May 22, 2017

Stand Up, Sit Down, Fight, Fight, Fight! Vol. 2: The Reckoning...

by Chris Randall

Lo these many years ago (or maybe six years ago), I went and whittled myself a standing desk solution. All the cool kids were doing it, and it seemed like an excellent idea. I didn't, however, take one thing in to account.

If you read the original article, and pay attention to the fourth paragraph, you'll note that one thing I discovered early on was that I needed to get my monitors in direct line-of-sight. Not long after I moved to that configuration, I added a third monitor, a large Dell 10-touch monitor. (The first mass market cap-touch monitor available, as it happens.) This lived directly under the two original monitors, and you can see it in this configuration in many of my videos and photos of the last few years, as I've used this three-monitor system to good effect.

Anyhow, as it turns out, getting old kind of blows. Not long after I went to this configuration, I needed to get progressive lenses in my glasses. Due to the modular side of the Audio Damage Order Of Battle, I've spent a lot of time with my standing desk and three-monitor rig; when developing plug-ins, I work primarily on my Macbook Pro, and just lounge about the house or on the porch, wherever the mood strikes me. But the embedded dev needs quite a bit of infrastructure, and has to be done at my desk.

Since those monitors are basically six feet off the ground to meet my sight-line, I had to tilt my head back to align the reading portion of my glasses with the text on the screen. I didn't even really know I was doing this, but one day I happened to put the IDE on the lower monitor (normally, Live runs on the lower one so I can touchy-feely plugins, and the IDE runs on the upper left, while the upper right gets folder duties.) When it was down low, all the sudden my neck pain went away. Total accidental discovery, as I didn't know what the cause of the pain was.

So, in general, lessons learned from 6 years with a standing desk: if you can see well, it's a better way to work. It was especially nice during music making, when I'm moving about wiring shit up or whatever. However, if you have progressive lenses, it may be more trouble than it's worth. Take your pick: mild back pain from sitting all day, or mild-to-severe neck pain from leaning your head back to read the screens. I decided to return to back pain for the next while, and eject the standing desk.

tl;dr: my office went to bare walls last week. Today I was able to use it again. Sitting down. And it is much more orange than it was before.



May.22.2017 @ 8:45 PM
With regard to the back pain that comes from sitting, I was able to pretty much eliminate it by using scheduled breaks to just get up and move around for a few minutes. I use a Pomodoro timer, just because that particular schedule works for me, but I imagine anything similar would work. I think it's not the sitting that's bad, so much as the not moving.
On the other hand, if you're someone who really has to get into a groove to work well, it might not be very viable.
At any rate, it's something to consider.

May.22.2017 @ 8:49 PM
Chris Randall
My short-term solution is to leave my Mac in the living room, so I continually have to get up and go back and forth between the two. We'll see how things play out on that front.


May.22.2017 @ 9:08 PM
My standing work space was great until I broke my leg. H

May.23.2017 @ 4:38 PM
Definitely something to think about, since I use a standing desk and also got progressive lenses recently. But good news is I have standing desks with different monitor heights because both home and workplace, and my workplace one also does sitting down.

Also my monitors tend not to be super close, which helped with the pre-progressive lenses and now with progressive.

May.24.2017 @ 7:44 PM
There *is* an alternative - you can get glasses that are specifically tuned for computer-screen distance. If your progressives are like mine then there's a rather small sweet spot for that distance.

May.26.2017 @ 8:55 AM
Ditto on the computer glasses recommendation. Your optometrist/ophthalmologist will usually write a 'computer glasses' prescription at no extra charge, and it makes working on computer screens a lot more enjoyable.

And since it's a single-vision prescription, you can just order the cheapest frames & lens type on Zenni for $6.95, and they're the same price as reading glasses, and cheap enough to get a bunch of them to scatter around where you work with screens.

What I notice using them is A) less neck strain and B) if you step away from the computer you can't see perfectly but you can see good enough, and still read that invoice laying on your desk.

May.26.2017 @ 7:30 PM
i got progressives recently and got used to them quickly which is surprising because i have meniere's and brain/inner ear balance things are a big issue. took all of 2 days to be fine w/them.

i got the blue light filter on the lenses. supposed to filter out the bad bits so it's better for your eyes long term.

re: desks.. we got motorized tables at work and they're awesome. at home i'm seated.. always have been. i sit on the couch w/the laptop too and sometimes stand when patching the modular..

changing postures helps me.. i think it's unreasonable to be expect to sit in one position for very long and think it's not gonna show up later as a pain in the back/neck/shoulder etc.

May.27.2017 @ 8:18 PM
Chris Randall
The whole "computer glasses" thing... The optometry industry's idea of what constitutes the ideal distance for computer screens doesn't take in to account a freak of nature such as myself. I have a wingspan over 6 feet, and my laptop screen is fairly far away from my eyes, as such things are judged. I actually get mine in the range they normally ascribe to "dashboard" or "driving" distance.

That said, I've been wearing glasses and/or contacts for most of my life, and am well acquainted with the various options available. I always laugh when they get to the part of the script "do you use a computer?"




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