Standing Desk, day 1

Today I took a plunge with a standing desk, for a few reasons.

I often sit all day long, and rarely make the time to exercise.  Humans weren’t made to sit.  I think this sums it well:

Sitting is one of the most passive things you can do. You burn more energy by chewing gum or fidgeting than you do sitting still in a chair. Compared to sitting, standing in one place is hard work. To stand, you have to tense your leg muscles, and engage the muscles of your back and shoulders; while standing, you often shift from leg to leg. All of this burns energy.

For many people, weight gain is a matter of slow creep — two pounds this year, three pounds next year. You can gain this much if, each day, you eat just 30 calories more than you burn. Thirty calories is hardly anything — it’s a couple of mouthfuls of banana, or a few potato chips. Thus, a little more time on your feet today and tomorrow can easily make the difference between remaining lean and getting fat.

Olivia Judson in the New York Times

Not that productivity is what humans were made for either, but if I’m taking time away from my family and Life to go work, I should use that time well.  Too often my train of thought is “I’m sitting in front of a computer, now what can I do with it?”  rather than “For what purpose am I standing in front of this computer?”

Peer Pressure
A friend and
several bloggers I respect have made the switch, and had good things to say.  I’m a big fan of reviews and anecdotal evidence.  :7

…So this morning I put some cardboard boxes under my keyboard, mouse, and monitors.  (It’s ugly, but a cheap way to try before I buy a real standing desk.)

Some things I’ve already noticed:

  • It’s hard.  Everyone says the first 2 days are brutal.  Yup!  They also say around day 3 it gets easy and then it starts paying back with better energy.  Here’s hoping…
  • With the right tunes, I catch myself dancing!  Yes, I’m sure you’d like to see that.  I checked and am relieved that google says I’m not crazy (or not alone, anyway).
  • Moment-to-moment priorities are easier.  For a couple years I’ve had a sign reminding me to “Decide Standing” when I pick my next tasks.  The opposite is true now – I can now take a 2-minute sitting break to pick a task.  This comes much more naturally!

Wish me luck.

WTH: Live Essentials 2011 on Microsoft Update


Microsoft says its Important that I get the Bing Bar…
(and a dozen other whatnots, all of which will increase the security surface area of my system)

…but it’s just optional that I have current security software?!?


What the heck??


To be clear, I do not recommend installing Live Essentials unless you see something in that list which really interests you.  I use and do like Live Writer, which is my preference for publishing to this blog.


2010-12-18 UPDATE:

I found the cause, in a setting I hadn’t noticed before:
"Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates"

When I uncheck it, Recommended Updates get moved from the Important category back to Optional.

I’m not sure when or how this got set, but I’ve noticed other brand-new machines do the same thing.  Is this the new default?

Lookee what I made

Speaking of using new web tech, I just rolled out a new site yesterday:

Some bullets for gearheads:


I’ve been using CSS3 for a long time, but this was the the first with HTML5.  The design is based on existing print materials.  It’s just a brochure site, but it was fun.

Might as well use it

I finally took some of that new web tech I was talking about here and used it here.  I couldn’t stand the “brick” look anymore, so it’s mostly border-radius and box-shadow, but there’s also an RGBA background color and a webkit transition.  None of this gives joy for IE, though – perhaps I should Chrome Frame it?   …I did also tighten up the Reader feed and search box. 

I realize how long it’s been here, and that Facebook’s walled garden has been catching the vast amount of my sharing.  I’d like to “get out” here more, but til I do, don’t miss me there.


HTML5, CSS3, and me


I recently stumbled on, and thought “yet another IP lookup / geolocation site”.   Then I noticed the “Modernizr Support” section, detailing my browser’s support for new standards. 

I was impressed both by the graph and my browser’s support.  Here’s how it looked with Google Chrome:


It reminded me that last week I was experimenting with HTML5, CSS3, and Chrome Frame, and had whipped together an ugly(!) demo.  I figured I’d line up the current browsers here and run them through both exercises.  To be clear, my demo is NOT fair because it uses several Webkit-specific extensions, but I thought it worth seeing.


The Downward Spiral

Chrome 3.0 (and Safari 4.0)
image  image
Yes, it’s tilted on purpose. Interesting bit: the black background is the abyss behind the rounded <HTML>.  Who knows what lurks there?  (Bizarre video artifacts when I resize the browser, actually).


Firefox 3.5
image image
@font-face worked on my header, but no gradients, and I don’t know why border-radius failed.  (It’s worked on other sites).


Opera 10
image image
Why is the standards-nazis’ browser so sucky here? 

Internet Explorer 8
image image
The bottom of the suck, and what we’ve all come to know and loathe.  (To be fair though, IE has supported much of this since v4, but in a non-standard way.  Pragmatically, I’d grant it Box-shadow, Opacity, Gradients, 2D Transforms, and Transitions thanks to its CSS Visual Filters and Transitions.)


A Testing Crisis

Currently I test my sites with SIX web browsers: Safari/Chrome, Firefox, Chrome, IE6, IE7, and IE8.  This is a testing crisis for me, and IE6 has no give (with a stubborn 33% market share), so I’ve been forcing IE8 into downgraded IE7 mode for a slight reprieve.  Yes, I downgrade an already-behind browser! 

Sure, I could try to encourage users to upgrade their browsers, but apparently most people have no idea what that means! 

(If you’re an internet professional, you should watch this)


Aagh, there’s no way out!  With apologies to Mr. Folds:

IE is a brick and I’m drowning slowly.


It’s really more like three bricks drowning the web.  If we could drop one or two versions, IE8 could be survivable, but how?


Hope We Can Hope For?

This is where Chrome Frame wants to come to the rescue.  With it, I can use Chrome as an IE plugin, just like Flash, Java, AIR, or Silverlight.  Sure it’s cheating, but in a good way – it still uses the original native web code (so it is NOT the Un-web like those other plugins).

IE8 with Chrome Frame:
image image

Perfect!  And the same results in IE6 and IE7!

If a plugin story is acceptable (widespread use of the Chrome Frame plugin would help), this means only 3 browser engines to test.  I haven’t used it in production yet, but I’ll be carefully considering it for new projects.