly vote for him. He appears to be that rare breed of a politician with integrity. Putting his own career on the line for something he believes in!  That’s what this country needs. We need people who will fight for our freedom, and not wishy washy politicians who will sacrifice the freedom of the majority for the actions of a few evil people.

Edit – 13 July 08  with hindsight I still think he’s a Tory

Jesus was a time lord?

Spotted on Pharyngula’s always interesting blog.  Apparently some sneaky Church of England vicars lazed away a boring conference by watching episodes of Doctor Who, and pretending to study the good Doctor’s never ending fight against evil. Their excuse was to contrast recurring episode themes with classical christian themes of good, evil and whether, even if the devil has the best mp3’s,  evil people can be redeemed and get to heaven.  I suspect it was really one of the usual gimmicks to make religion appear to be sexy. Wonder why there’s no mention of this fact in UK news source?

I’ve got to say I’m curious to what they made of the fact that the devil was some weird alien who lived on some ancient planetoid orbiting a black hole.

Penninito way

So back from a 3 day walk on the Pennine way.  Perhaps I’m not too fit, but I think I would struggle with the full 16 day trip. It was a very enjoyable extended weekend.  Perhaps not the most spartan of weekends as a nice B&B with full cooked breakfast and a large meal on an evening surrounded the day’s walking.  Nonetheless my legs do ache somewhat this morning.  I’ll write further on this later.  My only lowpoint was climbing to the summit of Pen Y Ghent to discover cloud.  Mind you perhaps the fact I could see nothing was helpful to my fear of heights? I’ll have to look at as many pictures as possible to see if I can understand where I actually was.