Grandparents’ 50th Anniversary Trailer

Eight years ago, I had a chance to assemble a brief documentary for my paternal Grandfather and late Grandmother’s  fiftieth anniversary. Before the documentary played later in the celebration, I wanted to show a bit of a trailer, and managed to assemble the perfect clips to create this wonderful tongue-in-cheek trailer.

Sorry about the overall quality. This was shot on a state of the art camera and assembled with the latest iMovie, but that was eight years ago.

Ergonomics on the Cheap

I went shopping yesterday for a few items that would turn my desk into an unbeatable ergonomic workstation. Five stores and three hours later, I found absolutely nothing, so I spent the rest of the day improvising what I could. I am not a doctor, but I did spend some time researching these tips, and though I might as well pass them on to you.

First and foremost is the chair. You cannot skimp on the chair. If you’re working on a folding chair or a chair without height adjustments, go buy a decent chair. If you work from home, you’ll be spending as much time in your chair as you do in your bed, so you want it to be just as comfortable.

Your thighs should be parallel to the ground, your forearms should be parallel to your thighs, and your hands should rest gently on your keyboard and mouse with absolutely no effort. If you have to reach, move your chair. If you can’t move any closer, buy a keyboard tray or (in my case) fix your existing one. Adjust the height of your chair as necessary to keep your forearms parallel to your thighs while your hands are resting on your keyboard and mouse. If your thighs are no longer parallel to the ground, you may need to find a book or something similar to rest your feet on. My desk has a seemingly useless wood shelf that’s just the perfect height for my feet.

Now, take a moment to look up and down without moving your head. You’ll notice that your eyes have more freedom to move down than up, so your monitor placement should take that into account. You’ll want to be looking straight ahead at the top of your monitor for any monitor under 20″ or the top-third of your monitor if it’s over 20″. If your monitor is too low, put a phonebook under it. If the phonebook is too big, get a knife and cut it down to size. If your monitor is too high, it’s time to consider placing your keyboard and mouse on the actual desk with your monitor (adjust your chair height as necessary and make sure that your hands are still resting gently on your keyboard and mouse without reaching).

Finally, get used to not looking at your keyboard. There are quite a few inches between the top of your monitor and your keyboard, which means you’ll be moving your head quite a bit if you like to watch yourself type. Have some fun, and train yourself to type by feel with Z-Type.

With any luck, you should be experiencing less pain and fatigue than you did with your previous setup. After a day, I have certainly noticed a difference.

The Sun’s Gone Dim and the Sky’s Turned Black

If you have seen the trailers for Battle: Los Angeles, then you have probably already heard part of the song that I’ve been listening to on repeat for most of the day.

This is The Sun’s Gone Dim and the Sky’s Turned Black from Jóhann Jóhannsson’s 2006 album, IBM 1401, A User’s Manual.

IBM 1401, A User’s Manual is available from record stores, iTunes, and Amazon.

Dejal Time Out

If you’re a Mac user, and you find yourself working too hard at the computer (typing and staring at the screen for hours with no break), give Time Out a try.

This hand freeware app will allow you to schedule regular breaks throughout the day where it actually locks your screen and plays music from iTunes (if you so desire). Currently, I have it set for a 15 second break every 30 minutes and a 10 minute break every hour. I leave the iTunes integration off so that I’m reminded to actually get out of my chair and away from the computer.

If you’re a fan of Apple’s latest toy, Time Out is also available through the Mac App Store.