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A job, a chair, and Perl

by zdog (Priest)
on Jun 22, 2001 at 03:07 UTC ( #90575=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Today at work I finally got pissed off at my chair because the spring that was supposed to keep me from leaning back too far wasn't doing its job. My back began to ache during work each time I went. So today I took the extra step and grabbed a chair with a fixed back. Meanwhile, I was doing my job of typing, and coding some Perl on the side :-). And this combination got me thinking. Do any of you have some furniture that you feel makes you code better and faster? or you just feel better while coding? Do you have any of your own coding furniture?

At home, I don't really have a chair, but I guess I could consider my desk as my coding station. It's a big desk with two wings that gives me room to stack all of my coding books, keep a radio on it, and have my monitor sitting there whithout anything getting in the way. I guess I have added sentiment towards it since I've been using it for 10 years now.

I would also describe to you my conversation with jc about his Ergo-Assmaster II programming chair, but I'll leave it to him to describe it for you.

Zenon Zabinski | zdog |

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: A job, a chair, and Perl
by sierrathedog04 (Hermit) on Jun 22, 2001 at 04:09 UTC
    Yes, the Ergo-Assmaster is a fine product. But what you are forgetting with all this talk about furniture is the key element in master programming—hats. Every wonder why almost all diamond-cutters are Orthodox Jews? The hats they wear compress their brain waves and enable them to concentrate on the task at hand. Similarly, there are many good programmers where I work, but they are not as good as they can be, because they do not wear hats while they code. They are leaking brainwaves and losing concentration.

    I hope that you will take this opportunity to rectify the situation and start wearing hats while you code. Just a word of friendly advice.

Re: A job, a chair, and Perl
by perigeeV (Hermit) on Jun 22, 2001 at 04:18 UTC
    There once was a saint from California.
    "That chair is broken." he'll warn ya.
    You can't write good Perl
    when your chair makes you hurl.
    A happy ass is coding nirvana.
Re: A job, a chair, and Perl
by voyager (Friar) on Jun 22, 2001 at 03:59 UTC
    I don't know if great chairs make for more productive work, but I know lousy chairs make for lousy work.

    I think chairs are like shoes: after a while with one user, there is a kind of familiarity that develops; I don't like to swap chairs. :)

    If price is not a problem check out one of these.

Re: A job, a chair, and Perl
by aijin (Monk) on Jun 22, 2001 at 18:15 UTC
    For me, comfort is mostly about monitor height.

    If it's too low, I end up hunched over and looking like Quasimodo all day. A couple of weeks like that, and I catch myself hunching when I'm away from the computer. Gah!

    My home computer is set up perfectly for work computer is almost right, but there's only so many phone books one can put under a monitor before it becomes a hazard.

    Seating is impossible to really get right, at least for me. If I drop the chair down low enough so that the monitor is in a good spot, then my arms start hurting partway through the day because our desks don't have keyboard trays. If I raise the chair so that my arms don't hurt, the monitor is too low and my legs start to fall asleep because my feet can't easily touch the ground.

    I just can't win with this chair. Grrrr...

Re: A job, a chair, and Perl
by holygrail (Scribe) on Jun 22, 2001 at 18:26 UTC
    When I started this job, I got a 'standard chair' and a 'standard desk'. But I'm rather tall, so that standard stuff is way to small for me. I had a hard time doing my work because I mainly was distracted by the pain in my back and neck.

    Now I have a higher chair, my desk has been lifted about 3 inches, My monitor too, now I just concentrate on my job instead of the pain (which has obviously disappeared).

    So a chair and a desk that fit do matter!

Re: A job, a chair, and Perl
by schumi (Hermit) on Jun 22, 2001 at 22:33 UTC
    After having worked for several years in IT, I still think the issue of office ergonomics is just not getting enough attention. A good chair is certainly very important for doing any kind of cunfuser work. But that's not the only crucial factor. As aijin points out, monitor height is important, too. And accordingly, so are the desk height and the distance between monitor and keyboard.

    Sadly, good chairs, desk and monitors are usually neglected in the belief that they only serve comfort. But having suffered from back problems myself, I find that this is an issue which goes way beyond that, as this article argues. Ergonomic office furniture is very important for people who sit at their desk all day long and don't get to move around too often. (That obviously doesn't only apply to IT people.)

    I have a good chair at home, because as part of my work is freelance, I often work at home. At the office, where I'm part-time employed, I have a chair which is not exactly ideal. But then, I feel that although office furniture is crucial, as stated above, the whole office environment influences your programming. At my office, I (too) often have to do user support, which means that someone comes into my office, usually without knocking on the (admittedly mostly open) door, and just starts going on about their problem they want me to fix NOW, "if you have time...". And because I'm not working there fulltime, I share my office with one of the trainees, who is frequently using the phone. I think it's reasonable that the people working fulltime get to have their own offices, as we just don't have enough space for everybody to have their office. But then, this means that whenever I have to write a more complicated program than just some update for the website, I do it at home.

    So, when I hve a quiet room, a comfortable chair and a monitor which is the right height, and the right distance away from my eyes, I can concentrate much more - which makes for better code. And getting up from time to time, walking around and air my head helps, too.


Re: A job, a chair, and Perl
by MrCromeDome (Deacon) on Jun 22, 2001 at 23:28 UTC
    For me, it's not so much about coding furniture as it is coding environment ;)

    Over the past 4 or 5 years, I have become accustomed to programming in a certain set of conditions. While I can still program effectively in other climates and environments, nothing beats what I have going at work ;)

    So what is that perfect environment? For me, its having a chair that reclines, has armrests, and a back high enough to set my head against. It's having a 21" monitor with at least 1600x1200 resolution so I can look at lots of perl scripts at once ;) It's having a desk that I can put my feet up on comfortably. It's about having a lava lamp that I can stare at while looking for ideas. And it's about having no windows, so nothing disturbs the perfect mixture of ambient light produced by the lamp and the monitor. And it's about having headphones that drown out all external interferences.

    I have almost managed to duplicate this environment at home, but I don't want/dare to drown out the fiancee' ;)

    Perhaps I am a bit strange. Perhaps not ;)


Re: A job, a chair, and Perl
by the_0ne (Pilgrim) on Jun 23, 2001 at 04:19 UTC
    It's funny you mention a chair and coding. I have a 2 year old son and he loves to beat on my laptop. So, I wound up buying all this wireless stuff for the house so now here I STAND at my stereo with the laptop on top of it and now he can't touch it. Of course until he figures out all he has to do is pull his small chair up to the stereo, then I need to find another place.

    So, a lot of my coding is done at home in the standing position. It's amazing how much pain I'm in at the end of the night when he finally goes to bed and I can sit down. :)
Re: A job, a chair, and Perl
by cajun (Chaplain) on Jun 24, 2001 at 14:20 UTC
    A very interesting topic, particularily at this time. This past Friday, my upper back, shoulders and neck were hurting so badly I visited a chiropractor for relief. I go back again on Monday.

    At home I have a 21" monitor with a video card that will do such a high resolution that I cannot read it. My chair is comfortable and the chair, monitor, desk height seems to be the correct relationship.

    I work as a BOFH at a small company in the bay area of California. My boss is so cheap.... well, we'll just leave it at he is extremely cheap. At work, I have a 19" monitor, and if I'm lucky, I can get 1024x768 out of the video. My chair is a hand-me-down. My desk, chair, monitor relationship sucks. I've tried many many times to get the relationship better, but haven't yet found a comfortable combination. I find myself 'hunkered over' everytime I sit at my desk. Therefore, my upper back and shoulder pain.

    Take it from someone who is there right now! Ask to get your work area comfortable, whatever it takes. If you get no reponse, then go to HR and complain about it. If you go to HR, you should get a positive response right away. Don't just sit there and let your posture at your workstation cause you pain ! Believe me, I know, I'm suffering for it at this moment!

      I just pounce awxay on my laptop. But like earlier said in this article is that ergonomics are very important!!!!

      What I have learned is that with training your abdominals you can avoid lower back problems...

      My opinions may have changed,
      but not the fact that I am right

Re: A job, a chair, and Perl
by Chady (Priest) on Jun 22, 2001 at 13:57 UTC
    I have a magical chair that, when I sit on it with 23° rotation, my fingers just start typing magical perl scripts..
    Just a joke, ok?
    He who asks will be a fool for five minutes, but he who doesn't ask will remain a fool for life.

    Chady |
How to sit correctly at a workstation
by mugwumpjism (Hermit) on Jun 27, 2001 at 18:22 UTC

    The Tao of sitting at a workstation:

    1. Sit with your back straight. Your head should float above your shoulders. If your vertebrae are all sitting on top of each other, you don't need to use your back muscles to keep yourself upright. Hence, don't lean on the back of your chair. If necessary, take up yoga or tai chi to free up your lower back, which through years of sitting badly is probably not able to keep itself in this position.
    2. Position your monitor so that you can see any part of the screen without holding your head in an awkward position. When you tilt your head, make sure your neck is extended and bending, and not just collapsing on one side.
    3. When typing, "float" your arms above the keyboard, do not put their weight on a rest of any kind. Ensure there is always a fist or so's gap between your arm and your torso.
    4. Get up, and stretch when your body tells you to. Bend down and touch your toes (hinging your body at the waist, not bending your back!). Stretch your hamstrings and quadraceps. Extend your arms out, and pull your fingers back. Do a couple of Qi Gong stretches if you know them. Pop your knuckle joints with an expansive movement, to circulate the fluids.
    5. Make sure you are fit and get enough excercise. If done properly, it is possible to keep a perfect physique with only a few hours no impact, no pain excercise each week.

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