back to article You can’t sit there, my IoT desk tells me

I don’t know what to do with my arse. Should I be swivelling on it? Should I do it leaning forward with pressure applied to the small of my back? Or would I be better advised to do the business standing up? For various reasons, I am in the market for a standing desk: that is, a desk that you can work at while standing upright …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know that feeling well...

    I broke three vertebrae (and various other bones) in a motorcyle accident when some myopic moron pulled out on me as I passed the junction.

    Finding a chair that doesn't leave you seized up after 30 minutes is a serious issue. Some of the best cost £1k+, but most companies won't spend more than £250 and the cheapo ones can be worse than a standard office chair!

    I've tried the "kneeling chairs", but I've buggered knees from riding bikes for more than 30years and I can't stand for more than 10 or 15 minutes without my back feeling like I've just been kidney punched.

    But I must admit, that GAZE DESK (even if it does have an IoT tag) does look pretty funky. Still, a simple timer to remind you to stand up now and then is all that really needed.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I know that feeling well...

      'I've tried the "kneeling chairs"'

      I remember being interviewed by someone squatting on one of those contraptions. Not content with that, as he wasn't behind a desk, he just kept scooting it all over the room. Some jobs, you're just glad you didn't get.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: I know that feeling well...

        I had one of those kneeling chairs at my last job (because that's what was under the desk I was given).

        It turned out to be great for my lower back. I did wear out the knees on my trousers though.

        1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

          Re: I know that feeling well...

          A housemate had one of those kneeling chairs, a good high-quality one. After a period of adjustment, it was surprisingly comfortable, and encouraged better posture than a traditional chair.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: I know that feeling well...

          "I had one of those kneeling chairs at my last job"

          Some employers think this is an appropriate posture for all employees.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Flame

      @AN Re: I know that feeling well...

      Anyone who has had back issues and sits at a desk for 8-10 hours a day knows that having a decent seat and desk is important.

      The flame icon is for the author, not you.

      I realize Alasdair is trying to tongue in cheek, however, for those of us IT professionals... its not a laughing matter. (Yes, I've spent time at clients where the working environment was a joke. )

      I've always wanted a desk that could be adjusted from seated to standing. I just couldn't justify the price.

      My wife had back surgery and I ended up spending $$$ for a desk in her office. She loves it and uses it both sitting and standing. I'm still looking for a new desk and a new chair. My Areon chair is pushing 20 years...

      Sorry Dobbs, you're no thought leader and not really that funny. This really isn't a laughing matter.

      As to the IOT kickstarter desk... not really a good idea. How does the desk know you're there. What happens if you disappear to head to a meeting? Coffee/Tea break? Lunch?

      Imagine if your work buddies hacked your desk? Not cool!

      While this seems more like a gimmick, the mechanical desk is not.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: @AN I know that feeling well...

        Who's Alasdair Dobbs? Anybody heard of him?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: @AN I know that feeling well...

          "Who's Alasdair Dobbs? Anybody heard of him?"

          I think he's the guy that wrote the journal.

      2. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: @AN I know that feeling well...

        >> Imagine if your work buddies hacked your desk? Not cool!

        This really isn't a laughing matter, you know.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @AN I know that feeling well...

        Sorry Dobbs, you're no thought leader and not really that funny. This really isn't a laughing matter.

        Moping about a problem isn't helping either. I'm with Dabbsie on this one: ridicule the idiocy of imposing "solutions" without researching the specifics. What works for you may not work at all for someone else, and that's what he brings out. BTW, I have a damaged back as well, and I recognise the situation from my days as a consultant where some dumb architect was let loose on the office and replaced the furniture that worked well with a "hot desk" solution which seemed to have been designed to prevent people getting comfortable enough to get any work done.

        But I reckon there's no fixing your sense of humour then ..

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I know that feeling well...

      Ugh. I broke my sacrum/coccyx in a desk related fall actually. I was sliding forward in my chair when it caught on a tile and flipped me forward to land pretty damn square on my butt. I laid there in pain for about 45 minutes.

      I went to a doctor who didn't believe me and figured I was just angling for illegal pain pills. I did eventually get him sacked.

      My problem with desks is that they're still writing height, not typing height. I have bolted 8" extensions on the legs of my current desk. My keyboard is about an inch above my elbows and any sort of carpal tunnel pain has gone.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: I know that feeling well...

        I have bolted 8" extensions on the legs of my current desk. My keyboard is about an inch above my elbows and any sort of carpal tunnel pain has gone.

        And this is exactly why I nowdays build my home office desks out of kitchen units. They are built to work while standing which makes them by default 5-7cms taller than a normal desk sans legs, add legs to taste for optimal height.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: I know that feeling well...

          I'm kneeling on one right now...

    4. wayne 8

      Re: I know that feeling well...

      The young'uns like having their smartphones encouraging them and rewarding them. Even an app for brushing the teeth connected to an IoT toothbrush, in your mouth.

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: I know that feeling well...

        I've got one of those for the eldest daughter.. hate the bloody thing and the sodding app that comes with it is crap.

        Just glad we didn't pay for it (the wifes a dentist so she got it as a freebie)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I know that feeling well...

      I've tried the "kneeling chairs", but I've buggered knees from riding bikes for more than 30years and I can't stand for more than 10 or 15 minutes without my back feeling like I've just been kidney punched.

      I used one as a test, and discovered it was great for my back. The problem was that it also helped me discover that my kneecaps needed work as I couldn't get off it afterwards, so eventually I ended up having surgery for that. Never tried again ..

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Let's talk balls

    What about balls? Has anybody tried sitting on them? Does it work for them?

    ( http://lifehacker.com/5830748/why-i-switched-my-office-chair-with-an-exercise-ball-and-what-it-feels-like )

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Let's talk balls

      What about balls? Has anybody tried sitting on them? Does it work for them?

      I sat on my balls once - not to be recommended, the pain was excruciating.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Let's talk balls

      They were all the rage a couple of years ago, so I gave it a try.

      On the plus side, if they are the right size (desk height, ratio of torso length to leg length, etc) they are actually nice to sit upon. You can move around on them, wiggle your situpon, even bounce a bit.

      On the minus side, you can't move with them like you can with any chairs on wheels. Not that big a problem and somewhat a benefit as it forces you to stand up and walk the few paces to the printer or whatever. But. And this is a big but. You can't lean back. Because there is nothing to lean on to. But you will lean back at some point. Because you're used to it. Because you want to stretch. Because you have to sit through a boring phonecall. Whatever. You will lean back. And you will tumble to the floor in a more or less spectacular way, depending on your level of surprise and physical agility.

      I still have that ball (Yes, the other balls as well. I know you, guys.), but now I use it to rest my feet when I sit on the couch.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's talk balls

        Moreover, maybe it's just me but whenever I try to read text on the screen while sitting on my ball I almost immediately get motion sickness.

        What do you mean, stop bouncing? Can't be done, mate. Sorry. Believe me, I have tried.

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Let's talk balls

          "I like bouncing, boing boing boing boing..."

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOUTimHYj5w

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's talk balls

        I used to sit opposite a colleague who used a gym ball as a seat. Hay-fever season was hilarious as he would launch himself backwards onto the floor each time he sneezed. I felt sympathetic for the first week, but when he stuck with (but not on!) the ball after that, I figured it was self inflicted and open to mirth...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's talk balls

        I once had balls, but the ex wife got them in the divorce.

    3. LINCARD1000
      Happy

      Re: Let's talk balls

      Been using one for about 9 months or so now, and have to say it's quite good. You very quickly get used to the fact that it's not as mobile as a regular chair and although you can be all slouchy on it, it's actually not that comfortable to do so. It also encourages you to get up and off it every now and then which is good for you anyway :-)

      Only downside is the office clowns who make the same tired fucking joke every time they see you, about wanting to kick the bloody thing out from under you.

      Happy bouncy fun time balls go! (we like balls)...

  3. Dr_N Silver badge

    Daruma

    Still missing its eye, eh Mr Dabbs?

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Daruma

      Well spotted. My wish was too ambitious, I fear, and he will remain squinting forever. Or should I apply some Tippex and start again, do you think?

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    I see how this is shaping up

    All this IoT stuff is being extensively engineered to replace our own thought processes in the idea that computers can take of day-to-day repetitive stuff without our thinking about it.

    The only result of all that is that we will be trained to do as the computer says without thinking about it, because some numpty programmed it that way. Computer says jump, and we will jump.

    All this taking care of us is just going to turn us into an entire planet of drooling idiots incapable of critical thought.

    Oh, wait, now I get it . . .

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: I see how this is shaping up

      "All this IoT stuff is being extensively engineered to replace our own thought processes in the idea that computers can take of day-to-day repetitive stuff without our thinking about it."

      Hunter gatherers leave nature to grow things. They don't have to think about more than the most basic storage, they don't have to make plans, and their material needs are met with simple (but skilled) tools and clothing. Early agricultural societies required a lot of planning and organisation, and thinking about the day to day repetitive stuff.

      A number of anthropologists believe that the adoption of agriculture was bad for human lifespan, health and intelligence.

      Being devil's advocate, perhaps IoT will get us to more like the garden of Eden than the current Cities of the Plain model. Or perhaps it will just enable Facebook to complete the task of world domination.

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: I see how this is shaping up

        "A number of anthropologists believe that the adoption of agriculture was bad for human lifespan, health and intelligence."

        I'd say that was a pretty bad take on things, and ignores the actual facts in favor of wooly theories. I"m married to an anth major, and she'd no doubt tear them a new one :)

        For a person who makes it to 40 years old, if they where a hunter gatherer then they are usually a pretty fine example of humanity. A 40 year old in an early agrarian society often has suffered more disease, injuries, and is generally smaller and usually less skilled (more specific skills, fewer general skills). So far, so much confirmation of initial hypothesis.

        However, you get 10-400 times more people making it to 40 in the agrarian society. People survive diseases they otherwise wouldn't, injuries result in changing tasks rather than leading to your demise. A hunter gatherer with a broken leg is usually dead.

        There's almost no ability to produce a reliable surplus in hunter gathering, so you can't have any existence of a non-providing class, whereas agriculture allows people to do things other than get food. This is obviously used initially to make things that help make more food, shelter, retaining knowledge, and so on. Then after ten thousand years, some people are going to intellectualize their pastoral fantasies and declare that we where better as noble savages.

        Agriculture was bad for an individual (assuming they survived), but is better for a population. Same as urban populations are, on average, less healthy than pastoral ones. But you'd be amazed how many armchair survivalists live in towns and cities.

      2. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: I see how this is shaping up

        "The only result of all that is that we will be trained to do as the computer says without thinking about it, because some numpty programmed it that way. Advertiser tells the Computer says jump to say 'buy', and we will jump buy."

        FTFY.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I see how this is shaping up

        "Hunter gatherers ... don't have to make plans,"

        Hunter gathers have to plan to be in the right place at the right time to hunt or gather what's available at that particular season. There now seems to be archaeological evidence that at least some Mesolithic societies had semi-permanent bases.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Computer says jump, and we will jump.

    Only an extension of the philosophy of many large businesses who slavishly follow the recommendations of management consultants, regardless of the ill informed stupidity of taking advice from somebody who doesn't know your business, and will be paid regardless of the probable distraction, cost and failure that comes from listening to consultants.

  6. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    Cardboard boxes

    Years ago I had to relocate my department - which included labs - from one building to another on the same site, and I was project managing the move as well as everything else. My "office" was literally moving from day to day so I could keep an eye on the builders and tradesmen.

    The solution was a chair on castors, and a series of large cardboard boxes which would be repurposed to be everything from bookshelves to desk to tables according to what was happening. If the builders bashed into them it didn't matter. The main issue in those days was to remember after every move to make sure reception had the correct extension.

    The cardboard boxes for things like aircon units are pretty strong, and by using two of them on either side the middle one can have a knee cutout made without falling over.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Cardboard boxes

      Admit it - you were also building a fort.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Cardboard boxes - Admit it - you were also building a fort.

        Does a reinforced underground bunker holding the EMP test equipment count? If so I admit it.

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Cardboard boxes - Admit it - you were also building a fort.

          Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! Have one on me -->

  7. Baudwalk

    Well, if that Gaze contraption was foisted on me...

    ... I'd have to put a controller on my chair, to make it automatically follow the desk's height.

    Problem solved.

    Ilva has a fairly nice, non-smart, electric desk in the same price range as the Refold cardboard thingie. (And with a considerably longer expected life-span.)

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: Well, if that Gaze contraption was foisted on me...

      "I'd have to put a controller on my chair, to make it automatically follow the desk's height."

      Yay, office rodeo!

      /devil.jpg/

  8. Yugguy

    How mainstream will IoT get?

    Maybe when the 5 year olds of today are grown up, but apart from gadget junkies/tech nerds who actually uses it now?

    The only IoT I can think I might possibly need is remote control of the heating, but even then as I'm not a soft sack of shite I'm able to bear a few minutes of a cool house without crying. I certainly don't want my groceries auto-ordered or anything like that,

    1. Franco Silver badge

      Re: How mainstream will IoT get?

      I can just about see the point of the heating control, and to a very small extent fridges/freezers that can remotely tell you what's in them when you go to the shops, but not enough to want one, buy one, or trust one.

      On the subject of office furniture, I used to work with a guy who demanded Microsoft Natural keyboards everywhere he went, and whined like a little girl with a skint knee if he had to use a pleb keyboard like the rest of us. Same guy demanded natural light bulbs (think that was what they were called, he might just have watched a lot of 70s porn and preferred soft focus though, and may also explain any wrist issues caused by keyboards....) so he didn't get migraines.

      1. Yugguy

        Re: How mainstream will IoT get?

        The thing is I might not want my fridge to reorder my meat cos I know the local coop sells it cheap on a saturday afternoon.

        But I dont know exactly what I'll get each week so I can't filter it out of the preorder list.

    2. Seajay#

      Re: How mainstream will IoT get?

      Even remote control heating, one of the IOT successes, isn't actually that fantastic a plan.

      In an old house, a steady temperature is good for preventing damp so it's worth having the heating on low continuously. "Smart" swings of temperature when you enter and leave might end up costing you more in mould treatment than you save in fuel.

      In a new house, the insulation is pretty effective. So turning the heat off for a few hours once it's warm doesn't save much fuel because very little was going to be used anyway.

  9. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Twofer

    > for the price of one cardboard desk you can buy two veneered chipboard equivalents from Ikea.

    So buy your desk from IKEA.

    Take it home

    Throw the desk away (or not)

    Make yourself a "custom" one from the IKEA packaging.

  10. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Free fornication chair...

    ...sounds like a good idea, every orrrfice should have one...

  11. G R Goslin

    Dunno their born, some people

    I was an engineering draughtsman for about 30 years, and one thing you cannot do when working at a full size drawing board is sit down. Sure you had a chair, or rather a stool, but that was only for use in the ten minute tea break, or for when you were doing the calculations necessary in the job. The machine shops that you'd come from ran even better. In an area of perhaps 500 men, there'd not be a single chair. So you took your tea break standing up.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Dunno their born, some people

      Machine Shop & Tea Breaks? That's wot the canteen was for.

      In the 'Erection' Shop the only chairs to be found was where a fitter and an apprentice was working on a job. The fitter would sit while (under his instruction) the apprentice did the work. The only time the chair was vacant for more than the time it took to get a cuppa/have a pee was the days when the apprentice was off at the local Tech college doing their C&G's

      I was one of the apprentices doing just that from '69 to '72. Then I left and became a Mech Eng Student.

      Them was the days.

  12. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    " ... stand up and sit down with irritating frequency, reminiscent of attending a church service but with less singing ... "

    Well, there's an idea - get a pew and alternate between kneeling and sitting.

    Titus: "Dave! Sit down! And don't play with the kneely thing!"

    Dave: (sitting down) "What kneely th... heeeyy!" (drops out of sight)

  13. SkippyBing Silver badge

    Standing Desks

    I wanted a standing desk at home. But I also wanted to be able to sit at it when I couldn't be arsed standing. I briefly considered an adjustable one before realising I could just have one at standing height and a chair the right height to sit at it comfortably when I wanted. You can over complicate solutions sometimes.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Standing Desks

      "a chair the right height to sit at it comfortably when I wanted"

      A bar stool.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Standing Desks

        A bar stool.

        And... a tap built into the corner of the desk with a Kegerator beneath it.

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