Thursday, May 31, 2012

Preventing Bad Posture

I’m not a giant but being 6’ tall I think I’m at the outer edge of ergonomic considerations for most manufacturers. I found that working for long periods at my computer was giving me some neck strain, primarily because the bottom edge of my monitor was only about 3” above the surface of my desk causing me to look down at the center of the screen. So I bought a new stand for my main monitor from Monoprice. It’s adjustable and while it was a bit difficult to get it set up correctly, raises my monitor up so that it’s now about 9” above the desk top.
That left my 2nd monitor to the right of my main one. I bought this from Monoprice as well:
It showed promise but my desk edge didn’t have enough relief for the clamp nor was the desk edge close enough to center for the monitor edges to connect. So what to do?
I disassembled it…
And cut off the clamping bracket.
Mounted it in the lathe and turned the end to a round flange.
That’s my new import steady rest for the South Bend 10K. I bid on a bunch of used SB parts but the prices are crazy so I went with this one. It works fine.
Drilling some mounting holes in the flange.
Wow, what an exciting life I lead.
I screwed it to a piece of aluminum and temporarily clamped it to the desk.
It reaches and lines up but notice the angle! The cheap mount does not have a tilt function so I had to do my best to level it up.
Turns out the edge of the desk has an odd dip in it. Not sure why. the center of the desk is level.
So I put a shim underneath it.
Lines up perfectly. Or almost so. Now I can wreck a new set of muscles instead of my neck. I’m noticing that I am sitting up straighter and no longer developing a permanent hunch. This picture was taken a week later and I‘ve accepted that the c-clamps are a permanent mount rather than temporary.
If you don't use dual monitors I encourage you to do so. I find I'm much more productive and it allows me to watch Hulu while working on the book keeping.
Felice stands at her desk while she works on jewelry. I need to completely redesign her workstation at some point.
I think Henry sits too close to his monitor but the height is ok. His Dell monitor has an excellent mount.
Max could probably use an inch or two of height on his Samsung monitor, will have to do something about that.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Boring Computer Stuff, Blah, Blah, Blah.

10 PRINT “Since I built a new PC for Felice I’ve been wondering what to do with her old Dell Vostro 200. Its 2.2Ghz Core2 Duo e4500 processor was only slightly faster than the old workstation in my shop (one of the PCs in my shop…) so I didn’t see much point in migrating over. Then it struck me, what if I upgraded the processor? So I did a bunch of searching to figure out the processor support for the motherboard in the Vostro. Between using CPU-Z to determine the Northbridge and searching Intel’s website and the Dell support forums, I determined that with a BIOS update I could fit almost any Core 2 Duo processor in it. Then I started a round of Ebay hunting, etc. I ended up buying a used e6850 (3Ghz) on Amazon for about $80.00.Right now there are no cheap ones listed on Amazon, but there are a number of chips at or above the performance of this available all day long on Ebay.
So I now have a relatively speedy workstation in my shop.
The real problem was that I was left with the old processor. This is a bad situation as it means that I had a potential PC. So I bought an inexpensive Biostar motherboard and I already had 4GB of DDR3 ram, Antec powersupply, and a used DVD and hard drive on hand. I tend to buy ram and power supplies when they are on sale. But what to do about a case? Luckily a friend remembered that I always want old free computers, so he gave me his wife made him give me his very old computer. An Antec case but definitely showing its age.
First thing I did was saw out the exhaust fan grill.
I love my jewelers saw.
Unrestricted airflow.
This was the main issue, beige plastic with an integral floppy drive slot.
05101208Some rebar and a screw to anchor the epoxy.
Lovely. About $3.00 worth of 5 minute JB weld.
Sanded down.
Then painted with some black “hammered” paint. Looks a lot better.
I already have a PC in every room of the house (except for the bathroom). But there it is anyway. I guess it will be a good loaner. Until I upgrade the processor…”
20 GOTO 10