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Becoming a Better Programmer by Pete Goodliffe

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Chapter 30. Posturing Programmers

A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind.

Morihei Ueshiba

As modern software development project pressures increase, the demand placed on programmers grows, moving us from the once traditional 15-hour working day closer to the continental 26-hour working day. In such a climate, it’s becoming increasingly important to ensure that you have a comfortable and ergonomically sound working environment.

This is perhaps as vital an issue to the twenty-first-century programmer as good code design or any other software development practice. After all, you can’t be an Agile developer with a bad back; no one wants to employ a rigid programmer. And you can’t navigate a complex UML class diagram with failing eyesight.

In order to improve the quality of the life you spend in front of a computer, and to safeguard your physical well-being, we’ll look in this chapter at how to optimise your working environment.

Pay close attention; if you don’t get this stuff right, you could end up with large medical bills. You’ll thank me one day.

Basic Computer Posture

First, let’s look at the most basic case of day-to-day computer use: sitting in front of a monitor (or as old-school Human Resources departments like to call it: a “VDU”[33]). You probably do this for many, many hours a day, so it’s vital to make sure that you sit correctly. Surprisingly, sitting down is a quite complicated task. It requires hard work and determination to master. Practice makes perfect. ...

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