I backed a Standing Desk Kick Starter

Kickstarter is all the rage, isn't it? As the owner of 3 small businesses, I really like the capabilities kickstarter brings to the table. The ability to fund a project based on merit alone, rather than create and shop a business plan to the venture capital industry, makes a ton of sense. My only complaint is I didn't come up with kickstarter and make it my business before they did.

I've been working from home for 9 years. I find myself to be much more productive when I'm in control of my environment. Coffee is made the way I want, when I want it. I can turn my music up to help me blast through mundane tasks. I can have complete quiet when I need it.

I have had this nagging feeling over the last few years that my desk/chair setup isn't what I need. I have a very hard time maintaining correct posture in a chair. When I need to concentrate, I often sit in very uncomfortable postures that cause pain.

Yeah, so what does this have to do with Kickstarter?

My friend Dan Skaggs turned me on to a kickstarter project that is offering to make a high quality motorized standing desk. I decided it's just what I needed. What I need is a way to get a standing desk the EXACT height I need for a comfortable work environment, and also a way to return the desk to a sitting position when I want.

Also, if I decide standing desks aren't what I need, I can keep it at a sitting height. So no fear of commitment, right?

The project is over the original $50,000 goal by a long shot, so others feel the same way as I do. If everything goes well, I'll have a standing desk shipped to my house by July. It'll take a few weeks for me to get adjusted to working in a standing fashion, but I have some fairly reasonable hopes that if I stand for a portion of the day, I'll be able to solve my bad-posture-under-concentration problem to a reasonable degree.

The Project

Take a look at World's First Smart, Connected Office Desk -- Powered By AI.. They have a smart option, with a phone app, and a regular option without all the electronic whiz, bang capabilities. I chose the regular option because I didn't see the need for all the bells and whistles, when I'm just getting started. After reading more about the capabilities, I may be starting to regret my decision. I am now 50%/50% the smart option would be worth the money for my specific purposes.

I also ordered mine without the table top. I have an idea to make a very cool, custom wood top. For now, I can use glass desk top I have now.

Really, in a nutshell, I'm out $348 for a motorized standing desk (with no top) shipped to my house. That's a pretty good deal and is a lot more cost effective than the other standing desks out there that often cost over $1,000.

Once I get the desk, set it up and work through my initial growing pains, I'll post on my thoughts.

A Side Effect of ySlow and Firebug

A Side Effect of ySlow and Firebug

I spent a number of hours researching a bug in a Model-Glue application. Each time a form was submitted successfully, a duplicate record showed up in the database. This application uses a number of frameworks and it wasn't very clear which layer was causing the problem.

I started to dig into the issue, looking for any rhyme or reason and pinged my good buddy Ezra Parker for some sanity checks. After some intense debugging, we found out that the second record in the database showed up after the ColdFusion request ended. I tried all sorts of programmer sorcery to find out why this second request happened and did not get much useful information. This duplicate request problem defied all logic!

Through the course of working through the information and issues, we explored many potential causes and questions like:

  • Was Model-Glue possibly adding a second redirect somewhere?
  • Was there a CFThread buried in Model-Glue, ColdSpring, Transfer or CFUniform that caused this?
  • Was there some javascript call being fired off, and replicating the request?
  • Were space hackers infiltrating my computer?
  • Am I on Candid Camera?
  • Should I just quit programming and open a Bakery?


Bluetooh Headset: Plantronics Voyager Pro Review

I wrote about wanting the Plantronics Voyager Pro bluetooth headset a few months ago and left the reader with the promise of a review. Well, here it is.

In short, the Plantronics Voyager Pro is well worth the money. I paid $100 when I purchased it from Best Buy (the only place that had it in stock) and the price meant this headset would have to perform in the top 5% of all headsets for me to be pleased. The good news is the headset excelled in all categories. Stop reading this now. Go get one.

Things I like

  • Super long battery life
  • Very quick charging
  • Very comfortable wear
  • Good noise cancelling for constant background noise
  • Seems hard to break

Things I don't like

  • --- editors note: do I have to make up something to put here before I release this article? I want people to think I'm fair and balanced, not in love with this headset, which I actually am.

The headset I'm replacing

I replaced an Aliph Jawbone 2, which I didn't like at all over the Jawbone 1. Both Jawbones have less battery power than the Plantronics Voyager Pro and both Jawbones are likely to break when placed in a pocket, unlike the Plantronics Voyager Pro. Both Jawbones are likely to pop loose from my ear as well, whereas the Plantronics Voyager Pro is much more likely to stay on my ear, even if I shake my head like a dog, or a death metal rocker.

Info On The Plantronics Voyager Pro

If you want, you can watch this simple video demonstration of the Plantronics Voyager Pro Bluetooth Headset.

It looks like the price is holding around $99 dollars, pretty much what I paid for it. See results and reviews at the Google Products page for the Plantronics Voyager Pro so you might as well head to the local Best Buy and pick one up. After 2 months of continual use, I am completely happy with the Plantronics Voyager Pro and don't miss either my Jawbone 1 or my Jawbone 2 in the least.

How I Cured My Back Pain

As I've gotten older, and gotten into the habit of working more hours, I'd become somewhat used to a pain in my back. This specific pain, inflammation rather, was located just under my right shoulder blade and would surface around mid-day. As I normally work 10-12 hours a day, the back pain impacted my ability to focus and to enjoy my work fully. I ended up casting a naughty glance at my office chair (Office Depot 79$ special), thinking it could possibly be contributing to the problem. After poking around at the Herman Miller Aeron chairs, I couldn't bring myself to spend over $1,000 for a chair that might or might not help me out.

After even more research, I found a chair called Ergohuman ME7ERG Mesh High Back Chair. Since it was half the price of the Aeron and was listed on a site claiming to have "Chairs professionally selected by certified Ergonomists", I simply had to have one.

And what did you think about it?

To be blunt, this chair cleared up my back problems. Within less than a week of having it, I had less pain, better focus and was more comfortable working than I had ever been. Quite possibly, the $500 I spent has delivered the most bang for the buck of ANYTHING I have in my home office.

Where did you by it?

I bought this chair from http://www.ergonomicchairpro.com, mostly because they had an eBay special for $500 with free shipping. They offer similar deals on their website right now, so don't worry about searching around.

How long did it take to receive?

The chair showed up in a few days. Considering how large the package is, and the Free shipping, I thought it would take much longer.

How was the Installation?

Putting the chair together took me about 15 minutes. All the necessary tools were provided in the package for me. They even included some extra screws, which I kept.

How was the Quality?

This chair is seriously built. Some chairs are cheap plastic and will wear out soon. The Ergohuman ME7ERG is built with a heavy steel base and composite frame. I've used this chair every day for a year now and there is no sign of wear. It is very comfortable and adjusts in a number of manners for the best fit.

Seriously? No Back Pain?

I have not had a recurrence of the back pain at all since I've been working in this chair. Even when working in lengthy spurts of 60-80 hours, no back pain.

How much money do you get from selling these chairs?

I don't make a single nickel from selling these chairs. Frankly, at DataCurl, we do just fine providing high-quality consulting and applications to the Health and Wellness industry that we don't need to shill chairs for pennies. You don't see any ads on this blog do you?

In closing, if you have back pain from working at a computer all day long, you owe it to yourself to invest in a proper chair. Most people have vehicles that cost between $10-50k which are driven less than an hour a day. A quality work chair is used between 6-12 hours a day, so it is worth the extra money to get a quality chair designed around human beings. If you want one of these chairs, go check out Ergonomic Chair Pro and get one today.

Help Me Improve My Office Environment

I am one of those unlucky people who work from a home office. Most times I do not mind this as having the ability to control my environment makes me much more productive than being in an office. On most fronts, I like how things are. My office is in a loft in my house. Once I am up in the office, I am isolated from the rest of the house. I do not hear the doorbell, the house phone, or any other distraction. I've got all my tech books up there and all the right office equipment so things are pretty much how I want them. Pretty much.

The one area I am not satisfied is in my computer management. As you can see in the photo below, I have 2 desktops and 2 laptops managed through 3 monitors, 3 mice and 3 keyboards. What I don't have is enough desk space and I feel a little cramped. Before you ask, yes, I need all of those computers. I don't, however think that the keyboards, mice and monitors are optimally set up and I do think there is room for improvement.

Dan Wilson

Since most of my readers are smarter than I, I'd like to ask how you have your office set up. Do you think it is configured for maximum productivity? Why or why not?

Feel free to email me your picture of your office setup. I'll post them here in this email along with your name.

Shannon Hicks:

Russ Johnson:

Dan Skaggs: