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Maybe not a bad idea

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Apr. 1st, 2003 | 09:41 am

(In a far cry from my previous political & depressing posts, I provide this overly technological solution to a common problem I have).

So I have trouble concentrating, I distract easily, and it can take quite some time to refocus. Admittedly this is a common problem for programmers who are stuck in spaces with too many people.

Since my office space usually has between 1 and 2 other people in it I tend to find it difficult to accompish anything other than answering their questions. (Though right now since everyone seems to be night people the "early" morning of 9:30 it's completely empty of everyone but myself).

One recent day I was off reading about the history of the cambridge research labs, the same ones that brought the world VNC. For some projects they were using something called a cholesteric LCD. These are LCD displays that require power to change an image but require no power to maintain an image.

So they were using them as signs on conference rooms and offices. This led me to my interesting idea.

Imagine for the moment a name plate, but one that updated itself with status information--say from ones instant messanger client.

So using this (or actually any easily programmable text display) I could set my IM client to do not disturb and have a sign over my head also reflect that status information. By looking at the sign for those near me, or the IM client for those down the hall my coworkers could then easily determine when they should and shouldn't be interrupting me.

Or I could just grab my laptop and go hide somewhere.

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Comments {2}

Vicky the Compost Queen

We were discussing this at lunch

from: vixter
date: Apr. 1st, 2003 01:30 pm (UTC)
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Someone remembered a really low tech solution: A string of paper clips hung across the opening of
the cubicle when they didn't want to be disturbed. Your solution is much more fun, though.

I personally use music and headphones. But the 'phones are broken and 2 different types of
cement haven't worked. I do have an office (standard company policy) but the walls are paper thin
and at times I need the music.

I have also seen a complicated algorithm posted on an office door regarding contacting the inhabitant.

Another friend claimed ADD as a disability and was able to get an office when one opened up.

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Diane Trout

Re: We were discussing this at lunch

from: alienghic
date: Apr. 1st, 2003 01:55 pm (UTC)
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I have headphones as well (even splurged and got high quality ones).

But they don't help when people keep interrupting me with random unimportant questions. The paper clip idea is good, or even, a "doctor is in" sign (a la charlie brown).

But as a computer geek, there is something appealing about using a little display. <a href="http://www.matrixorbital.com>Matrix Orbital</a> sells a bunch of serial or usb displays that are pretty easy to control (and between $50-$110 depending on size and technology).

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