Daily Archive: September 10, 2004

Ergonomics review

The Osmond Group, no not the pop group! are coming round to do an ergonomic review of my working environment.  I have specifically asked them to look into the following: Suitability of current seating, I want something that lets me change position to suit what’s hurting Issues with keyboard use,...

Getting in touch with your users

About 7 years ago I was in the fortunate position to establish a discussion forum to support a major desktop transformation programme I was doing.  The forum allowed users to have discussions directly with the architects and engineers who were responsible for their environment.  In addition it allowed the development team to post announcements, seek feedback, or drill into difficult to reproduce problems.

Developers and users alike loved the direct interaction that resulted.  Users felt they could get to the right people for once, and really understand why some touch decisions had been taken.  The development team gained a much better understanding and admiration for the users and how they exploited their environment.

Of course blogs are providing a similar mechanism today, for commercial products and I think blog authors or teams are getting a similar buzz from the direct and interactive feedback.  Ed Brill from Lotus writes:

In fact, there was a time where one of my managers told me that I was “wasting” too much time in the forums, and I just ignored the input.  Why?  Because I assert that my career success is based in part on my online community interaction.  It provides a connection between …

How to write a good paper or report

Werner Vogels wites an interesting article about what he looks for in a good report.  The advice is slanted towards academic papers, but its pretty useful for any technical writer.  he also references an excellent article that goes into the subject in greater detail.  Here is an extract with the main points:

  • User or system requirements. Most of the papers I read are about networking, operating systems, distributed systems, but being active is such a deep technical field does not exempt you from thinking about WHY you are doing this. Who or what is going to use your system? Can you write down the requirements and constraints such that it is clear to the reader why this drives your research? Do you have trace or input data that matches your requirements? Even if you did not start out with requirements (sometimes you just have a cool idea), when you write about it you must define what the criteria for success for your project are and why.

  • Alternative design decisions. It cannot have been the case that there is only one path to your goal. You must have seen other roads along the way, but you decided not to …

High hopes dashed yet again …

In a previous post I had analysed the possible reasons why I seemed to get better whilst on holiday.  I concluded the following:

1.      I did not go on holiday in the first place unless I was feeling a lot better. 

2.      I did loads of exercise whilst on holiday.

3.      When I get home I get much worse again

I looked into the exercise theory and found:

1.      if you do moderate exercise for 45 minutes or so, regularly throughout the day on an empty stomach this stimulates the stress response

2.      This results in natural Cortisol production

3.      Natural Cortisol is about 1/5 of the Steroids I am being prescribed but could account for maybe 5-10mg dose

4.      Exercising in this way is known to cause immune system suppressing effects, normally a draw back, which is what I need

So this week as my symptoms were not too bad I started so such a regime:

1.      ½ hour cycling

2.      1 hours walking

3.      ½ hour swimming

The effects were just like when I was on holiday and soon I was pretty much symptom free.  Unfortunately it …