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Homeward Bound

Posted 2013.09.27 13.19 in Work

To varying degrees, I have been self-employed since 1991.

That is to say, I have not been anyone’s employee for the past 22 years. I’ve done contract work, I’ve had some regular customers for almost all of those 22 years, and I’ve had other customers who’ve come and gone.

I’ve always done at least some work from home, but I’ve also always done at least some work at an office. My office, customers’ offices, et cetera.

Over the past couple months however, I’ve been working more and more from home, and less and less in an office. That trend is now going full speed ahead.

Starting next month, I’ll be working full time 100% from home.

Right now, I’m feeling about 60% excitement, 30% anxiety, and 10% overwhelmed.

For the past several years I’ve shared office space with a couple of my customers, and now we’re all getting out. Everyone’s moving their work home.

There’s a Lot of stuff that needs to be moved home, lots of files, equipment, furniture… And then there’s another whole lot of furniture and stuff that we don’t even need so we’ll try and sell. And then there’s a whole whole lot of stuff that’s just junk we need to get rid of.

Every time I think I have a handle on what needs to be done, every time I think things are nearly finished and we can relax, some new pile of work / files / stuff appears and we’re back to trying to revise the plans.

Still, even with all that, it has (more or less) gone smoothly so far. With only two more days to go before I ought to be full-time at home, things are not too overwhelmingly crazy.

That just leaves only one big potential glitch to get in the way of me working from home:

In The Way

Chair Wheels & Wheel Chairs

Posted 2010.01.05 21.19 in Pointless Blather

A few months ago, I was trying to solve the problem of an office chair on a hardwood floor. The hard plastic wheels are hell on the floor, and they’re not very good on low-cost office carpeting either. Why else would they try and sell those carpet protectors or floor protectors?

The thing is, those protectors don’t really do much good. They might slow the problem down a bit, but they don’t really help much.¬†So I had been trying to think of a replacement chair, that would have rubber wheels. And that led me to a wheelchair.

I was trying it out and comparing it, to see if it was a good substitute. The wheelchair worked pretty good, in that it rolled really well, and the rubber tyres were quite friendly to the hardwood floor. Except it turned out that the office chair has two movements that the wheelchair just can’t match. Office chairs can go sideways, and can swivel in place.¬†Eventually, I ended up using the office chair and letting the cats sleep on the wheel chair. Still, I was sure there must be a solution.

And a few months later, the solution has arrived. A recent Staples catalogue advertised a new product: chair casters with rubber tyres. Yep – now you can modify your office chair so it has hardwood-friendly rubber tyres.

I can report, it rolls smoothly and quietly. Maybe a bit too smoothly. But so far, so good.

See? If there’s something you don’t like about the world, just blog about it then occasionally grump about it to your friends, and eventually the problem will solve itself. It’s just that easy!

Is Algae Bad For You?

Posted 2009.10.08 15.45 in Pointless Blather, Work

I just noticed in the water cooler at the office, some splotches of green fuzzies appear to be growing inside the water cooler jug. It’s the kind where you get the 5-gallon jugs, and when it’s empty you take the old jug back for a refund and get a new one.

I don’t know that it’s algae but I assume it is – you wouldn’t get mould growing under water, would you? Algae is the only kind of green fuzzy I can think of that would exist in water. Makes me wonder how it got there and how it survives, though. I mean, I suppose it’s like a plant right? Photosynthesizing its food, from the florescent lights in the office? There’s no natural light (I mean, at all) and on weekends it’s in the dark the whole time.

The water itself tastes all right, there’s no musty or vegetal odor or flavour that I can detect.

It’s just not the sort of thing you expect to find in a water cooler.

I think.

I guess maybe we’d need a new cooler thingy though – if the water is ‘contaminated’ where we can see it, then goodness knows what might be growing in the places we can’t see – in between the jug and the spigot. I think we’ve had this one for about 5 or 7 years. The cooler I mean, not the jug. The jug is probably a couple months old – we don’t drink much (enough) water at work.

algae

I like my water to be room-temperature, like mid 60’s to 70’s. At home, my water cooler has three valves – hot, cold, and room temp. I like that. We should get one like that here – I’d drink more water at work if it had a room temperature setting.

Actually the best thing I’ve seen was just a pump that you stuck inside the jug – the jug sat upright on the counter and you put the pump in it, then like an old well, you pumped out water when you wanted it. It only had the one setting – room temperature. If you wanted coffee, you’d pump the water into a kettle and do it the old fashioned way. Or we could get a coffee maker… a coffee maker and a water cooler jug pump. That would be sweet.

I don’t know where to get the pumps though.

Office Chair vs. Wheelchair – Part 1

Posted 2009.09.26 13.03 in Pointless Blather

Here on Planet Stephanie, office chairs are an important part of everyday furniture – even in the household. Office chairs allow one to roll back and forth from the desk to the cupboard, or from one side of the desk to the other. They’re the right height for working at the desk. The desk being another very important part of home furnishings – the most important, almost. (A good Sofa of Relaxation is also crucial.)

Unfortunately, the main benefit of the office chair, is also its biggest problem. The wheels.

They are made of this hard, unforgiving plastic. Probably ABS. On carpet, they crush the carpet fibres down, and on floor, they grind the top surface away. Even on a cement floor, those hard plastic wheels eventually crush and break up the top layer of cement, resulting in dust and a damaged floor.

Ok, yes, you can buy these floor / carpet protectors. We’re aware of them. They do not work. The carpet ones have all these nubbly bits that anchor them to the carpet. These eventually drill holes in your carpet, and merely slow the overall crushing of the rest of the surface. Plus they make it hard to wheel around, which is the main point of the office chair in the first place. The floor protectors don’t have nubbly bits but they also don’t do a damn thing to protect the floor. Worse, they can accellerate the damage should something get underneath the ‘protector’.

Read more »

Office Chair vs. Wheelchair – Part 2

Posted 2009.09.25 20.11 in Pointless Blather

So, comparing the office chair to the wheelchair, in actual practical use. There are some pros and cons to both, and so far, there’s no clear winner.

Office chair pros:
Can move sideways
Easy to adjust the height
Office chair cons:
Hard plastic wheels damage floor
Mostly plastic construction
Wheelchair pros:
Rubber wheels (less/no floor damage)
Sturdy metal construction
Wheelchair cons:
Cannot go sideways!
No obvious way to alter height

Wheel Chair
They are both about tied when it comes to comfort, as well. The office chair is generally not-terribly-comfortable overall, in any level of slouch. The wheelchair is a comfort-winner when you sit in certain positions, but then in other positions there are sharp hard metal poking bits jabbing into my legs, or shoulders, depending on the amount of slouching. I could probably grind down the poking bits or cover them with some soft foam, and may end up doing that at some point.

Also, despite being made out of metal (steel?) tubing, the wheelchair seems much less customizable than I had initially thought. I guess due to the compactness or foldingability, but all the structural parts are arranged such that if I bolt things on, they’ll end up jabbing me in the arms or legs. So, for the moment at least, no ChairCam and no drink holder. I suppose if I wanted to permanently disable the foldingability then I could bolt things across the back of the chair, and maybe add some storage compartments to the underside.

Anyhow, stay tuned, parts 1 and 3 will be coming later.

The Stephanie Maks Office Adventure Kit

Posted 2006.07.25 0.00 in Computers/Internet/Technology

I was just getting ready to head out to work and had some of my ‘important gear’ sitting on my desk ready to, when I noticed that my bit of kit was arranged somewhat photogenically.

That’s right, it’s the Stephanie Maks Action Adventure Kit!

The kit consists of the following:
A Pentacle necklace, properly cleansed and blessed.
A mechanical, home-made wristwatch. Today it’s the one-handed model, accurate to within 5 or 10 minutes.
An antique PDA, circa 1996. Hey, just because stuff is new, does not mean it is better.

And now, I must be off! Duty calls!

Stephanie Maks Action Adventure Kit