Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Are you sitting comfortably?....

.. I am - thanks to the purchase of a new Aeron office chair.

The Aeron really is the Rolls Royce of office chairs - the sort of chair that if you need to ask what the price is you probably can't afford it!

Old overpriced, poorly made chair vs shiny new, but equally over-priced Aeron chair

A few years ago I decided to treat myself to an ergonomically designed chair, and went to an expensive specialist ergonomically designed office store behind Oxford Street to get advice. After an hour long indoctrination exercise, booked by appointment, I'd chosen my chair - a Plus 562 from a Swedish company called Hoganasmobler (with some funny accents over some of the characters!).

From memory, it cost not far off £1000 - presumably the cost of having a one hour 'consulting' session before purchasing, and to help cover the high rental charges of a large (but empty of customers) store in an upmarket area of town.

Alas by the time the wretched thing was delivered I couldn't remember how best to set it up, other than remembering that my upper legs needed to naturally sit parallel to the ground when my feet were flat firmly on the ground.

The flimsy leaflet that came with the chair wasn't much help in working out how to best set it up, and the chair was extremely uncomfortable to sit in - so much so that when I received a VAT inspection visit the inspector spent barely 5 seconds in it before jumping out and complaining 'I can't sit in that'. Heh, maybe my experiences with the chair have not all been bad, after all ;-))

Earlier this year I was suffering back pain which meant that in my down time
at home the last place I wanted to be was in my office doing stuff on the PC. I assumed this was a problem with my chair at work, but when I went to work in Ireland the problems miraculously went away - until, typically, the Sunday afternoons when I returned to the UK and spent the Sunday morning in my home office typing up emails and printing out invoices. Clearly it was the specially designed ergonomic chair that was the problem!

To add insult to injury the fabric on the main seat and both arms (I don't even use the arms!) quickly wore away, exposing nasty yellowy foam - I'd expected more from an office chair costing many hundreds of pounds. I guess the salesperson just saw me coming!

With several weeks of studying/working from home ahead I decided I needed to do something about my office furniture and previous experience with an Aeron chair at Ford Motor Company, together with recommendations from colleagues pointed to this being what was required.

Luckily in London, or at least within the M25, there is a service called Fast Aeron that will deliver the chair at a designated time and date within 48 hours, and set the chair up for you as well as instructing you in how to adjust and use it. Alas the main reason for using them (weekend deliveries) went sour (they accept the appointment, but then phone you to say they can't do those dates), but other than that the experience was very positive - as it should be given the exorbitant asking price. Don't get me wrong it's a great chair, but the cost of producing the chair bear no relation to the asking price. When you've got a niche, reputable product I guess you can get away with charging the earth.

So far I'm loving the chair, although time will tell how long the fabric on this one will last - the guarantee period is only 3 years so I'm nervous as to whether this will go the same way as its predecessor with regard to normal wear and tear. But, touch wood, using it's a pleasure compared to the painful chair I used to have to sit in.

Yesterday's Useful Links

Concurrency and the Impact on Reusable Libraries (aka 'The Lock Cookbook') by Joe Duffy (found via Mike Taulty's blog).

MIX UK Conference Sessions - videos from the technical conference in London which I attended a few weeks ago.

Project Codename 'Astoria' - Microsoft takes a REST - information on Microsoft's upcoming product to expose data as a data service that can be consumed by web clients (a web data access layer to your database!)

New LINQ to SQL labs from InnerWorkings - training labs (relatively cheap to purchase) from InnerWorkings on the new LINQ to SQL functionality coming with .NET 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008.

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