Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Sick of being stuck at a desk

Now that sprint is here in the northern hemesphere the view out the window is getting more and more appealing.

It's at this time of year I least like my job, I hate being stuck in a chair at a desk for so many hours a day.  It's really getting me down.

Anybody got any tips about getting away from the desk - are there any jobs in programming that don't require it?

Ged Byrne
Monday, April 07, 2003

I haven't been outside for 3 days....technically its prolly possible for me to leave my desk but Im no longer feeling brave enough to make the attempt.....

....thats just true enough to scare me....
Monday, April 07, 2003

Well, I'm in Israel and it got very hot and disgusting (which is basically all of summer for me) over the past few days -- so I prefer to be inside.

Give me winter anytime. :)

Yoav
Monday, April 07, 2003

just got an assignment for testing wireless devices wo hoo

Daniel Shchyokin
Monday, April 07, 2003

I have had the most unpleasant experience of working a sunday yesterday. A sunday with really incredible weather. Which in Galway/Ireland is a rare event, by some karmic law, Galway makes up for all the rain that doesn't fall in all the deserts in the world...

We got wireless cards, so in theory I could step outside and do work out there watching some lads play footie, throwing build CDs for some dog to fetch, but security gets upset when you leave by the fire escape. I got natural light here and everything. I would kill for a balcony, would solve all problems. Be like college ...

Richard
Monday, April 07, 2003

Daniel,

I'm insanely jelous.

Ged Byrne
Monday, April 07, 2003

Well this morning I have to have the blind pulled right down because of the strength of the morning sunshine.  If I  raise it then I can see across to the Heath, or in the distance the Malverns.

Then again I could stick the wireless thing in and go sit in the garden and hear the frogs hump whilst I tap away.

Simon Lucy
Monday, April 07, 2003

laptop + 802.11b is the answer my friend...go get it..

Dan
Monday, April 07, 2003

Well, I've got a view of the gasworks and the goods railway into leeds.  If I had a wireless card I could sit on the pavement and have bus fumes spray into my face.  apart from that, it's a beautiful day!

Rahoul Baruah
Monday, April 07, 2003

>Anybody got any tips about getting
>away from the desk - are there any
>jobs in programming that don't
>require it?

I was issued a P4 Laptop when I was hired in.

Before the current huge project, we had several people who worked at home one day a week. 

In the summer, with a couplea batteries, it's possible that I occasionally get to walk to the JayCee park down the street and write some code for a few hours.  (That reminds me: Spare laptop batteries.  Need lots.)

What I'm saying is: Yes, some of the enlightened employers allow that.  My advice is either to look really hard for your next position, or start your own consulting firm and do business that way. :-) 


regards,

Matt H.
Monday, April 07, 2003

Go outside? I'd settle for being able to see outside. I have to walk twenty yards to get to a place where I can even see a window, though somebody else's office.

David Clayworth
Monday, April 07, 2003

Until I hung out a shingle, all my work was done in 'the dungeon'. A 'condition of employment' when I was looking into going freelance was a laptop with wireless card. I'm still chained to my desk, but sometimes my desk is in front of the stereo (or fireplace) in my living room, sometimes on the balcony of my apartment, and if feel I can live without Internet for a few hours I'll set up in the park by the river (10 minute walk). I don't know if there is any effect on productivity (+/-), but I sure feel a whole lot better about life than I did when I was in 'the dungeon'. And to top it all off, when I'm called in for on-site service, it almost feels like a treat!

Ron Porter
Monday, April 07, 2003

About 10 years ago my employer had a bit of a downturn.  We moved to an old one story building where the floor kind of sagged and most offices didn't have windows.  We called it "the cave".  I was glad to get out of there.

These days I think about that place a lot because it was so much better than what I have now.  I think I'll be happy and never complain again if I get a work space as good as that, as bad as it was.


Concerning doing programming work where you don't have to sit a desk, the best I can think of is to work from home.  I don't do that much, but this past weekend I did take home some work and it was quite pleasant to work at home on it.  I think I'll look for more opportunities to do that, but during regular work days not weekends.  A friend was telling me about his new wireless LAN he set up at home.  It let him sit out on the porch and read his email.  That could make work at home even more pleasant.

mackinac
Monday, April 07, 2003

Wireless is Great. Wireless Power would be the Greatest.

3 hours battery life sucks, and basically serves to tether you back down with wires. I remember reading about the possibility of wireless power a few years ago. Anyone know if it's even feasible?

~ ~ DaveG

Dave G
Monday, April 07, 2003

Yes.

I call it: "Sunlight".

The Word
Monday, April 07, 2003

Wireless power, broadcast power Nikola Tesla, isn't wireless in the accepted sense Hertz waves propogated but signals propogated through the earth.

At this point my brain deflates but if you make it work, the water powered combustion engine inventor has a few applications for you.

Simon Lucy
Monday, April 07, 2003

I remember there was something in development a few years ago where electrical power could be converted to microwaves and aimed at satellites. The satellites would bounce the power back to earth, to be used by power-hungry laptops like your own (and also by mid-ocean oil-drilling rigs and cabins in the Alps and stuff like that).

Anyhow, I don't know if it ever got off the ground, or if the theory even proved to be viable. It would be interesting to know whether anything panned out. (not interesting enough for me to spend the next ten minutes searching, though).

Benji Smith
Monday, April 07, 2003

Makes me want to look into wiring up my bicycle to use as a generator for recharging the laptop battery. Work outside for a couple hours, then ride around to provide some juice... and it would be a sure way to get exercise too!

John C.
Monday, April 07, 2003

Maybe you need/want a fuel cell for your laptop: http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/54/29590.html. Five hours operation and when it runs out you just refill it from a bottle of methanol.  Others (http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/rnb_040303.asp) are making cells that can run off ethanol, so you fill up your fuel cell and yourself from the same bottle.

Tim Evans
Monday, April 07, 2003

Tesla couldn't make it work despite building a power plant and large tower.  Essentially its an inverse square issue (as always).

I was fortunate enough to work for an employer who didn't care where it happened as long as it happened last summer (ah internships).  I frequently went to the local park (5 minute bike ride away) and set up camp for hours on end.  That was nice.

Now I'm relegated to a cube in a beatifully windowed building - on the inside facing an interior conference room.  Its not too bad since I don't have a row of occupants across from me - but I'd give anything to go back to the park for a few days (its actually closer now).

I suppose its part of the price we pay for working at certain companies - but I know that as soon as I have enough leverage (likely one year) I'm swapping out to a windowed cube.  Ah sunlight - so undervalued.

Lou
Monday, April 07, 2003

Now I can see these luck developers sat in the park with their wireless laptops.

I'm even more miserable than before.

Still some of you don't even have a window view.  That cheers me a little.

Ged Byrne
Tuesday, April 08, 2003

I can't work outside. Too much distraction, my mind just keeps wandering and my body just wants to bask in the light.

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Apparently the original CLIPPER compiler was developed on the beach by Richard? McConnell during the late 80's, so this issue has been around for almost 20 years and they managed to solve it way back then.

Realist
Tuesday, April 08, 2003

People that want to sit in the sun with their laptop and work  are usually people that have never done it before. It sucks! Even in the shade, there's a glare that drowns out the pixels on any laptop monitor I've come across (Sony, Toshiba, and Dell). The hugest myth is the guy sitting on the chaise lounge on the beach. Yeah RIGHT! It's like trying to read 12 pt font on the moon during a solar eclipse. And sand in your laptop really improves performance.

Mark
Tuesday, April 08, 2003

There are times when I think I might like an outdoors type job.  But software development does not seem like the sort of thing I would want to do outside, although an occasional excursion out of the office might be nice.

A one point I had a job with an office that not only had a window, but a window that opened.  That was nice.

mackinac
Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Richard,

They were living in a house on the beach.  That doesn't mean they were sitting on the beach doing their developing on laptops.  Remember, that was 1984-5 - laptops then were nowhere near as useful compared with desktops as they are now.  The typical laptop then had 4MB RAM and a really sucky 8- or 12-inch monochrome monitor.

But, they COULD get up and run down to the surf and clear their heads every few hours ...

Karl Perry
Tuesday, April 08, 2003

bah, all this outside talk is nonsense. My boss told me that there is no "outside" and I believe him.

trollbooth
Wednesday, April 09, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home