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Coding while watching TV

I'm planning to install a TV set in my work room

And I'm wondering if any if some of you can still produce high quality code while watching/listening to TV

Saturday, November 8, 2003

Suer, I watsh TV wihle typign al teh time

Eric DeBois
Saturday, November 8, 2003

I recommend you put the TV behind you so you have to turn away from the computer to watch it.

It's not going to increase your productivity but sometimes when doing certain tasks its nicer to have something else going on.

Almost Anonymous
Saturday, November 8, 2003

I've had a TV in my home office for years, and I'm about to take it out.

I *think* it helps to have it on, but I'm really just enabling my procrastination desire - the TV is a distraction.

In addition, if you have a family there's a real problem of increased isolation - the more your home office is an apartment, the more you live there. Put the TV in an area where you can watch with the family or your wife, and when there's something on you want to watch,  "leave work" and go watch.

Finally, sitting in an office chair is bad for you. Getting up and moving to a recliner or couch is (believe it or not) healthier than sitting in the chair for hours a day.


Saturday, November 8, 2003

I'd suggest a nice crack habit instead...

Saturday, November 8, 2003

I don't even have a TV. What are the benefits? For me, it seems like a 24 hour infomercial.

Tom Vu
Saturday, November 8, 2003


Why is sitting on a couch or recliner healthier than sitting in an office chair?


Saturday, November 8, 2003

I'm just entering my sixth month without a TV for the first time in my life...lost it in the breakup.  The cravings were there at first, but now I've gotten so used to it that the thought of buying a new one barely even crosses my mind anymore.  I don't know whether I'm really more productive at home without it, though.  Now it just seems like I waste twice as much time online...

Tim Lara
Saturday, November 8, 2003

I do worst when there are lots of distractions. I love music, tv shows, loud server rooms--but if you really gotta pump out good elegant code and solve bugs in a cinch nothing beats a quiet early morning and good sleep.

Li-fan Chen
Saturday, November 8, 2003

Even without all those things, a quiet computer can be filled with clutter*. There are solutions**. You'll save hours of time.

* Here's what I found to waste my time, YMMV:

  1. Like skimming through slashdot,

  2. debating the good debating on JOS,

  3. making MP3 playing lists that sucks less,

  4. uber-pack-ratting (organizing.. backing up.. archiving..

  5. renaming whatever the hell it is you downloaded last night),

  6. replying to emails from friends,

  7. chatting on MSN Messenger with cousins,

  8. monitoring the perilous task of making the perfect burn using a stupid CD filesystem and el cheapo write-once medium designed to fail in 2 years,

  9. drinking 3 different kinds of liquids and then battling the dish washer.

  10. reinstalling windows

** There are ways to get around this time-wasting hell:
  1. You have to get all of these things off your computer. Setup a pc at home and run ssh, linux and perl on it. Whatever utility you can find to make surfing more fun on Windows--I have been able to (most of the time) find a somewhat adequate to unmatchable replacement in Linux.

  2. Let the linux box do all those download and organization using perl scripts. Have it throttle so if someone (your spouse or kids) at home is surfing it won't ruin a webcast.

  3. Let it do all the reading of slashdot and JOS for you. Don't be a network hog but have watch dogs that tells you when something interesting is being mentioned on a thread.

  4. Buy 4 big hard drive a year and don't backup anything (just mirror it),

  6. drink water. all the other stuff makes you thirsty as hell

  7. send letters, real thoughtful ones, using your bloody hand for once, less says more, i have notice most people on instant messengers and other impressive instant mediums use it for transmitting brain farts more than anything worth reading.

  8. Keep Windows CLEAN, don't install shit on a whim, you won't have to reinstall it all the time then. If you have to try something, use a second PC or vmware it.

Li-fan Chen
Saturday, November 8, 2003

PVR.. buy one. The PC-based ones from ATI are wonderful. Let it run over-night on Food TV/Food Network, or your SCI-FI channel, or your music television, or that channel that records those cool obscure shows that can't beat out the crappiest sitcoms you can't bear out of prime time (XMC, Beat the Geek, Robot Wars, whatever). It usually can record one channel at a time, and I hate the following limitations:

1. inability to record english subtitles
2. inability to automatically skip commercials
3. difficult to set up scriptable recording schedules (record this channel now.. that channel next)

I heard there are standalone PVRs you can buy, I would recommend getting one, they are way worth it.

If you buy a PVR, and get watch tv interactively with a PVR, chances are you'll watch tv less and less, probably 4-8 hours a week.

Li-fan Chen
Saturday, November 8, 2003

LI fan chen, What's a PVR?
And you mirroring strategy isn't much use against burglars or fire.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, November 9, 2003

>LI fan chen, What's a PVR?
Too lazy to google?

>And you mirroring strategy isn't much use against burglars or fire.
Too lazy to drive the drives to another location?

Li-fan Chen
Sunday, November 9, 2003

---"Too lazy to google?"---

Yea, just like you're too lazy to write the word out so we know WTF you're talking about.

---"Too lazy to drive the drives to another location?"

If you're going to be carrying it around in your pocket then you'll want to be using a removeable hard drive, so basically you'll be backing up to it, not mirroring.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, November 9, 2003

Tom Vu:

I second what you say. Can't watch most of the stuff on tv--even the ones you can fast forward and filter all you want with an personal video recorder (PVR) *smirk*. I did get a dvd player and a sony wega just so I can catch up on all the movies. Hmm... most movies aren't any good. Yeah.. basically the tv and the $46CDN cable bill is there for my family.

Around 3 month ago I tried real books, works wonders. If one want to spend idle time watching tv, he'd lying to himself if his claims he can think about the problem in front of his screen at the same time. So why not just read a page or two? I can go through maybe a couple of good novels a week.

Li-fan Chen
Sunday, November 9, 2003

Oh boy, it's the "bad TV trolls".

There is a lot of really great TV out there to be found. If you want to be some hippy anti-establishment freak and wipe TV out of your life, that's fine. But don't lie to yourself and say there's nothing worth watching. There's A LOT of stuff that's worth watching.

(Oh, and I know what a PVR is, because I have one. Most people call it a TiVo, though. :-p)

Brad Wilson (
Sunday, November 9, 2003

"There is a lot of really great TV out there to be found."

Not much during working hours.  Daytime TV is more interesting with the audio turned off.  When you randomly glance up you see

"Mother is self-reproducing transexual with identity issues."

Mmmmmmmmm.  Daytime TV.

nat ersoz
Sunday, November 9, 2003

While I agree in theory that there may be few things on broadcast television that would add something to my life, the cost of filtering them out from the chaff is too prohibitive.  There are other avenues to get all the "benefits" of television that I can do according to my schedule, not one I have to adjust my life around.

We haven't had broadcast TV in our house for several years now and the only thing I miss, nothing.  Hopefully the Simpsons DVD's will come out more than once a year in the future - I have a lot of catching up to do ;)

Jason Watts
Sunday, November 9, 2003

Sadly, I've recently become addicted to Law & Order (which has several reruns a day) and ER (ditto).

Law & Order is a great show for anyone who wants to know how the criminal justice system works - it's frighteningly accurate. I've read several reviews by doctors that ER is a pretty accurate portrayal of how an ER works.

As for "why is a sofa healthier than an office chair" - unless you've spent over $500 on your chair, odds are it's restricting circulation in your thighs. This can lead to circulatory problems in your legs and possibly even blood clots. In addition, even if neither is healthier than the other, sitting in the same one for 6-12 hours a day is worse than alternating between the two. (in any question about human physiology, "variety" is generally a healthier answer.)


Sunday, November 9, 2003


While the "hippy anti-establishment freak" moniker may actually describe me fairly well ;-) I would definitely agree with you that there are LOTS of excellent programs on TV worth watching.

In my case, though, that is actually part of the problem!  Some people are born with an alcoholic gene - I have the TV-OCD gene.  I don't know when to stop and end up spending a bunch of money that I don't really have because I'm never satisfied until I have HBO and all the other premium cable packages as well...Half the reason I'm trying the no TV route for a while is to just save some $$.  I also find that it's more of a treat when I get to see my favorite shows now because I have to go over to a friend's house and actually make it a social event.  Helps keep me from being such a hermit.

Tim Lara
Sunday, November 9, 2003


Regarding ER and Law & Order -- they are relatively realistic portrayals of medicine and law, but in real life there is much less drama, fewer happy endings, and about 100x more boring stuff like filling out TPS reports, sitting in PHB meetings, and surfing the web.

(I've spoken with a few ER and law folks too.)


Sunday, November 9, 2003

What really bothers me are the cover sheets on those TPS reports.  I mean, I got the memo (8 times) but I just can't seem to remember them.

Sunday, November 9, 2003

ER, which I love, is not terribly realistic, according to my wife, who worked in half a dozen hospitals in the last 10 or 15 years.

The MEDICINE in the show MAY be realistic.

For example:  you do not WALTZ into the ER.  You have to get past security. (Ironically, the REST of the hospital is actually frighteningly accessible by any pscychotic with a knife).

Monday, November 10, 2003

TV + broadcast/cable sucks.

TV + DVD player + NetFlix rocks.

TV becomes stuff you actually pick yourself, as opposed to surfing 200 channels with nothing on.

(I suppose TiVo might make TV + cable a little more like NetFlix, though.)

Jim Rankin
Monday, November 10, 2003

Nuff said.

Flamebait Sr.
Monday, November 10, 2003

Yeah I saw that onion article a while back, pretty funny.

Li-fan Chen
Monday, November 10, 2003

Funny you mention Law & Order, Philo. I take a break every day to catch the 1:00PM reruns ;-)

I know it's going to be a good day when I've only see it three times.....

Monday, November 10, 2003

Jason: one of the advantages of a TiVo is you don't have to organize your life around the schedule of TV shows that you might want to watch.  You can just choose shows that interest you and watch them whenever.

I don't watch too much TV, but there is definitely enough quality programming out there that I find it worth it to pay for cable and a TiVo

Mike McNertney
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

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