Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Is your laptop a pain in the neck?

Filed under
Hardware

When Ram Viswanadha began using a laptop at work, he decided to shelve his clunky old desktop PC for good. The notebook's size, speed and memory blew the older computer away.

What the 30-year-old Silicon Valley software engineer didn't bargain for was a severe case of repetitive strain injury--and a three-month disability leave--from hunching over his laptop day in and day out for four years.

Viswanadha's situation is a worst case scenario in workplace ergonomics, but stories like his are becoming more common, according to doctors and ergonomic experts across the country. As people ditch desktop computers to work full time on laptops, doctors expect to see a lot more pains, strains and injuries among white collar workers.

"When you look at the design, laptops were never (meant) as a replacement for a desktop computer," said Alan Hedge, director of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory at Cornell University. "The idea was portability for occasional use. It was never intended to be a machine you would work at for eight hours a day, 52 weeks a year."

Statistical information on injuries related to notebook computer use is scarce, but doctors report a steady stream of new patients who've overdone it on the machines. That's not surprising given the boom in laptop sales. Nearly 49 million notebooks were sold in 2004 worldwide, almost double the number sold in 2000, according to market researcher IDC. The devices account for more than a quarter of the computer market, and are set to surpass desktop sales in the United States by 2008, IDC said.

The main problem with laptops is that the screen and keyboard are so close together. Without the aid of peripherals, laptop users have two choices, neither of which would win them any points for posture. They can cramp their neck down to view the monitor or they can elevate the machine to eye level, which can wreak havoc on shoulders and arms.

Full Article.

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • Comic-Con and FOSS Comic Book Solutions
    After whetting his appetite at this year’s Comic-Con, our resident Linux newbie discovers free and open source apps for reading digital comics, as well as a treasure trove of available sources for free comics online.
  • Linux Kernel 3.12.62 LTS Improves SPARC Support, Updates the Networking Stack
    Linux kernel developer Jiri Slaby announced the release of the sixty-second maintenance update for the long-term supported Linux 3.12 kernel series, which will receive support until 2017 because of SUSE Enterprise Linux. Linux kernel 3.12.62 LTS is a modest update, and looking at the diff from the previous maintenance release, version 3.12.61, we can notice that it changes a total of 96 files, with 1213 insertions and 1053 deletions. Among the changes, we can notice lots of fixes for the SPARC hardware architecture, but there are various other improvements for the ARM, MIPS, PA-RISC, and x86 instruction set architectures.
  • ‘Anatine’ Is a Simple Desktop Twitter App for Linux
    Anatine describes itself as a 'pristine Twitter app for Linux', but is it anything more than a wrapper around the mobile website?
  • Skype for Linux Alpha 1.3 Released With Small Bug Fixes
    A small bug fix update to Skype for Linux alpha is now available, and fixes, among many changes, errant close to tray behaviour on the Cinnamon desktop.
  • On the killing of intltool
    Say thanks to Daiki Ueno for his work maintaining gettext and enhancing it to make change practical, and to Javier Jardon for pushing this within GNOME and working to remove intltool from important GNOME modules.
  • On discoverability
    I've discussed elsewhere that usability is about real people doing real tasks in a reasonable amount of time. Some researchers also refer to "learnability" and "memorability" to define usability—this is very similar to discoverability. Can you discover the features of the system just by poking at it? Is the user interface obvious enough that you can figure it out on your own?
  • This is Lubuntu 16.10’s New Default Wallpaper
    The default wallpaper of Lubuntu 16.10 — yes, that's Lubuntu, with an 'l' — has been unveiled — but will fans of the lightweight Ubuntu spin like it?

today's howtos

Red Hat and Fedora

Android Leftovers