Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Online Break-Timer

I have written an online break reminder. Basically it will bug you to take a break from the computer every 30 minutes (you can configure the time interval).

If you're not ready to take a break yet, you can snooze for 5 minutes (again, you can configure this time interval), after which it will bug you again. Leave the computer, rest your eyes, and when you come back, hit the big Restart button -- this will reset the clock back to 30 minutes.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Lifehack: Label your books with Dewey numbers

I've tried again and again to come up with a system for organizing the books on my bookshelf -- put the computer books here on the left, fiction here on the right, reference books on the second shelf ... but after a while I would forget what book goes where. Or a certain topic area runs out of shelf space and I don't know where to cram in new books.

Well, the problem of classifying books was solved long ago by librarians. The Dewey Decimal System is a popular system. Using my trusty automatic labeller, I labelled each of my books with the Dewey number (gleaned from the Library of Congress and the Vancouver Public Library websites). Now when I put a book back on the shelf, I don't need to think about where to put it -- I just shelve it according to its number (for example, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is 158, Getting Things Done is 646, etc.)

Pictures from A75 035

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Do-It-Yourself Aeron Ergonomic Chair

The ergonomic Aeron chair is famous in offices worldwide for its comfort and adjustability. Unfortunately it will run you $650. Recently, Kevin Kelly wrote about a $300 Aeron copycat which he has been using for the past year. But for those on tighter budgets, I present the Homemade Aeron Chair (HAC). Total cost: $0. How your back will feel thanks to lower-back support: Priceless.

To make the Homemade Aeron Chair you will need a few common household items: a regular chair, a telephone book, a cutting board, a towel, and a bungee cord (or belt).

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While the Homemade Aeron Chair doesn't have all the adjustments of an Aeron, it does have two important ones: adjustable height, and adjustable lower-back support.

The height can be adjusted by simply adding or removing books from the base of the seat. I first used a telephone book, but I am finding that old encyclopedias provide more finely grained control and a wider base.

Where the Homemade Aeron Chair really shines is the lower-back support. This is basically a rolled up towel that fits into the small of your back. I'm holding it in place with a bungee cord -- you can probably get away with a belt. To adjust the lower-back support, simply slide it up or down.

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So far the Homemade Aeron Chair has been pure comfort. I love nestling my back into the lower-back support. The height is just perfect. And you save a bundle while keeping your back happy.