SPUG: Results of Work Space Survey

Richard Anderson starfire at zipcon.net
Tue Nov 20 07:28:59 CST 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: "dancerboy" <dancerboy at strangelight.com>
To: "Jim Flanagan" <jimfl at colltech.com>; "SPUG" <spug-list at pm.org>
Sent: Monday, November 19, 2001 7:42 PM
Subject: Re: SPUG: Results of Work Space Survey

> For example: I'm very easily distracted by conversations and other
> activities going on near me.  I think the bullpen environment you
> describe wouldn't work very well for me -- I mean, I could find ways
> to *make* it work (a discman, noise-cancelling headphones, and a
> stack of good ambient CDs comes to mind) but it would not be ideal.
That's what I thought, until I actually worked in a large bullpen area.  I
found it quite nice for several reasons.  First of all, one-half of the wall
space were windows looking out onto a nice view of Elliot Bay.  Secondly, I
was able to see if my other team members were at their work stations and
available for discussions simply by turning my head, instead of having to
drop what I was doing and walk down the hall.  The noise thing was an
issue - I handled it by wearing both earplugs (the soft waxy kind work best
for me) AND headphones tuned to my favorite CDs or radio stations.

> For me, I
> would gladly trade physical desk space for screen real-estate.  I
> think I waste much more time shuffling the windows and icons on my
> desktop than I do shuffling physical objects.  I just recently got a
> second monitor for my home office, and not only do I believe that
> this has made a huge improvement in my productivity, but I don't
> think I've even come close to maxing out the improvements that
> increased screen real-estate *could* make.  I think I could have 4 or
> 5 monitors on my desk before I started seeing diminishing returns.
Interesting idea.  I generally address this concern by using the multiple
desktops that Gnome and CDE provide (and Windows has yet to provide -
grrr!).  Wouldn't you get neck strain from swivelling your head to look at 5
different monitors?  Or are you talking about a long table with 5
workstations and 5 chairs?

I agree that the current monitors are too small and don't have enough
resolution.  Also, they are too bulky and difficult to position easily.  But
desktop ergonomics are improving, and I look forward to lightweight
flat-panel displays that are large, high-res, easy on the eyes and easy to
position.  I'd also like to be able to code in other positions other than
this straight-backed sitting one and input code in other ways besides


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