What do serious athletes, professional musicians and computer users have in common? They can all get hurt from doing the same motion again and again. Whether it’s holding and playing your instrument the same way, hitting the racket with a ball again and again, or typing at the keyboard, when you do the same motion again and again and again, you have a good chance of hurting yourself. The result is repetitive strain injury, RSI. If you think that you really need to finish this urgent job that you’re working on, and you’ll just ignore the pain, you’re making a big mistake. You might end up not being able to type for days and maybe weeks, and maybe even have surgery.
One way to mitigate RSI is to vary the motion. Try to switch keyboards, from a traditional flat keyboard to an ergonomic one and back every few days or few weeks. The change that I found most effective, though, is to use a program that reminds me to take a break from typing every so often.
Workrave to the rescue
Workrave is a free program that reminds you every so often to take a break. It has two types of breaks. A micro-pause of 30 seconds or so every 10 minutes
and a rest-break of 3-5 minutes every hour or so. During the first part of the rest-break, it walks you through some exercises.
I used to do these, but don’t lately.
At some point, I reduced the frequency of the breaks, and the pains came back. I reduced them and things are better. You can configure the duration and frequency of all the breaks.
All in all this is a great program that does what it’s supposed to. Everything works as advertised.
It’s still a Windows world. There’s no way to escape it. While I, for the most part, love running Linux rather than Windows on my laptop, there are still many things that I need Windows for. For one thing, I often need to see what things look like on IE, and there are still some programs that require IE to run (some people are still stuck in the 20th century).
I’ve been running Vmware, which lets me run Windows in a virtual machine under Linux, for a few years and have been mostly happy with it. I recently made the mistake though of clicking on the “there’s a new version available” that’s been nagging in the program for a while. I installed the latest version of Vmware only to be informed that I don’t have a license for the most recent version. Sneaky. Fine. So I looked around and sure enough, there’s now a free program, Virtualboxk, that does the same thing that Vmware does.
I downloaded and installed it,. It worked out of the box, but then for some reason I couldn’t get it to go back and forth using NAT between my network card and my wireless card. I played around with the networking a bit more and now it works like a charm. Great program, feels more solid and faster than Vmware. I happily send 30 Euros to the company.