2006-06-27

Pain in the Wrist

Workrave

I sometimes have really bad RSI. I say RSI, but I really mean, "my right wrist is giving me a bit of pain". And I say, "really bad" as in, it's only giving me a little bit of pain.

I have friends who have gone through a similar experience, but sometimes I discover that one of my friends has not gone through what I call bad RSI, they've gone through flaming both wrists hurt like hell all day every day.

I never let myself get that bad, but it did get to the point that I saw a doctor, took a week off work, took iboprofen, and decided never to seriously use a computer again unless I had gel wrist rests.

That's why I define 'bad' as being in a little bit of pain.

I have a friend in mind who let his RSI get so bad that he quit his job, and found other employment because he was in so much pain... I was discussing wrist pain with a coworker today, and she was saying she couldn't believe how bad it got before she took 'measures', and how it starts to hurt if she even uses her computer at home, that doesn't have wrist rests.

As such, I thought I'd just list here a few of the things that I find really helpful.

  • Gel Wrist Rests. Both mouse and keyboard. Mouse is more important for me, but I need both. I use the coloured gel ones made by 'Fellowes'.
  • Workrave. When things get bad, I turn on workrave, and it reminds me to stretch every couple of consequtive minutes of work.
  • Keyboard shortcuts. Make them if there aren't any good ones in your environment.
  • If you're like me and the mouse really hurts your wrist, move to a window manager like Ion.

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2006-06-18

If Half The Things I've Heard Are True

So I've been reading around the place various comments about the recent release of a new public beta for Vista. This has had an interesting effect. Because it's a public beta, the 'taboo' of talking about running a pirate copy of the beta has been nulled, and people have started talking about the operating system publically.

It seems everyone is trying to either a) sell vista to unbelievers, or b) explain why vista is so terrible.

Unfortunately, I end up talking to a lot of (a)'s. But I read many blogs, and there's quite a few (b)'s around. I'm one of those odd people that neither likes nor dislikes windows anymore. I'm a programmer, I write code for linux, and at home I run a mac that I didn't pay for. I didn't buy into any paradigm but the one that comes for free on the cover of magazines.

But the thing that I find interesting is that as a GNU/Linux Open Source Free Software Penguin Loving Fanatic, I'm excited about Windows Vista. I'm excited that as someone who has had to deal with, on a network level, the brokenness in Windows pre-Vista, that there might be improvement.

I'm excited that somehow, the number of viruses in the wild might drop a little.

I'm excited that trivial things like burning CDs, sharing music, finding files, talking to people, developing software and being Good People might just get slightly easier.

An aquaintance of mine, who is a developer for Microsoft, gave me a cute little snippet of information that only someone who codes would appreciate:

Not much we do nowadays is really closed. We don't obfuscate any of our IL, so it's pretty trivial to pop it into .NET reflector and look at all the source.

I don't know how that works with licensing. Does that count as reverse engineering? What does it mean that in a year or two people will have a project that's parallel to SIMBL?

Sometimes folks forget. Freedom is an attitude, not an abstract concept. Linux is free because of the freedom to open up the code, see what makes it tick incorrectly, machine a new cog, replace it, and show everyone else how to do it.

As a GNU/Linux Open Source Free Software Penguin Loving Fanatic, nothing thrills me more than Vista coming out. I think it may be one step closer to Folks being Free.

I wrote this little rant in a bit of a hurry, feel Free tell me why I'm wrong.

2006-06-11

You'd Think It Was A Solved Problem

I got ADSL. In Australia. Therefore I had an interesting adventure, and I have decided to share it. A person with knowledge of Telstra's misadventures has estimated that 10% of ADSL provisining do not work when initially dealt with. Here is my story about being a statistic.

Monday, 29th of May, 9pm, I used an Online Form to request ADSL from Internode.

Wednesday, 31st of May, Morning, Telstra Wholesale provision my phoneline.

Wednesday, 31st of May, Evening, ADSL modem plugged into phoneline. Line Sync established. Authentication does not function.

Thursday, 1nd of June, start of business. Internode technical support contacted by Elspeth. Calls from Internode will continue through the day, running through the script for "ADSL doesn't work".

Thursday, 1st of June, Midday, Internode automated notification that my line has been provisioned, and tells me I may log in. Authentication still does not function.

Friday, 2rd of June, Internode continues to provide support. They organise a Telstra technician to visit the premesis on Tuesday, "between 8 and 12".

Weekend, 3-4th of June, continue debugging. Establish with two modems that no reponses to PPP requests are coming back at all. When talking to a support technician about this matter, the nonclamenture used in their scripts to describe this problem is "A Timeout Error".

Tuesday, 6th of June, 8:10am, Telstra Tech #1 comes at. Establishes that modem can get line sync. Establishes that all of the 'loss' on the phone line (distance to exchange, line quality, etc) is within tolerances and everything is green. Telstra Tech #1 tells us that the problem is with the ISP, and leaves.

Tuesday, 6th of June, 8:30am, Telstra Tech #1 visits the 'pit' and unplugs my phone line three times while I try to call Internode technical support.

Tuesday, 6th of June, 8:50am, Internode technical support calls me back on my mobile phone. I tell them in detail my findings from the weekend and what Telstra Tech #1 said. The kind person on the support line tells me that Telstra Tech #1 didn't do his job, and should have followed through after checking for line sync and authenticated with Telstra's Internode "Test" ADSL account against Internode's authentication server. A new support ticket with Telstra is lodged.

Tuesday, 6th of June, 1:30pm, New Telstra Tech #2 arrives on premesis, tests logging in using PPPoE. Discovers he cannot do so. Telstra Tech #2 makes negative comment about Telstra Tech #1 and returns to exchange.

Tuesday, 6th of June, 1:50pm, Telstra Tech #2 attempts to authenticate at exchange using our port. Discovers fault exists at exchange.

Tuesday, 6th of June, 2:13pm, Telstra Tech #2 plugs us into the correct port. Automatic authentication retries successfully auth with Internode. Internet starts working.

Why is getting The Internet so hard? Energex manage to turn on my power. Origin manage to deliver my gas. Telstra manage to connect my phone line. Why is getting the internet so hard? You'd think it should be a solved problem.

Wouldn't you?

What I've Been Up To

Booyah. I'm back. This feels great.

I've moved house. I love my new house. I had my housewarming last night, and that was excellent. Elspeth cooked up a storm and we ate all sorts of yummy goodies.

There's still heaps to do, but we've managed to get the bulk of our possessions moved and sorted out. I'm incredibly happy with the layout and features of our new house. Really nice kitchen (gas cooktop!) and we're really convenient for the Indooroopilly shopping center. :)

On the hacking front, I've been doing more and more code reviews for Twisted. I enjoy being able to see what's going on. Twisted uses Branch Based Development a set of scripts in a package called 'Combinator' written by glyph, which makes doing branch based development (all code gets developed in a branch, then merged to trunk after a review) sane. I've barely written any twisted code in the last couple of years, and I've committed to cvs/svn less than 10% of what I've done. Doing code reviews is a nice way of actually doing something productive.

Today Elspeth bought a copy of The Silver Spoon, a 50+ year old cookbook that's been translated from Italian. It's very very good, and she cooked a few things from it for dinner. Unlike 'Australian' style cookbooks, where each recipie takes a page or two, with detailed instructions, The Silver Spoon gives a list of ingredients, and a paragraph on how to cook them. There are 3 to 5 recipies per page, and often things like "And serve with a Green Sauce (page 73)" are found. Elspeth likes it a lot.