Why Standing Doesn’t Work

Rishabh R. Dassani:

The first and the most important reason standing doesn’t work is because it isn’t productive. Standing and working at the same time affects overall performance because you’re focusing on two things. Having to distribute your cognitive capacities between standing and working nullifies the benefits you might get from standing alone because only part of your mental resources are going toward your work, thus making you less productive in the end.

An interesting counter argument about standup desks. I disagree with it.

I’ve used a standup desk since 2008. For the first few years it was a standing-only desk. I now use a sit-stand desk. I usually stand between 20% and 40% of the day, although I’ve not timed it, so that’s just a reasonable guess. I don’t buy his conclusion that when standing I’m “focusing on two things.” Not sure how other people feel, but I don’t need to focus on standing. At all. I just stand, in much the same way as I just breath. There’s no need to “distribute cognitive capacities” because standing isn’t that kind of activity. The amount of cognitive load approaches zero anyway.

I choose to stand when I need to sort of “snap out of it” and get some work done. Arguments about how fast I move my mouse or the number of typos I make while standing don’t apply. I work better while standing, and I feel better while standing. Any health benefits are secondary, but I’ll take them!

Our forefathers didn’t use standing/walking desks and they did just fine.

If by “fine” you mean living to the ripe old age of 40 then sure.

I view standing desks and treadmill desks as fads, appearing frequently in the media. I don’t condone their use. Although I’ve never used either of these types of desks, I remain skeptical about them

I read that as, “I don’t like the idea of standup desks so they’re probably bad”. A complaint mentioned in the linked-to Cornell Study was that people didn’t use their sit-stand desks to stand. It’s true, if you don’t use it, you won’t see any benefits. Also, I’m not too concerned about varicose veins.

I’m being harsh. I didn’t intend to, but my gut reaction to what looked to be a weakly-presented dismissal of my beloved standup desk put me off. Normally I enjoy reading his site.

Complaints aside, the overall gist of the article seems perfectly sound:

 If you take nothing else from this three-part series, I want you to sit less than you sleep (<7 hours), and use that as the sole metric for sitting less and living a healthier/less-sedentary lifestyle.

Basically, don’t sit too much and don’t stand too much. That seems right to me. Also read his earlier posts about the problems with sitting.

A briefcase containing the chronicles of an affair between a man and his secretary

Álvaro Serrano on A briefcase containing the chronicles of an affair between a man and his secretary:

Next time somebody complains to you about how social networks and the Internet are destroying privacy and marriages, just point them towards this article.

(Via Analog Senses)

I’m not sure I’d compare an affair exposed by material found after 30 years of being stored in a briefcase to broken security or privacy issues on social media, but I am fascinated by the degree to which Günter documented the thing.

I write in one (paper) journal or another nearly every day, and while I’m not having an affair or doing anything illegal, I know it’s likely someone will read them someday. I’m a little careful because of it. Maybe I shouldn’t worry so much. I’ll just toss them in a briefcase and let the archivists have their fun at my expense later.

An Open Letter to Tesla, From Your Friendly Local Car Dealers

An Open Letter to Tesla, From Your Friendly Local Car Dealers – Column – Car and Driver:

Now, you may enjoy selling your cars with no middleman and just keeping all the money. But I ask, have you considered letting us have some of that money? It is our position that we would like some of the money.

Could just be due to a series of poor experiences with car dealers, but I’m pulling for Tesla on the whole dealership thing.

A quick walk with the Leica IIIf

I wanted to burn through a roll today so I grabbed the little Leica IIIf and shot a few around the house then took a walk to finish it up. I nearly lost the roll while processing, but salvaged enough to get a few usable images.

Door on wall
Door on wall. Leica IIIf. Canon 50mm 1.8 LTM


Barn. Leica IIIf. Canon 50mm 1.8 LTM


House with crosses painted on doors
Crosses on garage. Leica IIIf. Canon 50mm 1.8 LTM


Analog desk
Analog desk. Leica IIIf. Canon 50mm 1.8 LTM


On blogs – Matt Gemmell

On blogs – Matt Gemmell:

Blogs have self-esteem issues.

Instead of a blog, let your site be a site. Or a journal. An online anthology. Your collected works. Your essays, to date. Your body of writing. A blog is a non-thing; it’s the refusal to categorise what you produce, and an implicit opt-in to the disappointing default.

Nah. I think instead that many bloggers have developed an inflated sense of self. If I ever refer to something I post here as a “piece” someone should be sure and slap me. I’m fine the way things are. “My collected works” – gross.



I prefer the imperfect

20090216 38 edit
Woman’s legs near snow. (2009)

The above image is poorly-focused, improperly processed, and full of dust spots. I love it anyway and wish I could make more like it. It also reminds me to stop worrying about technical perfection and to focus on images that I simply enjoy looking at. That’s what counts.

Recording the weather in Tinderbox

Each day I create a note called “Doing” in my Tinderbox daybook. This note is a dumping ground for little things I want to record during the day. I wanted to include the day’s weather, just for fun. Here’s how I did it.

First I had to find a way to grab the weather via command line. Turns out that Weather Underground has a nice API and Stephen Ramsay has created a little command-line application (written in Go) called wu https://github.com/sramsay/wu

Once wu was installed I needed a way to call it and get the results into my Tinderbox “Doing” note. I used a Stamp for this. The Stamp uses Tinderbox’s “runCommand()” command to shell out to the terminal and run wu. It looks something like this…

Document Inspector Daybook

The simplest Stamp would have been this…


…but I fancied it up a little. The actual action text I ended up with was this…

$Text=$Text+"rr---- Weather: ------------------------------------------------rr" +

So to get the weather, I select “Doing” and choose “Get Weather” from the Stamps menu. The weather is then magically appended to whatever text is in the selected Note. Like this…


That was easy.

Good Omens

Good Omens Cover

Sir Terry Pratchett was one of those authors I meant to have read more than I actually read. I enjoyed several of the Discworld books but didn’t love all of them. I did, on the other hand, love Good Omens. This seems like a fine time to read it once more. RIP Sir Terry.


Switching to Smaller iPhones

Michael Tsai’s collection of people Switching to Smaller iPhones:

Count me in as someone who prefers the shape, size, and feel of an iPhone 5 over the iPhone 6. The 6 is the first phone that I felt had to have a case or I’d drop it. It’s too big and too slippery. I haven’t gone back to a 5S only because the camera on the 6 is really nice. I’m actually hoping they release an iPhone Nano at some point1

  1. No, I don’t mean a Watch