Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Lean-Forward Type of Gal

My hubby John works in the computer industry and has had a great deal of experience with research and development. I remember him examining my use of a new laptop a few years ago.

"I see you're a lean-back user, babe," he said with amusement.

Wait - should I be cranky about that comment??

He easily dodged the pillow thrown at him. He's had lots of practice.  "No, work, we categorize technology users as either lean-forward, or lean-back."

This directed to me, who was lounging on the couch with feet up on a pillow and the rest of me definitely leaning back. As in flat. With my lappy balancing on my tummy, screen tipped forward while clicking away madly with my wireless mouse. I looked at him suspiciously.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

"Neither. But.....I have to say that we consider a laptop a lean-forward type of tool."

So I'm doing it wrong??

He paused to choose his words very carefully, given the fact that I had three more substantial throw pillows within reach. They are called throw pillows for a reason, I figure.

"Julia. There's no right or wrong way to use technology. It's just that when most people use their laptops, they're actively engaged in reading and interacting with what's on the screen. So they usually are in a sitting position or standing position. Lean-back technology  would include a television, for example. You lean back and passively watch what's on the TV."

Obviously whoever coined these terms - actually usability expert Jakob Nielsen - has never seen us watch a televised Packers football game. So completely NOT passive. True story - soon after moving into our house, a neighbor rang the doorbell during a game. He heard screaming coming from the house and wanted to know if everyone was alive and well....hehe.

I pointed this out to my R and D hubby, who rolled his eyes and ducked as another pillow whizzed by his head. "Hey! I'm going to start throwing them back if you don't behave!"

Bring it, big guy. I double dog dare ya.

Ahhh. We haven't had a great pillow fight like that in years. Now that's real entertainment.

I actually do have a point in bringing up this little domestic bliss incident. The other day, I noticed that my left shoulder and the muscles in my neck were aching and sore. I pondered the cause while lying on the couch in my usual lean-back technology pose. With wireless mouse clutched firmly in my left hand, neck craning forward to read the screen.

Hm. Maybe those lean-forward type computer people have a point, I thought. And actually, I really could use a spot to keep my computer and the junk necessary accessories that go with it. It would be nice to have my own little computer work station somewhere, I decided, so I headed down to the basement to peruse all the kids' furniture stored there. Much to my surprise, I found a perfect little white desk hiding behind a stack of boxes.

I really have NO idea how it got there.

Ah, but possession is nine-tenths of the law, I figured. So I lugged the thing upstairs and nestled it into a corner of the family room. And promptly crashed on the couch after all that work. So much for lean-forward use for the remainder of the day.

But today, after a good night's sleep, here I am perched in an ergonomically correct position typing away with coffee cup nearby, the television tuned in to a news channel, and the sun shining in the window near my desk. As John headed out to work, he diplomatically commented that he thought my little niche looked great, without acknowledging Mr. Nielson's categorizations. What a guy.

I like it. Maybe I am a lean-forward sjoggie, after all.


Julia said...

Hi Julia. My name is Julia also. My blood work came back indicating that I have Sjorgens. My major symptom is severe muscle weakness. I can hardly do anything. I have to lay down after unloading the dishwasher. My neck feel like it can no longer hold up my head. Walking from one room to another is so tiring. Climbing the stairs, oh my, I can hardly make it, then I am so out of breath. The dry mouth and dry eyes are not a major problem for me. Does this sound like Sjorgens to you? So glad I found your blog.

Julia Oleinik said...

Hi Julia - Ooo. Another Julia sjoggie! Allow me to offer you the dubious honor of welcoming you to our little club. I'm glad that you found me, too.

Ah. The fatigue. Yes, when I was first diagnosed the fatigue was by far the most problematic symptom that I had. It still is, although the combination of medication therapy and learning to pace myself has helped somewhat.

Hang in there. And let us know how things are going for you.