For office workers: If you’re among those (relatively few now, I think) who haven’t had a chance to try a sit/stand desk, I totally recommend them.

Here’s mine, cranked up:

Motorized sit/stand desk

This looks weirdly sterile because it manages to show the only wall segments of my office that aren’t whiteboards covered with scribbles and diagrams. Plus there’s a nice little table and chairs around it.

These things are becoming ubiquitous in high-tech offices. I decided to give one a try because I have occasional pain in my upper-back and neck caused by decades of looking down at laptops. Amazon gave me a consult with an ergonomist, who said it’s not that sitting is bad and standing is good, it’s that you want to avoid being in one position all the time. So if you’ve been sitting down for 45 minutes, stand up; and vice versa.

I find I go home feeling better every day I use it. Your mileage may vary but my guess is that one of these would improve most people’s lives.

On the rare occasions when I have a couple hours uninterrupted by meetings and I have some challenging code or document to work on, I get too zoned in to raise or lower, then eventually notice either my butt or my feet yelling for relief.

Desktop tour · The surface expresses the well-known Amazon door desk aesthetic — I like it.

See all the wires? There’s a problem I don’t have a good solution for yet, in that it’s hard to find the right place to put the power bars so that plugs don’t pull out when you raise the desk. One day I’ll bring some wood screws to work and fasten the suckers to its bottom. For the moment, I put the little drawers-on-wheels thingie under the desk and the power-bars sit on top of that.

As you can see, I have a Mac and a Dell/Linux box; the combo works well for building and then testing cloud-infrastructure services. The Dell’s screen is (as usual) dark, because ssh.

I’m an audio geek and tend to have old gear around the house, so what you see there is a nice old NAD 40WPC integrated amp driving an ancient pair of Totem Acoustic Model Ones. The Mac drives the NAD via a tiny Schiit Modi 2 Uber outboard DAC (recommended) that you can’t see behind the books, and on the rare occasions when I want to listen to the Dell, I route the sound out of its headphone port.

In the blocks of time when I’m not in meetings, I usually have Google Play Music’s “African Dub” radio channel playing quietly; I recommend it.

Now, those books; due to some combination of tribal culture and Amazon-is-frugal heritage, people prop up their laptops and monitors with idiosyncratic combinations of packages of printing paper, old shipping boxes, and all sorts of other weird shit. I use Java in a Nutshell (also see here), Unix Network Programming, and the Fifth Edition of The Unicode Standard. I think that any of these books would enrich both your desktop and your mind.

One important feature of my desktop is the absence of paper. I totally suck at managing paper and finally, all these decades into my career, have learned to do without. Yes, I regularly both read and write the famous Amazon six-pagers (recommended); but then they go straight to the shredding bin.

Also in this image are my World Wide Web Consortium coffee mug, and a OnePlus One, which I don’t recommend; mine is barely a year old and is failing.

Finally, there’s a picture of Lauren Wood (recommended).


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Ross (Dec 28 2015, at 14:08)

How do you like those Planar monitors?


From: hawkse (Dec 29 2015, at 03:49)

The ability to change position while working is a requirement when working in an office. A motorized desk helps a long way but a decent chair also does wonders. Check out Capisco by Håg ( It may look a little weird but allows for an incredibly flexible working position. I mostly end up in a half sitting pose giving my legs a chance to stretch even while sitting. The cutouts for the legs also prevent the bloodflow to your feet from getting cut off even while fully seated and the builtin armrests in the back are nicely out of the way. Can't really give enough praise (and no, I have no affiliation with them whatsoever).


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